Submitted by Rachel Keller
When the Christmas celebration is over, what do you do with all those ornaments and decorations–just toss them in a big box, throw in the attic or closet, and hope for the best next year? Do you dread putting away all those holiday decorations? By taking time to properly care for your Christmas supplies, you can save time and money by not buying new items the following year. These suggestions may help your decorations and ornaments last for years. They might even become precious heirlooms.
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Label all boxes carefully. This saves time and frustration. Better yet, label one box "Open First." Include in that box all items you need before setting up everything else.
Pack and label boxes according to the room in which they will go.
Separate outdoor and indoor decorations. You could even color code the boxes for easy identification.
Try to pack like items together. Have individual containers for ribbons, fragile ornaments, decorations, nativity sets, etc.
Separate light and heavy decorations, making certain to store the heavier items on the bottom and lighter boxes on top. To protect your fragile ornaments, consider storing them in a plastic container rather than a cardboard box.
Take pictures of your decorations, and/or include instructions with the decorations to save time next year.
Use old socks or nylons to pack fragile ornaments. If all your socks have mates and you can’t spare any, try small zip-top plastic bags. Blow air into the bag with a straw and seal to protect.
Use disposable plastic cups for fragile items. Place in a box with shredded paper around the cups to protect from damage. You can even use egg cartons for small fragile items.
If you don’t have shredded paper, reuse old wrapping paper or tissue paper as packaging between items in boxes. You can also wrap ornaments in recycled tissue paper from Christmas presents.
By storing ornament hangers separately from the ornaments, you can prevent damage to your ornaments and prevent losing the hangers. (Use small plastic containers, such as pill bottles or margarine containers, to store small ornament hangers.)
You can buy garland and Christmas light holders, or wrap them around an empty paper towel tube. Store tubes in a cylindrical container (such as an oatmeal box) for protection.
Roll ironed holiday tablecloths and napkins around the cardboard tubes from your wrapping paper. Wrap it in tissue paper and a garbage bag. This keeps your tablecloth in perfect condition for the next time. You can also place linens inside a suitcase or plastic container with some scented sachets or a dryer softener sheet to keep fresh.
To store your wreath, tie it to a hanger. Cut a small hole in the bottom of a drawstring bag and pull the hanger through the hole. Pull the string closed at the bottom and hang the wreath on a nail in the attic or garage. If you have nowhere to hang it, lay it flat in a box. You can also buy special containers made just for storing wreaths.
Try reusing those plastic dry cleaning bags to cover all hanging decorations. Hang safely to prevent damage.
After wrapping candles individually in cellophane or wax paper, lay flat in a box. Do not store in an attic or other hot location!
If you live in a humid climate, remove any metal decorations that may rust and store in a plastic container.
By making a little extra effort after Christmas, you can save time, frustration, and money. In addition, you will have precious memories to last for many years to come and to pass on to your family and friends.
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Copyright © 2006 by Rachel Keller. All rights reserved.