Ask the Organizer
As I pulled out my Fall decorations this season I realized what a mess everything was. Do you have tips for storing seasonal decorations, costumes etc.?
Anna, Old Saybrook, CT
For those of you who love to show your holiday spirit each season, keeping track of your decorations can be a challenging task, especially if storage is limited. There are many options for storing your favorite decorations. As you decide what is best for you, consider these guidelines.
First, it is important to gather all of your decorations into one location so you can truly assess what you are dealing with. Sort them by holiday (i.e. Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Spring etc.) As you look at the various piles, decide what items you are realistically going to use. Also, toss damaged, worn or out of style items. If you pretend you are in a store shopping for these decorations, would you buy them again? Also, consider the space that you have to store the items. If you live in a small apartment with very little closet space, it may not be realistic to have a closet full of decorations. Consider getting the same festive affect in your home with less items. Lastly, donate any extras that you no longer use or want.
The next step is to decide how you want to store your items so they are protected and accessible. Investing in some clear storage bins may be worth it. Not only will you be able to quickly see by the color them what decorations are in the bin, but you can easily stack clear bins on shelves in the garage, in a corner of the basement or an attic. If you prefer a colored bin system, you can usually pick up orange and black bins after Halloween or green and red bins after Christmas for a great deal to stock up. Remember, if you keep consistent on the size, type and brand of bins you buy, you will be able to store them in a much neater fashion.
As you pack your decorations away, be sure to properly wrap fragile items in newspaper, tissue paper or bubble wrap to protect them from damage. When storing fragile items like ornaments or homemade easter eggs, you might want to consider spending a little more for an ornament storage bin. These plastic or canvas bins contain divided trays within the container to protect your ornaments, but also have the same stack-ability features as a clear plastic bin. For really special items, consider getting acid free tissue paper to protect them from further decay.
The key to using your decorations and remembering you have them is to ensure that they are accessible. That’s why I would encourage you to find one location in your house to store all of them so you don’t have to look in three closets, the garage and the attic to gather all of your holiday lights. This will also prevent you from forgetting boxes existed until you discover them a month after the season has passed. Also, if you have the luxury of space in a closet, try not to bury the decorations so deep that it takes a half a day to uncover them and put everything back in your closet. This will cause you to be less and less motivated to put them out each year and create no value for keeping them.
With these few simple guidelines, you should be well on your way to creating a festive holiday ensemble any season in your home!
Kristin Mastromarino is a professional organizer and owner of Livable Solutions Professional Organizing and The Organized Lifestyle retail store in Guilford, CT. (www.theorganizedlifestylestore.com). You can e-mail her your questions at Kristin@livablesolutions.com.