1. Use egg cartons for storing small, delicate pieces. Use tissue paper saved from gifts to cushion them.
2. Store holiday crystal or stemware in wine or liquor boxes, easily sourced from your local liquor store or Trader Joe's.
3. Store strings of lights in cardboard or tin coffee cans. Or if you were the recipient of Danish butter cookies or a giant tin of popcorn, these will work as well or better.
4. Store wreaths and garlands in individual paper shopping or gift bags. Garland can be wound around a used gift box and secured with ribbon. You can hook the bag handles over a clothes hanger for crush-free storage.
5. Use what you already have. Saving the boxes that an item came in (obviously only works if it's store-bought!) and putting the items back in them is something I try to do as much as possible.
6. Storing or disposing of your Christmas tree. Most cities and municipalities have Christmas tree recycling for those who opted for a real tree. To store your artificial tree, repack in its original box, but wrap it in old dry cleaning bags to keep it dust free. You may also want to put a couple of cedar blocks inside to keep insects out.
7. To keep your holiday candles dust-free, store them in old socks or stockings. But remember to keep them in a cool, dry place. The last thing you'd want to find next year is a bunch of waxy socks that melted over the summer.
8. Last but not least, label all your boxes clearly! This will save you from becoming frustrated next year when you can't find the box that your holiday lights are in and the impatient urge to buy a whole new set. Using and maintaining (and being able to find) what we already have is one of the greenest options we can exercise.