Now that January is here and the cookie coma has subsided (well almost), it's time to put away the holiday decorations and get the house back to normal. This post was inspired by a question posed by a listener of a recent Big O podcast.
If you're like me and you put out only a few holiday decorations, storage and organizing your baubles and bells might be a snap. But if you're like most people, there's plenty to dig out and put away each year. Here are five ways to make it easier:
1. This one is the simplest step. Reduce the number of items you own. The less you have, the less you have to manage. I have one bankers' box of holiday decorations and Christmas Boy has his own collection that he likes to decorate with. It's very little in the grand scheme of things, and that works for us. So pare down to only your most favorite, most special items. When holiday decorating is easy you're more likely to enjoy it and it's much easier to UN-decorate after the season.
2. Choose appropriately sized containers for the things you're storing.You don't want to cram too many items into one container and risk breaking something. At the same time you don't want boxes so large that they're unwieldy and hard to handle going up and down stairs. I believe it's better to have more containers of smaller size for holiday decorations because they're easier to handle and it makes it easy to find things when items are grouped by container.
3. Pack and unpack consistently, meaning keep the same items in the same containers each year. Group items either by like with like (all lights together, all wreaths together, all figurines together, etc) or by items that are displayed together such as a nativity or a specific group of candles and figurines. As for string lights, there are so many ways to store them, but I prefer light reels or a bunch of plastic light wraps (which fit into a bankers' box by the way).
4. Protect fragile items. Tree ornaments often come in flimsy cardboard boxes with weird cellophane fronts and these aren't ideal because they begin to fall apart after the first season. Safeguard your glass ornaments by ditching the store's box and transferring into something more sturdy. I love bubble wrap pouches and even better, these sectioned ornament boxes. If the container isn't clear, be sure to label it FRAGILE on the outside so others don't mishandle the box by mistake.
5. Make a simple paper inventory list to attach to the outside of each container so you can find the boxes you want easily when it's time to decorate. The list is also helpful when putting things away, because you'll know which box they came out of.
6. Store wreaths and garlands inside wreath bags or tightly tied plastic trash bags to keep them dust-free all year. If you're keeping garland in a trash bag, be sure to wind it around something like a large piece of cardboard to keep it from getting tangling inside the bag.
The holidays can be chaotic enough without letting decorating stress you out. I hope these tips will help you feel more organized as you pack up 2012 and then again when you pull it all out next December!