Holiday Decoration Storage and Organization Tips

Last updated: December 10, 2019

Pulling all of your decorations out of storage means the holiday season has arrived. It goes by in such a blur, it can feel like you spend more time prepping for the holidays than actually celebrating. After the whirlwind of shopping, decorating, cooking, and greeting family has gone, and the day comes to clean up and organize, you could really use some new Christmas decoration storage ideas.

All the colorful joy your decorations brought you over the past weeks must be put away and stored for next year’s festivities. Do your future self a favor by storing Christmas decorations with care. Avoid the stress of dealing with tangled and broken lights, squished Christmas trees and wreaths, and broken ornaments. If your collection of holiday decorations exceeds storage space at your home, you can always grab some Christmas decoration storage containers and keep them at CubeSmart until they are needed again next year!

Things as simple as an inventory card listing the contents of all your storage containers alleviates half the stress. Keep reading for more tips to help next year’s decorating run smoothly, and hopefully allow you more time to celebrate.

"Unpack First" Box

You may need some items for decorating and preparing sooner than others. Having an “unpack first” box is a great way to avoid digging through every storage box early in the season. If you're storing Christmas decorations in the garage, it's also a good way to organize and keep things in order.

Think about how your holiday season progresses: Is hanging lights on the house your first priority? Do you start working on your holiday cards before you decorate the house? Does holiday baking begin before putting up wreaths and garland? Are you an early gift buyer? (Hint: we also have tips on where to hide Christmas presents.)

Whatever your holiday celebration system is, store items in the order you use them instead of by type, and you just may be able to avoid it looking like the holidays exploded in your living room.

Holiday Lights

Holiday lights help to make the season bright, but if your lights look like a jumbled ball when you pull them out of storage, the season will not start off so merry. Many holiday light storage products exist that help avoid this tangled mess, but a cheap and easy solution is to recycle a cardboard box. Cut leftover gift and shipping boxes into strips to wind your strings of holiday lights around. Cut out a slot on each end to secure the ends and keep the lights from slipping off.

Another option is to wrap them around a cardboard tube, like a paper towel roll. Place the lights in a plastic bag and label them so you know what they are meant to decorate: tree, windows, fireplace, etc. Doing this will make sure you always know you have enough lights.

If you trim the outside of your house in lights, consider using a hose reel on wheels to wind and store your lights. The bonus of this idea is that the lights not only unwind easily, they are easy to move around the house. Outdoor Christmas decorations bring cheer to the whole neighborhood, so don't let them stress you out! 

Holiday Ornaments

If you are like most people, you have ornaments that have varying degrees of sentimentality and fragility. Plastic ornaments are easily stored in bags and a storage box, but special, delicate, and vintage Christmas decorations need extra care. Hot glue plastic cups to cardboard and insert into plastic bins for safe and affordable Christmas ornament storage. Smaller ornaments can be stored in egg cartons and put in a storage box.

Even if you have a small apartment, decorations like ornaments make any space feel festive and bright. Making smart use of space will save your shelves from overcrowding.

Trees and Wreaths

Alternative Christmas trees, wreaths, and garland are great for convenience, but storing them can be a pain. Most people are not fortunate enough to have space to store an assembled tree all year. Taking it apart is usually the best (or only) option, even if you have a storage unit. But, when the assembly instructions inevitably disappear, a backup plan is needed. Disassemble the tree one level at a time. Once all the branches from one level are off, secure them with rope or duct tape and number each layer with a label. Space-saving Christmas tree storage is solved, and next year, the tree will go together in a snap!

For wreaths, simply add a zip tie so you can hang it on a hanger and cover it with a garbage bag, which acts like a garment bag. Now you can hang your wreaths up in a closet or on a rack in your garage or storage unit. Sew Many Ways shows you how to do it step-by-step.

Pretty Paper, Pretty Ribbons

If you've got a hefty collection of holiday wrapping paper and ribbon, you're going to want to store it for next year. After all, you're not going to use Santa printed paper in April. A tip from The Chic Home is to put wrapping paper tubes in a garment bag and hang it in a closet. This way it's out of the way and safe from wear and tear.

Ribbon has the ability to take a gift-wrapped package from just a wrapped box to a work of art. Keep your ribbon from getting into a tangled mess by using one of these three easy ideas:

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The Storage Queens

We know a thing or two about moving. Together, we share the best tips in organizing, storage, navigating your city, and more!

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  • Plastic storage boxes are your best friends for storing holiday ornaments. They keep out moisture, dust and are also sturdy, able to handle moves very well. Even for wreaths, I would store them inside a plastic box, because keeping with hanged may flatten the leaves and ornaments on them overtime. They will also get out of shape quickly or break if handled too much.

  • I need to find a way to store all my holiday decorations better, they take up so much room in the garage that we can’t park our car in there. I think the only option I have left is to get a storage unit for it all, or just get rid of it. I think if I can get all of my decorations and some old pictures into a storage unit, I could work through the rest of the junk and get rid of it.

  • Thank you for the article; I thought your ‘unpack first’ tip was very helpful! I’ve been trying to figure out a solution for my seasonal decorations, and I’m thinking about putting them into storage. I’ve been asking my neighbors for recommendations, and I’ve been looking up reviews on our local facilities. I just hope that we can find a unit soon! 

