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8 Christmas Storage Tips, According to the Internet

Jun 10, 2023

By Michelle Mastro and Amanda Sims

As you’re ready to deck the halls and pull out all the rest of your holiday decor, take a look at your current Christmas storage. Are the twinkle lights all tangled up? Ornaments rolling around in disarray? And where did you put that tree topper in the first place? This year, vow to put everything away in order—your future self will appreciate the effort you put forth while you packed it all away. AD rounded up the best Christmas storage internet hacks and tapped ingenious influencers so you can start the New Year in order and prevent chaos next holiday season. (We’re still working to find a solution for dealing with crazy relatives.) Here, eight Christmas storage tips that will keep your decorations nice and neat year-after-year.

Don’t just store an artificial tree in a large garbage bag.

For many, a faux Christmas tree is the way to go for sprucing up a holiday home. “Artificial Christmas trees do not shed needles like real trees, meaning less clean up,” says Lewis Puleo, the vice president at Puleo International, a manufacturer and distributor of artificial Christmas trees and holiday decor. To store the faux tree, lay out all the branch sections on the floor, he says. “Using a soft-bristled brush, gently brush any dirt or dust from each branch.” Or use a handheld vacuum with a brush attachment. Be sure to work over each section of the tree, fluffing the branches as you go. “The best method is to store the tree indoors and upright in a high-quality Christmas tree storage bag,” Puleo says. Choose a bag with thick material, like a durable polyester, he says. And of course, make sure the location you store your tree in isn’t too humid. You wouldn’t want any moisture accumulation on the tree.

For other garlands and pieces of faux evergreen, you can actually use shrink wrap to hold all the ornaments and trim in place. A London-based interior designer, Sarah Bowen of Spruce Up has used this method on her Christmas tree. “Shrink wrapping your tree means that it’s all ready to go for next year,” she says.

Fragile ornaments need separation.

There are plenty of options for storing delicate ornaments. “There’s a reason your crystal ornament came in a luxurious velvet box—it’s meant to be kept,” says Jeanna Crawford of Jeanna Loves Christmas in Los Angeles. “Whenever possible, reserve an heirloom-quality ornament’s original packaging.” If the original box is lost, no worries. Crawford stores her breakable ornaments in loosely wrapped newsprint, filling any empty space in the container with crunched-up balls of paper. The point is to inhibit movement. “You can get 32-by-22-inch sheets of plain newsprint at any packing store or online,” she says. “I create a base layer so that no ornament is sitting directly on the bottom of the box.” As far as storage boxes go, according to Meredith Goforth, principal home stylist at House of Prim in Westport, Connecticut, “Clear storage bins that will protect fragile items are always the best idea,” she says. The boxes she chooses come with built-in levels and dividers, but she remembers to label each box to help with overall organization.

For a more DIY ornament storage approach, line up plastic cocktail cups and gently plop a small ornament within. If you’re using a large bin, you can separate the rows with pieces of cardboard (save those gift boxes). Egg cartons are perfect to keep wee ornaments secure. Plastic clamshell containers, such as those used at salad bars, can house larger breakables. Wrap each item in tissue paper and gently clamp the container to keep it from popping open. For oddly shaped holiday decor, employ empty cardboard beer carriers and wine boxes (Trader Joe’s gives these away).

Dumping string lights into a box is asking for trouble.

Ignore your inner Clark Griswold and learn to pack away lights properly. Here, the container is all-important. Store lights in plastic or fabric containers, says Shannon Krause, chief operating organizer at Tidy Nest in New York. “We don’t like using cardboard boxes to store lights, as it’s easier for critters to get in and chew the wires. You can, however, wrap the lights around a piece of cardboard, before storing. Look for bins specific for lights with wrap organizers, or get light storage holders.

By Mel Studach

By Hadley Keller

By Elizabeth Stamp

With garlands, your concern is less knotting and more protective measures: Perishable evergreens should, of course, be placed on the curb or composted. Other garlands, like something made of baubles, can be threaded into a two-liter bottle for safekeeping.

