As spring cleaning rolls around and the holiday season melts away, it’s time to think about storing all the decorations that adorned your home over the winter.

From Halloween to Valentine’s Day, decorations brighten homes across the country, but when it’s time to put those things away, it can get daunting.

The key to successful (and sustainable) organization is to make it as simple as possible. You’ll likely be able to find item-specific storage boxes and bins for all the holiday decorations you own, but those can quickly get expensive. In most cases, a nice collection of sturdy plastic bins is all you’ll need.

Here are some of our tips for storing decorations.

1. Buy Clear Plastic Bins

shelf full of plastic binsRelatively cheap and easily obtained at many big-box stores or supermarkets, large clear plastic bins are a great way to store decorations for any occasion.

Label them by writing the contents of the bin on a piece of paper and sliding it into the side of the bin that will face outward when it’s stored.

And as a bonus, if you need more than one bin for a holiday, you’ll be able to see without opening it which one contains a specific item.

Another advantage to plastic bins is that they are easily stacked on top of one another (and they nest when empty). If you have the space, install utility shelving in your garage, basement, or storage shed for even easier bin storage and access to your decorations.

2. Store Like with Like

When you are organizing holiday decorations, keep them separated by occasion.

Storing everything together means that you can easily pull only the items you need when it’s time to decorate again. Even if there’s extra room in a bin, resist the urge to place Thanksgiving and Christmas items in the same place, and opt instead to leave some room for future purchases.

3. Organize by Room

For holidays where you’ve organized a mantle or laid out a table with very specific items, make sure that you put those items away together. You’ll never lose something you use in the living room if you store it with the other living room items.

Even if you have similar items across multiple rooms, storing them separately will ensure that you never misplace a garland meant for your stairwell in a box that winds up by the hearth.

4. Use What You Have

hand putting ornaments into storageIf you have an artificial tree, you know that storing a Christmas tree can be a pain. To keep the branches close to the stem, use old belts to cinch it tightly closed.

This will keep the branches from bending as you pack the tree away and will also keep the tree compact inside its box, making it easier to close.

To store ornaments, use a divided cardboard wine box. Wrap the ornaments individually in tissue paper and stack them carefully within the divided box.

Ornaments can also be stored in a clear plastic bin or other empty container you have around the house. Just be sure to carefully wrap each ornament, and try to layer heavier items on the bottom. For smaller ornaments, egg cartons are a fantastic alternative.

5. Individually Store Light Strings

To keep strings of lights from getting tangled and damaged, you should store the lights on their own. Here’s how:

  1. Guide the light strings into a loop using your arm.
  2. Wrap the ends around the loop to secure it.
  3. Keep the lights in a gallon-sized bag with any spare bulbs that came with the string.
  4. Leave air inside the bag to cushion the lights, which will help keep them safe from harm
  5. Stack the bags in a storage container.

Alternately, you can wrap each string of lights around a spare piece of cardboard and stack them inside a bin for safekeeping.

Seasonal decorations bring personality and whimsy to your home, so take care of them as you pack them away for the next year. Make things easy on yourself:

  • Label a clear storage bin or tote (or more than one, depending on how much you need to store) for each holiday.
  • Stick to one holiday per box, and combine items that you use together in the same room.
  • Repurpose items you already own to help organize and store your stash.
  • Avoid the frustration of the annual Christmas light untangling by storing strings of lights properly.

Holidays seem to roll around a little earlier each year, so it’ll be just a few short months before you’re ready to start pulling out bins to decorate. Our simple tips will ensure that you’ll be ready.