One of the best things about winter is decorating for the holidays...and just about the worst is taking it all down afterwards, and putting it all back. Not only is it kind of sad to see all the twinkly lights and sentimental ornaments go back into storage for months, but it's also a hassle to store everything properly without it taking up space or becoming a mess for next year.
The good news is, there are tons of products and DIY projects you can take on to make storing your holiday decorations a little bit easier. From ornaments and wreaths to gift wrap and candles, here are some storage ideas that can help you come the new year.
If you haven't kept the boxes your tree ornaments came in—or you're just looking for a storage solution that saves more space—you've got a few options. There's a wide range of stackable store-bought solutions, like these ornament boxes from The Container Store (shown above) that cost between $24.99 and $29.99, depending on which size you buy.
If you'd rather go the DIY route, One Good Thing by Jillee has a super easy tutorial for ornament storage that uses just 4 things: a large plastic storage bin, plastic cups, cardboard, and a hot glue gun—just glue the cups to the cardboard (these layers can easily be stacked inside the bin) and fill the cups with your ornaments. If they need a little extra protection, add tissue paper or bubble wrap.
You can also store smaller ornaments inside egg cartons, like in this example from Va-Voom Vintage (which also features some other great tips for storing delicate, vintage ornaments.)
Looking for an easy way to store your holiday wreaths that won't result in them getting crushed? You probably have all you need at home already—a dry cleaning bag (or trash bag) and a hanger will do the trick. Just use a zip tie or twine to hang the wreath around the hook of the hanger, and cover with the dry cleaning bag—or poke a hole in the middle of the bottom of the trash bag and cover like you would with a dry cleaning bag. You can then hang your wreaths in a storage closet or on a rack for squish-free safe-keeping. If you need a tutorial to follow along, Sew Many Ways has it in steps.
If you'd rather rely on store-bought options, Target has zip-up wreath storage bags in various sizes that come with handles for easy carrying (the one shown above is 30" and costs $9.99.)
For a sturdier option that will definitely keep your wreaths safe, you can get a plastic storage box that snaps together, like this one from The Container Store—$14.99 to fit a 24" wreath.
Handy tip: You can use all three of the above methods for storing garland, too—just wrap it up in a circle and tie it together to hang, or coil it inside the other storage solutions.
Sure, you could completely take apart your artificial tree and put it back in the box, but that can be a big challenge to take on. Instead, you can take a cue from Epbot's tutorial and shrink wrap your tree, as seen above. The benefits? It won't take up much vertical space, you don't have to take it apart, and you can leave the lights on it—that means next year, you can just cut open the shrink wrap and fluff the branches back into places, no more assembly and light stringing required.
If you're looking for a storage solution that's more heavy-duty (and has wheels!) Amazon has tree storage bags that can fit trees up to 9' tall—you'll have to disassemble it, but your tree will definitely be safe in there. This one, from Primode, costs $39.99.
String lights always seem to be the most challenging thing to store each year, because it's not just about finding space for them—you need to make sure cords don't get tangled and bulbs don't get broken, too. But with a few household items, you can store your lights easily and painlessly.
If you have cardboard scraps lying around (and you probably will after opening gift boxes) you can use them to keep your lights tangle-free. A Real-Life Housewife shows you how in this tutorial, and you can see the beautifully organized result above. The best part is, you can then neatly stack or layer them in a box or a storage bin to keep them safe.
As an alternative, you can also wrap your lights around a coat hanger, like in this tutorial from WikiHow, or around a cardboard paper towel tube, like in this tutorial from Modern Homemaker: Single Edition.
To keep wrapping paper in pristine condition for use again next year, you've got quite a few options. For quick and easy hanging storage you can keep in your closet, The Chic Site suggests lining up all your wrapping paper tubes inside a zip-up garment bag, as seen above.
If you're looking for a hanging solution that covers all your gift wrapping needs, this one (shown above) from HomeCrate on Amazon has pockets for everything from bows and ribbons to gift bags, tape and scissors. It can hold up to 25 rolls of wrapping paper, and costs $18.99.
If you need something to fit under the bed or be stashed away elsewhere instead, this totable organizer from The Container Store has tons of compartments, too, and is available for $19.99.
And for a clever way to store ribbons—that doubles as a dispensing system—check out this tutorial from Monica Wants It. All you need to complete the project are some Sterlite containers, wooden dowels, clothespins and the ribbons you want to organize.
Need more ideas? There's more gift wrapping storage ideas this way →
Other Miscellaneous Things
To protect fabric decorations, like stockings, table cloths, throw pillows and tree skirts, your best bet is probably to use a plastic vacuum-sealable bag—they'll stay safe from bugs, dust and dirt and they'll fluff right back up as good as new when you open the bag up next year. If you don't already have vacuum-seal storage bags around your home (they're also great for storing seasonal clothes and for moving) you can get them on Amazon.
If you put strings of beads on your tree or use them for other decor, Tip Junkie suggests using an empty water bottle to keep them in check until next year—each bottle holds two strands, and you can easily pour them back out when you need them again.
For candles, Martha Stewart knows best—simply wrap up pairs of long taper candles in tissue paper, then slip them into a cardboard paper towel tube to keep them safe and together. For all types of candles, make sure you store them in a place where they won't be exposed to too much heat, or they might melt.