Hello Friends! I hope you all had wonderful holidays, and are beginning a happy, prosperous, and joy filled New Year! We’re up and running on 2017 here in the Happy Home, and part of making that happens means packing Christmas decorations up so we start the new year fresh and as clutter free as possible. As you all know, I thoroughly enjoy my Christmas decorations, and look forward to getting them out every year, but by January 1st I’m done and ready to have my house back. This is sped along even more by wanting to have everything packed away before Happy Baby’s birthday (he’ll be two THIS WEEK. Can you even?!?) So yesterday it was time for packing, and I even remembered to stop and take a few pictures along the way so I can share my process with you.
I’ve honed this process over the past 8 years, and while it means taking longer to pack away, it makes things infinitely easier when it’s time to pull it all out (which let’s be honest, is the part that the kids want to help with.)
- Sort your items based on what point in the decorating process you’ll need them. I have grown my collection into 5 storage totes, although three of them see the most action. They’re divided into categories based on their primary use. #1 is strictly non tree related decorations. These go on shelves, walls, tables, etc. Most of them can be put out by the kids with the exception of a very few. #2 is our activity box. Our movies, books, t-shirts, aprons, cookie cutters, etc. are in this box. #3 is ONLY tree related items, plus stockings/holders. This one takes the most organizing, so I’ll give it a spot later. #4 is stuffed animals and seasonal toys. I let the kids unpack this one while I do the last of prepping the house to keep them from driving me insane. #5 is empty ornament boxes that need saving for some reason, and lights. so many lights.
- Ah, lights. Here’s the thing, check your lights between taking them off the tree and storing them. Nobody likes checking lights, it’s a horrible thankless job. But it’s an even more horrible job when you have children running around like hooligans hopped up on Christmas spirit and you find the tree has a light that won’t light on one side. Or, several lights as these things go. Trust me, December You will thank January You. Also, for the love of all that is holy, please wrap your lights around something before storing. You can buy things for the occasion, but I find a piece of sturdy cardboard does just fine.
- Have a box just for tree items. The tree is the one big project that in most houses is done start to finish in one go, typically with whole family involvement. In a busy house this means we have to coordinate carefully, and we can’t be missing items if it’s going to go smoothly. Our tree box includes ornaments (separated by kid safe and more delicate), garland, bow, skirt, and the lights for JUST the tree. We do not let the tree lights associate with the outside lights, otherwise it’s a mutiny when it comes time to decorate. We do let our stockings and stocking holders hang out with the tree stuff, and those typically get tucked in a cabinet near the tree to wait for Christmas eve.
- Sort small items into smaller containers. Especially things like ornaments. We use gift boxes for ornaments, as well as cookie tins. I love having cookies in tins during the holidays, but they take up a lot of space when they just sit empty. I have toys stored in one, plastic ornaments in another, and a third holds our garland and bow.
I also don’t individually bubble wrap any but the most delicate of ornaments (which did not make an appearance this year for obvious reasons) instead I just lay bubble wrap in between layers and add a little extra in for cushion.
- Most importantly, just take time to think about how you’ll use the items (and purge any that you know you won’t use) while packing. Knowing when and how you’ll need things make it so much easier to pack them in an orderly and logical manner.