Cooler temps mean the holidays are coming and bringing with them the cozy seasonal décor that we love. Outcome the apple-spiced candles, pumpkin-themed everything, checkered tablecloths, adorably spooky patio decorations, plaid blankets, the list goes on. No matter the time of year, decorating seasonally or just to refresh your home is a great way to keep your space feeling on point.
One of the challenges that seasonal decorations can bring is how to store them when you’re not using them. We’ve all likely experienced the disappointment of unpacking broken Christmas ornaments or the frustration of untangling strings of lights. Or felt a bit unmotivated to decorate for Cinco de Mayo because you opened Pandora’s box of seasonal décor, so jumbled together between Easter, Halloween, and Valentine’s Day that it’s easier to buy new things than deal with that mess. Taking the time to organize your storage methods will use less space, keep your things safe, and make unpacking them next year a lot more fun.
Smart Storage Basics
It’s all about time. Making sure you have enough time is super important – nothing will encourage you to just toss stuff anywhere like rushing.
- Plan ahead so that you can make sure everything is clean. Being packed away for a year means that any food stains or crumbs could potentially attract critters. Prevent humidity from harming your decor. Make a list of things that need to be washed, like any special dishes or serving ware, table linens, blankets, and pillowcases. It’s the worst when that one last box must stay out because you forgot to wash the Christmas tablecloth.
- Pack smart, and you can avoid overfilling boxes and damaging decorations. Having an idea of what space, you’ll be using to store your packed items will also help with this. If you ballpark where you’ll be putting boxes, you can put some thought into what type and size of boxes your space can accommodate. That way, you won’t end up with perfectly packed and labeled boxes that don’t fit in your space.
- Having the right supplies to hand will minimize the time you have to spend running around while you’re trying to pack and make the whole experience more pleasant:
- Packing paper
- Bubble wrap
- Pliable cardboard
- Packing tape
- Labeling materials
- Plastic tote bins (small and large)
- Bags or boxes for items like Christmas trees, porcelain plates, etc.
- Item-specific storage methods like rolls for Christmas lights
- Clear enough space to keep everything close to you while still having room to move. Setting a few candle holders on the side table over there is just asking for them to get forgotten…
- If possible, plan to pack the heavier items first; they should be stored on the bottom if you’re stacking tote bins or boxes.
- Label the boxes and make a list that you can tape to the part of the box where it will be the most easily visible to you – no more rummaging around wondering what’s in this box or that bin.
- Have a step ladder handy. Once boxes start getting heavier, it’s trickier than it looks to lift them high, and no one wants to have to admit they got an injury from lifting a box of Christmas decorations…
Larger décor pieces like outdoor Halloween decorations, Christmas trees, lawn ornaments, etc., often need to be stored in places that see sharp fluctuations in temperature. Attics, sheds, and garages are great places to stash these items in their off seasons as long as you plan ahead and have the appropriate containers ready.
- Ensure that if your items are going to be outside, you have waterproof plastic tote bins or heavy-duty plastic bags.
- If moisture is a concern, use packing tape to seal the edges of your bins
- Consider the potential for pesky intruders to get into your containers. It’s not very festive to unpack your Christmas tree only to find there was a family of mice living in it all year.
- LABEL EVERYTHING.
Wrapping fragile pieces is a great skill to develop, especially since fragile items are often sentimental. A bit of prep work for storing your delicate pieces will let you rest easy, knowing that your heirlooms are tucked safely away until next year.
- Give yourself a bit of extra time on top of what you might expect – wrapping fragile items is more time-consuming.
- Make sure you have plenty of bubble wrap and packing paper handy – again, more than you think you need.
- Consider ordering some ornament storage boxes. They are widely available, inexpensive, and collapse down when they’re not in use. (Pro tip – they are also handy for packing light bulbs from lamps when you’re moving.)
- Breakable serving dishes like platters and plates are happiest when packed in shallow boxes with lots of packing paper between them. Clear under the bed storage bins are a great option.
- If you have a super-delicate item, get a smaller plastic box and pack it separately, then tuck that box at the top of a larger tote.
Heavy pieces can be a bit tricky to pack in a way that keeps them safe from getting dusty or scratched. Depending on where you’ll be storing your heavier pieces, there are a few tips for keeping your favorite seasonal items looking shiny and new:
- Make sure to use a heavy-duty plastic bin.
- If you don’t have a plastic bin handy, double-box with cardboard or reinforce the bottom of your box with packing tape
- Consider getting a plastic tote bin with wheels to make moving it easier
- Reuse old sheets or blankets to prevent damage
- For tall items, a wardrobe box is a good option. Found at most moving vehicle rental companies and storage facilities, these tall boxes normally pack your hanging clothes for a move, but they are also perfect for storing other items.
Storing Items From Special Occasions
- Flowers – There are many ways to dry flowers that help retain their vibrancy and don’t crack or damage the petals or leaves, but the two most recommended by flower pros are pressing and using silica gel. Which method is best for you depends on the shape and thickness of your flowers and how you want to use them after. Thinner flowers are great for pressing since they don’t have a lot of moisture to retain. The other advantage to pressing flowers is that you can use them for scrapbooking, making cards, wall art, and other crafty DIY projects.
- Baby shoes – Baby shoes are the cutest and finding a decorative way to display them lets you keep those adorable memories front and center if you choose or safely packed away and preserved. Creating or buying a shadow box frame is a perfect way to do this and allows you to choose if you’d like to get crafty, purchase a premade box, or have one custom-made. As a fun add-on to this, a baby hat fits perfectly in these boxes, as well.
Storing keepsakes from milestone celebrations like weddings, birthdays, anniversaries, and christenings is an important task. On top of giving ourselves a nostalgic thrill when we come across those items, it also gives our children and loved one’s memories to inherit one day. Doing this properly will mean that you can look back years down the line and find those treasured memories as pristine as the day they happened, not looking worse for the wear, having been hastily stuffed away.
The key to making sure your mementos weather the years as gracefully as you is all in the planning. When you’re prepping for a big celebration, include storage containers for these things on your list. Decide ahead of time what you want to keep and the best way to store it and have those bags, boxes, bins, etc., ready before the event. That way, when everything arrives back at your home, you can tuck it away safely without it sitting out for days or weeks and potentially getting dirty or damaged.
Decorating our homes is a way to connect with our loved ones in the present and turn those treasured moments into future traditions. It’s how we make our homes warm and inviting places to be, foster relaxation, and show our personalities.
It’s also just fun! Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Cinco de Mayo, Easter, 4th of July, all year long, we have perfect reasons to get festive and celebrate the time of year. Storage woes shouldn’t be holding you back from splashing out with lively and spirited home décor, and if you use the tips above, it won’t be.
Plus, you’ll have the immense satisfaction of seeing your perfectly organized and labeled boxes each time you pop into your storage space, and there’s nothing quite like that to put a smile on your face.
Article originally posted on Porch.com
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