How To Pack Up Seasonal Decorations

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Light The Pumpkins, Hang The Turkeys, and Deck The Halls

Holiday decorations are a time-honored tradition used to set the mood for celebrating your favorite holidays. Once the holiday has passed, however, the decorations start to look a little stale and feel more like clutter than decor. But what’s the best way to pack away your holiday treasures?

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Flickr photo credit: Robert S. Donovan
Flickr photo credit: Robert S. Donovan

Begin With Boxes

Most of the time the things we use year after year are highly sentimental and of great personal value. These are the items you pass down to your children; items that are expected to outlive you. Whether you plan to store your holiday boxes in a climate-controlled storage unit, your basement, attic, or a spare bedroom, you should take into account any natural disaster that could strike. Any attic can leak, any basement can flood, any storage unit can have a meteorite fall through its roof and cause damage (ok, your items may be most safe in a climate-controlled storage unit), so plan accordingly by purchasing durable, water-proof, tight-closing storage bins in which to pack your precious heirloom candy dishes and handmade ornaments.

Take It Down

I like to start high and work my way lower. First I take down the fake cobwebs, the mistletoe, and any disposable items like candy-emptied advent calendars down and dispose of them. Then I take down the seasonal welcome signs, the hanging bat, the wooden Santa Claus (obviously I’m talking about any season here; these don’t all go up or down at once), the Easter Bunny wall hanging, and I set them in a safe spot like on my couch.

Next I empty the items from surfaces like bookshelves, the entertainment center, the mantle and the kitchen island and I place those with the other items on the couch. I try to sort them by size and/or fragility. Finally I pick up any decorations that hang out on the floor like the seasonal door stop, the welcome mat, the tree skirt and anything else and I clean them up before folding them and putting them on the couch.

The BIG Items

Flickr photo credit: Peretz Partensky
Flickr photo credit: Peretz Partensky

Christmas trees, Christmas lights, over-sized outdoor Halloween decorations, and anything that had “assembly required” printed on its box should be given their own time-slot to ensure proper care is taken with dis-assembly and packaging. With the Christmas tree, just work in backwards order from how you set it up. Except for the tree topper. I never understood why that has to go on last, but it makes sense that it should come down last.

Start with the most delicate ornaments, removing the hooks from each one and wrapping carefully in tissue, shredded wrapping paper or bubble-wrap and storing in either the packages they were purchased in, shoe boxes with tissue for padding or a box made for storing ornaments. Keep in mind you’ll probably want to store these boxes within a large water-proof bin. Finally remove the garland and lights from the tree and then the tree from its base.

Wrap Up Delicate Items

Flickr photo credit: greenacre8
Flickr photo credit: greenacre8

For the special items you’re packing away you’ll want at least 3 layers of protection:

  1. The initial wrap which will keep it safe from surface scratches. Tissue paper is my favorite as it’s usually abundant around holidays.
  2. The padding which keeps the items from being knocked around and breaking. As mentioned above; wrapping paper run through a shredder makes some great filling for this exact purpose. And you’re recycling!
  3. The outer package that will keep your items safe from the elements, pets, bugs, and curious children. This is usually the big water-proof storage bin, but sometimes it’s best to use shoe boxes within the big box to keep things organized.

Deal With The Bulky Items

Use your best judgment here. Sometimes it makes sense to cover a larger item with a sheet or blanket for protection from scratches, sometimes it makes sense to just put them in storage alongside the water-proof bins. Consider your storage area again here. If it’s in the attic, you might want to throw a tarp over the top of your larger items in case a tree falls and damages your roof during a storm letting water in. If it’s in the basement you might want to store the items too large for the safety of a bin on a higher shelf in case of flooding.

Flickr photo credit: lisaclarke
Flickr photo credit: lisaclarke

Move It On Out

At this point you should have a stack of boxes and several odd-shaped items in the middle of your living room and you should already know where it will be living for the next year. There’s not much else to do here but to get to it, so get to it! Move those items to storage. It’s a good idea to have teenagers around at this stage each year so they can do the grunt work for you.

Give It A Twice Over

I almost always find some odd, off-season item around the house in the weeks after un-decorating. The more diligent you are looking through your house, the less often you’ll have to head to storage to safely pack those items away. If your storage unit is a drive away it might be wise to keep an extra storage bin in a closet or garage for spare holiday decor you find in the coming weeks and for new items picked up throughout the year.

And Take A Deep Breath

De-decorating is a refreshing time. Do a little deep-cleaning where you find it’s necessary as you’re packing up and you’ll feel as good as after spring cleaning. Take care of and enjoy the space you live in for a better quality of life.

Thank you for stopping by! Please feel free to browse my website and follow my blog for updates on local events, real estate news, timely home maintenance suggestions and tips for buyers and sellers.



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