Safely Store and Preserve Your Holiday Decorations
- The Chicago TribuneDecember 23rd 2010
As the seasons change, and pumpkins and gourds make way for twinkling lights and snowmen, a big question for many homeowners is: What is the best way to store this year's decorations so I am more organized next year?
There is nothing more upsetting than pulling out grandma's vintage tree-topper to find that it has succumbed to dust and mold. Often, the only place to store holiday decorations is in the garage or attic, according to organizing expert Barry Izsak, a professional organizer in Austin, Texas and past president of the National Association of Professional Organizers. "The problem is that these storage locations leave your precious holiday decorations and family heirlooms vulnerable to excessive heat and moisture, as well as a cavalry of insects and rodents," Izsak says.
Here are some easy ways to properly store your holiday items:
--Store holiday decorations in enclosed plastic containers to guard against water and moisture damage.
--Check the storage area to ensure there are no water leaks due to the roof or a wet basement, potentially causing damaging mold and mildew to occur.
--Clearly label the contents of each container on the outside to ensure items are easy to locate. Most large retail stores sell plastic bins in varying sizes and colors; color-coding boxes can help in identifying the contents quickly and easily. Valentine's Day decorations can be in red bins, Halloween in orange, and so on. This will save you time and energy in the long run. For example, a red box labeled "Holiday lights" is easier to identify and locate than one labeled "Holiday."
--To cut down on frustration next year, take the time to check all light strands, and throw out or repair those that don't light properly. This is also a great time to replace any worn-out lights with LEDs that conserve energy, emit less heat and last longer.
--Organize as you pack your decorations away. Neatly wrap up cords to prevent that dreaded tangle next year. Wrap breakables in bubble wrap or tissue to prevent damage. Keep linens, such as napkins, tablecloths and tree skirts, away from anything containing wood pulp or dyes, which can bleed onto them, and avoid using paper, cardboard or tissues that aren't labeled "acid-free."
--Launder and press linens now to save time next year and prevent damage to fibers.
Warm, cozy boxes full of tissue paper, linens and decorations are perfect places for unwanted pests to hide and nest. "I have seen extensive collections of holiday decorations destroyed by insects and mice because simple precautions were not taken to guard against it," this Austin professional organizer says. Spray pesticide around the inside perimeter of your basement, crawl space, attic or garage to provide protection against insects for up to 12 months indoors.
"With little added effort, you can ensure that your holiday decorations will endure season after season for future generations to enjoy," says Izsak. "Isn't it worth taking the time now to preserve your holiday traditions?"