The most efficient way to take down Christmas decor – to make packing and storage smoother

Make your Christmas clean-up simpler with this expert guide to packing up decor

Paper and beaded christmas decorations laying on a wooden table, viewed from the top
(Image credit: Layered Lounge)

Taking holiday decor down is a tedious task at best, luckily, however, professional home organizers have found the most efficient way to take down Christmas decor so it doesn't take you all day.

Once you know when to take down Christmas decorations, it is all about forming a plan and moving through your home room by room, taking decor down as you go, experts say. 

Here is how to pack away decorations quickly, and why working efficiently is important not just to save you time now, but next year too. 

The most efficient way to take down Christmas decor

Before you get started taking down your Christmas decor, it helps to have all the kit you need to clear your home of Christmas to hand first. Having boxes, padding, tape, and labels to hand will make finding your decor in one piece next year far simpler. 

With that in mind, here’s the most efficient way to pick up your decor for next year. 

When should you start decorating for Christmas? Decorated Christmas tree in living room beside fireplace

(Image credit: Layered Lounge)

1. Start with the decorations you put up last

When organizing your Christmas decorations for storage, it helps to work backward to how you put them up, says Ashley Murphy, co-founder and CEO of NEAT method:

‘Start by corralling all tabletop decor in one location like a dining room table. From there you can properly wrap and pad anything breakable and puzzle it into a bin together nicely as a complete category. Packing them first means they will be the last thing you get out next year, making decorating for Christmas more logical. 

‘Next, remove ornaments from your tree in reverse order of how they were placed. Spool any garlands to prevent tangling and pad breakables using an ornament storage box.

Ornament Storage Box | View at Amazon

Ornament Storage Box | View at Amazon
This layered ornament storage box is perfect for keeping delicate ornaments protected and scratch-free.

Neat Method team headshot
Ashley Murphy & Marissa Hagmeyer

Ashley Murphy and Marissa Hagmeyer are the organization-obsessed co-founders behind NEAT Method. Started in 2010, NEAT Method is the result of the duo's inspiration to bring a fresh perspective to the industry. Originally servicing the Bay area of San Francisco, NEAT Method began to build a small, passionate group of organizers. Murphy, the CEO, led the team from localized markets to expanding across the US and Canada, while Hagmeyer, COO, advises on designs, builds spreadsheets, and implements efficiencies.

2. Stow delicate items in padding before packing larger items

Before moving on to the larger decor pieces such as your tree, it is important to safely package your delicate pieces up with bubble wrap or padding so they survive your home storage, advises  Lauren Saltman, professional organizer and founder of Living. Simplified. 

‘Always start taking down the most fragile items and store those away first when you have the most energy and can pay attention to delicately wrapping – think displays on your mantel, whether garlands or a Christmas village, along with your tree ornaments, etc.’ 

Lauren Saltman

For professional organizer Lauren Saltman of Living. Simplified., decluttering, and organizing are how she lives her daily life, whether she is organizing her home, a friend’s office, or a client’s garage, her resourceful approach yields happy clients who learn to incorporate techniques for a happier and more simplified lifestyle.

3. Remove real trees as soon as they are clear

If you have a faux Christmas tree, you can usually leave it until last but real trees need to be moved out as soon as they are clear of decor to prevent them from dropping needles (also saving you from having to clean up Christmas tree sap), Lauren Saltman, professional organizer, continues.

You can often arrange a curbside pick-up towards the end of December and early January to help move this off of your property.

4. Divide up tasks by room

If you want to make post-Christmas cleaning less overwhelming but keep your decor logically organized, consider working by room, says Hayley Harrison and Gemma Abraham, professional organizers and co-founders of Organis-d:

‘Pack your decorations away by room, not by type. While it may seem logical to pack away all your Christmas lights together, it makes it much harder to locate which lights go with which tree and in which room. We recommend using totes and clearly labeling all bags and boxes used.

‘Store away in your loft or basement in a logical order so you can easily get your hands on the items you need first. If you know you decorate your living room first, ensure this is the last item to be packed away so that it is the most accessible next year.’

Hayley and Gemma
Hayley Harrison and Gemma Abraham

Hayley and Gemma work with all sorts of clients, from bust professionals to overwhelmed parents to create the perfect organized environment that will continue to serve the family long after they leave.

5. Store items by category

Working by room isn't always enough to keep your Christmas decorations organized – especially if you have a lot of decor.

Lauren Saltman, home organizer, recommends breaking down room decor further into categories: ‘Be sure to store items by category (all of your ornaments in one bin and your garlands in another) and then label each bin and box you use so you know exactly where to find everything next year.’

Padded Storage Box | View at Amazon

Padded Storage Box | View at Amazon
These padded boxes are designed for dinnerware but are ideal for keeping delicate Christmas decor in one piece for next year. Plus, they are stackable, making them perfect for year-long storage. 

6. Delegate tasks to family members and work in separate rooms

Cleaning up Christmas doesn't have to be done on your own – it is far more efficient to work as a team with your family or housemates, says Brenda Scott professional organizer and founder of Tidy My Space:

‘You can give another family member the box of decorations for the tree while you take down items around the house without getting in each other's way,’ she explains. Just remember to encourage your family to declutter to help cut back on decor at the same time so you don't have to do it all yourself next year.  

brenda scott home organizing
Brenda Scott

Brenda Scott is passionate about home organizing, decluttering, and creating a safe home. At Tidy My Space, she helps people to keep their homes tidy when life gets busy. Brenda shares useful tips and gives practical help with sorting and editing her clients' spaces, leading them to feel less stressed and bringing the luxury of time to be spent with family, friends, or on themselves.

7. Wait for good weather to put outdoor decor away

Although procrastinating when it comes to storing your outdoor Christmas decor until you have good weather may not sound efficient, waiting for a dry, sunny day will prevent you from having to hand dry each individual item, says professional organizer Brenda Scott.

‘They should be dry, free from ice, snow or rain, before storing away,’ she says. 


Where is the best place to store Christmas decorations?

It is best to store Christmas decorations together in one spot in your home to make them all easy to find the following year. Keep decorations in secure water-tight boxes in an area of your home not subject to temperature fluctuations or changing humidity to prevent them from going musty, moldy, or deteriorating between uses.

How do you take Christmas decorations down fast?

The quickest way to take down Christmas decorations is to enlist help from members of your household. Work a room at a time, or have people tackle different rooms at the same time, and work from smallest objects to largest, carefully wrapping delicate items like baubles up and putting them in padded boxes before hauling the larger items.

Picking the right storage boxes and basket is essential for efficiently packing away Christmas decor and keeping it safe over the next year, adds Lauren Saltman:

‘Make sure that the bins you are using to store all of your Christmas decorations are sturdy and can withstand the temperature variations of your attic or basement,’ she says.

Chiana Dickson
Content Editor

Chiana has been at Homes & Gardens for two years, having started her journey in interior journalism as part of the graduate program. She spends most of her time producing content for the Solved section of the website, helping readers get the most out of their homes through clever decluttering, cleaning, and tidying tips – many of which she tests and reviews herself in her home in Lancaster to ensure they will consistently deliver for her readers and dabbles in the latest design trends. She also has a first-class degree in Literature from Lancaster University.