Tips to Organize Your Christmas Decorations

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Somehow, while focusing on social distancing, stocking up on antibacterial wipes, and trying to avoid yet another Zoom meeting, the holiday season arrived. Am I the only one who’s confused about how it’s already December? Did we even have seasonal changes? Christmas lights went up in October. People stayed home for Thanksgiving. Before you blink, it’ll be time to organize your Christmas decorations and place them back into storage. Uff, it’s been a weird short, yet never ending year.

Regardless of how you spent the last 9 months, fall brings with it many holidays. Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Fall, All Saints Day, Day of the Dead, All Souls Day (three different holidays), Veterans Day, Friday the 13th (oh yeah), Chanukah, Winter Solstice, Festivus, Kwanzaa, Boxing Day, and New Years Eve! Who knew there were so many holidays in the fall? Which to me only means one thing: organization time!  Why should you take time to organize your Christmas decorations (and other holidays)? Storing your decorations in an organized fashion, protects the decorations, makes it easier to set up next year, and preserves your favorites for many years to come.

Could you imagine how much storage you would need if you went all out for every one of those holidays? An outdoor she-shed at the very least. Thankfully (hopefully?), you only decorate for a few of the above holidays. Keep reading to discover how to decorate for the holidays and store the decorations afterwards.

How to Decorate for the Holidays

Step 1: Pull out every bin, decoration, tub, sign, tote, or container that contains decorations for the upcoming holiday.

Step 2: Place hands on every item and decide where it will be displayed in the house. Take it there.

Step 3: If you decide that there isn’t a place for it this year, a decision must be made!

  1. Do you place it back in a bin and store it for next year? Ask yourself if you will actually USE it again. Dig deep and listen to the answer.
  2. Could you donate it? Rather than collect dust in the attic, grandma’s lawn ornament may prefer to go to a donation center so that someone else will love it, buy it, and actually use it for what’s it meant to be used for…spreading joy in the neighborhood.  
  3. If it’s broken, destroyed, or not working properly, recycle or trash it.
  4. The key takeaway: do NOT put items back in the bin to waste away, gathering dust, and feeling rejected because you never let it live up to its holiday décor potential.

Step 4: Decorate for the holidays!

Step 5: Put items away in an organized and protective fashion so that the decorations are ready for next year.  

How to Organize Your Christmas Decorations

In a perfectly organized world, there are shelves that line every wall in the garage, attic, spare bedroom, etc. and each holiday bin has an assigned spot with a beautiful label. In an imperfect, realistic world, bins are tossed up the attic steps and left where they fit. To make holiday bin access as organized as possible, follow these guidelines to organize your Christmas decorations:

  1. Utilize shelving units if you have the space. (These ones are heavy duty, and maximize height at 35.9″W x 16.2″D x 71.3″H. If you have the space (and extra cash), these Gladiator units are my favorite because it’s wider and deeper. You may also buy at Lowe’s.)
  2. Give yourself plenty of space to maneuver, so start by placing the shelving units on the perimeter.
  3. Utilize weatherproof bins and stack on the shelving units (as we’re in Texas and you’re combating the heat, plus the bugs, you want the extra seal, clamp down bins such as this solid color or these clear bins). Remember to compare bin dimensions (width and depth) to the shelving unit you decide to buy. Ideally, you’re able to have the bins go in depthwise to maximize width space. The great aspect of most shelving units is that you can set the height to match your bin height. Tip: heavy items on the bottom, lighter or smaller items higher.
  4. Place each holiday with its mates so all Easter bins and decor are stacked together on a shelf (or two shelves), all Valentine’s Day together, etc. You can also store seasonally. So, all fall holidays on one shelving unit, all spring holidays on a second shelving unit, and so forth.

Fun Holiday Suggestions

  • Wrap those holiday lights around a piece of cardboard so they don’t tangle and are easy to stack in a bin (or buy a few of these beauties).
  • Egg cartons work great for storing Christmas bulbs or smaller ornaments.  One trick on Good Housekeeping: glue red solo cups to a piece of cardboard that fits flat inside a bin. Place ornaments or small decorations inside to protect. You can layer two or three, depending on the size of the bin. Just don’t tip it over!
  • Separate your themes by bin. That way if you decide to go with a pink theme, you only need to grab the bin labeled pink ornaments and leave the purple for next year.
  • Huge fan of crush-proof wreath bins made of a solid material (such as the one to the right).
  • Definitely need a tree bag. They’re cumbersome trying to get up the attic steps (especially the larger trees!), but it protects your tree and lights. I love the idea of this one that stores upright on a cart (ideal if storing on the same level as you display).
  • Wash and store all your cloth (tree skirts, napkins, blankets, stocks, sweaters, etc.) in vacuum sealed bags to keep safe and fresh for the following year. (I used to not be a fan of these bags because they pop open. However, if you’re packing away in a solid bin, it should remain protected and sealed).
  • Wrapping paper always gets destroyed…it’s like an unwritten rule. Protect it with a hanging in the closet or over the door organizer or under the bed organizer. Do you want ease of access or hidden until needed?
  • Keep the original boxes and packaging for your more fragile villages, Santa’s, or irreplaceable items. These take up more room, but you’re assured they’re protected (and everything has a home when packing up after the holiday, making it one less decision for you to make!).
  • When you’re unwrapping and taking items out of boxes, place the bubble wrap and boxes in the same bin it came out of. That will make putting everything away go much faster and smoother for you. Plus, if your bins are labeled, you won’t have to change the label!
  • Store all Christmas decorations together. Overhead racks (or two!) are amazing in the garage. I recommend having a professional install it.
  • Final piece of advice….LABEL EVERYTHING! Vitally important. If you don’t have a label maker, painters tape and a sharpie works great. Write what room the decorations go in and write what’s in the bin. It makes decorating go faster, knowing where to take each bin (and where to put it back after the holidays).  

When did you decorate your home for the holidays this year? October? November? I typically wait until after Thanksgiving to decorate, but this year, I was more than ready for 2+ months of Christmas Joy. Just remember, when January arrives (or February or March), take an extra bit of time to properly store your holiday decorations.

Happy Holidays!

Need to prepare for Spring Cleaning? Read my article on, How to Organize Cleaning Supplies in 3 Easy Steps.

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