Organizing our Holiday Ornaments

Tis the season where clutter is not only welcomed but encouraged! It’s once again time to pull down those boxes from the attic or the garage. You know the ones. They’re filled with everything from blow-up lawn decorations, strings of tangled lights, and your famous one-hundred Nutcracker display. No one really knows how we manage to find surfaces to contain all these holiday treasures, but we do it every year right on schedule.

On the one hand, these objects bring joy and holiday sparkle into our homes. But on the other hand, organizing Christmas décor can seem somewhat daunting. By January first, most of us are more than ready to toss everything back in a box and stuff it away until next year. But this year consider taking some extra time at the start of the holiday season to organize your holiday ornaments and lights. In the long run it will save you time and space when you go to pack them up for the season and prep them for next year. Here’s how: 

Edit your ornaments

Holiday ornaments are sentimental. Many of us keep ornaments that are broken, outdated, or ugly because they were given to us as gifts, or we actually liked them at one point. I’m talking about the forgotten ornaments we don’t actually put on our tree but keep in the storage box because we just don’t have the heart to trash or donate them. It’s important to revisit this collection, asking yourself: Will I use it? Does it bring me joy? Is my ‘why’ for keeping it, bigger than my ‘why’ for tossing it?

Use clear and stackable storage containers

Swap out your cardboard boxes and opaque bins for clear, translucent ones that stack neatly. This will not only create more storage space but offer visibility to showcase which ornaments are in each box. No more guesswork!

Sort like items

Sort ornaments by types such as large bulbs, small bulbs, stuffed, wooden, vintage, and so on. This helps you to see if your collection is lopsided and, honestly, how many wooden Santa ornaments does one family really need? Once you take inventory of what you have, separate like items into their own storage bins. You can keep the boxes ornaments come in or purchase specifically designed containers that have compartments to separate ornaments like the Sterilite Clear 24 Compartment-Stackable Christmas Ornament Storage Box from Target.

Label the storage bins

Place a label on the outside of the bins with the contents of each one. For example: Large Red and Gold Bulbs. Place the label on the front and the side of the box so you will see it depending on how and where you stack the bins. This makes for easy retrieval.

Protect special ornaments

If you don’t have the original box, wrap each ornament in acid-free tissue paper (which is easily found at most office supply or craft stores). Remove metal hooks before wrapping to avoid snagging and scratching. The best place to store ornaments is a location that is cool and dry all year round.

Storing Christmas lights

Wrap each strand of lights around an 8” x 11” piece of card board to prevent tangles. It keeps them organized, but it also gives you something to do with all that holiday packaging that comes in the mail. Next, file each piece of cardboard with lights into a clear, labeled bin. Toss strands that are not working properly. Take note of how many boxes of lights you might need to replace next year or in post-holiday sales in January.

The Holidays can be a stressful time for everyone. Setting up a holiday organizing system will help save time and energy during set up and clean up. It protects ornaments from breaking or scratching. It keeps track of holiday inventory. Suddenly we no longer think of our Holiday bins as “clutter” but as organized “seasonal home décor,” and doesn’t that have a nice ring to it?

By Missy Crawford