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Holiday Storage

Q FROM FRANZISKA : You often write about storing your holiday-stuff all together. That means not only decoration but also albums, books and much more. I’m a little curious how your store all these things. In boxes labeled and with a list maybe? And another question came to my mind: do you toss away and sort out things when unpacking the holiday boxes? Or how do you manage keeping the amount of holiday stuff manageable? I like the idea of keeping all the holiday stuff together. I didn’t do that with for example CDs. Maybe the holiday baker’s books can be put there, too.

AE : I'm a big fan of tubs. These holiday tubs (and everything you see in the photo above) is stored in our garage. The only thing missing from this photo is another large tub that holds our exterior lights and the three or so boxes for my fake trees (I just put them back in their original packaging boxes). Everything holiday goes into these tubs at the end of December: movies, ornaments, December Daily albums, Christmas books and other decorations - it all comes back out again the following December.

I don't have any lists to go along with these tubs - just a label on the outside that says "xmas."

In addition to putting it all away, I'm also a big fan of only having things that we really love. Over the years we've collected things that are just extra - extra decorations, etc that I'm not choosing to pull out of the tubs for one reason or another. This year one of my goals as I pull stuff out of the tubs is to have a box on hand for donations. I've attempted to do that at the end of the season before but usually by then I'm so over the stuff that I just end up putting it all away in the tubs (even the things that we might not really love and enjoy).

Last year I ordered the Ornament Storage Boxes from Amazon (one stacked on top of the other on the right side of the photo). They were pricey but they are really nice and secure and sturdy. My plan is that one will be for Anna and one for Simon. Right now neither of them have enough ornaments to fit in one box, but as they gather them over the years this will be their home. I'm currently storing generic ornaments in addition to the what the kids have in these boxes. My personal ornaments are stored in an awesome fabric box my Grandma Cathy made when I was a child.

I really don't want any more than this amount of tubs (4 tubs + the 2 ornament boxes).

This is really a transition year for us in terms of decorations. I'm taking it slowly as I pull out each thing and thinking more about where (and if) I want to have it here in our new place.

I love it when it comes inside from the garage in late November/early December and I love it when it goes back out!

Do you have a holiday storage system? Any favorite tips to share?

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66 thoughts

  1. dawn says…
    11/30/2010

    Thanks for sharing. I have been more careful and picky about what we put out too. I can't believe all your stuff fits in these, awesome.

    Reply 0 Replies
  2. susan w says…
    11/30/2010

    We use tubs too. My husband and son pulled them all down from the attic the other day. I was thinking about making a donation box as well. There are just some things that we never use anymore. I am hoping to stream line what we have this year. I also have a special box for my son's ornaments. He looks forward to bringing his box down every November.

    Reply 0 Replies
  3. Brooke says…
    11/30/2010

    We have an ornament storage box that fits almost all of our tree decorations (we are just starting out). I love how it's segmented and keeps things organised. I've even made an insert to go into one of the compartments to further segment it for our tiny nutcracker ornaments. Putting things away is so much easier when everything has it's own little space.

    Ali your ornament box from your Grandma is one of my all time favourite gift ideas. We are onto year 3 of giving ornaments to my son. I hope by the time he's 21 I'll be able to quilt and make him a box similar to yours!

    Reply 0 Replies
  4. Diane says…
    11/30/2010

    Although I love your ornament boxes, I've found a more practical way to store ours. The plastic containers that Costco apples are packed in are perfect for storing ornaments and several then fit neatly inside our tubs.

    Reply 0 Replies
  5. Lisa W. says…
    11/30/2010

    Well how nice to here how others "store". My system is EXACTLY the same as yours. Tubs "all" Christmas things. AND yes for the third year in a row. Everthing got put back. This year I am making a commitment to donate things I am no longer putting up. And hoping a cut back on a storage tub or two. Thanks for sharing. Just curious though...when you say you put all in tubs in your garage (as I do) even all your phote albums like December Daily. Do they stay ok with all the change of seasons in your garage.??

    Reply 0 Replies
  6. Ria Dixon says…
    11/30/2010

    Well... I am completely in love with the personalized ornament box from your Aunt... how sweet! I am also a big fan of giving away things that I don't seem to put up these past few years... I'm hoping to get a day this week to go through the Christmas tubs and make a box to give to my sons school... they always find a good home for little treasures.

    Reply 0 Replies
  7. Marit says…
    11/30/2010

    We have tubs and boxes for the ornaments and decoration things. And we have 2 baskets for the holiday books.
    In my basket there are my december dailys from the last two years, a collection of old christian advent calendars, some of my martha stewart holiday books, some favourite recipe magazines and the holiday issues of my favorite magazines.

    The basket sits on the window bench in our kitchen/family room, and everyone who sits down for a cup of tea or coffee takes one of the books or magazines and starts browsing. i love that, and putting the baskets together starts bringing me in christmas mood.

    In may sons basket there are all of his favourite holiday books from yesterday and today. The basket sits next to his bed, so he can reach everything everytime.

    here is mine:
    (http://tagfuertag.typepad.com/weblog/2010/11/mein-weihnachtskorb.html#tp
    here is my son's:
    http://tagfuertag.typepad.com/weblog/2010/11/sanders-weihnachtskorb.html)

    sorry for my horrible english!

