How To: Storing Your Holiday and Seasonal Decorations

This post is about your seasonal decoration storage. I will be focusing on a few categories and putting in some suggestions for useful storage of your decorations, as well as some creative solutions for when you want to be a bit more crafty/frugal.

The first area that we need to focus on is storage bins. How are you going to be storing your items and where? If you are storing your decorations in a basement or in an attic, you will need to keep in mind the kind of climates that the décor will enduring while the other seasons are happening. (I, myself, have had more than a couple of incidents where the flameless candles that I had melted because of the wax that they were still made out of. Not pretty. Nope.) If you have moisture during parts of the year, keeping things off the floors might be the best option. One way to accomplish this is to put your boxes or bins on pallets. There are free pallets all over. If you don’t have any locally, then I suggest that you take yourself to the internet and inquire about it.

Another thing to think about is the flora and the fauna. Particularly the fauna. If you have critters in your home on occasion, you might want to consider a storage option that doesn’t make your Christmas Village into a prized community for all the mice in the neighborhood. ( I live in a house that is already over 100, so some of these squirrels have lived here longer than us. Believe me, they were not happy with our intrusions. We lost some window screens to some fairly irate rodents. No, I am not making that up. It’s too silly.) Even if your house is a haven from all rodents and insects alike, I would still consider something as resilient as possible. You are going to be using these items year after year, and you don’t want to replace them that often.

This brings us to “what are some of my options”? I think that the most obvious answer is the I-can-get-it-anywhere plastic storage bin. You know the one. The one that looks vaguely the same wherever you see it.

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There it is! This is the container that most people will gravitate towards for storing seasonal decorations. It is large, plastic, has a cover, has two handles, can be stacked, and is vaguely rectangular. They can vary in dimensions, but I normally say that when you find a brand or design that you like, stick to it. Switching brands will make it more difficult to stack everything in a consistent fashion. This is one of the core pieces for storing your seasonal decorations. Consistency. It makes organizing much easier when you don’t have to play Tetris with different sized boxes. You may need to play a little bit to get the items to mingle, but we will cover that more in a bit. The main thing to focus on if you choose this one, is to make sure that it has the strength to hold up to what you put inside of it and durable enough for annual use. You will be using these repeatedly and if you are like me at all, sometimes you will be sliding them across the floor, because the thought of having to pick it up just makes you sad. Sometimes, it is worth it to spend a bit more because of how much longer you will have it.

Side Note!! Let me take a quick moment to mention color, before you go out and buy the color coordinated red and green boxes for your Christmas items, let me give you a little tip. Think about your decorations like breathing. Over time you will lose and gain items. Just like breathing in and out. Before you color coordinate yourself into a frenzy, think about how you will feel in the future if you cannot find the same boxes and your collection has suddenly grown. You may have to buy a different brand or style to accommodate the change. If this does not feel like an issue, then please go forth, and make sure that you get black and orange for Halloween as well. If this does bother you, then I would say that you can get the same color for all, and put your creative streak into the labels. (More about those down below.)

Banker’s Boxes are another option for seasonal décor storage, but I would caution you about this product. Banker’s Boxes have many WONDERFUL uses.

banker's box

I would absolutely use them for seasonal decorations if you don’t have many decorations, or if you have weight restrictions for what you can pick up. (These are also great for regular household uses as with non-perishable food items or linens.) My reason for caution is that these are very susceptible to critters and moisture. (They do in fact make plastic boxes, but they are an extreme amount for one box. I saw one priced at 18.99. For one. That is reasonable if you only need one. Not more than one or two.) If you would be storing them in a garage or basement or, even an attic in some cases, I would worry about the safety of the items. However, if you are putting the decorations inside of your home or in a somewhat climate controlled area, then I would say that these are a wonderful option for really narrowing down where everything is. They are durable enough for repeated use, but again, finding the right brand will help guarantee that.

Now that you have your major storage containers picked out, let’s start talking about how to store your decorations. One of the core principles to all organizing is like with like. Putting like items together will keep your items from being haphazard. This can also be true of where the items will be placed when you are decorating. I usually decorate by the room. Instead of trying to figure out where everything goes each year, I will store all of the decorations that I had in that room or area. There are a few exceptions for these rules and I will list a few of those and solutions that I have for them.

