11/29/2010 05:37AM ● Published by Style
True story. Last November, I opened the closet where my holiday decorations had been hiding out for a year and narrowly avoided an avalanche of glass bulbs and tree lights tumbling precariously in my direction.
I emerged unscathed, but lesson learned. Time to get serious about sensible and safe storage for the holidays. Gone would be the wicked mass of tangled twinkling lights, the wrapping paper rolls crinkled and crunched in the back of the closet, and the lack of valuable space to hide gifts away until ready to be placed under the tree. Now, a year later, I have all my trimmings tidy for the coming season. Here are a few tips for getting the upper hand on your holiday storage.
TIP 1: Cleanse
The holidays are over and you have all your decorations laid out on the floor in front of you. Release those you don’t need or use to Goodwill or the trash bin. Plug in all your light strings to make sure they are functional; toss the ones that aren’t. Weed through bulbs and ornaments and put aside ones you can live without. It’s amazing how much stuff we can collect and hold on to for years. Make this the one where you let go and move on.
TIP 2: Get Creative Packaging
Now that you have your collection of “keepers” separated into groups, start packing them in smaller containers. For those on a budget, I suggest shoeboxes or small shopping bags. If you have a little holiday cash to spend, maybe invest in a handful of plastic containers from Target or The Container Store. Carefully place ornaments into the boxes one by one, layering each row with leftover tissue paper or bubble wrap for safe keeping. Be sure to remove all the hooks to avoid scratching the ornaments. For strings of lights, take one of those oversized wrapping paper cardboard tubes and cut it into twelve-inch pieces. Untangle the lights and weave them through the tube over and over again. Next year, when you’re ready to use them, just cut the tube open and release the string with little hassle. If you don’t have a tube, cut up rectangular pieces of cardboard from leftover gift boxes, make a small indentation in the corner to keep one end in place, and wrap the lights around from one side to the other. For wreaths, you can buy plastic containers especially made for this shape, or oversized garbage bags do the trick nicely as well. Remember: LABEL, LABEL, LABEL. A little tape on the package with its contents scribbled on goes a long way when sifting through stuff the next year.
TIP 3: Score with Clear Storage Bins
These are a must-have for anyone serious about efficient storage. Not only are they spacious, but they seal tightly and you can see the contents without lifting a lid. I like these so much I use them for a variety of items like Halloween costumes, extra table settings, books and more. Carefully place all your small boxes, wrapped lights and miscellaneous décor inside and position in your closet or garage until next year. These also work great for wrapping materials like paper rolls, ribbon, tape and scissors. Check out various sizes and shapes and see what works best for your space and purpose.
TIP 4: Enjoy the Extra Space
Now that all your holiday clutter is neatly tucked away in organized bins, take advantage of all that newfound space in your closet. You should have additional room to store gifts and other items that might have been sharing quarters with the dust bunnies under your bed. Hmm…I sense a new project coming on.