  • My grandmother has a the very least 30 boxes of Christmas decorations. Trying to keep very thing organized is so difficult, her garage and antic is so jammed packed with stuff that we don’t know what to do. I like how you used simple tricks to get all of your stuff compacted. Do you know anything about rack organization systems, it seems like those would be a good solution to my grandmother’s problem.

  • Thank you so much for the organization tips. Right now, all of my holiday stuff is stuffed into a box in my attic. When the holidays come around it is a nightmare because nothing is organized. I really like the tip to place Christmas lights in a plastic bag and label them.  I will have to try that out. Another idea is to also put them in a box. that way the separate strands of lights won’t get tangled with each other and you have an entire box of lights that you don’t have to file through.

  • I have so many decorations and such a tiny little apartment. I really need to clear space in our second bedroom because we are having a baby. I will have to try out these tips. Thanks!

  • Your tips on how to handle the Christmas tree lights look helpful. Those are always the worst part of decorating for the holidays. Feels like it takes forever just to disentangle them. Hopefully, your tips will work out and it won’t be such a problem in the future.  http://www.lisarowselfstorage.com.au/storage

  • As much as I love the holidays, cleaning up afterwards is one something I dread every year. Repacking all of the decorations and putting them back in the storage unit until the next year just isn’t appealing. I really like your “unpack first” idea though. It seems like each year, I end up digging through every box trying to find the few items I like to put out earlier than the rest. I can’t believe I haven’t thought of putting them all in one box before!

  • It seems like most of the storage that I have is holiday decorations. I would love to be able to have self storage so that I can get them all out of my house. When I only use my decorations once a year there is no need to keep them in my home. I would love to be able to get some of my storage boxes out of my house.

  • These sound like some great ideas! I never realized that there were so many different ways to pack and unpack holiday materials. I love the idea of having an “unpack first” box. Thanks for sharing your tips and experience with us!

  • With so many holiday decorations that my company had it seemed like they would have to use a big empty room to store their holiday decorations. That’s something that I had assumed but it turned out that they did a container hire to store all their holiday decorations. I’m pretty sure that helped them out especially when it came to figuring out where to store the tree. http://www.goldstarcontainers.com.au/services

  • I absolutely love decorating for the holidays and I’m not just talking about Christmas. I have a few boxes of decorations for every month and it’s a lot of fun to spruce up the house! However, the boxes do take up room in my house, which can be annoying when I’m not pulling it out very often. Having a place to store your Christmas decorations outside of your home would be fantastic, since you really do pull those out only once a year. http://www.lakecountystorageunits.com/

  • Whether they are Christmas decorations or something else, I can see how proper storage could help someone to avoid headaches.   In fact, when it comes to storing different things, there are probably many different ways to do it that would still be efficient.   However, someone might want to do some research to determine what would be right for them. http://www.storagestation.ca

  • I always have a hard time storing all of my Holiday decorations.  I’ve thought about getting a storage unit just for my decorations.  That would make things much easier and would help me be more organized. http://www.cloverdaletenmilestorage.com/about.html

  • Thank you so much for the storage and organization tips for all of my holiday decor. I went all out this year and I don’t know how to store all of the decorations. My favorite tip has to be about storing your holiday lights. I never thought about wrapping them around a cardboard strip. This way you won’t have tangles in the line. That is very nice. I will definitely do this with my Christmas lights.

  • These are such good tips on how to storage your Christmas decorations. I really loved your tip about putting lights in plastic bags and then labeling the bags. That would stop me from getting a huge tangled mess of light when I get them out of the box. This would also make storing them easier because you know where they are and what they are. It seems like that is something I am going to have to do this year. http://www.add-a-roomselfstorage.com/Sarasota_Self_Storage_Bradenton_Sarasota_FL.html

  • I liked what you said about having an “unpack first box”. It seems like this might be good advice when you have numerous boxes full of holiday decorations. A good tip that I heard that might work for Easter is that after you color your eggs you should store them back in the original carton. This seems like something I might try next time East rolls around.

  • Being able to know how to store your decorations for the holidays seems like something that is essential. Something that stands out is that this might require a little knowledge of what kind of extra space you have throughout your house. This will really make a difference for what happens in my house during the next holiday season. Thank you for sharing.

  • I love the suggestion to actually use a wheel to roll up the holiday lights. Those things always get really tangled. I usually throw all of my decorations in a few plastic storage bins. I’ll have to try that tip with the lights.

  • My holidays are always very crazy when it comes to the setup and put away of the decorations. Being able to have a compact way to store those decorations would be a great way to ensure that you are making the most out of your basement space. My wife would love to be able to know that we are not going to have to stress about taking down our decorations. Thank you for saving us days of take down and put away.


  • I like your idea of labeling your “Open first” box, especially for holiday decorations. Some people, like me, have a certain order that they set their decorations up in and if you’re storing your decorations in a storage unit for the rest of the year, you might forget which box is which. Even if the boxes are still in your home, you might forget! That’s why it’s a good idea to label everything, no matter where you’re storing it. http://www.cliveministorage.com

  • Trying to store away all the Christmas boxes can be difficult. I’ve started to label the boxes in order of which to open. I’m gong to try and follow some of your tips to see if it can help me to simplify my way of doing things. http://midwaymoving.com