Organizing Holiday Decorations

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Organizing expert Jill Pollack
Organizing expert Jill Pollack

It’s the second week of December and if you aren’t decorated for Christmas yet, you are considered to be very behind in holiday merriment. While many people decorate for Christmas after Thanksgiving—that much needed break between holidays is sometimes necessary—others delay taking out their decorations at the thought of what awaits them in the attic, closet and garage. Organizational expert Jill Pollack offers simple and easy hacks for storing and organizing holiday decorations so the thought of searching through boxes doesn’t plague you this time of year.

Use color coded plastic bins to store your Christmas ornaments
Use color coded plastic bins to store your Christmas ornaments

Since Christmas and Hanukkah is only a monthly holiday, Pollack recommends storing decoration far away from everything else in the home.

“It’s a month of stuff so it’s very seasonal. Storage options can be plastic bins, hat boxes, holiday cookie containers and plastic shoe bags, which can be rolled,” said Pollack. “Using egg cartons, fish tackle boxes or gluing Solo cups to a piece of cardboard are great hacks for storing ornaments as well.”

Since most people use their attic, garage or basement for storage, Pollack recommends protecting decorations in bubble wrap, tissue paper and newspaper and using air tight containers and bins to avoid water or mold damager.

“Plastic bins are great because they’re sturdy and you can use the clear ones so you can see what’s inside or just label the outside of a colored bin (red and green coordinate with the season) with a sticker, a list or a Sharpie,” said Pollack, who discouraged the use of cardboard boxes that can lose their strength and bend. “They stack well and most stores have containers specific to the item in need. I’m into special organizers because each item has its place.”

Wrap lights around cardboard to prevent knots.
Wrap lights around cardboard to prevent knots.

No matter what your decoration, make sure that it stores well. Pollack said since outdoor decorations are fairly sturdy after being displayed on your lawn for a month, they’ll be fine in the garage. But string lights are another matter entirely.

“Use a flat piece of cardboard or a hangar to wrap lights around because that will prevent a messy process of unknotting and breaking bulbs, just as installing a wire rack or rod horizontally along the wall of your closet will allow wrapping paper rolls to stand straight up and out of the way,” said Pollack, who added that waste baskets and wine cases work just as well. “Remember that you’re decorating because you want to, not be you have to. If possible, try to keep everything contained to one area of the home, that way when you go searching for decorations, it is less stressful.”

Keep wrapping paper neat and out of the way.
Keep wrapping paper neat and out of the way.

To go green this holiday season, consider opting for gift wrap that can be recycled. Pollack suggests saving brown paper bags from the grocery stores for a rustic look, using newspapers or fabric.

“It’s all about personalization, so get the kids involved and let them decorate bags,” she said of gift wrapping. “You can turn scraps pf paper into a decorative bow as well.”

And let’s not forget that this time of year is all about the gift of giving.

“It’s a good idea to review your inventory before you buy more decorations for the next year, and when going through them, consider a homeless shelter to donate any lights or ornaments to that you no longer need,” she said. “Just because you don’t have room for it doesn’t mean someone else won’t.”


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