Fall has faded and the winter holidays are over, too. Now it’s time to think about putting away the seasonal decor for another year until you need them again. Whether you have a PCS on the horizon or are just looking to revamp your organizing system, consider these six tips for putting away and storing your holiday decor.
Take inventory of everything you own.
The new year is a great time to go through all of your boxes and bins and empty them out to see exactly what you have. Maybe you were in a rush to grab needed Christmas items or just used part of your ornament collection. With the festivities behind you, designate some time to really go through your items. Spread them out and examine them carefully. Begin to think about your items from a practical, rather than an emotional lens.
Declutter, donate, or trash items that no longer serve you.
With your seasonal decor items on display, you can easily sort through broken or damaged items. Did you forget about the Christmas candle and it made a melted mess during your last move? Are there any ornaments that have seen better days? Others that you simply don’t use or care for anymore? Extra items that you loved at one duty station but your current house doesn’t need? Consider curb alerting them, offering them up on your local BuyNothing group, taking them to donate at your favorite local charity, or if they are in really bad shape–try sending them to the trash or recycle bin.
Consider a uniform system for storage.
Now that you only have what you plan to keep, it’s time to consider how and where you want to store these items. Use the same size and style of containers if your storage space is visible, say for instance, inside your garage. Even if the storage will be out of sight, having the same size bins makes for safer, easier stacking. Spend a few extra dollars on see-through containers and it will be easy to identify what items are inside each bin.
Once your container situation is under control, it is a good idea to mark the containers with a labeling system. You could use a simple marker and tape, invest in a digital label maker that will print neat tags, or go a step farther and type up an inventory sheet for each bin so that you can quickly and easily locate specific items without having to dig through the boxes.
Prioritize decor items and store them accordingly.
For our civilian counterparts who may not move frequently, it might not matter how items are stored. For military families who can have all kinds of crazy circumstances pop up around the holidays (deployments, TDYs, extended trips to visit family, and even a winter PCS) it’s nice to have a system for your seasonal decor so that if you’re in one of those crazy years you can have one or two “essential” bins, filled with the most important things you’ll need even if the rest of the holiday decor isn’t coming out. Things like stockings, sentimental ornaments, a favorite movie or book, mistletoe, or a tiny tabletop tree are items you could get by with in a pinch.
Pack it up like you’re PCSing.
Even if you think you won’t be moving for a while, it’s always a good idea to put away your holiday decor as if you are PCSing. Wrap fragile ornaments in bubble wrap or invest in a hard divided storage container for small ornaments. Add layers of packing paper inside your bins. Cookie plates, Santa mugs, advent candles, should all have extra layers of protection inside your boxes. You don’t want to arrive at your next holiday somewhere else with glass shards or melted wax making a huge mess of your treasures.