Storing Christmas decorations

If you celebrated Christmas this year, you’re likely ready to take down your decorations (if you haven’t already). The following are suggestions for how you can do that chore and be organized in the process.

Trees

Artificial trees must be broken down and stored, and there are numerous storage solutions available to you. In our house, we use tree bags by Vickerman. They easily hold a tree and its stand. The handles on the bag are nice and wide, so you can get a good hold of it while crawling into the eaves of the house (where we store ours). The bag’s material is sturdy, too, and after years of use there’s not a tear or a puncture to be had. Plus, they fold up to be quite small when the trees are out and on display.

If you have a real tree that is ready to go, you have a few options. Stores like Home Depot and Lowe’s will often take your trees, as will local Boy Scout and Girl Scout groups. Alternatively, call your local municipality, as many governments have erosion programs that utilize old Christmas trees.

Lights

It’s tempting to toss these into a bag and figure you’ll deal with the mess in 11 months. Again, there are several options here, but my favorite is the good old coat hanger. Just wrap them on, hook them into place and hang as you would an article of clothing.

Extension cords

This is one of my favorite tricks for storing outdoor extension cords, so often used for outdoor lights. Don’t wrap it around your arm or wad it into a ball. Instead, braid it. By putting the two ends together, making a loop, pulling the length through to make another loop, repeating until you have a perfect braid that can be hung in the garage or basement. The best part is that the next time you use it, you only need to “unbraid” the length that you need.

Ornaments

Some of our ornaments have a strong sentimental value and deserve a little extra protection. An archival storage box does the trick. For the rest, we use significantly less expensive containers that are sturdy and easy to store. What I like here is that the wing-top folds completely out of the way, making it easy to get items and hands in and out.

Wreath

For storing wreaths, we use a wreath-shaped storage containers with a handle. My wife made a pair of artificial wreaths a few years ago that fit nicely in these containers, which keep them protected throughout the year. I will admit that after a few years of use, the latches aren’t as trust-worthy as they’ve been, so I’ve supplemented with a little bungie cord. Other that that, they’re fine and easy to transport.

What are your strategies? Let us know in the comments.

6 Comments for “Storing Christmas decorations”

  1. posted by Laura on

    I’ll confess that I just have a tiny artificial tree and a single strand of lights. BUT, what works for me with those lights, which is a trick I got from my mom, is to wrap it like a ball of yarn: loosely around your hand for a few turns, then around itself along a 90 degree turn, and so on. It’s never been tangled when I unpack the decorations yet!

  2. posted by Alison on

    I found egg crates to be really good for Christmas lights, as long as you put it outlet (don’t know what you call that end) side in the center with plug end on the outside.

    Also, I found it easiest for my ornaments that are odd shapes to put a note in whatever box I packed them in when I was unpacking them. That way I don’t have to go looking for a box to fit ornament x, when I know that it goes in well in this box with ornaments y and z. Will make it a lot easier when I’m repacking ornaments to know that there is a box they fit well in without any hassle of trying to find a box for them

  3. posted by Pat Reble on

    I’ve uncluttered. I pruned my ornaments down to a few special treasures. I don’t have a tree. I bought a picture from the thrift shop, spray painted the canvas green, then glued the pegs used to hang Christmas cards to it. I took down a picture, put the frame in its place, then hung the ornaments from the pegs. Put away time now involves swapping the pictures back and bubble/cling wrapping the Christmas one till next year. Not only is it uncluttered it is cat proof as I have a couple of delinquent felines, but still allows me to enjoy the spirit of the season.

  4. posted by Bette on

    I wrap Christmas tree lights around empty paper towel tubes — works perfectly, esp if you tuck the plugs into the ends of the tube.

  5. posted by Zoe on

    We have used empty wine boxes (the kind that hold 6 bottles) to store our decorations in for the past 8 years, still going strong. The 6 dividers are the perfect shape for delicate baubles, and we often have those boxes hanging around after our Christmas celebrations.

  6. posted by Lyn on

    I have an inexpensive, round, plastic garbage can with a plastic lid that pops on. My garlands go around and around starting bottom up, then my wreaths lay on top of those, smallest to largest, and my small trees, silk flowers, stuffed animals and stockings fill in the center. Easy to pack, easier to unpack, and keeps the garlands and wreaths clean, dry and pristine for 20 plus years now.

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