This series was first run last year. I’m updating and reposting it now so that you have time to think through your needs and make a plan before you begin packing away your Christmas decorations. Taking the time to organize your ornaments and other decor really does make a huge difference when it’s time to decorate the following year!
When it comes to storing clothes, knick-knacks and holiday decorations, I feel pretty strongly about using boxes that are uniform in size and shape for all of my storage. While this preference partly comes from my type-A personality, doing it this way makes storage easier for everyone, even if it doesn’t matter to you aesthetically.
The main benefit of using boxes that are the same shape and size is that it will ultimately take up less room in your storage area. All of your boxes can be stacked and labeled, which also makes them easier to sort through. The obvious downside for you today is that if you’re ready to pack up your Christmas decorations but don’t have a system like this already, you’ll have to wait to pack up until you get your boxes. I think it’s worth the wait because it’ll make next year’s job easier and help you declutter in the meantime, but that’s a decision only you can make.
Before you write off this method because of the initial cost to get started, stick with me as I show you a no-cost method and low-cost method as well as one that may be worth the investment if you have heirloom pieces to preserve!
No-Cost Storage Solutions
If you’ve moved recently, you may already know that your local grocery store or Wal-Mart is a good place to go for cardboard boxes. Simply call and ask if they’ll set some aside for you while they’re stocking the shelves. They usually have a variety of sizes to choose from, and if you’re willing to make several trips, you can request boxes from the same brands each time so that they’re all the same size. You may end up with a couple different size boxes in your storage – small, medium and large, for example – but consistency within each of those sizes will make it easier to stack and organize them.
For ornaments and other small knick-knacks, you can use the boxes from toys and electronics that you might otherwise throw away. I usually pack these smaller boxes with fragile items and then pack the box itself in a bigger box to keep it from getting lost or separated from the rest of the decorations.
Low-Cost Storage Solutions
If you don’t want to use cardboard boxes for your storage – because you store things outside or want to keep pests out of them, for example – a low-cost method is to use plastic bins. This is the method we use for all of our storage, so we have dozens of grey bins in our attic. I’ve heard some people recommend using clear bins so that you can see what’s in them, but I prefer the grey ones because I think they look cleaner and less cluttered. Another benefit of this type of storage over cardboard boxes is that you can label them all in the same way and quickly see what is in each box. We use two sizes (18- and 10-gallon) for our baby clothes and other storage.
Last year I added a set of 18-gallon red Sterilite bins that I picked up at Walmart for $5 each. These make it quick and easy to spot our Christmas decorations among the rest of our storage.
Another option for storing ornaments and small knick-knacks inside your larger bins is to use Christmas tins that you’ve received as gifts or snagged on deep discount at an after-Christmas sale. Tins are sturdy enough to protect them from getting squished or broken but much more compact than keeping the ornaments in all of their original packages.
Specialty Storage Solutions
Finally, a more expensive method for storing Christmas decorations is to use specialty boxes. With a wide variety of cloth or cardboard boxes with built-in dividers, these boxes make organizing your ornaments quick and easy. Experts also recommend specialty boxes for humid climates because the rubber bins can trap the moisture and damage ornaments. Additionally, there are specialty bags and boxes for wreaths, Christmas trees and other decorations available, and you’ll find many of them on sale this time of year. I’ll admit that this method appeals to the side of my personality that loves gadgets, but we’re sticking with our rubber bins for the sake of our budget and their stackability.
When it comes to organizing ornaments within your boxes, there are several different ways you can pack them up. I’ve listed some of them below to help you decide what will work best for you:
- Just pack them as you go, filling one box at a time, with no particular rhyme or reason. (The fastest way to pack ’em up!)
- Separate fragile ornaments from those that are not as fragile. (So that you know which ones your kids can handle and which should be left for you to do!)
- Sort special ornaments from everyday ornaments. (This way you can start with the special ornaments to be sure you don’t run out of room before you find a place for all of them.)
- Sort your kids’ personalized ornaments into separate tins or boxes. (Next year, they’ll be able to pull out and decorate the tree with their own ornaments.)
- Sort ornaments by color. (If you change the “look” of your tree this year, keeping the red and gold ornaments separate from the blue and silver ones will make it easier.)
- Sort ornaments by theme. (All the angels together, all the snowmen together, all the bears together, all the handmade ornaments together, etc.)
How do you store your Christmas decorations? How do you organize your ornaments?