If you have cute, matching, Rubbermaid storage containers for your wrapping paper, bows, ornaments, tree lights, and table decorations, stop reading right now. You heard me! You don't need me if you've got red and green plastic storage totes. This post is for those of you who spend ten minutes digging out the crumpled wrapping paper from under the bed. This post is for those whose cardboard boxes fall apart in the garage as you're lugging them towards the kitchen. This post is for those of you whose bow collection has multiplied in more places than dust bunnies. You know who you are.
Let's just get today's confession out of the way right now. My wrapping paper rolls are not in a special, long plastic container. My bows are not in a red box. My decoration storage boxes do not all match each other. Phew! That almost hurt to type! But, I want you to know that you can get your wrapping paper, bows, tags, and decorations under wraps without spending a fortune at The Container Store (even though that would be really fun!).
I think the rolls of wrapping paper are the trickiest things to corral. First of all, put a rubber band on each end of the roll to keep it from unwrapping itself. This will keep it from getting so mangled that you have to throw away half of it before you even start wrapping. Then, go buy another roll at a Hallmark store or another retail store. You probably need at least another roll to get all of this year's stuff wrapped anyway. SAVE the long bag that the clerk put it in. Use that bag to store all of your wrapping paper rolls in. Voila! I store my bag of wrapping paper rolls upright in a corner of my (very small) coat closet. The guest room closet or under a bed would work, too.
The tissue paper, bows, ribbon, and tags are stored in a medium-sized plastic storage container. It's a cheap one not specifically designated as such. All of the gift bags are stored in another storage container of the same size. These are stacked on the floor of my coat closet. Since we moved south, we don't have snow boots, so this works for us. Again, find and designate a spot that will work for the space you have. The important thing is to store all of this stuff in the same spot so that you don't waste time hunting it down all over the house. If you wish, throw a pair of scissors, a roll of tape, and a pen into one of the boxes.
Now comes the fun part: the decorations. Yes, this really is the perfect time to start organizing your Christmas decorations. They're already out (right?), so you can see exactly how much stuff you have. Start by throwing out broken and long-unused decorations. I promise it won't hurt! If it truly is extremely sentimental (there should only be a few of those), store it in a special place where it can be enjoyed, but not further damaged.
I do recommend plastic storage containers for your decorations for two reasons: 1) They are protected from water damage, and 2) They are protected from termite and mice damage. Unfortunately, I tell you these things from experience, but I'll spare you the gory details. This is a great time of year to pick up red and green containers cheaply. Of course, that's not necessary, but when my hubby makes his yearly trek up the black hole into the attic, he can tell at a flick of the flashlight which boxes need to come down. Mine have been purchased at different times, so they don't all match, but they all work! I'm thinking I should really buy another container for this year, though . . .
Anyway, take a look at what all you have and try to estimate how many storage containers you'll need. Plan on sending your hubby to the store for a few more the day you take down all your decorations since you'll probably underestimate your needs! The best time to buy Christmas-themes storage boxes is right after Christmas, so be sure to take a look around the store for some when you return that ugly sweater Great Aunt Martha was sure you'd love.
When it's time to undecorate, blare the Christmas music one last time and pull out your new boxes. Tackle one area of the house at a time. Put similar decorations together. For instance, most of your ornaments will probably fit into one container. Put your tabletop decorations into another box. Store nativity scenes and mantle trimmings in another one. You get the idea. For the lights, put each strand carefully into a separate plastic grocery bag, then put the bags into a box. My wreath and large Star of Bethlehem get stored in heavy-duty garbage bags; there's no need to buy pricey wreath storage containers.
That's it! Next year, you'll be pleasantly surprised to discover how easy your decorations are to find and assemble, and how easy it is to pull out the wrapping paper for a serious wrapping session.
Freebie link for the day: a printable Christmas planner from The Excutive Homemaker.
Q4: What's your best holiday storage tip?
(Repost from 12/9/09.)