When you're ready to pack it all away, whether that's the day after, New Year's Day or the 12th Day of Christmas, (January 6th). We have a few tips to make it easier when you go to decorate next year!
BEFORE you take ANYTHING down, take a few pictures. As we get busy with our lives it's easier to repeat what we've done before if we have a map! Especially if you LIKE what you did this year. ;0) Then file those photos in a digital file you can easily find them next year.
Clean. It doesn't matter if your decor has been up a week or since Thanksgiving, dust, clean up and launder items as you take it down to pack. That way there's no surprise mystery stain that has set over the last 11 months when you go to put it out and everything is ready to go! While you're at it, fix anything that needs a little TLC or toss out broken items. It's also a good time to weed out those items you don't use any longer and donate them.
Lets talk containers. You want the containers to provide protection for your delicate ornaments, so if your storage area leaks, make sure they're waterproof. Or if you tend to have mice, cardboard is easy for them to chew through. Eww! And I learned a long time ago... they love to knaw on dried fake berries? Why? No idea... just don't risk it!
Wreaths. A wreath container is handy, especially for your ornately decorated ones, but if you have lots of wreaths, it gets clustered quick! Plain wreaths can be layered in a square box to save space.
Ornaments. Ornament containers are also neat, a separate space for each ornament, but not necessary, wrapping each ornament in tissue or bubble wrap and carefully nesting them in a medium sized box works too. Try to avoid newspaper or printed wrapping paper, you don't want any of the printing to rub onto your ornaments. Egg cartons! Smaller bulbs fit perfect! And are kept safe. And of course their original boxes are great ways to store ornaments too.
While we're talking about ornaments, if your family gives everyone a special ornament every year, here's an idea for you. Dedicate a box to each child, on the inside of the lid make a list for each year, which ornament they received and from who. Then when they're older, they will have a reminder when and who gave them what. This list can be as elaborate or as simple as you want. This mom of 3, simply used a sharpie on the inside of the cardboard box, Year, who and which one! ;0)
Lights. Light strand spools are awesome and they even make storage bags for them now! If you have these, wrap the lights the opposite way you put them up, so in my case I start with the "dead" end when decorating, so I wrap the lights up starting with the plug, that way, I can unwind the lights as they go up! If you don't have the fancy spools, you can wrap lights around cardboard, an empty gift box or twist tie or cable tie each strand together in a loop. Another quick tip. plug the ends together to protect the prongs while stored away.
Group like items together. We all know our lives change from year to year, some years we have more time to decorate, sometimes we want a cleaner look, sometimes we want an elaborate look or sometimes we want to create a magical space for children and sometimes we're just not in the "mood". So, pack similar things and areas together. For instance, we usually have a few trees that we decorate beyond the main tree. Keep each tree together, in case you only want to decorate one tree, you don't have to pull out ALL the boxes. Same goes for mantles, garlands, etc. Then pack similar items together, like pillows and throws, dishes & tabletop, village props, wall hangings, wrapping supplies, stationary, pine garlands, etc. Note: When you take down garland, attach a note where that strand goes, ie, stair rail, window, doorway, mantle, etc. And if you have more than one or more than one section of stair railing, note which ones. You'll save yourself time on figuring it out! Of course label your boxes if they're not see through tubs.
Make your list! As you pack things away, make a list of items that need replaced next year, your wish list, etc. while it's all fresh on your mind. Make it easy to access when you're out shopping, whatever app you use, like OneNote or Evernote or even Memo Pad. Your list may look like:
- 2 strings 100 light mini white lights
- replacement clear C7 bulbs for the village
- a snow blanket
- new exterior timer
- 6 white 10" taper candles
- Santa paper
- red curling ribbon
Of course, not everything has to be packed away in boxes. If you have room in your kitchen cabinets, the seasonal dishes and tableware can be stored on an upper shelf or pantry cabinet or your dining room buffet. Hand towels, dishtowels, throws, tablecloths, napkins, etc can be stored in your linen closet or the vanity cabinet.
Finally, some Christmas decor is actually "Winter" decor, keep it out! Those neutral warm throws and pillows, florals, white lights, garland, pinecones, once you take the shiny bulbs down, it's just decorative greenery. Stings of berries, I take the berry sprays from the tree and put them in a vase as a centerpiece for the dining table! Those snowball bowl fillers... yep! Snowflakes, icicles, berry sprays, garlands, furry pillows, cable knit throws, winter pictures, it all helps in preventing the dreaded cold, boring January blues!