Now that the big day has come and gone, it seems like such a big job to pack away all the decorations that took you days to put up for all the world to see. You decorated the Christmas tree and put up the lighted icicles all around the roof line. Maybe you even got more creative and made a Nativity Scene in your front lawn.
I know it is something you enjoy doing every year, but now it has to come down and be put away in anticipation of the next holiday season. (By the way, if you are planning to add more lights or any decorations next year; this is the time to buy!! All the stores are having at least a 50% off sale. Save those pennies and dollars!!)
Here are a few ideas to help you pack it all away and be more organized and maybe make your decorating next year a little easier and just a bit more fun. Who knows??
Wrap the delicate items in paper, but do not use newspaper! The ink may ruin the ornaments. You can run to the Dollar Store and buy tissue or you can use just about any paper. Run the paper through a shredder and it becomes very safe packing paper and will keep your ornaments separated and unbroken.
You can also use boxes with dividers in order to pack. A wine box works well for smaller items and a liquor box will work well for larger ones. Place some shredded paper in the bottom; lay in an ornament, then more paper until the divider is full. Continue and fill the box; seal well with a good packing tape to keep the critters out.
Decorations that contain photographs need extra care when packing them for storage. Wrap carefully in acid free paper and then seal well in plastic zip lock bags. This will not only keep the dust and dirt off of them, but be a deterrent to any bugs.
Place all your ornament hangers into a small box or a zip lock bag and pack into the boxes right along side your ornaments. You won’t have to search for them or end up having to run to the store to buy new ones. Because just as soon as you do that, you will find the old ones. Guaranteed!!
Use paper towel cardboard rolls for your lights. Stuff the roll full of paper and wrap the lights carefully around. An empty bread bag will probably be just the ticket to slide the lights into and secure with a twist tie. Assuming you have more that one string of lights, use a separate roll for each one. This will prevent tangling and make stringing those lights next year much easier. Leave the plug accessible and you can check for any burned out bulbs before you unwrap the string.
Now that you have the lights taken care of, what about the extension cords you used. Instead of hunting the house over to find some to use next year; pack and store them right along with the lights. Again using the empty paper towel roll, fold your extension cord up just to fit the length of the roll and slip it inside. Use an empty roll for each extension cord. No tangling.
To store your lights and extension cords, place then in a box and seal securely. Store in a dark place; colored lights can fade if exposed to light sources.
Save the garlands by using the wine or liquor boxes for packing again. The dividers should be just about the right size to hold each individual one. This will keep them from tangling and looking good for several years.
Pack and store the tree topper in a box by itself; seal it well. This will prevent it being crushed or misshapen.
The tree stand needs some thought as well. If you had a live tree and used a bucket with rocks, then drain it and clean it well. Leave the rocks to dry and box them separately.
If you had an artificial tree and used one of the tree stands with screws, it must also be cleaned before storing. Check it for any rust or missing paint. It will be easier to touch up now rather that the day you want to set up your tree.
Do you have a special tree skirt? Be sure to shake it out to remove any debris. If it is washable, then by all means, do this before you pack and store it away. You want to be able to take it out next year and have it clean and beautiful. Place it in a large plastic bag and seal well. Store in a clean dry place.
When packing away your wreath or wreaths for the next season, each one should be placed in its own box. The box should be big enough not to crush the wreath and small enough it will not slide around. Place some tissue paper in the box first and allow enough to come up the edges to wrap around the wreath. Tape the box securely and store in a dry place.
Wrap your holiday candles individually in cellophane and pack into a box, seal and store in a dry place.
A hanging garment bag will make a good storage container for paper. Simply store the rolls inside and zip up. You can put folded packages of tissue paper inside as well. If there are outside pockets, use them for cards, gift tags, etc.
Pack ribbons in a box by themselves. Be sure and pack loosely or you will end up crushing the ribbons and they will be unusable. Wrap long pieces of ribbon around your fingers and secure with a paper clip or a rubber band. This will prevent ribbon from tangling in the box, and much easier to use.
Be sure and label each and every box. This will take the guesswork out of trying to get organized for the next holiday season.