1 Problem: Strings of lights and garlands get all tangled up
Solution: One of the most frustrating things about hanging lights and wrapping garland comes at the beginning of the process: endless untangling. Save cardboard boxes to help you with this task. “Wrap garlands and strings of lights around rectangles of sturdy cardboard,” says Martha Stewart in Martha Stewart’s Homekeeping Handbook: The Essential Guide to Caring for Everything in Your Home.
2 Problem: You’re not sure how to store your artificial Christmas tree
Solution: Faux trees are irresistible to animals and pests, so consider a special Christmas tree storage box which is better for outdoor storage than the prone-to-ripping cardboard box the tree came in. “Frosted, flocked or white Christmas trees are particularly sensitive to extreme temperatures and humidity,” say the artificial tree experts at online shop Christmas Tree For Me, so store such trees inside in a low-humidity temperature-controlled environment. Packing it back in its own box to keep indoors? Be sure to put the instructions on the top so you’ll find them easily next year.
3 Problem: The wrapping paper, ribbons and bows are a jumbled mess
Solution: There are many excellent storage boxes you can buy specifically for storing wrap and supplies, ranging from under-the-bed rolling containers to hanging organizers. For a free solution, use empty gift boxes instead. Find a large one to hold the wrapping paper rolls, and use small ones to hold ribbon and bows separately. Label and place them inside the larger box, labeling that, too.
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4 Problem: You don’t know how best to store ornaments
Solution: The smartest thing to do, of course, is to reuse the packaging the ornaments came in. However, if your spouse has a penchant for throwing things out as mine does, that container is long gone. Here’s an alternative: Use empty boot boxes by lining the bottom with shredded newspaper, lay in the ornaments, wrapping up the more delicate ones (not heirloom or hand-painted ones; see below) and top with more shredded newspaper. Store flat.
5 Problem: You want to be extra careful when packing away my heirloom and hand-painted ornaments
Solution: Use acid-free white tissue paper, and wrap each ornament carefully. Store in a plastic storage box, which offers more protection than cardboard. If you have one handy, toss in a packet of silica gel desiccant (the kind that comes in shoe boxes) to prevent moisture from building up inside the plastic container over the course of a year, suggests Martha Stewart in Martha Stewart’s Homekeeping Handbook: The Essential Guide to Caring for Everything in Your Home.
6 Problem: You need to label your storage boxes so they’ll be easy to identify next year
Solution: First, organize decorations into boxes in a logical way. All tree ornaments in one box, all banister and mantel décor in another, and all outdoor decorations in yet another box. Then, number them according to how you’ll want to open them next year says about.com’s housekeeping expert, Sarah Aguirre. Do you always decorate the outdoors first? Label that storage box with a number 1.
7 Problem: You’re not sure where to put the once-a-year holiday linens
Solution: Though you only pull them out once a year, Christmas linens, like all textiles, like to live where your clothes do, so to speak. In other words, avoid storing them in a damp basement or hot, dry attic. Be sure to launder linens, and store them out of the way, in the top shelf of a linen closet or a little-used drawer.
8 Problem: You don’t want your beautiful Christmas wreath to get crushed or dusty
Solution: Artificial Christmas wreaths tend to be delicate affairs. They are also dust magnets, and easily crushed to boot. Keep Christmas wreaths stored in a clear plastic bag and hung up on a utility hook in the basement or garage, or in a spacious cardboard box.
9 Problem: You live in a condo and don’t have a lot of room to store holiday decorations
Solution: “There is rarely enough storage space in a condo,” writes Styleathome.com contributor Martha Uniacke Breen in “25 Insider Condo Buying Tips“. Having lived in a condo, this is most definitely true. Limit yourself to what you can store in a few small boxes. Opt for a real Christmas tree instead of a fake one, the prime culprit in holiday storage box overload. Real Christmas trees are better for the environment, too, according to the David Suzuki Foundation. Instead of buying loads of holiday-print wrapping paper and keeping the rolls’ remnants, purchase plain metallic paper, which can be used for any occasion. Forgo nutcracker statues for pretty poinsettia plants; use fresh evergreen garland and white candles you can use year-round. You won’t need to store any of these come January.