The beginning of the holiday season is a magical time for many, and trimming the Christmas tree, hanging up wreaths or putting lights on the house can be steeped in family tradition. Few things make you feel more festive than when your home is perfectly decorated and sparkling with lights. However, depending on how you store your holiday decorations, decking the halls can be more frustrating than fun.
The garage is the go-to storage area for many decorations when the season is over, and in most cases, it is the perfect place to keep things organized and out of the way until the following year. However, a few key tips and tricks can make storing and unpacking decorations easier and faster, while protecting your items so they last for years to come.
Invest in Proper Storage
Having the right storage containers can make all the difference when it comes to storing holiday decorations, or anything else you wish to keep in your garage long term.
The best place to start is with plastic storage bins. They are much better than boxes because they are sturdier, stack more easily and safely, are easier to move, and provide better moisture and dust protection. They also don’t attract pests or have a risk of being a fire hazard, as cardboard boxes would. It’s recommended to avoid clear bins, because the items within can fade if exposed to light. A great idea is to color code your bins, either by holiday or type of decoration.
Bubble wrap is the recommended medium for wrapping any delicate items. In addition to keeping breakable items padded, it’s better than using newspapers, which can stain items if ink rubs off, or tissue paper, which can cause items to fade if it is not acid free.
Fragile ornaments such as bauble balls will be less prone to breaking in boxes with dividers, and you can purchase plastic bins built specifically for storing ornaments. You can also keep ornaments in the boxes they came in, which also offers good protection.
For storing strings of light, you can purchase reels which wrap and store your lights, or wrap them around a piece of sturdy cardboard to avoid tangles.
Finally, if you plan on storing your artificial Christmas tree in the garage, you should discard the cardboard box it came in, but invest in a tree storage bin or bag to protect it from dust.
Label and Organize
Once you have a place to store all your items, the way you label, pack and organize them can make a huge difference when it comes time to decorate. Be sure to clearly label your storage containers, and consider putting an index card on the outside with a list of the contents. Group like items together, and pack things in an order that puts the things you need first on top. For example, put items in the order that you put them on the tree (lights on top, followed by garland and then ornaments). Label your strings of lights with a tag or masking tape, indicating the length of the strand or where you used them previously. You should also check your light strings before packing away, replacing any spent bulbs and discarding any broken strands to avoid frustration the following year.
When you pack and unpack your decorations each year, take notice of the items that you don’t use. If you haven’t used certain ornaments or decor for a few years, or you just don’t anticipate using certain things again, donate anything that is in good condition and toss anything that isn’t.
If any decorations are broken or missing, make a list of what needs to be replaced by the next year, discard the broken items and replace them before the following year.
Know What NOT to Store in the Garage
Knowing what you shouldn’t be keeping in your garage is just as important storing things properly. Fabric-based decorations such as stockings, tree skirts, tablecloths and Santa hats should be stored in the home due to humidity. Candles should also be kept out of the garage, since heat can melt or damage them. White or snow-dusted Christmas trees can yellow prematurely if stored in the garage due to temperature and humidity fluctuations.
Food-based decorations should never be stored in the garage due to their ability to attract pests. Bugs are also attracted to cardboard boxes, tissue paper and linens.
Finally, any delicate glass, items made of crystal and antique ornaments should be kept inside in a temperature-controlled environment. It’s worth taking up space in your home for any family heirlooms, especially anything that is very valuable or breakable.
Start with The Right Foundation
Before you store a single decoration in your garage, it’s important to start with a garage that has enough room and appropriate storage spaces. Sturdy wall shelving, cabinets and overhead racks are the most appropriate for storing decorations that you need out of sight for most of the year. Carolina Custom Garages offers a variety of custom storage solutions for keeping your garage organized all year round. Whether you are storing your Christmas tree, sporting goods, power tools or lawn and garden equipment, we have a storage solution or organizer for you.