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The tree was trimmed, the lights were strung and the stockings were hung by the chimney with care — and now it’s time to take the decorations down until next year. You might be ready to move on, but don’t rush through the process.
“The biggest mistake people make is taking down their decorations haphazardly and just tossing things in a bin or box,” says Catie Kelly, founder of Sistamatic Organizing. “Putting things away in an organized manner now will save you time and stress next year.”
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Before you pack a single ornament, nutcracker, strand of garland, flocked wreath or string of lights, follow these seven tips for un-decking the halls.
1. Gather the pieces
Instead of packing up one room at a time, professional organizer and blogger Lela Burris suggests gathering all of your decorations (and storage containers) in one room.
Seeing the entire collection together, she explains, makes it easier to launder the linens, repair the broken decorations and pack similar items in the same box. Next year, when you need to find holiday pillows, you’ll only have to open one box.
2. Do damage control
Check your decorations for cracks, chips and broken or missing pieces before packing them up for another year. If a bulb needs to be replaced, replace it now. If a string on an ornament is frayed, add a new string. If an item got broken, repair it, suggests Burris.
“You’ll thank yourself next year when you don’t have to spend an hour detangling lights and ironing deep wrinkles out of linens, or mourning broken ornaments,” Kelly adds.
3. Scrub seasonal items
Don’t store dirty decorations.
“It’s much easier to clean your decor now than after it’s sat on the shelf for 11 months,” says Burris. “Don’t give yourself a to-do list next holiday season.”
Kelly suggests treating stains and laundering holidays pillows, table linens and other fabrics; peeling melted wax off of candlesticks, menorahs or kinaras and making sure there’s nothing sticky or greasy left on your holiday dishes and glassware; outdoor decor should also be wiped down before it’s put into storage for next season.
4. Make a list, check it twice
A list can make decorating easier next season. In addition to making a note of tape, ornament hooks, candles and other things you’ll need to stock up on before you start decorating, write down reminders such as the number of light strands it takes to decorate the front porch.
“You likely won’t remember these things a year from now,” Burris says. “Add this list to one of your storage containers so it doesn’t get lost.”