Every year, we trudge down to the basement, returning with boxes and bags full of random holiday decorations, including the old tree skirt that hasn’t been used in 10 years, five ceramic Santas, and lights that no longer work (but will be fixed someday.)
Rather than wait until the day you plan to decorate, why not get a jump and organize your decorations now? Then, when it comes time to transform your house, you can put on some music, light a fire and enjoy the task.
Here are half a dozen tips to make sure your decorating is festive, not frustrating.
Why is it that even the best de-clutterers have so much trouble parting with holiday decorations?
It’s because the holidays make us feel sentimental. Throw out that macaroni tree you made when you were seven. Donate the artificial tree you put up in your first apartment. Accidentally drop and break the gaudy angel your mother-in-law gave you.
Be ruthless. Your future self will look back on the purge of 2017 as the best thing you ever did.
2. Organize the Ornaments
Maybe you’ve got this down, but many of us somehow seem to struggle every single year finding the right packing material and boxes.
You could bite the bullet and order one of these fancy ornament storage boxes
. But if you already feel like you’re spending a thousand dollars a day this time of year, you can simply make sure you have a sturdy box and then spring for some bubble wrap. (If you’re one of the 34 people in America who still has a newspaper delivered, this is your time to shine.)
Remember to pack the most fragile ornaments on top and, if you were not ruthless enough in your purge, this is the time to get rid of ornaments that are stored from year to year, but never make the tree.
3. Deal with the Lights
There are no shortcuts when it comes to lights. You simply have to put in the time. The only winners here are the people who never took their lights down from last year.
Dump your large garbage bags full of tangled lights onto the floor. Separate them into piles of similar strands. Plug in each strand and see if it works. Be honest with yourself: If no one is ever going to fix the broken strands, it’s time to let them go.
As for storage, there are two simple methods to try.
The first is to take a rectangular shaped piece of cardboard and cut notches in both ends, then wrap a strand around it. You can store these in boxes, with a layer of bubble wrap between them.
Another idea is to store each separate strand in a one-gallon plastic bag, then write a note on the outside describing the strand and maybe also noting how many times it has been used. You can also store extra bulbs in the bag. There may be some tangling, but with only one strand in a bag, it will be minimal.
4. Store Items in Clear Plastic Boxes
If you’ve been relying on old cardboard boxes, it may be time to upgrade to plastic storage containers. Clear boxes that are a reasonable size—not a hard-to-carry gigantic bin—can make decorating a much more pleasant activity.
5. Give Yourself the Gift of a Gift Wrap Organizer
You can buy a simple plastic tube
for $7 or a whole closet system
for $724, but it does solve a lot of hassle when all of your wrapping supplies are all in one place.
6. Consider Additional Storage Space
If you’re short on storage, holiday decorations can be even more frustrating because they’re likely to end up stashed all over your apartment or house wherever you can find a bit of space.
At StorageMart, you can rent a unit as small as 25 square feet or so—or up to the size of a garage if you really go big at Christmas.
Whatever size space you need, we offer affordable self-storage units
that can be rented on a month-by-month basis and are always clean and well-lit. Check out our storage unit guide
or rent a unit online
today. There’s no reason to skimp on holiday cheer if storage is the only thing holding you back.