The best way to store holiday ornaments and lights is in original packaging. If you’re like most mere mortals, you’ve not kept it and it’s long gone. Here are some tips to help keep it all organized until needed next holiday season.

As written in another December posting, cardboard wine boxes with partitions are great for storing ornaments. If useful, you might write an inventory list on the box. Also good for small ornaments – egg cartons.

If you still have wrapping paper from opened presents and have access to a shredder, you might run the wrapping through it, then use the newly smaller pieces to cushion delicate ornaments. Bonus points – recycling!

If you’ve made food-based ornaments from salt dough and/or macaroni, place them in resealable sandwich bags. That will protect them from pests and humidity.

An empty coffee can is great for storing lights. Cut a slit in the plastic lid and place the plug end of the light string in it, with extra bulbs, if you have them. Include a piece of paper about where you strung the lights. Wrap the lights around the can to keep them tangle-free.

For each string of garland, attach a piece of masking tape about where you used it, to make next year’s decorating easier. You might loosely wrap the garland around a hanger, then place it in a big plastic dry cleaner’s bag. That kind of bag might hold artificial wreaths well, too.

Zippered garment bags will protect big lawn ornaments. Hang them in the garage, if you have one.

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Storing Holiday Ornaments and Lights