It’s that time of year again – the holidays have arrived! If you live to decorate your homes for every holiday, you've got a lot of stuff to organize, store and keep track of.
All this can create a lot of stress as you search for that perfect wreath you bought last year and thought you put in a box somewhere….and why are the lights so impossibly tangled?
PLAN NOW for where you want to put everything when the celebrations are over! Honestly it takes less time to do this now than waiting until Valentine’s Day rears its ugly head and you still haven’t dealt with the Fall holidays.
FIND A BIN. There are some great options out there to store just about everything you need. PRO-TIP: find bins that are transparent, and label them clearly. Fancy labels are fun, but a simple slice of painters tape with contents labeled with Sharpie will do the trick!
FIND A HOME. Everything needs to have a home where it lives when not in use, and this place needs to be relatively accessible. Figure out a place in your home where you can store holiday bins, preferably together. Garage? Guest room closet? Attic or basement? Under the bed?
Here are some storage ideas for holiday décor that you may not have considered:
Outdoor Lights. Oh, the tangles! You want to tear out your hair and never celebrate again! But there’s hope – save up your paper towel and toilet paper tubes (hang a bag somewhere inside a kitchen cabinet to throw them in when done).
Cut a notch in each end. Thread the plug in first (so you can test everything easily next year) and then wrap the lights around the tube. Secure with a rubber band or string, then wrap up in newspaper for protection, label them (colored, flashing, doorway, front lawn, etc.) and put into your bin marked LIGHTS. Oh, and you can do the same with the extension cords you only use at holiday time.
Gift Wrapping. Set up a gift wrapping station, or organizer. First go through your home and collect every gift bag, tissue paper bag, wrapping paper, ribbons, empty box and whatever else you use for gifts.
You’ll be surprised at the innovative places these things have been hiding – especially when you’re looking for them…
Add in scotch tape, scissors, a ruler, and some zip lock bags (to hold odd bits like gift tags, stickers, and other present decorations). Here are some suggestions for you –
Candlesticks/Menorahs/Kinara’s. These can be made of any material from wood to plastic to glass to a variety of metals. Some people like to display these all year long – if you prefer to put them away, consider packing the candles with them too (as long as they’ll be stored in a relatively cool place).
PRO-TIP- take the wax off before you pack up for next year.
My favorite method (safe for all kinds of materials) is to get a roasting pan or even a plastic shoe box. Put in the candlesticks, add Dawn dishwashing detergent, hot water to cover, and soak in your sink overnight. The next morning, the wax literally falls off!
Many people suggest the freezer method, but one time I put in my Baccarat crystal candlesticks (a wedding present from my favorite aunt) in the freezer and by the next day they had cracked into many tiny, expensive, heartbreaking pieces. So – I really like the Dawn method.
Wreaths. Usually large and often with delicate decorations, you want to store these carefully. Cover your wreath with a trash bag and tie the bottom (to prevent any spillage). Attach to a hanger, and either hang in a closet or stack on the hanger neck to make a wreath train, and hang on the back of a basement or closet door.
Beaded garlands. Store in a water bottle or soda bottle – they’ll stay untangled and are easy to get out.
Dreidels. Put them all into a labeled shoebox – you can organize into zip lock bags by size if you really want to be particular. But don’t store the chocolate gelt – it won’t taste very good in a year so eat it now~
Garlands, Tinsel, Bunting. Get a piece of cardboard or cut up a box to a length that is about ½ the length of the bin you’re going to use and about 12 inches wide. Gently wrap the tinsel or bunting around the cardboard, and secure the end with masking tape. If you have any additional adornments that go with your garland, wrap them in tissue paper and store with them. Label the bin.
Fabric Decorations. Things like fireplace stockings, table runners, mkeka mats, placemats, and tree skirts should be stored in sealed containers. These are great because they have an air and watertight seal – you want to make sure bugs and insects (or other creatures) don’t get in and ruin your fabrics.
Holiday Cards. They are so pretty and we want to keep them forever – but cards take up a huge amount of room! Pick out the really special ones, photograph them, and then recycle the lot. St. Judes Ranch for Children accepts donations of card fronts, or check this out for more ideas.
Special Bowls, Serving Plates, Holiday-themed Mugs. Resist the urge to just put these
in your kitchen cabinet – they take up valuable real estate you need for your everyday ware. Wrap up in bubble wrap or ink-less newspaper paper and place carefully in a bin. You may want to add specifics to the label – like, “Turkey Serving Plate; Christmas Cookie Jar; Chanukah Latke Tray, etc.”
Honestly, taking a little time now to get organized before the onslaught will make your holidays so much more enjoyable and less stressful. Give yourself this gift of holiday organization!
Happy Holidays to All!