If you have invested a lot of time, love and money in your Christmas ornament collection, you know how important proper storage is. But we all know the truth – at the end of the holiday, the last thing we want to do is create an organizational system for your ornaments, no matter how special they are. So this year, take the time ahead of the holiday to plan out and implement a better Christmas ornament storage solution for your home. We have a couple of ideas for you – see which fits your needs!
Organizing Your Christmas Ornaments
There are a number of specially designed Christmas ornament storage containers available in a variety of materials and sizes to fit your needs and your budget. The least expensive versions of these are made of corrugated cardboard and might be a paper file sized box with levels of dividers or sliding drawers. These boxes are effective at organizing your ornaments, but not as durable as other materials and are easily damaged by water. There are plastic containers designed especially for ornament storage and these will more effectively protect your holiday ornaments against moisture and mildew. Many of these plastic bins are red and green which makes them easy to spot among the ordinary plastic bins when the time comes to put up the tree! Similar to the cardboard boxes in design, some are large boxes with layers of dividers while others feature drawers that you can pull open. The dividers create a space for each individual ornament and keep them secure. Depending on the type of ornament, you may wish to use tissue paper, bubble wrap or cotton batting for added cushioning. These plastic bins can be safely stored on shelves or even gently stacked one on top of the other maximizing your storage space. Remember, the after holiday sales are a great place to stock up on these items.
Once you have a general storage solution for your Christmas tree ornaments you’ll want to think about how to divide and store each individual ornament. You can organize by color, or by type of ornament such as snowman ornaments, Santa ornaments, angel ornaments, favorites or whatever division makes the most sense for your collection. You can place all of one kind of ornament together so that you know exactly where to find them, or you can put a little of each kind in each individual box to allow them to have an equal mix as you open them and place the ornaments on your tree.
Now that the ornaments are in the boxes be sure to label each one. Labeling each ornament storage box as you go means that there will be an accurate description of what is inside (e.g., angel ornaments, red and gold ornaments, favorites). Even if you can see through the plastic bins, label the sides with a general description of the contents. With clear containers, you can slide a piece of paper with the list of contents inside so that it can be seen through the front or side of the box. Be sure not to label the lids if you plan to stack the bins as you won’t be able to read the descriptions!
After the holiday season is over you want to take special care when you are storing each Christmas ornament. Certainly, not every Christmas ornament you own is very delicate, but there are special considerations to keep in mind when you are packing a delicate Christmas ornament. If you have a certain holiday ornament that was particularly expensive or especially fragile you will want to take some extra care. You might want to store these ornaments separately from the more inexpensive and easily replaceable items. This box could be stored separately or could carry extra warnings on the labels such as ‘FRAGILE, FAVORITES’ to remind those retrieving the boxes to take extra care. Ideally, you will still have the original packaging for the ornament, but if not then be sure to use bubble wrap, cotton batting or shredded tissue paper to keep the item safe. Do not use newspaper as the ink can transfer to your ornament, and if possible try to find acid free tissue paper.
Whenever possible you should assign a storage area for all of your holiday items, not just the ornaments, so that everything you need will be in one place. This saves lots of wear and tear when next Christmas rolls around! Christmas ornaments of all kinds should be stored in a space that isn’t damp and where the temperature stays fairly constant. Although tempting, attics don’t usually make great storage areas because the temperature and moisture levels change a great deal over the year. These changes can damage and even ruin your treasured Christmas items. Basements are a bit better as long as they aren’t too damp. Ideally, if you have the room, under the bed in the guest room or closet are great places to store your ornament boxes and other Christmas items.
If special ornament storage boxes aren’t convenient or practical for your family you can still organize and protect your ornaments. Make sure you wrap each Christmas ornament delicately in tissue paper or bubble wrap, do not use newsprint since the ink can rub off on your Christmas ornaments. Choose the strongest box that you can, maybe a copy paper or paper file box from work. If you have enough ornaments to fill more than one box be sure that you put the strongest, heaviest box on the bottom and lightest and most flimsy on top. Otherwise, you might have some (or all!) broken Christmas ornaments next year. For your smallest ornaments, you can put them in egg cartons and then put the egg cartons in the larger boxes. The same can be achieved with shoe boxes that can hold your most breakable items. If you still have the original boxes you can place your Christmas decorations back in the original box and then place those boxes carefully in the larger boxes. Be sure to always put the heaviest items on the bottom. Another great solution to the ornament storage problem is a spare clothing dresser or dining room buffet. You can place carefully wrapped Christmas balls and ornaments in the drawers safe and protected for next year’s festivities!
After Christmas is the time to examine your collection and see if there are any ornaments that you don’t use. There can be lots of reasons that you no longer use or want certain Christmas ornaments, you may have downsized your tree or house or it might not be as easy to bring everything out and put it away again each Christmas season. Whatever the reason, if the ornaments are in good condition consider sharing them! Even if they aren’t in perfect condition they will be treasured by someone and enjoyed as a part of their holiday celebrations. Thematic and personalized ornaments are the most special and most sentimental and so make wonderful gifts to family and friends. Consider taking some time after the holidays to write a little history of the ornament saying where and why you bought it or if someone gave it to you as a gift. Then you can pass along the history and the ornament to someone for a birthday, Christmas or just as an after-Christmas present!
Moisture Control Extra
If you live in a humid climate you might want to increase your moisture control for your ornaments. You can use silica packs, which will absorb moisture, keeping your ornaments safer. You can usually find the silica, loose or in pre-made packs at any local craft store (particularly in the bridal area as it is used to preserve flower bouquets).
By taking just a little extra time to organize your decorations at the beginning or end of this season, you will be setting yourself up for a more enjoyable holiday season the next time around. Hopefully, you can eliminate most frustrations associated with finding and using your decorations next Christmas and can focus on having some fun with your family!