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Putting Christmas Back in the Box

The red-and-green scheme makes it easy to identify your Christmas gear from other storage items. Included are containers for storing bows, vertical wrapping paper, bulbs and more. Depending on the item, Sterlite is available at Target, Wal-Mart and Big Lots stores. Shop quickly, though. The color-themed bins sell quickly.
Portable gift container, $9, at Walmart.
A Tree Keeper with wheels is $13 by Rubbermaid. You can find it at Wal-Mart.

Packing your Christmas paraphernalia with streamlined efficiency is a great way to start acting on your annual Getting Organized promise.

Invest in see-through storage bins that make it easy to get a quick look inside when its time to unpack. But don't buy storage items until youve pared down everything you want to keep.

"People make the mistake of going out and buying a lot of bins before they get rid of the things they no longer want or use, and sometimes they end up returning some of the bins because they dont need them all," says professional organizer Patty Clair, owner of simply put, llc in Shaker Heights.

Here's a primer, with tips from local organizers and from the National Association of Professional Organizers:

  1. Keep all packed Christmas items together. "So many people store their Christmas decorations in five different places," said Clair, a member of NAPO.
  2. Label, label, label. "One of my big tips is, make sure you label all sides and the tops of all containers that you are going to store," says Valentina Sgro, whose company is Sgro Consulting, also in Shaker Heights. "Accessibility is one key to effective storage ease of both putting away and getting out what is stored."
  3. Before you take down Christmas decorations for storing, take pictures to remember the way you set up your decorations. Then take everything down in reverse order of the way it was put up.
  4. Fill a box with shredded paper and place ornaments into the box. Add more shredded paper on top. This will prevent your ornaments from moving around and breaking, without having to individually wrap each one. Special ornaments benefit from being stored in the boxes that they came in. You can store smaller ornaments in an egg carton.
  5. Commercially available ornament storage boxes are an easy solution to Christmas packing. A storage box with individual sections allows you to separate ornaments and prevent breakage.
  6. Using plastic cups and shredded paper, make a version of the ornament boxes sold at the stores by packing individual ornaments in disposable plastic cups. Place the cups into a plastic box and surround them with shredded paper. Not only will the ornaments be separated and cushioned from breakage, but it will be easier to retrieve them next Christmas.
  7. Store Christmas linens in a suitcase to reduce the risk of moisture damage. Or keep your Christmas towels, rugs, blankets, etc. on an unused shelf in your linen or personal closet. You can put one or two lavender-scented dryer sheets between the linens to keep away moths and keep them smelling wonderful.
  8. When storing a Christmas wreath, make sure the container preserves the shape of the wreath throughout the year.
  9. The box your artificial tree came in may seem like the perfect one to store it in, but it isnt the best for preservation. The cardboard boxes begin to deteriorate, making them prone to insect infestation. Try a commercially available Christmas tree bag or Christmas tree box.
  10. Wrap Christmas candles in old socks or knee-high stockings to prevent scratching. Store the candles away from heat sources, including the heat of an attic.
  11. Don't pack away your holiday planning notebook. You will need this during the year to keep track of recipes, address changes, gift ideas and gifts purchased.
  12. Do away with the tangled mess of years past by organizing your Christmas lights before you pack them. Dispose of any lights that have been damaged or are not working properly. You will save yourself storage space.
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