Don't End Up With a Rat's Nest: How To Store Your Holiday Decorations

It's over. It's time to take all those decorations down and store them. Unless you want to deal with another rat's nest of cables and pile of broken ornaments like you did a few weeks ago, you'll take my advice and get organized.

Lights:

The old lets-wrap-it-around-our-arm-like-a-garden-hose method is dumb. You might as well wad them up into a ball and throw them into a sack. Because come next year, that's what you're going to a have. A sack full of tangled lights. Let's fix that.

Don't End Up With a Rat's Nest: How To Store Your Holiday Decorations

All you need is a a couple squares of cardboard. One square for each length of lights. Cut a slit in one side of the cardboard approximately three inches deep. Slide one end of the lights into the slit and start wrapping the lights around the cardboard taking care not to cover the slit. When you get to the end of the lights, tuck the other end of the light string into the slit. There you go. Be sure to cut the cardboard squares to a size that will fit in your holiday storage box.

Ornaments:

Obviously it would be best to put ornaments back in their original packaging. You know, the packaging you threw away three weeks ago. But since the box your precious ornaments arrived in is currently being mulched, egg crates are your best bet. The styrofoam egg crates are best, but the gray cardboard ones will work as well. Just place your ornament in the egg crate and smash down the barriers needed to give it a firm fit. when you family asks why you're eating scrambled eggs for every dinner, tell them it's Santa's fault.

Garland:

Remember when I had you cut squares of cardboard up for storing your holiday lights? (It was like 20 seconds ago, dude...) Do that again, except you'll probably only need one square. Unless you're some sort of garland aficionado. In that case, you need more help than I can offer. Anywho, cut two-inch slits on either side of your cardboard about three inches apart. Each garland should be wrapped into the slits that line up. This will keep the garlands from getting tangled over the summer and makes a fancy board with strips of shiny string on it.

Popcorn string:

Throw it away. Unless you want ants.

Star/Menorah:

This is the centerpiece of your entire holiday. Wrap in bubble wrap and put in it's own box for safe keeping. I shouldn't have to tell you this. But just in case you're hopped up on egg nog and you don't know any better.

Trees:

Real tree: Find out from your local sanitation department what day tree pick up is. Have your tree ready. If they want it in a bag. Bag it where it stood. Don't drag it around the house dropping needles everywhere.

Fake Tree: The fold up trees are the best. Just push the branches up and put it in a box. If you have to remove each branch. Start from the top and work your way down. That way next year, you won;t have to decide which branches go where on the tree because they're already in order.

Storage:

Finally: where to put it all. Pick up one of those giant plastic/rubber containers they sell at the hardware store and Target. Place all your items in there. Close it up. Pack it away. Cardboard can get wet or smashed and that'll just end up destroying your holiday decorations.

That's it. Enjoy New Year's Eve knowing next year you won't spend five hours untangling wires. It's a holiday miracle.

Image credit: Shutterstock/Artistic Endeavor