Sunday, December 30, 2012

A Few Simple Tips for Organizing Christmas Decorations

Every year I decide it is high time to re-organize my Christmas decorations: I plan to buy plastic ornament storage boxes, red and green storage bins, and it will all be organized.  Then, sticker shock sets in when I realize just how many ornament boxes and storage bins I'd have to buy to get my stash under control.  This year, I was determined to make it work with items I already had on hand

Here are a few of my tips:

1. Group like items together.  Here are a few groupings I used: Garland and Wreaths, Tree Trimmings (which included tree skirt, ribbon, tree accents, tree topper), Outdoor Decor, Mantle Decorations, Ornaments, etc.....
2.  Purge unused items (trash or donate).  Every year we pull out almost 10 storage bins of Christmas "stuff" and I wonder "what in the world do we have in here"?  Then after I'm done decorating the house, half the boxes go back into storage still full of stuff. 

Last year I was determined to remedy this situation.  And then I got lazy.  It seemed easier to toss everything back into the boxes and just hide them away so I didn't have to look at it.  Then this Christmas season I spent half the days tripping over half full boxes which moved from room to room while I tried to finish decorating.  So I did it the right way this year:

  • Reserve one box for Goodwill donations.  If you do this right, you will have at least one less box to go back into storage.
  • Have several garbage bags on hand to trash non-working stands of lights, broken ornaments, greenery, etc.  Check with your village, they may have a place to drop off the strands of Christmas lights.
  • Label your boxes.  Masking tape and a sharpie will do.  This way, next year when we get the tree up I will only grab the tree trimming and ornament box until I have more time to decorate
3.  Ornament Storage.  Where do I start with this one?  I'm still looking for better ideas and I do something different every year.  Here is what I did this year (in pictures).  I think this one might stick.


Became this:

I grouped and wrapped other breakable ornaments in small storage boxes:
Thank you 2010 Wall Street Journal, I knew there was a reason I subscribed to you....

4.  Use stockings, tree skirts, Christmas throws, anything soft, to provide extra cushions for breakable items. 
5.  Store Christmas lights in individual containers/bags.  This way you won't be cursing under your breath next year as you struggle to de-tangle and test multiple strands of lights!  I used gallon food storage bags and labeled each strand either color or white.   

6.  Take one last trip around the house.  Every year I sigh a breath of relief when I'm finished packing up the boxes and everything is once again stored away. 
Then I walk into my bedroom and dang it, I left a bowl of ornaments out.  Then I walk into the bathroom and ugh, there are those poinsettias or amaryllis.  In the back entry, a strand of lights meant to go up outside (and never made it) is sitting on the bench.  Ok, I think you get the point.  This year, I walked around two times making sure I gathered everything together.  I STILL forgot to take down the advent calendar but eventually it was put away.
7.  Just in case you miss something, leave an extra storage bin easily accessible but out of site!  I left two storage bins in our front closet.  One for outdoor lights and one for "winter" items I was not ready to put away just yet. 

Do you have any tips to share?  I'd love to hear them!

Sharing at: Chic on a Shoestring / My Romantic Home / Craftberry Bush / It's Overflowing


  1. Great tips, Dawn! I am facing that task of pulling down all this decor, and I always take my time with it. No rush because otherwise something will get broken, left out or packed in the wrong box. I do something different every year around here in the various rooms, so it's of utmost importance to keep all the Christmas decor - just like my "everyday" inventory - neatly and wisely packed. One whole storage area in the house is dedicated to almost nothing but Christmas storage. Like you, I mark all my boxes with masking tape & a but efficient! Great idea on putting the string lights in individual bags to keep them from getting tangled! Have a Happy New Year!!!

  2. Great ideas! Especially the ornament storage. I put up a lot of faux garland, so I put each section in individual plastic bags and label where in the house it goes. Keeps me from guessing!

  3. That's what I'm doing today! Thanks for the tips!

  4. I was sad to not be at home with our decorations this year, but it's pretty nice to not have to deal with the cleanup! Organization ALWAYS feels so good.

  5. I agree, it is alot of work to decorate and dismantle when it is time. (worth the decorating, but would rather not pack up.) I also do many of your tips, all totes are all labeled with the tape and marker, plus I write what room it is from. This way the next time the totes come out, they go into the correct room.I wrap many breakable in towels, that I have found, or just don't use. All lights go in bags,labeled where they hung before. We also have a designated room just for storage, which is mostly holiday totes. I am trying now, to pack up more slowly, and getting rid of things that I am ready to give up. Maybe in a couple weeks I will be done. This is my first time posting, so didn't know how to do it, except anonymous. Well, I am Lori, and love to decorate!

  6. Gosh do I need this... My Christmas decor is looking pretty rough- here there and everywhere....

  7. I am putting away Christmas decor tonight. Thanks for the tips! I'm a new follower and am so excited to see more of your great ideas and pictures
    Feel free to do the same!