There’s an epidemic in the Christmas world and it’s time we discussed it. We’re talking about improper treatment of Christmas lights, trees and decor during the storage process. Thousands of innocent Christmas decorations are being mangled due to improper storage by negligent handlers. You know the type, the tree wrestlers, who cram their cherished Christmas tree into its box, then sit on it and hope that tape and brute force will keep it all together…or the light tosser, you’ve seen him outside, ripping lights off of trees and gutters and throwing them haphazardly into boxes and bags like last week’s leftovers. While this might work for now, the corners we cut today will only result in headache and frustration upon unpacking our decorations next year. So, let’s start a new tradition this year and give our Christmas trees and lights the storage dignity they deserve. We can be better. Here’s how…
Image via Frugal Ginger
Storing Artificial Christmas Trees
Most artificial trees come in a box just big enough to fit their “unfluffed” form. However, anyone who has tried to cram their beautiful tree back into its original box knows that this is an almost impossible feat which often results in half the tree sticking out of the top of the box, a pole sticking through a self made hole, and, if you’re lucky, an entire roll of tape acting as the only thing holding it all together.
If the above sounds like you, we have good news! It’s time to recycle your cardboard tree box and start better protecting your investment. Here are a few ways to make sure your tree stands tall and beautiful for many years…
- If you have the space, wrap your tree in large stretch wrap roll used for moving and a blanket or sheet to protect from dust and moisture and then just move your tree into it’s appropriate storage area in your home. Depending on their size, some trees can be heavy. For upright storage we suggest investing in a rolling tree stand to make this process easier and ensure your floors are protected while relocating your tree.
- Invest in a tree storage bag! Tree storage bags are an affordable and dependable way to ensure your tree and lights are protected from dirt and moisture while also preventing structural damage to your tree pole and branches. One bag will generally suffice for full trees up to seven feet and slender trees up to nine feet and some even feature rollers on the bottom for easy transportation.
- This tip doesn’t relate to trees, but Christmas wreaths and garland need proper storage spaces too! If the original box that your Christmas greenery arrived in has seen better days, try storing garland and wreaths in padded wreath storage bags to keep them safe all year. Multiple sizes are available to fit a variety of wreaths and the larger sizes can hold most garland once wound into a circle. If you have room to hang your wreaths and garland, consider wrapping them in plastic as mentioned above to ensure no dust or dirt gets on them while not in use.
One final tree storage tip – If at all possible, try to find an indoor storage spot for your tree that experiences minimal humidity and temperature change, such as a spare room closet.
How to Store Christmas Lights
Beware the tangled mess! Chances are you spent a good bit of money on your Christmas lights, so you’ll want to protect your investment.
Hint: The best way to avoid a tangled mess is to not throw all of your lights directly into a box as soon as you take them down.
This might seem like common sense, but you’d be surprised! Chances are your New Year’s resolution involved some form of focused effort toward making improvements in your life and you are likely going to take down your Christmas lights sometime in the New Year. See where we’re going with this? Taking extra time and placing more attention on storing your Christmas light strings properly might be your first opportunity to try out the improved, more organized you! We’ve provided a few hassle free Christmas light storage ideas below to help you get started.
Christmas Light Storage Tips
- Wind lights around a coffee can – cut a hole in the top to feed the plug through and label the can with the location of the lights, such as “tree” or “roof.”
- Save the flaps on your cardboard boxes – if you have a few extra cardboard boxes leftover from Christmas presents, cut off the rectangular flaps on the top of the box and wind your light strings around them. You can cut a notch on each end of the cardboard to hold the plugs of your light string or just tuck them in underneath the wound up lights.
- Use a power cord spool – look for a cord holder that will accommodate large electrical cords, then plug your light strings end to end and wind them up on the cord holder. This will allow you to hang your cord holders up, out of the way and prevent tangling, saving you set up time next year!
- Wrap Christmas light strings around your elbow and palm to create a neat circle, much like you would when winding up a hose or power cord. From here either place each light string into it’s own labeled zip lock bag and lay the bags flat in storage bins or hang your lights from a few large hooks in the garage or your storage shed.
Christmas Ornament Storage Solutions
We’ve all been there. You open the top of your ornament storage bin only to find a broken mess and now you’ve got to decide if you’re going to try to hunt down replacements or just start all over. Christmas ornament storage and subsequent unpacking can be one of the most tedious and headache inducing parts of the holiday season. However, with a little extra attention placed on storage, this can change! Proper storage keeps irreplaceable heirloom ornaments protected, and reduces the chance of having to go through the difficult and often costly experience of finding a replacement for broken glass ornaments.
- Store smaller glass ornaments in egg cartons.
- Fill boxes with packing peanuts or shredded paper and place ornaments inside. Leave some space between each of your ornaments to protect them from hitting other ornaments in the event that they shift. The more filler the better protection!
- Padded ornament storage trays can easily hang or lay flat, perfect for stacking on shelves or storing away in extra closet space!
One final ornament storage tip: Avoid plastic containers and attic or basement locations when storing your vintage ornaments. Plastic containers with resealable lids can trap moisture and cause damage to fragile ornaments while the extreme temperature changes that occur in basement and attic spaces is also hazardous. Try finding extra space underneath a guest room bed or inside a closet or cabinet to tuck away antique and heirloom ornaments.
Chances are the tree wrestlers and light tossers in your life probably aren’t taking the time to look up proper Christmas storage techniques, so give them a nudge and share this post!
Have a few ideas of your own? Tell us your best storage tips in the comments below!