Ahh, the simple pleasures of decorating your home during your favorite holidays. A seasonally dressed-up home is a cheerful way to greet your guests (as well as passersby!), and also fills your dwelling with a cheerful, celebratory mood to enjoy for months.

Whether your holiday bedecking leans toward the simplistic side, or you go crazy with the  spiderwebs, gourds, and tinsel, one thing is certain: when the season ends, you have to pack it all away. This is when organization counts most. The way you pack away your holiday items not only preserves them safely, but also allows you to find them easily the following year—without the hassle of digging or making a mess before the real chaos of decoration has begun!

As a professional organizer and lover of simplicity, you can imagine my tips for packing away holiday items run parallel with my motto.

Use Clear Containers

More than likely, your decorations will be stowed away in a storage unit, garage, or shed—spaces that tend to have minimal light. Packing items away in solid colored bins not only further darkens the space, but makes it impossible to see the contents. Make it easy on yourself by investing in clear containers. An additional advantage to clear containers is that you don’t need to add a fancy label, since you can see the contents with little to no issue.

Use Color-Coded Lids

Most clear bins have the option of adding a color-coded lid, especially when you purchase them around the holidays. A great tip is to plan on updating your holiday bins over the course of one year. When Easter rolls around, grab the bins with a pink or light green colored lid. During the Halloween season, grab a bin with an orange or black lid. Or, as shown here, for Christmas you can grab a bin with a red colored lid. There is no need for a label, and you’ll know exactly which bins to grab and bring into the house each holiday.

storage bins

Compartmentalize Ornaments

Ornaments are not only fragile, but often your most sentimental pieces—especially the ones given from friends over the years, or handed down from loved ones. It should come as no surprise that the best way to stow these priceless gems away is within soft compartments housed within a hard bin. You can find these special types of bins everywhere to contain your fragile pieces. If you’re worried about the bottom row of ornaments, just add a thick layer of crumpled tissue paper on the bottom.

Christmas boxes

Tissue paper

Re-Use Gift Wrap As Packing Material

After your gifts have been opened, you’ll notice how much wrapping there is to recycle or put away for future holidays. Tissue paper has a short lifespan for gift-giving, but is great when re-purposed as packing material. Whether you ball it up as a cushion for fragile items or wrap decor completely in it, this is a great way to re-use something that would otherwise end up in the trash. Also consider using hard-sided gift boxes to contain fragile decorations. You’ll be protecting your items while also reminding yourself you have a box you can re-use for another gift during that season.

Ziploc bag

Use Clear Plastic Bags

For smaller items or decorations that tend to slide around or get lost in a large bin, clear plastic bags with a zipper allow you to contain it all—and again, see exactly what’s inside. These bags are great for extra ribbon, ornament hangers, small candles, and other small items like candle fillers. Everyone should have these on hand!

Christmas lights

Wrangle Those Christmas Lights!

Nothing is worse than spending hours untangling strands of Christmas lights from the previous year. Save yourself the headache by putting them away correctly at the end of the season. An easy way to wrangle these is by coiling the strand into a circle, wrapping both ends around the middle, and then plugging the plugs together to keep the bundle in place. You can simply place the bundles into a bin so there are no headaches the following season.


Bag Up Large Items

If you have items that are too large for a standard bin, don’t purchase a bin specifically to accommodate it. These days, clear storage bags come in a variety of sizes. Some even start out large and can be vacuum-sealed to significantly reduce in size by removing the extra air within the bag. Putting these items in a bag also keeps them flexible so they can sit on top of bins to fill in open spaces and gaps on a shelf.

Any Donations?

Before packing it all away, take a closer look at your items. Did anything break this season? Did you fall out of love with a particular piece? Is it weathered outdoor items? Are you just ready to part with it to make room for something new next year? This is the time to take a deeper look into your stash. That way when you open that bin next year, it’s one less thing to deal with, and you’re sure to love it all and feel that much more excited in your decorating efforts.

It’s hard to believe the holiday season is already upon us. I hope these tips will make for happy containment as well when the season ends. Happy decorating!

Written by Samantha Pregenzer of Simply Organized.