Decorating for Christmas - Tips for Getting Organized

If you feel overwhelmed when it comes time to decorate your home for the holidays, don't despair. Maybe you just need to get organized with your Christmas decorations. It's easier than you think. Organizing will save you time and money in the long run because you will be able to preserve your decorations for many years to come and protect them from mildew, mice, spiders, or whatever else can harm them while in storage. Here are some quick tips to get started.

Throw Away Those Cardboard Boxes!
Probably one of the worst storage methods you can use for Christmas decorations is storing them in cardboard boxes. Even if you don't have mice, spiders or other pests around your home or apartment, there are still other factors to consider. If you have a leak in the area of your home where your holiday decorations are kept, the moisture can easily seep through the cardboard onto your decorations. If you have a mold or mildew problem, cardboard boxes will only encourage it more.

Mice and spiders simply "love" cardboard boxes. They can make their homes (or nests) in boxes and lay eggs there as well - in your decorations! If storing garland or cloth items, these also attract mice.

Choose containers that can be sealed and will protect your Christmas decorations from any outside harm. A safe alternative is to buy those cheap hard plastic storage containers with tightly-fitted lids. You can buy these at almost any dollar store or discount store, and they are affordable. You might be able to get a set of containers at different shapes and sizes so you can organize in greater detail. The cost to buy these containers, which is usually $5 to $15 per container, is money well-spent when you consider the prices of new holiday decorations these days.

Use Labels
Label all your containers so you can locate items easily when it's time to decorate again the following year. You can label them as follows: lights, ornaments, mantle pieces, wreaths, outdoor Christmas light projectors, outdoor decorations, kitchen decorations, bathroom decorations, etc. This will also help you put away decorations in the same order and container each year. You can develop a system so that decorating doesn't equal "chaos" each year!

Extend the Life of Your Christmas Lights
Christmas lights are the most fragile of your holiday decorations, so store them carefully. One way to keep light wires from tangling is to wrap each strand around something securely.
A cheap way to do this is to save your old newspapers. Roll a few pages of the newspaper in a neat scroll-like shape with two holes on each end. Think of how a poster or wrapping paper is rolled if you're not sure. Tape or staple the roll to keep it together firmly on each end.

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Wrap one strand of Christmas lights around the newspaper roll, beginning by sticking one of the light plugs into one of the holes on the newspaper roll. Wrap the light strand around and around until you reach the other end's plug. Stick this plug into the other hole, and voila! You have a perfectly-wrapped light strand. The good news is you won't have to untangle several strands of Christmas lights when it's time to decorate for next Christmas! You can unravel the lights as you place them around your Christmas tree. This eliminates the risk of stepping on or dragging the lights.

Fragile Decorations
If you have breakable ornaments or decorations made of glass, crystal or ceramic, store them as if you were packing to move away. Use newspaper or some other material to cushion breakable items within the containers.

HINT: When opening new Christmas tree ornaments, save the original ornament boxes for storage. You can store the ornaments safely in their original boxes and then stack the boxes neatly in your storage containers.

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Holidays are meant to be fun and relaxing, so organize this Christmas season to reduce decorating stress for next year. You'll be amazed at how much faster you can decorate as well as store the decorations away after the holidays!

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