    Greetings from Marit from Germay

    Reply 0 Replies
  8. Jude says…
    11/30/2010

    I have 6 large tubs that I keep my ornaments in. I have a clean out every year when I take them out and put them away. I keep some of the really treasured pieces in their original packaging - especially if they have shaped foam inserts and the contents are breakable. I have been eyeing off the ornament storage at the shops and I am hoping to pick some new storage up in the after Christmas sales.

    Reply 0 Replies
  9. nerdgrl says…
    11/30/2010

    I have one huge tub for the tree, and two smaller tubs for the ornaments/lights/table decorations. There's a fourth original packing box for the tabletop "Santa Scene." The main ornament box has many boxes inside of it to hold all my "non-ball" ornaments, of which I have a ton.

    Like you, Ali, my Mom started giving us ornaments when we were very young so "that when you go out on your own you will have enough ornaments and memories for your own tree." I so totally love this idea. Every year when I put the ornaments on the tree, I remember the times with my Mom (gone 9.5 years now), decorating the tree.

    Reply 0 Replies
  10. christen says…
    11/30/2010

    i thought i should share with everyone something i learned this weekend! we live in an area that flooded this summer. i always assumed that the tubs were waterproof, but my sister pulled her stuff out of her basement this weekend and most of her holiday decorations were ruined. so make sure they are up off the ground!

    Reply 0 Replies
  11. hannahk says…
    11/30/2010

    Ali thanks for a great tip on donating as you UNPACK rather than when it is time to pack things up again. I'm so going to try to do it this year.

    I love your grandma's ornament box. so pretty. Currently I use an assortment of pretty packaging boxes from shops like Tiffany and Godiva (their round chocolate boxes work a treat) ~ I have been known to go into stores and beg for unwanted boxes ~ I don't mind that they might be slightly damaged ~ it all adds to the worn and loved look. These are then stacked in a clear stacking tub and stored under the stairs.

    Reply 0 Replies
  12. RobynS says…
    11/30/2010

    We use tubs for everything. My husband calls me "The Queen of Plastic Tubs". Our issue is heat in the Georgia summer (lots of 100+ days) and insects. I did not have this problem in Wisconsin. As a result I have had to upgrade tubs over the years. I have to have tubs withour any holes. This year I am trying to weed out. I am a big collector of Hallmark Ornaments and I decided to release myself from all of the boxes. It brings the value down but I have decided my children will have to deal with that after I am gone. It was a big relief to get rid of them. My other issue that I have not resolved is artwork and crafts that my children have made. I still have those in the boxes.

    Reply 2 Replies
    1. Carol says…
      11/30/2010

      I had to laugh about you getting rid of the Hallmark ornament boxes ... my in-laws gave my 3 kids Hallmark ornaments for years and I got tired of the boxes and threw them away. When I mention this people will say "but they aren't worth as much now". I just laugh as we'll never get rid of them, so who cares how much other people think they are "worth" as they are worth the world to my kids.

    2. Heather says…
      11/30/2010

      I have a bunch of the Hallmark ornaments too but have kept all the boxes. For me it's not a value consideration, I just think the plastic inserts can protect the ornaments better than if they were loose in a box.

  13. Michelle M says…
    11/30/2010

    I store all my Christmas decorations in tubs all in the same place too. But I label the boxes with the general location that most of the stuff usually goes in...for example, Christmas--Living Room, Christmas--Kitchen, and so on. Then I stick everything Christmas related from that area into that box. With the kitchen, that includes any towels, runners, books, pictures, knick-knacks, etc. When we bring up the boxes, we can take them directly to the right room and go from there. It cuts down on having to think too much and makes things move faster when decorating. Plus it allows me to systematically go at each room, complete it, and then take those boxes back down before bringing others up. It keeps our house less torn apart, and makes the job of decorating quick and fun...and less overwhelming.

    I also started a box for donations of the things I no longer love or never knew what to do with in the first place :o) We have a mission in Detroit who has a Christmas present room for kids and husbands to pick out a nice gift for their mom or spouse. They are happy to receive even gently-used items so long as they still look nice. Knowing this makes it is easier to part with items I am no longer using even when there is some sentimental value :O)

    I really like the idea of a kid's box of ornaments! I was unpacking our family tree when I realized I was slowly forgetting where some of my son's bulbs had come from. I am thinking of not only getting a box, but maybe sticking a little note in each spot identifying who, why, when and where the bulb came from. Thanks for the great idea!

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  14. Monika Wright says…
    11/30/2010

    This year, I am carefully examining each thing we display. Basically, if it doesn't have a story it doesn't make the cut. Several items can be gifted with yummy holiday treats packaged inside. Several things will be donated. And only the most treasured items will remain.

    We also make ornaments each year. The kids each make one, and I label them with their names and the year. We also make a few extra for our family tree. This way, each of the kiddos will have a collection of family memories to place on their own trees when they have families of their own. How cool for them to be off in their first apartment and have a little box of "home" right there with them.

