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Packing and Storing Holiday Decorations

For some of us, it’s the same slog every year — the leftovers expire, the relatives leave, the “holiday cheer” dissipates, and you’re left with a house still decked to the nines with holly. It can be a daunting chore to disassemble, pack and store all of your ornaments, wreaths, figurines and lights, but it’s a necessary one. Many holiday decorations get taken out of storage once a year, so it’s important to pack and prep them properly for long-term storage.

Here are some tips for packing and storing holiday decorations that will make this yearly event less of a chore and more of a streamlined, simple affair.

Pick the Storage Option that’s Best For You

If you run out of room in your home or garage for holiday decorations, self-storage can be a wonderful alternative. Be sure to opt for a climate-controlled unit if you plan on storing valuable or temperature-sensitive items like expensive or delicate ornaments, electronic items and candles. Climate control means your unit will be kept within a certain temperature range, usually anywhere between 50 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Ask the facility manager or operator to make sure that the storage unit you’re renting will fit your needs.

Whether you’re storing in a closet, garage, attic or storage unit, it’s important to choose the right containers for your items. Skip the cardboard boxes, which can damage decorations with acid and moisture. Use specialty storage containers instead, like plastic bins, and make sure they’re airtight to prevent moisture, bugs, dust and dirt from creeping in. Be sure to use acid-free tissue paper or bubble wrap to pad delicate items as well. As always, avoid overloading your containers.  You’ll just make it harder to unload and unpack everything next year while also risking damage to the contents.

Sort, Label and Categorize

It’s important to categorize your ornaments, whether by color, size, shape or value. Keep similar parts and hardware together as well; this will make assembly much easier next year. Remember to throw away any ornaments or decorations that may be broken or are obsolete, unless you’re holding onto them for nostalgic reasons. If you’re storing electronic items, remove all batteries before packing them away to prevent damage from corrosion.

Labeling your containers will be a huge time-saver the next time you unpack your decorations. Use zip-up bags for groups of smaller decorations, like ornaments or sturdier figurines. Zip-up bags will take up less space than bulky boxes, and will save you from blindly rifling through boxes and cartons in the future to find those unusual orange ornaments the in-laws gave you.

Packing Hacks and Tips

Repurpose disposable food storage containers for hardware, like extra holiday lights or ornament clasps. Keep the original ornament boxes and packaging, or use wine boxes or egg cartons for additional storage. Avoid wrapping or padding with newspaper, as the ink may rub off over long periods of storage. Pack sensitive items with silica packets to protect against humidity.

To prevent holiday lights from tangling, wrap them around spools, cardboard or other boxed items you’re already storing. You also can repurpose garden hose reels as holiday light spools.

Cover your wreaths with a bag and hang them on a wire hanger, or keep them in any large box that won’t destroy the integrity of their shape. Hat boxes or large pizza boxes are great alternatives.

Jenny Zhang is a writer at SpareFoot, the online marketplace where you can find and reserve a self-storage unit with comparison shopping tools that show real-time availability and exclusive deals.

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