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    Somehow, the holidays have come and gone, and a New Year is now here. As sad as it is, that means it’s time to pack away the tree, take down the lights, stow those wreaths, and organize holiday decor for next year.

    Just make sure you have a plan before you do it.

    Holiday decor is used time and time again, and if you want next year’s decorating to go quickly and efficiently, you’ll need those items organized, stored, and safeguarded in an orderly and logical fashion.

    Not sure how to do that or where to start?

    These nine handy tips can help you store and organize holiday decor

    1. Separate the indoor from the outdoor.

    Unless you have a super clear schedule, it’s unlikely you’ll be taking down your interior and exterior decorations at the same time. It may even take you multiple days to do each, depending on how much decor you have.

    To maximize efficiency, make sure to store indoor and outdoor items in separate containers, ideally organized by section of the house. (Holiday dishes and kitchen towels in one bin, and yard decor in another, for example). Make sure to clearly label your bins, too — they should be legible at first glance, especially if you’ll be storing them up high on a shelf, in a closet, or in a dark attic.

    2. Color code your storage bins to organize holiday decor.

    As much as you might want to make everything uniform — particularly in a crowded closet or garage, resist the temptation here. Instead of choosing plain white or clear bins, opt for holiday-colored ones that will make it extremely easy to spot from afar. This is especially important if you’ve got loads of decor for other holidays. (Halloween decor can go in orange bins, spring decor in light blue, etc). Use color to make retrieving and unpacking the right decor at the right time easier.

    3. Take photos of what’s in each bin.

    If you’re opting for really deep bins, then take photos of what you’re putting in each one. This will make it easier to find those important keepsakes on the fly. It can also help you better gauge what decor items you might need next year or what you need to replace.

    Store the photos on your phone in separate folders for each bin. You could also use an app like Sortly to help you track your inventory in a more organized manner.

    4. Use plastic cups or egg cartons to keep ornaments separate.

    Have lots of easily breakable ornaments? Keep them from clanking together with an egg carton or individual, plastic Solo cups. If they’re super fragile, you can organize holiday decor by lining the cups with tissue paper or newspaper just to be safe.

    5. Test each light string before packing them away.

    There’s no reason to save broken or unusable items. They’ll just take up space and waste your time next year. To prevent this, test every light strand before storing them away. If it doesn’t work, replace the battery in the strand. If that fails to fix the issue, toss the string and make a note to purchase new ones next year. (Or better yet, catch those post-holiday sales and get them now).  

    6. Wrap lights properly, too.

    Don’t let your lights get all tangled and tied up as you try to organize holiday decor. That will only make for frustration and probably some broken bulbs, too. Instead, wrap the strands around a coffee can or thick piece of cardboard. You can also buy designated Christmas light wheels at most home improvement stores.

    7. Use garland, stockings, and other soft items as packing material.

    You don’t need to invest in costly bubble wrap or styrofoam peanuts to protect your keepsakes and breakables. Instead, use your softer decor as a buffer. This might include garlands, table runners, decorative towels and rugs, or any other soft item you might have out on display. Christmas sweaters and clothing can also be a good option here.

    8. Load heavy items in first as you organize home decor.

    When you’re filling your storage bins, always make sure your heavier items go in first. This will keep smaller and lighter items from breaking, and it will also ensure your bins aren’t top-heavy, which could send them falling off the shelf next time you try to retrieve something.

    9. Use paper towel rolls to keep your cords organized.

    If you have a lot of extension cords and other plug-in items, use toilet paper and paper towel rolls to keep them contained and organize holiday decor. It will free up space in your bin and make it easier to find the right cord later on (just label each roll using a Sharpie).

    What’s your plan to organize holiday decor in your home?

    Have tons of holiday decorations? Make sure you have a plan before taking it all down. A little extra work today will make next year’s holiday season that much easier.

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