One of the best parts of Christmas is taking out the decorations that have been waiting patiently in the attic all year and decorating your home. The twinkle lights, evergreen smells, and elaborate wreaths turn any Grinch into one of Santa’s elves.

Then Christmas ends, and you have to tear it all down.

After the hustle of the holiday season, it’s easy to dump everything in boxes and put it back in the attic for next year. However, this runs a number of risks, including ravaging from rodents and attic leaks. You don’t want to bring down the boxes next year only to find that your treasured decorations have been destroyed by mold.

Here are some things to keep in mind before you put away your holiday decorations and ways to properly store them.

Make sure you use the right containers

Many Christmas ornaments comprise of delicate blown glass, hand painted designs, sparkles, and other gorgeous materials. Although these styles look beautiful on the tree, they can be easily scratched and ruined by packing materials such as cardboard boxes and rough packing paper.

Keep the containers that your ornaments came in so that you can safely stack them in boxes. Already threw them away? Wrap them in plastic before you pack them into boxes. You can also recycle old light bulb packaging or packaging for dish ware to ensure that your ornaments stay secure.

Use watertight containers. Especially in the rainy Pacific Northwest, you never know when a leak might spring. Sometimes, leaks drip slowly, and when you finally discover it, your belongings are already destroyed. With a watertight storage container, you can sleep safely knowing that your precious items will always be dry.

Label your containers well

This year, you went all out. Next year, you might prefer a toned-back Christmas. Make next year’s you happy by labeling your storage containers so that they can know exactly where everything is. The Christmas spirit will quickly go away when surrounded by an explosion of unorganized bobbles and nutcrackers.

Along with labeling, try to keep your decorations in similar boxes. If you have multiple trees, store each tree’s ornaments in a separate storage container. Organize your decorations by room. That way, when it’s time to bust them out next year, you can simply bring the box to the room that you are decorating. This makes things especially easier for those who’d rather spend a week decorating a room at a time than decorating the house in one go.

Don’t tangle your lights

Twinkle lights provide some of the best Christmas ambience. They also create some very un-Christmas frustrations when they’re tangled. Unruly lights tend to damage more easily, which means that you’ll have to replace them every year.

Avoid the drama by using some simple tools to keep your lights nice and neat. Zip ties will keep your lights in a tight loop. Spools designed specifically for twinkle lights are also a great way to store them. Once you’ve properly looped and secured your lights, but them in a safe, watertight box, and they’ll be as good as new when you’re ready to use them next year.

No Space? Store your decorations in a shipping container!

We admit it: we’re a little biased on this one. But, there’s a reason why we’re obsessed with shipping containers! They offer a secure, watertight space outside of your home to store your lesser-used belongings so that you can keep your precious closet space open for the things you need.

Shipping containers are great for more than just storing holiday decorations. Any seasonal belonging that only sees use once or twice a year can be stored in a shipping container.

Insta-Shelves for Shipping Containers

Photo by Simple Box Storage Containers

Everybody has that closet that they’re afraid to open because there is too much stuff inside. A shipping container provides plenty of space for your lesser-used items so that when you need them, you can quickly and easily retrieve them.

80% of the year, your Christmas decorations take up storage space. Don’t let these seasonal items get in your way the rest of the year. Keep them safely out of the way in a shipping container.

It’s easy to quickly throw your decorations in storage and leave organization to next year. Do your future self a favor, follow these tips, and properly store your holiday decorations so that next year can be as merry as this one was.