We are now one week into January, and for many this will be the week to take down the Christmas decorations. While Christmas decorating is a big job in itself, taking it all down now can seem at least as daunting and much less fun. I admit that I often have the strong urge to throw things into plastic containers and worry about it all next season. But that will just make next season’s decorating more frustrating.
Here’s how you can make the clean-up easier and next Christmas less stressful!
The “Fed Ex” Method of Sorting and Organizing Christmas Decorations
I begin with the “Fed Ex” method of creating a “hub” from which I will organize everything as I store it. I collect all the decorations from around the house (except the trees) and bring them to a central location – which, in my case is the kitchen table. Once gathered, I can sort and re-group the decorations by type or by the room I typically put them in – or I can just to store them in containers in a way that makes the most efficient use of the space. By working with everything at once, I can also see which decorations are ready to be retired or donated, and I start a running list of what I need for the following year.
Tree by Tree by Tree…
Once the Christmas decorations are stored, I start on the trees. The ornaments come down first and are individually wrapped in paper towels (if breakable) and then placed into plastic zipper bags. While initially it may seem like a lot of paper and plastic, I can honestly say that I have used the same paper towels and bags for over ten years – and with no broken ornaments!
The bags of ornaments are carefully placed in the clear plastic containers, grouped typically by tree. In other words, the fancy ornaments for my larger tree go in two containers (I have a LOT of ornaments), and likewise each of the two smaller trees has its own container, too.
I use wired ribbon for the tree garland and toppers, and so once the ornaments are packed, I carefully wind the ribbons and place them in the containers as well. The tree skirts are washed or spot-cleaned and laid on top.
Last, I pack up the lights. I keep them together in one container with the extra boxes of lights that I have in case there are strands that aren’t working next season. (This is a great time to stock up on lights as everything is on clearance!)
As I unwind the lights from the tree branches, I check them one more time by plugging each strand directly into a socket. I place those that don’t fully light into a bag to be recycled. Many communities now offer a place to drop off Christmas lights for recycling through the month of January.
Finally I take the trees down and store them in their large nylon bags. Later, I’ll take down any outdoor lights or decorations and store them together in one container for easy decorating next season.
It usually takes a day or two to take down and carefully store all of the Christmas decorations, particularly if I group them differently or do a purge of older, less-used decorations. But it is time well-spent, because come next November, I will be able to decorate more quickly and enjoy the Christmas season that much longer!
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