Keep all like decorations together.

Separate outside decor from whatever you use inside. Professional organizer, Mary Jo Contello of Organized by MJ in Houston, recommends taking a photo of the setup before putting away the display into a storage box. “All extension cords and timers should be stored in one box, or with the appropriate area for the most efficient set up the following year,” she adds.

For those with an amusement-park-worthy holiday display in the front yard: Cover the Santa (along with his reindeer) with an outdoor furniture cover as you put these away into your attic. Make sure to wipe away the dust first.

Separate holiday wrapping paper for quick-and-easy access.

By Mel Studach

By Hadley Keller

By Elizabeth Stamp

Reusing wrapping paper each year is great on your wallet and the planet. “The more you can hold onto, the less waste heads to landfills,” says Laura Alexander Wittig, founder of the sustainability platform Brightly in Seattle. She opts for reusable cloth wrapping paper called furoshiki over traditional paper wrapping paper. It’s also quite handy in wrap breakable holiday decor and ornaments, she says. For all other wrapping accessories, professional organizer Lauren Saltman of Living Simplified insists you can’t go wrong with a wrap organizer. However, “If the storage will be hidden in your attic or in the back of a closet, I recommend using large opaque bins instead.” Interior designer Julia Dempster, on the other hand, chooses clear containers for easy visibility. “I personally have a clear plastic box for all my wrapping paper, bows, and ribbons. It has built-in compartments for glue, tape, accessories, and rolls of paper.” An eco-friendly option for storage bins includes these made from ground bamboo. Dempster relies on is a wall-mounted rack that dispenses rolls of cellophane, wrapping paper, or ribbon.

A card garland is a pretty way to display holiday missives.

“Believe it or not, holiday cards are a major culprit for holiday storage clutter,” Krause says. Before you put anything away, sort the cards into the ones you want to keep for nostalgic reason, say photo cards or the beautifully penned missives, and the extra ones you didn’t get to send out. Toss the rest, and keep in mind that those with glitter and gilded trim may not always be recyclable. To store the keepsakes, use a designated photo box or greeting card organizer. Place the extra holiday stamps, return labels, and any other card supplies in the same container, Krause adds.

To prevent chipping, pack festive kitchenware carefully.

By Mel Studach

By Hadley Keller

By Elizabeth Stamp

Holiday kitchenware is used once a year. Meaning: It needs good storage the rest of the time. “The best way that I have found to store holiday-themed kitchenware is with bubble wrap or a dinnerware storage box,” says Brian Jupiter, executive chef of Frontier Chicago and Ina Mae Tavern in Chicago. “Bubble Wrap is a great way to cushion ceramic plates, bowls, and glassware that you intend on stacking on top of each other,” he says. Honeycomb paper wrapping is good eco-friendly alternative. If using a dinnerware storage box, place sheets between the items to keep everything in place. “For glasses such as champagne that do not stack on top of each other, use a dinnerware box with fitted glass storage.” Store the boxes in a cabinet or shelving unit that is easily accessible. This way, he says, you can check their condition every few months and avoid unwanted surprises on the next holiday.

For specialty cooking items like roasting pans or decorative baking dishes, Jupiter recommends skipping the storage bins and stacking the large pans and deep dishes. Place the kitchenware in the lower cabinets to avoid any potential falls, he says.

Delicate wreaths need TLC.

Wreaths aren’t the most stacking-friendly items. Houston organizing and design expert Ashley Jones Hatcher recommends a storage container designed for wreaths that are 30-inches and have a slim profile. “The best way to store a wreath is to hang it, but storage space doesn’t always allow this,” Bowen says. “In these cases, I recommend a wreath-specific storage bag [for artificial wreaths].” If you're the type who has a wreaths on every door and window, get a set of oversize S-hooks so you can hang them up in a coat closet. That way, they won't get totally crushed in a bag you toss on the attic floor. Since faux greenery, like wreaths and garlands, is not recyclable, buy a quality item and take care of it in the off-season.