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Do you have the same feeling I do on Holidays?  It seems people are more than glad to help decorate or help prepare things in the kitchen, but when it comes time to clean up and put things away, the helpers all seem to vanish.

There are years when all I want to do is put all the leftovers in plastic bags in the freezer and gather all the decorations together in a large bag, and put them in storage. Of course, from experience, I know that this will lead to chaos and frustration later. Take heart: Even home professionals can’t stand the thought of organizing their baubles.

Don’t do it to yourselves.  Just follow these 7 Steps to Properly Storing  Your Holiday Decorations.

Don’t let your holiday finery become a hot mess! Here are seven mistakes to avoid when taking down and storing decorations.

  1. Don’t go solo

Find a partner, even hire someone.  Big tablecloths like King Size sheets are best folded with a companion. All that walking up and down stairs and carting storage boxes is so much easier and quicker when the work is divided among two or more. Even just dividing the effort where you take turns, one packing things and one putting them away, are a huge benefit for many people.

  1. Protect your decorations

You have possibly collected your favorite decorations over the years.  One given to you by a special friend, an heirloom handed down to you, or the special finds you had to have.  It just seems that if you care about them, you will take care of them by packing them away adequately. Take the time and put in the effort to pack them away safely and adequately.  You will be glad you did.

  1. Cut down if you can.

When was the last time you used that decoration that is still in the box?  Last year, two years ago, do you even remember? If it has lost its luster in your eyes, let it go.  If something is in disrepair, fix it or let it go. Throw them out, or better still, give them to a charity thrift store.  Someone else may appreciate them as much as you did once.  Think of shelters, health care centers, public libraries, and other nonprofits. This will also give you space for any new items you might want to pick up. Think after Christmas sales.

  1. Have a Storage Plan

Ornaments that are in five different places and garlands in three separate containers are not a good way to keep track of what you have and where you have it. Outside decorations should be grouped together in bins.  Soft goods, linens, stockings, napkins, and similar items should be in separate containers. If you have certain things that come apart to be stored, such as an artificial Christmas Tree, pack the parts, pieces, and decorations in one place.  You know you will remember just exactly how it all goes together next year. I know you won’t.

  1. Labeling your decorations special

Once things are in boxes, bins, and containers, get a permanent marker and get specific.  Write “lights for the mantle” and not just lights.  You should even number them.  Lights for the garage, box 1 of 2.

  1. Don’t scrimp on organizational supplies.

Get sturdy containers to store your decorations in if you value them.  There are so many clichés I could mention but if you want your decorations to last, then get containers that will also last.  If you pick containers in the traditional colors of the holiday they can be located even quicker; think blue and white for Chanukah and Orange for Halloween.

  1. Keep notes

Take notes on what needs to be replaced or things that could be added to you as you pack things away.  Is your family growing? Do you need a bigger turkey platter next year or a larger roaster?  What light strings need to be replaced?  Which piece of your collection needs to be replaced or attained? January sales are a great place to save a little money on things you are going to purchase anyway.  Keep the list handy during the year.  That yard sale in July may just have the stuff you put on your list now.