Packing away Christmas ornaments sucks but if you get a system in place they'll be much easier to get out again this Christmas - only 357 days until Christmas...
One of the reasons I like to put candy canes on the tree is so I have something nice to look forward to when I take it down!
Packing Away Christmas Ornaments
Egg cartons are great for storing baubles and fragile ornaments. Pack each ornament into a section then top the carton with a layer of tissue before closing it and taping shut. The tape will stop the lid popping off and everything rolling onto the floor when you reopen the box in December.
|Spongebob and Patrick all packed away for next Christmas|
Another option is to use a small box or a plastic takeaway container. Layer the ornaments into the box and top with a layer of tissue, pushing the tissue into the gaps between the ornaments.
|Packing away Christmas ornaments into a plastic takeaway container|
|Covering the Christmas ornaments with tissue to protect them in storage|
Packing Away Christmas Lights
Get yourself some cardboard rolls (the kind your cling film and aluminium foil come on) and cut a slit into each end about 2cm long.
The secret to removing the lights easily is to put them up well (I know, it's a bit late now!). I put the last light (the end of the chain) at the top of the tree where it's easy to find so I know where to start unravelling. The other secret is to put the lights on in a spiral pattern moving up the tree - don't drape them randomly all over the tree or the cord will tangle.
Remove the plug adaptor from the lights if you can and bundle up the plain wire. Secure with a cable tie or wire.
|Fairy light wire is very fragile so keep the bundle loose|
Starting with your end light bulb unhook the lights from the tree and gently loop them over your arm. When you're done lay them down on the carpet so you can wind them onto the cardboard roll. Hook the plain wire end (nearest the end that plugs into the wall) into the slit in the roll and start winding on the lights. A cling film roll will hold a set of 180 lights.
|Wind the lights around the cardboard roll keeping the bulbs free from the wire|
Keep winding until you get to the last light on the end of the roll and hook it into the slit on the other end of the roll; this will make it easier to put the lights up next year because you've got your top light first.
|Tuck the last light into the roll so they don't unwind in storage|
Wrap the roll in bubble wrap, place into a box (a shoe box is about right) with the adapter plug (put it under the lights so it doesn't break any) and store in a dry place until December.
Packing Away Christmas Tinsel and Chains
Pull as much tinsel off the tree as you can and put into a zip lock bag, then use a large piece of masking tape wrapped sticky side out on your hand (or a lint roller) and pick up the rest of the tinsel from around the tree, floor, etc.
Roll beaded chains around your hand and place into a zip lock bag
|Sort your plastic and beaded Christmas decorations into zip lock bags to make them easier to find in December|
Packing Away the Christmas Tree
The silly skinny box your Christmas tree came in is too small - chuck it out!
Fold your tree back up by pressing the small branches back into the main branches and pressing the main branches back into the trunk until the tree is compacted down to it's smallest size (but mysteriously still twice the size of the box it came in). Pull the tree into pieces if it's the kind that does (mine splits into two).
Do yourself a favour and glue the silly plastic base together so you never lose any of the legs!
Place the tree into a large (clean) garbage bag and tie or tape the top shut. Store flat in your attic, top cupboard or under the bed and the plastic bag will prevent it picking up any dust, lint or bugs until December.