When Christmas is done and dusted, consider self-storage when you put away your Christmas décor. Over the years, it is easy to accumulate family heirlooms, vintage and handmade decorations. You probably have boxes of precious decorations taking up shelves in your garage or storage cupboards. Not to mention all the space taken up by the Christmas tree, outside ornaments and Christmas lights!
Instead of boxing up your decorations and putting them away at home, think about self-storage to save space. The great thing about placing your decorations in self-storage is that you should be able to organize them neatly as well as freeing up storage space at home!
Here are some tips on how to organize and prepare your Christmas decorations for long-term self-storage.
1. Plan an organized system with an inventory and labels
Before you start packing away your Christmas decorations, it’s a good idea to take stock of everything you have so you can come up with an organized system for packing, storage, unpacking and decorating.
Firstly, write a detailed inventory of everything you intend to store for next Christmas. Secondly, group your items into categories: Christmas tree, Christmas tree ornaments, Christmas lights, candles and other table decorations, wreaths, etc. When you pack up your items, pack them by size and category (large ornaments together, small fragile decorations and bulbs together). Thirdly, label every box and write up a final inventory with a numbered system, outlining the box label and box contents. If you have time, you could also take a photo of each of the box contents, print them out and stick them in front of the box for ease of reference.
2. Clean your items
Before putting items into storage, it’s good to give them a good clean to remove any dust and oils that could attract vermin. Storing clean items also gives them a longer shelf life.
Spot clean and launder Christmas linens. Polish ornaments, gently wipe your tree, Christmas lights, and any wreaths with a microfiber cloth to remove all the dust.
3. Pack up your Christmas tree
Don’t be tempted to store the Christmas tree in its original box. Cardboard boxes attract insects and will also become misshapen over time.
First, dismantle the tree, removing every part. Use cloth bags and place every part of the tree in a bag. Put the bags inside a plastic container making sure to buffer it with bubble wrap or butcher paper.
4. Use plastic containers!
Plastic containers are often better than cardboard because they are durable, waterproof and tend to be a lot stronger. Choose tubs with clip on lids for better protection. Before buying the containers, measure the height of your items. Generally you’ll want the containers to be a few inches taller than your decorations so you can store them upright while leaving a bit of space as a buffer.
Do not overpack or place too many items in each container. It’s good to leave some space so the items don’t crush each other! Place fragile items, such as the star, lights, large glass or ceramic ornaments in their own smaller plastic container with paper or bubble wrap as a cushion. Put a layer of scrunched up butcher paper or bubble wrap at the bottom and top of the container as buffer zones.
5. Wrap Christmas lights, tinsel, etc around cardboard
A great way to store lights, tinsel, and any other type of decoration that is long and winding is by wrapping them around cardboard panels. This prevents tangles and makes it easier to use them when you take them out of storage each year!
Place each cardboard panel with its decoration upright inside a plastic container and use scrunched up butcher paper or sheets of bubble wrap in layers between the decorations so they don’t scratch each other or get caught.
6. Use divided boxes and egg cartons for your ornaments
When you buy your ornaments, they sometimes come in a divided box. Do not throw the box away! It is the best way to store ornaments. When it’s time to put away the ornaments wrap them in paper individually and pop them into their own section in the divided box.
If you haven’t kept the divided box or if your ornaments didn’t come with one, do not fear!
You can buy divided boxes for wine bottles and glasses and they work the same way except they are a little deeper. You can also cut up cardboard and set up your own dividers in plastic containers. For smaller ornaments use egg cartons, wrap each one in paper and put it in its own section.
7. Store with care
Put the silicon packets from the original boxes that your ornaments came in into the containers to prevent damage from moisture. Use cedar balls for your Christmas linens to avoid moths. Stack your boxes carefully in your storage module or unit.
You may consider a climate-controlled storage unit to keep all your items in pristine condition and protect them from severe weather changes if you live in a very cold or very humid area.