Holiday Organizing Tips
Try a Box with Dividers for Not-So-Precious Ornaments
A segmented cardboard box -- whether store-bought or a wine box -- is great for sturdier ornaments. Our editors recommend cardboard boxes, which don’t trap moisture as plastic bins do. If possible, avoid storing decorations in the basement or attic, where humidity and temperature fluctuate throughout the year. Instead, opt for a closet or under a bed.
Archival ornament-storage boxes (similar to shown), from $25 each, containerstore.com
Keep Lights in Working Order
1. Test each strand before putting it away. (Replace dead bulbs, and discard strands that don’t work.)
2. Keep all extra bulbs and fuses together in a kit.
3. Make a loop with each strand and wrap the ends around the loop, as shown.
4. Store each strand in its own sealed one-gallon freezer bag to prevent tangling. Leave some air in the bag to act as a cushion that will protect the bulbs.
5. Stack the sealed bags in a large storage container.
Help Your Bow Keep Its Shape
Untying a bow or ironing out creases can damage some ribbon (especially older pieces). Avoid both by storing bows intact: To make sure the loops don’t crimp in storage, cut cardboard tubes and wrap them with paper towels so that they fit snugly inside. Store flat in a shallow box, either plastic or cardboard.
Safeguard Fragile Ornaments
Editor in chief Eric Pike uses tissue paper to individually wrap each vintage ornament in his collection. Here’s his process:
1. Center the ornament on a short side of a rectangle of tissue paper (acid-free is best because it has no chemicals that can harm delicate pieces).
2. Roll the ornament in the tissue, creating a tube with a bump in the center. Fold one side over.
3. Flip the ornament over, and fold the remaining side over in the opposite direction (like a Z), creating thick padding on the sides.
Wrap and Ship Station
Martha shows how to organize wrapping and shipping supplies, keeping items labeled and all in one place to save time when gift-wrapping.
Storing Christmas Lights
Next year, don't spend a minute sorting through tangled webs of holiday decorations. Keep lights organized by winding each strand around a piece of cardboard cut to fit inside a plastic bin.
Displaying Christmas Cards
Hanging like ornaments from an arrangement of graceful branches, Christmas cards look wonderful.
Keep unruly balls of twine in line with big aluminum funnels. Twine makes a great alternative to ribbon on wrapped gifts.
Safe Ornament Storage
Protect your dearest ornaments from damage as you pack up after the holiday this year.
Loose candles can get damaged easily when stored in drawers. Use paper-towel tubes -- the perfect size and shape -- to protect them.
Protect Your Wreath
Crafts director Marcie McGoldrick likes plastic storage boxes for wreaths made from pinecones or artificial greenery: Embellishments stay intact and attached. If your wreath is made with organic materials, poke small holes in the plastic to allow proper ventilation.
Snaplock wreath-storage box, 24", $15, containerstore.com
Portable Gift-Wrapping Station
This portable pail is a cinch to make and will allow for gift-wrapping in any room.
Under-Bed Supply Station
Mount your gift-wrapping tools to a wheeled tabletop you can tuck away to save space.
Keep your ornaments in top shape from year to year with our guide to care, repair and storage.
From the set-up to the finishing touches, we have a step-by-step strategy to make your Christmas tree look perfect.