  • Glass or Fragile items – I will normally wrap these items in the soft things that I have included in the box and newspapers that I have. The boxes are labeled “Fragile” to ensure that they are properly handled.
    • Another way to help ensure the safety of not only the items, but also yourself is to group a few of like items together and seal them in plastic bags. You will save yourself a lot of clean up if something does get broken while in storage for the year.
      • An extra tip is that if you have the plastic bags that bedding and drapes come in, these are great for storing glass items. They stack well and have the added benefit of durability and a zipper.
  • Awkward items – I prefer to do some Tetris with these items and one option is to fit them into whichever box has the available space. This may not be the best idea for you, but I tend to think that if you are packing up seasonal items, you know where the awkward item is going. It has a specific place in your mind. Another option would be to store them somewhere that they will not be effected by weather changes. (We have a large bear with lights that is seasonal, and this item is stored in the attic of our house separate from the rest of the decorations because moisture would ruin it.)
  • Wreaths – With wreaths, you can go out and buy a bag made specifically for this item, or you can use the bag that your new pillows came in. If this bag has a zipper on it, it is the perfect size for a standard wreath. I will also use these bags to store fabric items to protect them from the elements.
  • Ornaments – I have some very similar ornament boxes with separators to the one that I found on Amazon, here. I know that these may be a bit pricier, but protecting ornaments may be worth it. (I know I have some that I would be heartbroken to lose.)
    christmas xmas christmas tree decoration
    Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

    There is also a cardboard option of this type that is not as expensive, but I would see back to my cautions about cardboard in the Banker’s Box section. I also use small boxes within larger containers. (Wrapping them in newspaper or paper towel usually works best for me.)

    • An extra tip is that if you have a local liquor store that has wine boxes to give away, grab a few of those (with the inserts) and then you can stack your ornaments within the sections. Plastic baubles can be stacked without paper and wrap the glass individually before you stack to ensure their safety. This is also a great opportunity to further the organization by keeping like with like and grouping ornaments together.
  • Outdoor Decorations – I usually pack these items as separately as I can. I don’t want to search through a bunch of other things to find just the outdoor items. (This is especially true of my Halloween containers. I have numerous outdoor and indoor decorations.) I also do this just for cleanliness. The things that I have outdoors see a lot more of the elements and I would not want that to get on the things that I use inside of the house. (I have a group of outdoor ghosts that I put up every year and they are getting to their last season, so I really don’t want them to be mixed in with things that never see the outside. Ew.) All that extra cleaning makes it less of a hassle to pull everything out the next season.
  • Garland – I know that it may seem a little extreme to separate these, but there is a logical reason. My mother-in-law actually showed me this trick, and that is to hang the garlands together on a rope and cover them in a contractor bag. Then you can hang them in groups. This works well for the house because we have a lot of garland. If you are not as garland crazy as we are, another idea is just to use storage containers. Most garland is fairly flexible so this option works well with large containers.
    • Side noteIf you have glittery or “snowy” garland, I would not recommend putting non-glittery or “snowy” items underneath. As they say “Glitter is the herpes of the craft world.” (No. Really. If you haven’t heard that it’s true.) Those items will be permanently inducted into the glitter community. As much as you try to slap or swipe all of the glitter off, they are altered forever. Glitter stuck somewhere you don’t want it to be is the world’s strongest adhesive, and now it’s stuck that way. Might as well accept it. Acceptance will make it easier. 

Okay, now that we’ve covered some of the variations, let’s talk about the labels. Now if you have read some of my other posts, you may have already seen my post on labels. If you haven’t, I have it linked here. This is the place to be creative. I know that you are tempted to write directly on the container, but I am going to throw some caution at you and say hold off. The reason is because if you label them immediately, there is no taking it back. Permanent marker on storage containers is there forever. (We have quite a few that were marked for moving and now contain something totally different. Let my experience be a teaching moment for you.) Also make sure that you are being specific on your labels. If they belong in just the living room, label that. You don’t have to name everything. (You can. I would recommend that you use sheet protectors or laminate your lists so you don’t need to remake them every year.) Just make it specific enough to get to the right location in the house.

There are many options for you if you want a label but don’t want to have to print one from the computer. A great option is bringing back that permanent marker, but putting it on duct tape.colorful-rolls-duct-tape-14569258 There are so many color and design options on Duck Brand’s website. I prefer the name brand for this because of the durability. Duck Tape really does have a lasting power that I have not seen in other brands. You could easily coordinate your colors for the holiday containers because it can be removed. Also because these items are not being stored in “public” part of the house, I like Duck Tape because I am looking more for the lasting ability. The colors and designs just make it so much more fun. ( If you are using Banker’s boxes, I would say that maybe a different label would be a better option because Duck Tape will rip the corrugated cardboard.)

Now that we have gone through getting everything in the bins or boxes, what’s next. How will you store these decorations? (I have mine stacked in my basement on pallets to keep them off the floor. Very old house. Water happens.) You can put them on racks, but the truth is that if you are using plastic containers, (You can see it your mind, right?) they are made for stacking. It’s part of the design. Hang the items that you need to on hooks (or nails). For all the containers, keep the heavy items toward the bottom. Lighter items at the top. Just like grocery shopping. Don’t put your eggs, or in this case glass ornaments, at the bottom. The family crèche that was passed down should not be put in the container at the bottom of the stack. If something happens to your storage area, protect what needs to be protected. If you want to keep items in good condition, treat them that way. If you take care of the things that you love, you can hand them down to be loved all over again.

I hope that this post has given you some insight into storing your seasonal decorations. If you have a questions or comments, sound off. I want to hear what you think.

Keep Moving Forward

Lissa

 

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