Friday, January 2, 2015

Storing Christmas Decorations

Before we can get on to the business of getting our homes completely clean and organized, we need to tend to all that Christmas decor.  Are you one of those people that like to put it all away the day after Christmas? That's me!! (But hey, my mother-in-law often takes hers down Christmas night!) Then there is the other group that insists that it must stay up until after the New Year.  I like to put mine up right around Thanksgiving so I'm usually ready for it to come down right away.  Honestly though - I think the appeal of getting everything all clean and organized again is more motivation for me than being done with Christmas.  Yeah, I'm weird like that.  I texted a picture to my sister after it was all packed up and clean, my house was so blank and clean and empty that her response was "It looks like you've been robbed".  Haha! There is something to be said for simplicity.   No really - I just hadn't "redecorated" yet so it certainly looked blank.

This year I decided to really purge and organize all the Christmas decor before it was all stored away again for another year, well eleven months to be technical.  For the last several years I realized I have so many Christmas items that I just don't seem to use.  I decided they needed to go so I'm not sorting through so many Christmas bins and overwhelming myself when it's time to decorate again.  I actually filled an entire garbage bag with seriously old trashy Christmas junk that I had been storing for years.  I had every intention of boxing it all up and donating it, but I've entered that stage of life with my oldest almost half way through college. She insists that any household item I'm ready to part with be put away into storage to be saved for her as she dreams of getting her own first apartment.  (Oh my stars!) Well, that makes sense I suppose.  Especially all those little Christmas knick-knacks that I am soooo over, but really do have special meaning to the kids and their childhood.  So this year I really sorted through all the Christmas mayhem and began a box for my Punkin to start her own little Christmas decorating one day.  I went through every single bin and emptied it completely and only put back in what I know I will use.

It's important to clearly label your Christmas bins so that you know exactly what is inside of them.  Sometimes I get all fancy with my label maker, but for the storage room I prefer the good ol' index card, sharpie and tape method.  Almost all of my Christmas decor goes in these green and red storage bins that I have picked up over the years at places like Target or Wal-Mart.

This year I picked up several of these great three in one ornament organizers at Target.  They have three trays that stack and connect to each other and simple cardboard dividers inside.  You don't have to use the inserts in every one so I even placed some of my more meaningful items in here that aren't ornaments. Can you believe I used to just throw all my ornaments into those big storage bins and just hope for the best?  For real.  Then I grew up (finally).  So now all my sentimental ornaments from the first year we were married, baby's first Christmas, special ornaments representing places we have traveled and everything in between all have a nice safe home now in these ornament containers.  I had a ball yesterday exploring The Container Store - they also have lots of great options for ornament storage too, and right now they are all on clearance!
Our most used ornaments are these red and silver PLASTIC ornaments that I like to keep stored in these handy plastic drawers.   In the top drawer is all the ribbon that I like to put on the tree.  This makes it VERY easy to put the tree up and take it down each year.  We just carry this drawer set upstairs and set it right by the tree and it's all right there and ready to go.  It's even easier to take it all down! 

Each year the girl's Nana gives them their own ornament for that year.  She has done this every year since they were born so that when they grown up and begin their own homes they have a good collection of meaningful Christmas ornaments.  We usually write their names and the year on the back.   We store each of these in simple plastic shoe box organizers labeled with their names.  The girls also like to have their own mini Christmas trees in their room so they will often use some of those ornaments on their own little bedroom trees. 

I also like to buy wrapping paper at the after Christmas sales and I keep them in this great tote.  It actually has a lid but I like to buy the super long rolls so they don't fit well with the lid.  

I keep the various artificial trees in their own cardboard boxes they came in, wrapped up well with packing tape and all tucked away and stacked up in a corner of our basement storage room. 

I keep all my Christmas dishes in the cabinet up above my refrigerator with my regular china.   Since it's not something we need to access on a regular basis, it makes sense to keep it safe there.  You won't believe it but I bought two sets of this Christmas china about fifteen years ago at Dollar General.  I'm not kidding.  It is so pretty and a decent quality for using once a year.  No one would ever know it came from the dollar store.  

 Also in this cabinet is my Hannah-Banana's Christmas china that was a Christmas gift a few years ago.  She loves birds and appreciates dainty girly things, so this set was just perfect for her.  One day she will use it in her own home.

I keep all the outdoor decor, which is mainly wreaths for the windows and the garland that goes around the front door in a large bin stored up on a shelf in the garage.  I haven't taken those down yet - but SOON!!    

Happy Christmas Packing!