After you pack up your Christmas tree and ornaments, your next challenge is figuring out what to do with all of your other decorations. How do you store a wreath without it getting crushed? Is it even possible to organize Christmas lights so they don't turn into a tangled mess? How can you keep your holiday dinnerware protected but out of the way? Find the answers to those questions (and more) below and get started on organization success. Haven't put away your tree or ornaments yet? Check out our posts on How to Store Christmas Trees and DIY Ornament Storage Ideas.
How to Store Wreaths
If you’re looking for a cheap, easy solution, look no further than your closet. Grab a sturdy hanger (like the ones used for winter coats), a zip-tie, and a piece of twine or strong yarn.
For large wreaths, use a zip-tie to pull the branches together. Create a loose loop; don't pull it too tight or else you'll bend the branches. Slip a piece of twine through the zip-tie and tie it to the hanger. Small or skinny wreaths don't need a zip-tie. Loop a piece of yarn or twine through the center of the wreath and tie to a hanger.
Where should you store your wreaths? Inside storage is always the best since it is temperature-controlled. You also don't need to cover your wreath if it's stored inside (but you will need to dust next December). Wreaths can be stored in your garage or attic as long as you place a protective material over them. Without a cover, dust, insects, and moisture will damage your wreath.
Create a cover by using what you have at home. After securing your wreath to a hanger, pull a dry-cleaning bag over it and tie off the bottom. You can also use a heavy-duty garbage bag by cutting a hole in the bottom of it for the hanger. Pull it over the wreath and use the garbage bag ties to close it off. Don't use a cheap garbage bag as the wreath will poke through.
If you have an expensive or delicate wreath, purchasing a wreath bag is the way to go. You can find cheap options for as low as $9.99 as well as more expensive high-quality wreath bags.
Gift Wrap Storage Ideas
Use a zip-up garment bag — place the rolls inside, zip it up, and hang in a spare closet. Put rubber bands or hair ties around the rolls to keep them from unrolling.
Purchase a cheap over the door shoe organizer. Cut the bottoms out of the shoe pockets and run the wrapping paper through them. Don't cut through the pocket on the bottom so the gift wrap has something to sit in. Store other gift wrapping supplies, like tape and ribbons, in unused pockets. Hang the organizer inside a spare closet to keep it out of the way.
Find a spare folding chair bag. Place wrapping paper rolls inside and use a carabiner to hook the strap of the bag to a closet rack. Weigh down the bottom of the bag with other gift wrap supplies to keep it from getting top-heavy and spilling over.
Use cardboard tubes to prevent unrolling — cut toilet paper or paper towel cardboard rolls down the middle vertically and slip around tubes to prevent unraveling.
If all else fails, purchase a gift wrap storage bag. Slide it beneath your bed, hang it in a closet, or stack it with other decoration boxes to keep it accessible but out of the way. Find a bag with compartments for scissors, tape, ribbons, labels, gift bags, and other wrapping supplies.
Christmas Light Storage
Putting Christmas lights away is the worst part of holiday cleanup, and is often the last thing to get done. Before you put your lights away, plug them in and check for broken or burned out lights. Replace them now so you don't have to worry about it next year. Use the ideas below to make next year's setup fast and easy.
Use spare cardboard from Christmas gifts to create light storage reels. First, cut the pieces into rectangles about 12 inches long by 6 inches wide. Mark with a pen a spot about an inch from the end of the rectangle along the length. Next, start at the marking and cut diagonally down an inch. Do this for each mark you made. Then, cut a straight line from one diagonal cut to the other. If desired, you can cut rectangular "handles" into each end of the reel to make it easier to move around. Wrap your lights (one strand per piece) around the reels. Stack the lights in a box or place along with other decorations.
Loosely wrap a hanger with lights. Pick one with sleeve indentations — lights may slip off of smooth hangers. Leave the pronged plug hanging out so you can check for burned-out lights before you unwrap it next year.
Another method is to tie strings of lights into individual circles. While holding one of the plugs, wrap a string of lights around your arm to your elbow and back up to your hand. Continue winding until the string ends. Take it off your arm and you should have a nice circle or oval of lights. Cut two small pieces of yarn and tie the lights together on opposite ends so the circles stay intact. Repeat for all your Christmas lights, making a separate round for each string. Next, place the reels of lights inside grocery bags organized by color or location (indoor colored tree lights, outdoor white lights, etc.). Label each bag with what's inside and store the lights along with other decorations, in a separate box, or slip a hanger through the bag handle.
You can also purchase Christmas light storage solutions. Look for a bag or box that includes light reels so you don't have to worry about making two separate purchases or making your own.
Other Holiday Decorations
Trees, ornaments, lights, gift wrap, and wreaths are rarely the end of Christmas decorations. However, you may be able to use those storage containers to fit in other smaller decorations, such as garlands, tree skirts, and pinecones. If your Christmas tree bag has extra room, store unbreakable decorations alongside it. If you're worried about anything getting scratched, wrap it in a light sheet or other fabric to protect it from the tree's needles.
Use spare compartments in your ornament storage box to store short candles, nativity scene pieces, and other small decorations. For tall candles, wrap them in paper towels or tissue paper and place them in empty paper towel rolls to keep them from getting crushed.
Protect your fine china and holiday dinnerware by outfitting a cardboard box with soft dividers. Pick a box that fits your dinnerware just right — you don't want your plates or bowls shifting around as you move your boxes around. Cut pieces of felt or a thick cloth to fit the size of the box. Place a piece of fabric between each piece to protect the dinnerware from each other. If the box is a little too big, shove extra pieces of fabric around the edges to keep your plates and bowls as secure as possible.
Holiday-themed cups and mugs can be stored alongside ornaments in your ornament storage box. If your box has cardboard dividers, wrap each mug with a piece of tissue paper or paper towel before placing it in a compartment. If the compartments are too big, stuff the rest of the space with tissue paper or paper towels to keep it from shifting during transportation.
Label each box with what's inside and the holiday it's for (E.g. "Thanksgiving Dinner Plates" and "Christmas Mugs"). This will help to avoid confusion when the holidays roll around again and you will know exactly which box you need to pull out of your closet. Pro tip: organize the dish boxes in the order of holidays. Put Christmas dinnerware at the back of your closet with Thanksgiving items closer up. After Thanksgiving is over, pull the Christmas boxes to the front and move the Thanksgiving ones to the back.
If your holiday china is a priceless family heirloom, you may want to invest in high-quality dish storage boxes. You can purchase boxes for dishes up to 14 inches in diameter and you have options for specialty items like salad plates, soup bowls, charger plates, and saucer plates. Each box comes with dividers to ensure your valuables stay protected.
Holiday cleanup doesn't have to be a burden. Use the tips above to keep your decorations protected and out of the way until next year. A final tip — don't try to do all of this in one day. Dedicate time every day for a different activity (or two if you're feeling daring). Perhaps you spend Monday organizing your lights, Tuesday cleaning and putting away the dishes, and Wednesday preparing your wreath for storage. No matter how you go about it, remember to do your best to have a good time.