    Reply 0 Replies
  15. Susan Raihala says…
    11/30/2010

    Great minds think alike, LOL! I do exactly the same thing with our decorations and books, though I do leave the scrapbooks on the bookshelf in our library year-round. We also have ornament boxes for the children. Last year, I started purging our "extra" decorations, too. We had so much stuff that wasn't "us" and it needed to go. Some more will go away this year as well.

    Reply 0 Replies
  16. Laura Deutsch says…
    11/30/2010

    I am a big believer in tubs too! However, I keep one Christmas tub within reach all year. I fill it with wrapping paper, gift bags and misc. holiday items. That way when I find things on clearance during the year I just drop it in the Christmas box! Another thing I do is keep all my handmade stockings in my bedroom closet. We had a big fire in town 2 years ago and as I was packing my car to evacuate I really wanted my children's stockings but had no time to go in the attic. Now I know in an emergency I can grab my photos and stockings and leave!

    Reply 0 Replies
  17. Janell says…
    11/30/2010

    I just took that exact photo a few weeks ago when I got my Christmas stuff out!

    My sister taught me a great method for decorating. You buy one (or more if needed) big bin for EACH room, and ONLY put the decorations from THAT room in it.

    When it's time to decorate, or put away, it's so simple to tackle one room at a time and cuts your set-up/clean-up time in half!

    Reply 2 Replies
    1. Karin Podolski says…
      11/30/2010

      I love the idea of one tub per room. We have several tubs,and some lunatic must have packed the stuff up, because each tub has stuff in it from EVERY room of the house!

    2. Renee Richins says…
      12/05/2010

      That is a great idea! I'm so overwhelmed trying to figure out where everything should go, so this tip should really help out next year.

  18. jackie says…
    11/30/2010

    i keep all of our christmas decor in green and red plastic bins. our christmas movies get put in the back of our collection...and in early november we start bringing them back up to the front. my christmas scrapbooks stay out year round. i love to pick up new christmas books to read throughout the season...and then, they get put away in the back of my bookshelf after the season.

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  19. Tweets that mention Holiday Storage | Ali Edwards -- Topsy.com says…
    11/30/2010

    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by PlaqueWorks, Josephina Mydreama. Josephina Mydreama said: Holiday Storage: Q FROM FRANZISKA : You often write about storing your holiday-stuff all… http://goo.gl/fb/lAUgL [...]

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  20. Gina Crowley says…
    11/30/2010

    Mine looks almost the same, except I store them in red bins in our crawlspace. I should put the movies/books in there too!

    Reply 0 Replies
  21. pidge says…
    11/30/2010

    As I still live at home, my mom keeps all of our stuff in totes. And we also have a few atificial tress.
    We have a special tradition where my dad makes or paints us an ornament every year. He and my mom also have a "together" ornament. AND my mother has three types of decorations -- red/green, burgandy/gold, and the homemades. So every year we have a choice of the three styles (which is fun and keeps things different.) It is a lot of totes! But yestday my mother divided up the homemades (because my sister is planning to be married by this time next year) and I have to admit -- I'm glad my mother has kept all this stuff! We have homemade decorations from the grandmas and little gifts and such from friends. Its all special and it's amazing what we fight over even 20+ years later!

    Reply 0 Replies
  22. JulieinAustralia says…
    11/30/2010

    Mmmm....this topic gives me an idea...every year I pull out a couple of boxes of collected decorations from the Xmas cupboard that will never be used because they just arent my style...they are just 'wrong'. So I just close the lids and put them back again...why...well I never really thought about it...I just do it!
    But...my niece is having a Scouts garage sale/fund raiser next March...I think I know now where all those 'wrong' decorations will be going. Dont know why I didnt think of this before...pass them on...someone will think they are 'just right'. perfect...

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  23. brandy messer says…
    11/30/2010

    i also do the tub thing and just write with a sharpie about which room it belongs in...but i am a little cautious to put my scrapbooks up with the rest of the decorations...we store all of ours in an attic and the temp. took it's toll on some of my halloween decorations...they actually melteed and stuck together...wondering if it might have the same effect on my scrapbooks and cd's???

    Reply 1 Reply
    1. Karin says…
      12/01/2010

      Absolutely! The temperatures in an attic and even a garage can damage ornaments and scrapbooks. Plastic tubs are also not good for any treasured pieces because the chemicals from the plastic can damage items. Acid free tissue and acid free boxes are best.

  24. Amanda D says…
    11/30/2010

    We do it similar to how you do. We have three big bins that all the Christmas stuff goes in. I don't want more than three so once we start getting a little full, I'll have to get rid of the stuff I don't really love. It seems like each year, I put a few less things out so it might be time get rid of the things that I haven't put out in the last year or two.

    One of the box has everything that we need for the tree - ornaments, lights, tree skirt; and the other two have the decorations for the rest of the house as well as the huge stack of Christmas books. We also have a cardboard box of outdoor Christmas lights in the garage.

    Great post!

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  25. Rhonda Coombs says…
    11/30/2010

    Love the idea of preparing the donation box early. I feel the same way about wanted to thin out the decorations but I am too exhausted post Christmas. Thanks for a great idea.

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