The heartwarming story … of Christmas storage

Now’s the time to do storage right

METRO CREATIVE CONNECTION The goal of Christmas storage is a place for everything and everything in its place, and creating themes for your storage containers and areas is a powerful tool. It clarifies what goes where and makes it at-a-glance simple to make certain everything that needs to be put away has been put in its proper place. The theme process works as well for frequently used sports toys and equipment as for holiday home décor and tree decorations, which you can theme in storage by where they are displayed and in what order you will put them out.
METRO CREATIVE CONNECTION Picking up all the wrapping clutter is the first step, but the long-term solution is proper storage for new toys, clothes and household items. Experts recommending donating still useful old items to make room for new.
METRO CREATIVE CONNECTION Magical moments abound as everyone opens their presents. Next comes that overwhelmed feeling as everyone realizes how full the room suddenly is.
METRO CREATIVE CONNECTION Your little ones need plenty of open floor space to play with those great new toy cars, so implement your Christmas storage efforts early to accomplish two goals: play space and storage space where everyone understands the new toys go when it’s time to put them away.

By now, you’ve probably reached the climax.

The wrapping paper is strewn across the living room floor. Mountains of new stuff — mountains! — are all over the place. Shirts, pants, boxes of things — games, toys, gadgets, just so many things — are littered everywhere.

And that tree.

Now it stares down at you, all those lights and ornaments you spent so many hours putting up and placing just so are like stretched out albatross wings on the giant elephant in the room. They have to go back somewhere for the next 11-plus months.

The presents have been opened, the Yuletide traditions have been honored and Christmas morning is over, so now it’s time to think about post-Christmas. That means finding where in the heck you’re going to put all of these new cool things you’ve got as well as all those decorations you dragged out.

But there is nothing to fear — a few easy and simple tips can alleviate the stress of figuring out where you’re going to store all your shiny and brand new goods as well as all those wreaths and bunches of mistletoe hung all over your home.

Put something in; take something out

Maybe you’ve gotten a new sweater to go with all the other sweaters that currently are sitting in your sweater drawer that barely closes already.

Or maybe you got a new set of 21mixing bowls, perfect for cooking on all occasions, that you now will have to find a place for in your kitchen which is already teeming with pots, pans, knives, cookware and all the bowls you already have.

Or maybe your kid got that three-foot high superhero action figure or a new remote-controlled race-car, state of the art video game console, giant Teddy bear or whatever the toy of the season has been and which will now need a place among all the other toys the child has accumulated over his or her short existence.

Don’t throw anything out.

“The rule of thumb is, usually, if you have a lot of stuff, take something out and donate it,” said Carrie Boylan, owner of Caretaker Carrie, a business offering cleaning and organizing services.

Practicing this with your children can have an added benefit, as well.

Emily Fitzgerald, a certified professional organizer and owner of OLS Organizing, said her children receive books as gifts from her father every Christmas. So before the big day, she has them go over to the book shelf and pick out a few books to be donated.

Same goes for the toys — the kids are usually more than willing to donate a baby toy from their youth they no longer play with.

“It reinforces the idea that everything is not here to stay,” said Fitzgerald, whose clientele range from homeowners to business executives. “It teaches them that, ‘Yes, you’ve grown, you’ve changed, and that’s great.’ But we also have to reinforce that we have to change and not keep everything we’ve collected all our lives.”

Of course, maybe you don’t want to get rid of everything. Still, you need to make room. There’s a solution for that, too.

“If you’re like me and you love all your clothes, you can fold up things that are not for the season and put them in a big plastic ziplock bag or bags,” Boylan said. “Then put them in a tub for next season, and when you bring them out the next year it’s like shopping without spending money.”

Tree, ornaments, decor

Before you start tackling that tree and all those ornaments, take stock of anything you didn’t use this year. And then decide whether you might use it again next year, and where in the decoration process it might go — first, last or somewhere in the middle.

“Before you store stuff on top of those things, see if you’ll need them or miss them,” Fitzgerald said.

Fitzgerald recommends storing everything in an orderly way and how you would decorate. There might be an entire bin for the tree skirt and garlands or beads that go on the tree. Ornaments may be in one box, and lights can be rolled up using paper-towel holders so as not to become a tangled mess for the next year.

“Those are especially good if you want to go all Clark Griswold,” Fitzgerald said.

Outdoor wreaths can be stored in jumbo plastic bags, and outdoor lights can be stored in bins designed to be outdoors, Fitzgerald said.

You’ll also need to spend time wrapping glass and breakable ornaments using either newspaper, paper towels or something else that will protect them, according to Boylan. The ornaments then can all be stored safely in plastic storage bins.

But also be on the lookout for things that may not fare so well in places like the attic.

“Candles need not be stored in the attic,” Boylan said. “You’ll forget about them in the summer, and they will melt.”

Another thing you might not want to forget is exactly how you decorated your home, especially if you’ve come up with a pattern or design you truly love. Fitzgerald said she tries to label where certain items — like a wreath, for instance — went the previous year.

“It doesn’t have to be complicated or complex,” she said. “It takes an extra second but saves a ton of time later on.”

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