But how much do you actually use each year?
10% 50% 90%?
In our household, space is tight despite having a good sized basement because we turned half of it into a playroom. No regrets.
Still, we have eight Christmas bins stuffed to the brim. There’s also lots of outdoor decor that we tend to store in the original boxes stacked high in the basement.
Over the years, I’ve found it’s better to be mindful of the way Christmas decor is stored because it makes life so much easier the following year.
I always regret rushing and then being frustrated when I can’t find what I want in early December. Since I’ve gotten my act together, this year I quickly located my Christmas cookie cutters ~ that’s a first!
These are my tips for putting your Christmas decor away for the New Year!
1.) Only store what you’re actually using
Those gnome elves that you haven’t displayed in five years? It may be time to donate them. The Santa outfit? Out it goes. Space is valuable.
Why store “stuff” you don’t use year after year. Aim for using 90% or more of your Christmas items that you store to keep you accountable.
Oh, and the outdoor lighted deer that no longer works….it’s time to throw it out.
2.) Real tree…out it goes
Live trees have a shelf life of approximately 4-6 weeks at the very most. So if you’re the type who puts their tree up the day after Thanksgiving, you’ll probably want to take it down very soon after Christmas.
Otherwise, you’ll be finding prickly needles in your socks still come July! Not to mention it can become a fire hazard!
3.) Use those shoe boxes for cheap & creative storage
I use a Sharpie marker on the lid of the box to list the precise ornaments that belong in each box. This makes cleaning up a breeze and ensures that I’ll have room to store each and every ornament in each box and in the bins.
So the same ornaments go in the same box in the same bin year after year. It works well!
If you prefer plastic shoe box bins, those are great, too. I also have a 50/50 ornament rule that goes as follows: only 50% of my ornaments can be glass and will be hung high on the tree.
But the other 50% must be non-breakables that can go low on the tree so they don’t get broken by kids and pets.
4.) Vow to have a better system for storing your ornaments & bins
Color coded bins are also extremely helpful. I put my best ornaments in red bins and my less favorite ones in green bins and label each as such.
So on busy years, I just pull out the red bins and forget about the green entirely. But years I have the time to dote on decorating, I get them all out for extra pizzazz!
Life also becomes much simpler if you choose one corner of your basement, garage or attic to store all the Christmas items instead of allowing them to sprawl all over the place.
5.) Save tissue paper, bubble wrap and shoe boxes year-round
People think I’m insane when I whisk away tissue paper from the family party but I’ll argue, it’s better to use it on my ornaments than just throwing it out!
I always save a little space at the top of my bins so when I acquire more tissue paper from the latest party, I can just run down in the basement and throw it on top mid-year.
6.) The lighting dilemma
Only half of my lights are in working order when I examine what strands will be used in season. So don’t bother replacing lights prior to putting the strands away for the year.
Too frustrating! Instead, buy several packs of replacement bulbs at that 75% off sale and replace right after you string them up.
If you really want to pat yourself on the back next year, separate each stand of lights into those plastic grocery store bags.
This means winding up each string carefully and placing the set of lights in their own bag. There is no way they can get tangled with another string of lights if they are in a separate bag…right!
Then all the bags get placed into a “lights only” bin.
7.) Speaking of th0se 75% off Christmas sales…
Or will they get lost in the shuffle and you’ll end up buying more right before the season anyhow?
If you won’t be able to locate the ten rolls of wrapping paper until it’s too late to use them, then don’t bother storing them the whole year. It’s not worth the wasted space!
8.) A word on plastic wreath storage containers & plastic storage containers for wrapping paper
Personally, I don’t like to give or receive gifts in moldy wrapping paper that smells like “icky” basement. So I would throw out rolls that were opened and got damp.
Out goes the 75% off savings because I didn’t end up using it. Even worse, I stored all those smelly rolls for no good reason.
9. Placement is paramount when bin & item storing
It’s also convenient and smart to put things like Christmas hand towels, cards and Christmas cookie cutters on the top of the bin for easy access.
We may not even decorate our tree until a few weeks before Christmas, but I’ll be looking for my Christmas kitchen towels and my gingerbread cookie cutter the day after Thanksgiving!
Make it easy on yourself.
10.) The extra, empty Christmas bin theory…
Those clear, see-through bins are even better!
An extra bin makes it easy when you find a snowflake ornament in June that never got put away or score some cute Christmas decor at a yard sale.