It is so fun to buy holiday decorations and wrapping for gifts, especially when things are 70% off the day after. But it is important to be realistic about what you already have, what you really use and what makes it stressful instead of fun. Consider these tips as you pack things away after the holidays.
1 >> Are you using it? Is it possible to purge enough things down so that you could have one tub for each holiday? If it is, great. Use clear bins with lids that are easily stackable. See my blog post about bins here. Make sure to label each holiday on the tub. If you are stacking tubs, store them in order of use. In other words, if is winter right now, put the Christmas stuff together on the bottom and have the Easter stuff on the top for Spring. If you can't get things purged down to one tub, at least keep the holidays separated (don't mix Easter and Halloween for example). I've got mine pared down to one smaller bin and two larger bins, plus the Christmas tree stand. If there are things you keep from year to year but are not using, now might be a good time to let them go. Only storing the best of the best will hopefully free up storage space for other things, and possibly keep your holiday stress to a minimum because you have less things to manage.
2 >> Store decorations properly. With Christmas tree ornaments it is important to keep them wrapped so they don't break or fade over the years. You can use inexpensive cups to store individual Christmas balls or take-out boxes from the craft store for more delicate ornaments. I like to use left over tissue paper to wrap individual ornaments. Store the non-breakable ornaments at the bottom and the most fragile ones on the top.
We also have a tradition where each person buys one new ornament for the tree each year. What makes it fun is looking back and remembering which one we picked out for each year. If you decide to do something like this, make sure to label the ornament with the year before putting it in storage.
3 >> The lights. Christmas string lights are the most difficult to store. But this technique works every time. Thanks Martha! Cut down a panel from a cardboard box. Make sure the box is sturdy. Better to use a shipping / packing box instead of a shoe box. Take one string of lights and start at the top of one side of the cardboard panel. Carefully wrap the light string around the cardboard from top to bottom. Tuck the last of the cord into the weave of lights. If it is helpful, you can also label what kind of light string type it is. White, multi-colored, blinking etc. Then simply unwrap the strand from the board the next time you want to decorate. Note: the shorter the string, the tidier the storing and easier to unwrap and reuse. Keeping your lights nicely wrapped will save you time and energy next holiday season.
Be sure to not over pack the box. Taking time to safely wrap your decorations will save you money by not having to replace them year after year.