The holidays are hectic enough without any adding disorganization to the mix. If the experience of packing up the holidays is chaotic, messy, time consuming, or space consuming people tend to do it haphazardly, robbing from the joy of unpacking it next year and making future pack-ups worse. If this is you, here are some tips to organize and store your holiday decorations.

Get prepared now

When your decorations come down, you want all the necessary containers on hand. That way everything can go directly into its designated, compact spot until next year. You’ll save time now and next year,  finding everything and unpacking it will be simple!

Start with an assessment

When you pull out your holiday decorations this year, make an assessment as to what fits into your current lifestyle. Perhaps you’ve always hosted the holidays, but now your kids are grown and you’re going to their house. Maybe you’ve downsized and just don’t have the windows for 12 wreaths anymore. Have a general idea what you will keep and discard before you start the organizing process. This is especially helpful for the de-cluttering part.

Bring it all out

If you didn’t use all your decorations this year, bring them out when you take down the decorations so that you can see your full inventory at once. Only now you can make the best decisions about what to keep and what to donate. Although you may have left a box of porcelain snowmen on the shelf this year doesn’t necessarily mean they are not part of future holiday displays. Seeing everything at once makes it easier to decide whether to give away or donate unwanted items and to discard broken ones.


As you take down the ornaments, the lights, the wreaths, the creche, the candles and stockings sort them into categories and then subcategories if necessary. Outdoor versus indoor lights, heirloom ornaments versus dime-store fillers, paper versus wire ribbons – whatever distinctions make sense for you.

Create a list

Does anything need to be replaced? Think broken lights, holiday cards, etc. Keep a shopping list as you organize and take advantage of year-end clearance sales beginning December 26th and lasting into the new year.

Organize and contain

Find containers that will hold everything you are keeping and fit in the space where you are storing them. There are a number of holiday-decoration specific containers out there that will keep your ornaments safe, your wrapping paper organized and your lights untangled. Some favorites include:

Gift wrap cart or storage bin: Keep your gift wrap, ribbons, scissors and tape all in one place, so you’re not hunting around when you need to wrap a gift.

Holiday light storage box: No more untangling! Keep strings of lights tangle-free with a holiday light storage box. Or, you can DIY by wrapping your lights around a plastic coat hanger or cardboard tube (after you’ve used the wrapping paper) before your put them away.

Holiday card organizer: Keep your cards in order with a card-sized filing box with dividers and tabs.

Ornament storage boxes: No more disintegrating egg cartons. These boxes and bins have separate compartments to keep all of your fragile ornaments safe and sound.


When it’s time to put everything away, you’ll be prepared. Store items in containers by category and put items back into the storage space. If you’ve done a good job of de-cluttering and organizing (and didn’t go crazy at those after-Christmas sales), you should have plenty of room for storage. You may even end up with some extra space. Wouldn’t that be a nice gift?


Be sure to label containers and shelves with easy-to-read labels. A year is a long time, so don’t rely on memory. Labeling will make it easy to find everything you need next time.

Now that you have everything organized, when it comes time for next year’s holiday decorating you’ll be ready to go!

Happy holidays and Happy New Year!


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