The Smart Girl’s Guide To Putting Away Christmas

Let’s talk about putting away Christmas decorations.

It’s hard to be organized when putting away all the stuff and fluff and glitter and shiny things when Christmas is over. I’ve tried for years and years to find an easy system to sweep my house clean of every last trace of tinsel and have it all ready and waiting for next year. Yes, those big blue bins are great for cramming away Christmas when it’s over, but it sure makes it hard to find what we need the following year. And it is hard on our stuff! There has to be a better way! And there is…

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Here are some smart, no-nonsense tips for storing Christmas decor! 

Take Pictures Of This Year’s Christmas Decor

Before you put anything Christmas away, take pictures of this year’s Christmas decor. If you want to repeat anything next year, you won’t have to use your memory to recall every detail!

I do this naturally as a blogger, and it really helps me see what things I use and where I put decor from year to year. This is a great blogger-inspired tip!

Use your smartphone and put all your Christmas decor pictures in a file marked CHRISTMAS 2019 DECORATIONS.

More about talking pictures later in the post.


You knew I’d begin putting away Christmas decorations with this, right?

As you clean up Christmas, make sure you are purging along the way. I keep two bags and one laundry basket with me when I’m getting rid of things I no longer need or want.

One bag is trash. All broken or worn out things go right to the trash! The next bag is my giveaway bag. Everything that is in good condition that I don’t want anymore goes in the giveaway bag. And I keep a laundry basket with me to put things in it that aren’t Christmas related but need to be put away. 

If you have decor that was not used this Christmas, you can purge them later… but put a date on your calendar to go through it all and keep the date!

Clean And Repair

Did you ever think about having those precious Christmas stockings you use year after year dry cleaned? They will last a whole lot longer and look good for the even longer haul if you do!

Before putting things away, make sure they are in tip-top shape!

Go over everything and make sure they are clean and in good repair!

Get Rid Of Some Of Your Big Bins

I know those big blue bins are easy to stuff our stuff in! But so much of our Christmas decor is glass or delicate or fabric etc and packing and cramming  Christmas decor into a cavernous bin does not help preserve our holiday treasures from year to year. 

And storing items like fabric, especially linen, next to cardboard, wood pulp or tissue paper can ruin your fabric Christmas decor! 

Opt for smaller clear plastic boxes that match the size of the decor’s needs. There are as many great boxes and sizes as the things you have. Shoebox size is my favorite. I’d rather have a dozen see-through shoebox-size boxes than one big bin.

Start collecting boxes now and add to your stash each year. 

Keep your big bins for extra big items only!

Put Like Decorations Together

I store like items and like colors together. For example…

  • red ornaments
  • snippets of evergreen
  • jingle bells
  • small wreaths
  • Christmas napkins
  • red berries
  • faux snow

Storing like things together makes them so much easier to find!

Use Your Smartphone

We so often curse the downside of technology. But the ability to take pictures and keep them on our phone is a real blessing! I use my phone all the time to take a picture of where something is or what is in a box or bag! 

Take a picture of every Christmas thing you have and the box it is in.

No more searching and looking for that pair of reindeer you need to finish off a vignette! You will know exactly what box it is in!

My phone keeps all my images by date. So it’s very easy to find things. Also, I can download them onto my computer and put the Christmas clean-up pictures I need in a folder. 

Label It

My label maker is my best organizing friend! And when you are boxing up and putting away Christmas decorations it should be yours too! Label all your boxes with the kind of content in the box.

See my Brother Label maker HERE. And HERE is the one that I would love to have for 2020.


Make A List

I keep a running list of all the things I will need to replace/buy or do for next Christmas. You can do it the pen and paper way or if you are like me I use my phone and an app like Evernote.

This year my need to replace/buy list looks like this:

  • red and white wrapping paper
  • red and white stockings
  • gift tags
  • white ribbon
  • red satin ribbon
  • red Christmas balls
  • one 24 ” white tree
  • fairy lights that plugin
  • round candles
  • box of votives
  • look for white velvet duvet on sale

I also keep a running to-do list:

And my to-do list looks like this:

  • make a 2019 Christmas Pinterest board ( for ideas)
  • make personalized Christmas stockings
  • make an Advent calendar for Anderson, Alexander and Emma Kate
  • pick a date for family Christmas pictures
  • go through my address book and create an updated one online (for addressing Christmas cards)

These lists are in constant flux. As I tick things off the list more is added! 

