How to Store Your Christmas Decorations Like a Responsible Grownup

How to Store Your Christmas Decorations Like a Responsible Grownup
Photo: Lost_in_the_Midwest, Shutterstock

You know what’s the worst? Trying to unpack a string of lights that’s tangled up in a ball at the bottom of a box. Packing up your Christmas decor can be time consuming and you might want to just throw everything into a box, but if you pack things up the right way you can save your future self a lot of headache. Here are a few tips to make packing (and future unpacking) as painless as possible.

How to prevent tangled light strands

There are a few ways to prevent the tangle before it happens and make unpacking a breeze. There are reels for holiday lights that will hold three reels, and come with a bag for packing. These are great because they’ll keep the lights from getting tangled or damaged. For a DIY solution, though, you can make your own storage by first cutting some corrugated cardboard into ten-inch by twelve-inch sections, and then cutting two-inch slots every inch along each twelve-inch side. Then wrap your lights around your cardboard, stringing the wires through the slots.

This simple setup will save you lots of frustration, and the best part is that it’s free if you have some cardboard laying around. You can also label each strand with information like the length and number of lights with a piece of masking tape — it’ll make locating particular strands easier next year.

How to store your Christmas textiles

If you have blankets, tablecloths, tree skirts, or other fabric holiday items to store, consider taking a page from a department store and using a pants hanger and garment bag. This will accommodate bulky fabrics and protect them from dust and damage until next year. And to prevent creasing, you can slide a wrapping paper roll or paper towel roll over the bottom of the hanger.

How to store your Christmas ornaments

For breakable items, a divided box is the best solution. You can use a premade divided box or, if you want, make your own DIY dividers to use in an existing box. The first step is cutting strips of cardboard to three inches by the length of your box, and then a corresponding number of strips that are the width of your box. Then, cut a 1.5 inch slot every three inches on one edge of each strip. Then fit the long strips into the slots of the shorter strips, and you’ve created an easy DIY divider for your ornaments.

How to store your small, miscellaneous Christmas stuff

Sure, you could just toss them all in a cardboard box, but finding smaller items like hooks, tags, and twist ties once they’ve been packed away for almost a year will be a headache. Make your life easier by packing them in a clear plastic box instead, like a sewing kit or makeup divider. These boxes will hold all the tiny parts of your holiday decor and allow you to see where things are. It’ll also save you unnecessary trips to the store for more of what you already have but can’t find.

How to pack away your Christmas wrapping paper

Wrapping paper, bows, and ribbons can take a beating if they’re not stored well. To keep them looking new, pack them in a rigid container to avoid crushing them. You can buy bins for wrapping paper, or you can make your own storage with a concrete tube or large-sized piece of PVC. Start with a three-foot piece of tubing with a large enough diameter to accommodate your wrapping paper; then you can get a cap fitting of the same diameter and attach it to one end of the tube. Now that you’ve got a rigid container for your paper, you can use the same design for rolls of ribbon and bows to keep them from getting crushed.

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