A decluttering expert shares her top tips for packing away after Christmas

Megan Sutton
·4-min read
Photo credit: Getty Images
Photo credit: Getty Images

From Good Housekeeping

Christmas is a special time of year filled with love, joy and sparkle but like any other point in the calendar, it's not without moments that are slightly less wonderful. Yes, of course, we're talking about the faff of having to pack away after the festivities are over.

Who hasn't spent more time than they'd like forcing Christmas trees back into their boxes and wrestling with tangles of fairy lights? It's not the most fun thing when all you want to do is lay on the sofa and decompress after a busy December.

If, this year, you're wanting to plan ahead and save time when packing away your Christmas decorations, we've got some top tips from decluttering expert Vicky Silverthorn of You Need a Vicky.

"If you dread hours of detangling and sorting, now is the time to rethink your system and maybe even invest in a few clever solutions," Vicky said.

She makes the point that putting in the work to make sure your decorations are packed away neatly will ensure everything is easier when it comes to unpacking them again next year.

"Preparation for next year may seem unnecessarily premature, but trust me you will be relieved when next Christmas comes around," she added.

Plus, ensuring the packing away is done properly should help to keep delicate ornaments safer when they're stored away, so they'll be pristine the next time you want to display them.

Top decluttering tip from Nicola Lewis, organising expert and author of Mind Over Clutter: “I always say start off with small steps. Always plan what you’re going to do before,” Nicola said. Have your to-do list to hand, and make sure it’s not too ambitious."

These top tips from Vicky will help you on your way to making sure your Christmas decorations bring you nothing but joy. Before we move on to them, let's start by reminding ourselves of the basics of storing away Christmas decorations...

A step-by-step guide to packing away after Christmas

  • Identify the items you won't use again. For example, items that have become broken or faulty, items that are past their best, or items that simply don't suit your taste anymore. Remove these and either recycle, donate or throw them away.

  • Organise your items. There are various ways to do this - you could sort decorations by room, by theme or by colour. Whatever you choose, a system will help you to find exactly what you need in the future.

  • Ensure everything is neat and tidy. Detangle those fairy lights, colour co-ordinate those baubles, wrap ornaments in tissue paper. Packing everything away in this manner will help enormously when you come to get stuff out again.

  • Store things away properly. Don't just throw things into a carrier back and stuff it into the back of a cupboard. Make sure everything is neatly placed into boxes that are stacked carefully in a way that's easily accessible for the next festive season.

The items you'll need...

  • Boxes (a mix of sturdy plastic and more disposable cardboard is handy)

  • Tape

  • Scissors

  • Labels

  • Tissue paper

  • Dividers for boxes

Now, for Vicky's tips...

Make a plan

"You don’t need to take this task on all in one go. It’s a good plan to make a start in the weeks leading up to Christmas day. Always start small so that your decluttering can fit in with your daily life," she said.

How to keep lights tangle-free

"Wrapping your lights up free hand will not keep them neat and untangled," Vicky advised.

"A simple solution is to save a few cardboard toilet or kitchen rolls and when it comes to packing your lights away, simply wrap them around the tubes and make tiny rips in the ends. You can tuck the ends of the lights into the rips so you can always find them easily."

Invest in boxes for the long-term

"Invest in strong boxes to store your decorations. These will be with you long-term so it’s worth getting ones that will last rather than ones that are flimsy and easily breakable. My favourites are the black Really Useful boxes – sturdy, stackable and long lasting," Vicky said.

A handy use for festive ribbons

"Fake trees don’t always fit back into their boxes easily, but with gift ribbon that’s left over from Christmas, you can tie those branches down and squeeze them back in!" Vicky said.

The simpler way to pack away baubles

"You don’t have to wrap every individual Christmas decoration in bubble wrap to keep them safe," advised Vicky.

"There are specially designed bauble containers with a square for each one. I highly recommend these rather than wrapping each one like a mummy in tissue!"

There you have it, a clutter-free way to pack away your Christmas decorations.

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Photo credit: Hearst Owned
Photo credit: Hearst Owned

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