Fall is here and the leaves are beginning to fall, apple trees are ripe for the picking and you can buy a pumpkin spice anything…….pretty much anywhere. Which means it’s time to bust out the fall decorations and Halloween is the opening game of the holiday decorating season. If you’ve ever spent a lot of time digging through attic boxes trying to find the right one or realized you had completely forgotten about an entire bin of decorations the day AFTER the big day, here are some tips for organizing and storing your décor that should make putting it up and taking it down a breeze!
Location and labeling; two of the most important concepts in organizing. However, getting stuff back into the same container, labeled and stored in a consistent place is not always easy. For my household the two biggest challenges are (1) rushing to get one season put away and the next one up which leads to random, nonsensible placement of things and (2) what once was easily stored in just a couple of bins now requires half a dozen because somehow our decorations spontaneously multiply from year to year, so it’s easier to just place bins wherever there is room rather than take the time to reorganize the entire space (in our case the walk-in attic).
To solve for challenges like the ones described above, give one or all of these suggestions a try:
- Use colored bins – like orange, purple and/or black for Halloween – to make visual identification of the bins you need very simple, which saves you time. Some organizers advise against color coding because you have to stick to it and hey, maybe finding an orange bin won’t be easy in the middle of summer, but if you are a visual person or know that it is highly unlikely you will place bins back into a very specific and consistent location, then color coding is ideal. And we all know that Amazon has everything you could ever need all year round, just one click of a button away (how do they ship things so fast – it’s like they read your mind before you even make a purchase?!).
- Use labels – mission critical if you aren’t color coding the storage container, but also quite helpful to identify general categories of décor. You can combine like items, for example general fall décor that you will keep out through Thanksgiving such as pumpkins & acorns vs. Halloween specific décor like witches, bats & owls. Another method is to label by location, outdoor, kids’ rooms, family room & kitchen. Use smaller containers and bubble wrap for small or fragile items, but get everything into a big bin. Numerous small bins, even color coded, could easily get lost in the Neverland we call Attic.
- Placement consistency – for the most efficient storage system, assign every holiday to a specific section of your storage space, most often the attic or garage. Every few years, as your collection grows, revisit your set up and rearrange as needed so that you can continue to keep all Halloween décor bins grouped together and close to the more general fall décor. If you are lucky enough to have ample storage closet space in your home, I highly recommend using one for holiday décor for one reason – simplicity. Easier to get in, get down, get out and put back. Plus you don’t have to separate your holiday candles like you need to when your storage space is not climate controlled. Bonus for all us candle junkies!
- Use hooks – place hanging décor (think wreaths, wooden signs, lanterns, etc.) on either a nail or an actual hook. I mean, what attic couldn’t use some sprucing up? And using ‘wall’ space for these larger items will save you a good deal of room in your storage bins, not to mention the time you save getting them in and out of storage.
Yes, I could stop here, but I won’t because I have a few more tips specific to post Halloween put away.
- Costumes – if you have young kids, still in the dress up phase of childhood, don’t get rid of their costumes right away. Let them revel in their ghostly (or superhero or princess or animal) glory all year long….until the seams burst from over use.
- Reduce and recycle – take the time at the end of the season to get rid of items you no longer need or want. Why pack away things you know you will not use again? Every inch of space in your home is valuable so do not feel guilty for getting rid of something even if it’s in perfectly good condition. If it is no longer your style, don’t keep it, donate it or sell it online. On the flip side, if something has really out lived its useful life, showing a lot of wear and tear, it’s time to trash or recycle it, even if it’s your favorite. Then reward yourself by hitting the post-holiday sales racks and replace it with something similar that you love just as much.
Now, while I’m sad to see the long summer days come to another end, I am very excited to kick off a new season with holiday decorating…..while sipping my pumpkin spice latte. Happy Fall Y’all!