You've hung all the decorations with care, but putting them away, especially after cleaning up all the other stuff that comes with the holiday often just means stuffing everything back into boxes as quickly as possible.
But it doesn't have to be this way. With some planning and some items you may already have around the house, you can be ready to tackle the end-of-holiday clutter so you won't be untangling lights and hauling out broken ornaments next year.
1. Egg cartons are egg-cellent for ornaments. Particularly smart for small figurines or bulbs, clean egg cartons provide great storage opportunities. Place the ornament in the compartment meant for eggs, perhaps wrapped in a bit of tissue paper if you're feeling nervous, and then close up the carton. Wrap a few rubber bands around the carton to keep it shut and secure. The egg carton offers some sturdy construction, but don't place it at the bottom of a box or put other boxes (save for other egg cartons) on top of it.
For bigger bulbs, cartons are still the answer, but instead of eggs, use to-go drink trays for storage. Place the bulbs in one tray and then cover them with another tray. Rubber bands are again your friend because they secure the trays.
2. Spool your lights around household objects. Tangled lights are the bane of holiday decorations, so stop the tangles before they happen. Cut 1-inch slits along the long-sided edges of a piece of cardboard and then wrap the string of lights around the slits. Secure the plugs with a little bit of tape. No cardboard around? No problem. Secure the strand of lights around a coffee can instead.
3. Bundle your extension cords in cardboard tubes. Extension cords are a near-necessity for making sure that lights and other decorations have the power they need to light up the night and brighten the day with their holiday cheer. Like lights, these cords can get tangled or knotted, and the best way to stop that is to store them well. Cardboard tubes from paper towels or gift wrapping paper make excellent containers for your cords. This is also a great tip for storing them year round.
The video below shows you how to get all of the above tips done, plus a way to store those Christmas beads.
4. Store your gift wrapping paper like you do your best clothes. Whatever gift wrapping paper you have left on a roll can sit and gather dust in your closet, tucked away in some back corner to fall over all year or be forgotten. An easy fix for this is a simple garment bag. Pop your gift wrap in the bag and hang it up in your closet, freeing up space on the floor for other things (and keeping the dust off them).
5. Holiday wreaths need their own home. There are plenty of wreath boxes out there, and your wreath may work well in them, but plenty of wreaths have extra bows or decorations on them that keep the boxes from fitting snugly. To keep your wreaths clean and safe, install a HangerJack hanger and presto, wreath storage space! You could probably even hang the garment bag with your wrapping paper here, too, if there's room!
6. Be smart about organizing your storage. Now that plenty of stuff is packed, it's a good idea to organize all that organization. Label your storage containers, whether it's using a label maker or masking tape with a marker. Make sure the label includes what's in the container, or simply put a number on the container to indicate in which order you should open boxes. It's a good way to steadily roll out decorations instead of sorting through all of them at once.
Just think how easy it will be to set up for next year!