Whether you’re getting ready to celebrate Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, the winter solstice, or something else this time of year, most ATX homeowners are starting to think about holiday decorations. Some people love decorating for the holidays more than anything else, but if your ornaments and other decorations are buried in unlabeled boxes or tangled in a big mess, you may be tempted to just skip it all. But is that what you really want to do? Use our easy tips to get your holiday decorations in good shape, and never have to worry about disorganized decoration heartbreak ever again!

Ornaments – The boxes that ornaments come in tend to take up a lot of space, but you can safely store them without their original boxes. Small ornaments can easily be stored in egg cartons – really small ones can double up, two to an egg indentation. For larger ornaments, cut a sturdy piece of cardboard so that it will fit inside a deep plastic bin, then glue as many rows plastic cups (the disposable kind) as will fit on the cardboard. Store an ornament inside each cup and put the cardboard down in the tub, then stack another layer of cardboard and cups on top of the first.

Strings of lights and garland – There’s nothing more obnoxious and frustrating than a tangled string of lights or garland! For each strand that needs to be stored, cut a square of cardboard. A piece about the size of a shoe box lid will work well for lights and thin garland; thicker garland may need a piece of cardboard one and a half or two times bigger than that. Wrap your lights or garland around the cardboard to prevent tangling, and tuck the ends under one of the wraps or tape the ends to the cardboard to keep your work from unraveling. You can even tape replacement light bulbs to the cardboard so they don’t get lost!

Wreaths and other hanging decorations – These items can be stored in plastic tubs, but that can leave them smushed, or they can simply be laid on shelves, but they’ll likely be dusty or dirty by the time a year passes. Instead, hang these decorations over sturdy plastic coat hangers (you can use a zip tie or two to keep stubborn things in place), cover them with garment bags or garbage bags, and hang them on a curtain rod or other rack in your storage area.

Label containers by room – If you have certain decorations that go in certain rooms (or you have outdoor vs. indoor decorations), group things in boxes according to where they’ll be displayed and lable the boxes clearly. No more searching for that one particular snowman figurine that got tucked into a random bin!

Weed out at the end of the season – At the end of the holiday season, take a good look at your decorations and donate anything that you don’t really love anymore. If you have broken items, either repair them quickly, before you put decorations away, or throw them out. If you’re going to hit up post-holiday sales and buy new things, do it before you put your decorations away for the year!

Order matters – If you put your decorations out in a particular order (always starting with the outside lights, or with the living room, for instance), place the boxes for the items you know you’ll use first in the most accessible spots, and put decorations you’ll use later further back or higher up.

Austin clean homes don’t have to descend into total chaos just because the busy holiday season is upon us! If you need a little extra assistance getting your home in shape for the holidays, or cleaning up after them, give It’s Cleaning Time a call! We’re always ready to help make your home cleaner and your life easier!

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