The holiday season is the entire month of December and a lot of overflow into January. Come January 31st, however, it’s time to say goodbye to holiday wreaths, trees and what not and get on with it. In my opinion, holiday decorations are for just that — the holidays — and should not be up for weeks and weeks or even months. Winter can be dismal enough without having to look at old Poinsettia and wreaths that have dried-up. This so diminishes the excitement and specialness of the holidays for me and leaves me with a big “ho-hum.”
Personally, I remove any signs of holiday decorations the first Sunday after the New Year. This is when I plant bulbs of alliums and paperwhites, which in a few weeks will give me not only a splash of color, but beautiful and fragrant flowers. I plant a new batch every month so that there are flowers blooming in the house until spring. The red and green of winter melt into the vibrant colors of spring.
While there are stores that focus on storage containers with thousands of options, I prefer to think outside the box, no pun intended, and re-use, re-think and re-purpose, and that is what this article is about.
Here are a few of my suggestions for the best storage options.
Hat boxes are fun and come in a variety of sizes. Available at discount stores, hat boxes are great for ribbon and wrapping accessories. They are also great for wreathes and, really, just about anything, including hats, ha-ha.
Although I love to play in the dirt, I am no stranger to a sport coat or suit. As such, I have acquired quite a collection of garment bags. At first I would give them back to the stores, but now I’m excited when I get a new one because I have found a new use for them. They are great for hanging wreaths, boxes of ornaments and artificial garland. Use a sturdy hanger and voila. These can be hung in a closet or from any rack or bar.
Speaking of hanging things, I like to hang stuff from the raters in my attic. I pre drill holes and then screw in extra large industrial hooks from which I hang a variety of things. This is great because it frees up floor space and allows me to store things such as faux evergreen garland without getting it kinked or crushed.
Speaking of hooks, let me get you hooked on the hook idea. If you haven’t yet discovered the joy of hooks, your local hardware store has a variety of sizes and shapes to accommodate just about anything that may be hook-worthy.
Empty electronics boxes are great because they are heavy duty, reinforced cardboard with some very elaborate and functional packing material. These boxes are what I like to call “super-duper” because of their sturdiness and their ability to stand the test of time, particularly since the temperature fluctuates in most attics and basements and these boxes hold their shape for years. With an Exact-o knife I can remove the lid portion allowing me to have easy access into the box. I can also cut out a set of handles allowing me to transport the box more easily. This box can now provide two different functions: one, a mother box to hold other boxes and two, a free-standing box that is worthy of storing my valuable and collectible holiday dÌ©cor.
Shoeboxes are great for storing small items. Some are reinforced and hold up well. If not, I reinforce them by wrapping clear packing tape around the edges and down the middle of the lid. Use them with tissue paper to store special ornaments that did not come in their own box.
An old toolbox or lunch box is great for storing gardening wire for wreathes and garland projects, ornament hooks, extension cords, timers, small light bulbs and wreath hangers, etc. If you put a small hammer in there and a staple gun, you have just about everything you need at hand.
Christmas lights. Ugh! They drive me crazy. One of the best ways I’ve learned to deal with the massive tangle is to either throw them out and start over every year, which is not by the way, very green. Simply wrap them in an old beach towel: Fold the towel in half. Lay the towel on the bed or floor. Run the lights up and down the towel. Then roll the towel up and tie it with a piece of used ribbon. Your lights are protected and ready to rock and unroll next year.
Tubes for architectural drawings are great for storing and protecting leftover holiday wrapping paper. These are readily available at packing and moving stores.
I love using old suitcases to store things. I find them at flea markets and thrift stores. They are perfect for storing holiday goods. The handles make them easier to transport than boxes and they can also be incorporated into room design if you lack sufficient storage space, making them both decorative and practical.
I don’t know about you, but seems like I have a never-ending stream of houseguests during the holidays. And that means coffee, tea and me every morning. What to do with all those empty coffee cans? I think they make great storage and provide protection for precious heirloom ornaments. Make sure to them wrap in tissue and using a permanent marker, write what’s inside on the plastic top. If my Mother only had this insight I still might have my Snoopy ornament from when I was a child.
No holiday storage would be complete without recycling something for the following year. So keep an eye out for packing materials this year that can be quickly repurposed to better prepare you for the next! Embracing what you have and cherishing the things of Christmas past is a wonderful way to live in the present while looking to the future. Incorporating a “green” philosophy is easier than you think and in the long run, will save you some green. Now that’s a solution!
And there you have it.