Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Pull it down, pack it up, and put it away: 10 tips for De-decorating after Christmas

My latest column as published in The Daily Sentinel the day after Christmas.

Pull it down, pack it up, and put it away. 10 tips for de-decorating your house after Christmas

The bad news is Christmas is over. The good news is that the decorations will come down faster than they went up. Here are some tips on how to pull it down, pack it up, and put it away:

1. The day after Christmas is not too soon to start de-decorating, especially if you have a real tree, time may be of the essence. Valentine’s Day is too late. New Year’s Day, is just about right for people who want to start the New Year off fresh.

2. Upgrade all your storage containers. If you are still using the same cardboard box, year after year, it’s time to start storing in plastic bins. Consider purchasing them in red and green to easily distinguish them from your other storage bins. You’ll know exactly which ones to pull down next year.

3. If possible, return your ornaments, lights, villages, and nativity sets to their original packaging. The Styrofoam and plastic trays will protect them from damage.

4. If you have lost the original packaging for your lights. Take the time to neatly wind them back up and secure them in a rubber band, masking tape, or a twist tie. If you have lost the original packaging for your ornaments, consider purchasing an ornament organizer. They are plastic boxes with individual slots. It’s well worth the investment if you plan on using your ornaments year after year. If new storage options are not in your after-Christmas budget, shoe boxes and crumpled newspapers will do just fine to cradle your shiny wares until next year.

5. Don’t let the little odds and ends linger loosely on the bottom of your bins. Keep all the extra ornament hooks, replacement light bulbs, and adhesive backed -wall mounted hooks in a clear plastic baggie. You won’t want to scrounge around for them later.

6. Tired of your old decorations? Ready to switch your traditional red and green ornaments for purple and silver next year? Cull any decorations you don’t think you will use again. Consider doing an ornament swap with friends and family. Toss what is damaged. Donate the rest.

7. Think about how you want to group your decorations for storage. Is it more convenient to store them by room i.e., “Entryway d├ęcor,” or by like items, “Garland and Greenery?” There is no right or wrong way. It’s whatever makes the most sense to you.

8. Has your Christmas tree box taken a beating? Is it getting harder and harder to re-tape the thing year after year? Buy stretch wrap. It’s like a giant roll of plastic wrap. Stretch wrap reinforces the box and protects your tree from damage. No more taping and re-taping because the stretch wrap adheres to itself. One roll will last years. It can be purchased locally at Grainger for between fifteen to 20 dollars per roll depending on width and thickness. Stretch wrap can also be found at other shipping supply stores.

9. When you are doing your after-Christmas returning /shopping, you will find some great deals on marked-down decorations, be sure you have enough storage for the incoming items.

10. Label each box and store with the label facing out. If you are an over-achiever, an itemized list of what is inside may save you time later.

The good news is that after following these tips, your decorations are organized and safely stored until next year. Put up your feet and enjoy some hot chocolate. The bad news is Christmas is still 364 days away.


  1. I started this process with my fall/Halloween/thanksgiving decor. Ahh the joys of organized decor.

  2. Hi Annie-
    We aren't seriously organized, but we do use plastic bins for ornaments, separate bins for different things, etc.
    One thing I discovered that really works for keeping my lights from getting abused and tangled is to use either wrapping paper tubes or paper towel tubes (the longer strings need the longer tubes). I notch one end, stick the cord into the notch with the plug end inside the tube, then start wrapping the lights around the tube. The cord should be neatly wrapped, tight against the previous wrap, lights sticking out from the tube. Hard to visualize, I know, and it takes a little dexterity to get this going right, but once you get the hang of it, it works amazingly well, and it's SOOOO nice the next year to just unroll your lights...

  3. Good tips as always. I am already feeling like taking down the tree, but I am trying to ignore the urge until New Years.

  4. Whatever happened to waiting until Los Reyes Magos?

  5. I guess my usual trick of throwing them all in a box and sitting on top until the lid shuts, is out.

  6. I got my part done. Now it's up to hubs to get the outside done.

    This is a great article. One to print and save for future generations.

    Happy New Year Annie

  7. Amy, great suggestion about the lights. Thanks!


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