If you are like me, Christmas is the perfect excuse to go all out in decorations! I love the festive and cozy feel that the twinkling lights and glowing fire add to a home during this time of year. What I don’t love, packing it all up. Last year, I made an effort to “organize” my decor, but since I tend to buy most of my decor year-round, most of it never made it into a bin.
The situation was made worse when we moved into our smaller home, and I didn’t have room for most of my decor, causing me to pick and pull at random, then to shove unused items back into random bins. I told myself that I would “deal with the issue later”…let me tell you, future me has a few choice words for past me. So this year, I decided I had enough of the Christmas storage blues: I reorganized EVERYTHING.
While there are many different ways to organize your decor, it is important to first ask yourself: what will make my life easier and be managable to keep up? And remember YOU ARE NOT ALONE. I’m pretty sure even the most organized people still have to step back and rethink their system every couple of years!
For me, I started by pulling everything out of their bins, and laying it all out in front of me. This helped to visualize and group like items, and to come up with a game plan for putting everything back up.
Now I get to tell you about the PERFECT storage bins/totes/bucket (whatever you choose to call them) that I use without blinking an eye: The Commander XXL (27 gal.) This brand can be bought at your local Lowes, and have several sizes to choose from. I go with the XXL because I have found they hold an ideal amount of things, without running into the problem of being too heavy to lift. This point is even more crucial if you ever find yourself lugging your decorations up any form of stairs or ladders.
This brand is sturdy, heavy duty, and stack perfectly on top of one another! They have an awesome design feature that allows you to zip tie the lid shut, giving an excellent seal against any crazy moves, or unwanted critters. Fun fact: we moved a good bit of our house via these totes!
Now that I have all my totes empty and ready to go- it is time to start organizing! Here is a breakdown of how I sorted everything out in each bin:
- Ornament bulbs (2 bins)
- I color code my ormanent balls (most are shatterproof) into bags so they are easy to grab for the next year
- I also add in tree toppers to this bin, mainly because I don’t have that many and they fill in weird spaces
- Ribbon and bead garland are also in these bins, they fit in the weird spaces well!
- Special ornaments
- Each year since childhood, I woul always pick out a “special ornament” that represented a milestone or memory that represented that year. My mom then had me take them with me when I moved out and had my own tree so that my new tree would never be empty. This is one of my favorite traditions, so we have added in Harley’s childhood ornaments, and continue to add to our collection every year!
- These ornaments are wrapped more securely, and padded in their own bin labeled FRAGILE
- All lights, indoor and out fit into one bucket this year, I may need another one for next year
- Themed Decor
- I decorate the outside of my house in “gingerbread” and “peppermint” theme, and I have collected several items over the years that these decorations now require their own bucket. It makes it easier to place large collection items in thier own bin, and makes it easy to access the following year
- Nativity and small signs
- While some signs are larger and require being stored out of bins, smaller signs/banners are stored together
- Winter greenery (2 bins)
- This bin has all my greenery sprigs and loose stems. Labeling this bin as winter allows me to access the greenery year round, and I am sure I will break into this bin again soon as I put up my winter decor.
- Kitchen dishes
- pillows, pillow covers, throw blankets, towels, aprons, tree skirts, stockings, you name it-if its made of fabric, it goes in here
- Houses/Bottle brush trees
- I bought these really cute box houses this year after christmas, along with a couple of other clunky decorations, so I placed them in a bin together and filled in gaps with small trees and bottle brush trees. Be careful not to smoosh your bottle brush trees if you have them, they don’t bounce back well.
- Lighted Ceramic Houses
All of my greenery basics (trees, garland, wreath forms) go into large canvas bags. I have found these bags to give the least amount of headache, and allow for several pieces to be stored in one place without shoving and smooshing your greenery too much. Most of these bags also have wheels, which helps when moving the bags around! For any other big wreathes that I consider my “pretty wreathes” (basically any wreath that I bought and that I don’t add my own greenery to) canvas wreath bags are a life saver! I also hang some of my wreathes on nails in our barn loft, but if you don’t have space to do this, the wreath bags are the next best thing.
That’s basically it! We did buy a 12 foot tree in preperation for next year in the big house (fingers crossed), so that will stay in its’ original box until we break it open next year. After that, we will buy more canvas bags (the man selling us our tree said it will take 2!) and store it that way. I also want to invest in a label maker and label all my bins in a nice asthetic way, but for now, painter’s tape and sharpie work great!
Important takeaways for packing decor:
- Wrap your breakable or important decor WELL
- Place more “durable” items at the bottom of the bin, fragile on top
- Don’t overpack your totes/make them too heavy
- Use linens to wrap your breakables and save a tote
- Store like items together
- Label your bins! Doesn’t matter if they look pretty, you will thank yourself later
- Clean out as you go! Don’t hold onto items you don’t use anymore!
- Try not to smoosh decorations, get another bin if needed.
At the end of the day, remember to organize in a way that makes the most sense to YOU! Some people prefer to store decor all by room, by theme, by tree! For me, I like to have all my pieces seperated and ready to create something new in the next year, totally up to you!