How to Organize Holiday Decor
Putting away holiday decorations: a seemingly simple task. But if you’ve ever opened a storage box to discover hopelessly tangled tree lights or battered New Year’s garland — or worse, a beloved ornament in pieces — you know that storing holiday items is an art!
We asked Ann Dooley, one of our certified KonMari Consultants, to guide us through the process of storing holiday decorations, including some of her most cherished family heirlooms.
Create a Designated Tidying Space
Before you begin, you’ll want to create a dedicated workspace. “Clear your dining table or other surfaces to set the stage for tidying,” says Ann. “Bring out your storage containers and a few trash and recycling bags. Cover your surface with a tablecloth or towel to protect delicate items.”
Make it a Family Affair
Ann’s family has turned tidying up holiday decorations into a special tradition at the end of the season. Everyone takes part. “Ask for volunteers or assign age-appropriate tasks for each family member,” she says, “The youngest children can play ‘I-spotted’ games to help collect the same types of decorations around the house. You can also tape small printouts of special ornaments inside the bottom of your storage box, so family members can play the matching game while helping to put ornaments away.”
Tidy tip: “Your children can contribute and feel accomplished when you give them lint rollers to pick up fallen glitter and pine needles!” Ann says.
Gather, Organize and Yes, Discard
“Start by gathering every decoration and sorting them by category — lights, fragile ornaments, garlands, display pieces, textiles, etc.,” Ann says. “Remove anything that is broken or no longer sparks joy.”
Pick the Right Storage Containers
“Practicing the KonMari principles, we want to treat the holiday decor that brings us joy with care and respect, says Ann. “Choose stackable containers that maximize your storage space. Be sure to choose the size that lets you store items without overpacking each box, and if possible, use ones that include compartments.” Ann recommends using weather-proof containers for textile items, such as tree skirts and holiday table linens, to protect them from mold or dust. And for wreaths? “Use a garment bag!” she says.
Tidy tip: Don’t forget those small but essential items: ornament hooks. Use a small tin or jar to store them and reuse them next year.
Treat Ornaments with Particular Care
For delicate heirlooms and breakable items, particularly ornaments, Ann recommends using a special box or storage container. “Choose a box that offers protection and reflects how special those items are. Wrap each item with tissue paper before setting them in a structured box,” she says, such as the Safe Deposit Box: Memento Organizer, which Ann used here for her ornaments. “For added sentiments, leaving a little description about the history of the ornament in the designated space of your storage box will make it a conversation starter next time your family helps to decorate.”
A tidy and sustainable tip: “You can repurpose the used tissue paper from your gifts this year to wrap ornaments,” Ann says.
Wrap Holiday Lights
Ann has an ingenious method for using gift wrap leftovers to keep lights tangle-free: “You can repurpose gift wrap tubes to secure light strands or delicate garlands,” she says. “Cut a slit at the end of the tube to secure the end of each string, then wrap the lights around the tube. Tape the ends to hold them in place. For smaller ‘fairy’ lights, you can use a paper towel or toilet paper tube or cut a gift wrap tube down to size.”
Store for Next Year
For homes with a garage, attic, or basement, Ann says it’s best to keep all holiday decor in one place. Label your containers, and store heavy items on lower shelves. For smaller homes, tuck holiday storage containers in the back of, or high up in, a storage or entryway closet. No room? “You can also use under-the-bed storage containers,” she says.
Tidy tip: Ann recommends placing storage boxes in order from left to right based on the order of the holidays. “So, start with Valentine’s Day, then Easter, 4th of July, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas or Hanukkah, then New Years Eve.”
When in Doubt, Return to the KonMari Method™
It can be tempting to buy new decorations yearly — there are so many lovely items! Fortunately, the KonMari Method™ can help you decide what to keep and discard but also add.
“Pick and keep decor that brings a sense of joy, excitement and warmth — the ones that make you smile and you look forward to seeing on display,” Ann says. When considering purchasing new decorations, be mindful. “Ask yourself: Where will it go? Do you have room to store it? Do you have something similar already? What is bringing up the desire to shop?”
You can also get creative with how you let go of holiday decorations that no longer spark joy. “If you want to try a new style of decoration for your home, consider trading your decor with another family,” says Ann. “Or donate your items to an organization or family near you who needs them before you make new purchases.”
We wish you many joys this season!
Interested in working with Ann or a certified KonMari Consultant near you? You can find Ann in our consultant directory, along with other KonMari experts worldwide. Or you can become a consultant through our online certification program!