For many items, a clearly labeled cardboard box is the perfect storage strategy. But there are exceptions: holiday decor, for starters.

“We all know that holiday items tend to be more delicate, oddly-shaped, one-of-a-kind and anything else you can think of, which makes them difficult to store,” notes Lauren Williams, professional organizer and owner of Casual Uncluttering LLC.

Specialized storage bins and containers are often the best solution for holiday ware.

“They can be expensive, but worthwhile for collectibles and family heirlooms,” explains Williams.

Here, the top ways to keep all of your decorations well organized and ready for next year.

1. Sort the Seasons.

“I suggest decorations for each holiday be stored in separate boxes, ideally in clearly labeled lidded bins,” says Nancy Haworth, professional organizer and owner of On Task Organizing, LLC.

If you have a collection of Halloween costumes mixed in with Valentine hearts, separate the holiday items and then buy containers to accommodate each season.

A few boxes to try: storage bins that stack, sturdy storage boxes, or a container with wheels to fit under the bed.

If you opt for clear units, place a label on each one, noting the season it represents.

Another strategy: consider color coded storage bins. Try red and green for Christmas, black and orange for Halloween, and pink and yellow for Easter.


2. Separate Indoor and Outdoor Decor.

“It is best to store outdoor decorations and indoor decorations in different locations,” explains Haworth.

Exterior adornments usually stay in good condition when stored in a garage or attic. For the garage, add shelves, cabinets, or a lift system for storage.

Cover bulky items in the attic with plastic for extra protection. Indoor decorations generally need to be kept in a climate-controlled area, such as a closet, spare bedroom, or indoor shelving unit.

“Where space is limited, an over-the-door organizer can be very useful,” notes Paloma Baillie, a D.I.Y. expert at 5miles. “With a variety of clear pockets, it can be perfect for storing things like ribbon and tissue paper.”

3. Get the Right Fit

To keep fragile ornaments from breaking, use an ornament box or chest. Wrapping paper can be stored in a gift wrap boxtote, or bag. For items such as holiday quilts and towels, use plastic containers with locking lids and vacuum storage bags, says Baillie. Halloween costumes and tablecloths can be placed on hangers and covered in plastic to stay fresh.

Keep string lights from getting tangled by using a storage bag.   

If you have an artificial tree, store it in the box it came in, get a roller case, or use an adjustable bag. Easter baskets will need containers with ample room so they are not bent or crushed during the off season. 


4. Make the Most of the Space.

“If you are storing your holiday decorations in an unfinished space, look to use that environment,” suggests Janet Schiesl, professional organizer at Basic Organization. Hammer nails into the rafters or the ceiling in the area. Then hang wreaths, garland, strings of hearts, and other decorations. Cover the items with plastic bags to protect them from dust.

5. Purchase Storage Items as Needed.

When you buy or receive a new holiday decoration, think about how you’ll want to store it. Fragile ornaments, for instance, will need special containers so they don’t break.

“The storage may be a little more expensive if you buy it in-season, but you have a better chance of finding the right fit,” says Williams.


The same is true with new holiday traditions. If you decide to use the same table linens for every Easter, consider getting a special container or bin to keep the ware in top condition. The same is true for flatware: get a chest or bag to store silver for special dinners and avoid tarnishing.

6. Evaluate Each Season.

“As the holidays approach, take a little time to do an inventory of your stuff,” says Baillie. Discard or sell any items you haven’t used in the last couple of years.

As you get rid of items, you may discover your storage system can be downsized or regrouped to accommodate the changes.

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Rachel Hartman