Organizing Holiday Storage
by Karen Fritscher-Porter
Wouldn't it be nice if you could find your decorations, costumes, cards and
wrapping paper in just seconds and put them away just as quickly after the
holiday? You can with a plan! Use these steps below for organizing holiday
storage and you'll spend less time on this mundane task and more time
celebrating. And don't wait until the holidays, or worse, after the holidays, to
read these tips. That's too late. Plan ahead. Start now. Start here...
STEP #1: COLOR CODE STORAGE BOXES. You can buy holiday storage bins, or even
ordinary plastic storage bins, in different colors. Or buy containers with
different color lids. Or spray paint the exterior of your existing lids
appropriate colors. Use all purple for Halloween ornaments and all green and red
for Christmas items. That way you'll know at a glance which storage bins to pull
for each holiday.
STEP #2: TAKE INVENTORY. List each item in an individual holiday storage
container on a sheet of paper. Then put that paper in a translucent sheet
protector. Tape the sheet protector to the outside of the bin. You won't have to
open each box now to know what's inside.
STEP #3: MAKE A BLUEPRINT. Have you ever struggled to repack decorations into
boxes only to find what came out doesn't seem to fit on the return trip? Solve
this by mapping the "location" of the items in the boxes in blueprint drawing
fashion. Of course you'll have to get everything to fit just so in the boxes the
first year. But next year you'll easily be able to duplicate the repacking
process by following your packing blueprint.
STEP #4: USE A CODING SYSTEM on holiday storage boxes that tells you in what
order to open them. Put the number one on the box that contains the items you'll
work with first. Or write "open first" on certain boxes. For example, at
Christmas you may typically start with your tree stand, tree lights and/or
outdoor lights. Other things you might use first are holiday cooking related
items (e.g. Santa or pumpkin cookie cutters), gift wrap and gift tags. Keep
other boxes closed until you're ready for those items.
STEP #5: CLUSTER. Two columns of stackable bins that are all orange (for
Halloween) in the back corner of your garage are easy to spot. Always group
storage boxes together by holiday, even if you can't fit all of the holidays in
the same section of the garage, attic or closet.
STEP #6: KEEP A HOLIDAY PLANNER. Keep one three-ring notebook with the inventory
sheets mentioned earlier. (This can be in addition to taping the inventory
sheets to the individual storage boxes.) You can put all holiday inventory
sheets in one notebook and separate the different holiday information with
notebook dividers and tabs (sold at office supply stores) labeled Halloween,
Christmas, Thanksgiving, etc.
Keep the notebook on your bookshelf year-round. You also can add divided
sections to this notebook for holiday recipes, holiday collection lists (so you
don't buy duplicate collectibles in a series), holiday gift ideas and holiday
card mailing lists.
It's best to do all of these "printables" on your computer and print them versus
hand-writing them; that makes for easier updating. You can either put the paper
in three-hole punched translucent sheet protectors or leave a wide left margin
and three hole punch the paper yourself.
STEP #7: START NOW. Work on your storage plan through every upcoming holiday so
that when year two arrives, your plan is in place and complete. It's an
investment of time and patience that will benefit you next year and every year
Karen Fritscher-Porter publishes
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