Christmas at StoneGable grows every year as we add more family to our ranks. I want to enjoy Christmas and not be anxious or have too much to do! Lists are my best friend, and yours too!

As you replace, buy and make things for next Christmas keep them with your Christmas decor in clear boxes and remember to take pictures!

Putting Away Wreaths

putting Christmas decorations away

There are a few ways to put away faux Christmas wreaths. It’s really all about how much storage area you have. I have a large basement so I hang up all my wreaths on nails in the unfinished area of our basement. And I cover them with remnants of old sheets and zip tie the bottom closed. They are ready and waiting for next Christmas.

This also applies to bulkier items that are hard to box like swags, tall decorative trees that do not come apart and any other hard to store items.


If your artificial tree came with a storage bag, use it!!!  When a tree comes with a bag to store it in you probably have a very nice tree and want to keep it nice from year to year. The storage bag was made specifically for your tree so it should fit perfectly

If you don’t have a storage bag consider getting one! They will keep your tree nicely stored from year to year. You will not have to worry about dust or mice or any other creature making their home in it!

And a disassembled tree takes up far less space.

This year I bought a flocked faux tree and will not be getting a tree bag for it because it sheds faux snow. Instead, I’ll be taking it down to the basement and putting an old sheet over it. I’m not sure that I’ll have this tree much longer than a couple years, so it should be fine.

Storing Ornaments

glass ornament on a tree

Being a blogger, I have tons and tons of tree ornaments in every color. So, I store all my ornament by color. And I also store them by style or shape.

  • round red
  • handblown red
  • silver balls
  • mercury glass balls
  • snowball balls
  • gold balls
  • hand blown long gold ornaments

See what I mean? I do wrap the more delicate ornaments in tissue and all balls go into a clear box. I fill the box about 3/4 full and add a layer of bubble wrap to the top of each box.

If you don’t have copious amounts of ornaments think about getting an ornament box! So easy to put all your ornaments away!

Putting away Christmas decorations and keeping everything organized may take a little more time, but you will be so accomplished and feel so good and be able to hit the decorating ground running next Christmas!

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  1. Great ideas for storage and organization. Your home is just so beautifully decorated for the holidays hope you keep everything for at least a little while after Christmas. I love everything but the white tree in your master bedroom is my absolute favorite thing. It is just stunning.

  2. I am already doing most of these things so looks like I’m on the right track. I am lucky enough to have storage space to keep everything inside the house in an upstairs closet. The only hard part is hauling the tree up the stairs!

  3. beverlee lyons says:

    Pottery Barn has the prettiest white velvet coverlets. I had to get rid of mine…toooo hot all the time here in Houston, but it was the prettiest cover I have ever had. On sale, also.

  4. Sandi from Wisconsin says:

    Thanks for all the handy tips. This is the year for me to be better organized!!! I started early when decorating and purged as I went along. I also bought eight larger plastic (see through) bins and starting organizing the decorations I did not use, but still want to keep for future use. I will continue this when the Christmas decorations come down in January. All your posts are so helpful. Thank you!

  5. I really appreciate the posts on organizing, purging and storing. I’m a firm believer in everything has a place and everything in it’s place. I always pick up new ideas though.
    Thank you for everything you do to help us make our home a little bit prettier. Merry Christmas to you & yours! ~Joanna

  6. All great ideas. I have been taking pictures of my seasonal and holiday decor for the past few years and find it so helpful when it comes time to decorate again. I also like your suggestion to use the clear plastic shoe boxes. I have lots of the big bins loaded with Christmas decor and it has gotten to the point that they are too heavy for me to haul up from the basement and back down again to put things away. Smaller boxes will be so much easier to handle. Now I just have to get the purging down!

  7. I do very similar things. I store things by ROOM. I write n each bin/box/container what is in it too. I put it on a piece of paper and tap that to the outside of the container. That way I can grab the box for whatever room I am doing and start decorating. Wishing you, Bobby and your family and those 2 adorable grands a blessed Christmas. We’ll get together SOON!! XOXO

  8. Brita Barlow says:

    I used to store by room, and now store by color instead. I like shallow, locking, under-bed-bins so I don’t have to dig to the bottom for things. Plastic water bottles of various sizes with the top cut off make great storage for bottle brush trees and some other fragile items. Staple them together into 6-packs. I keep a running list of what I need to buy next year and try to get it done this year on sale. I keep a Pinterest board of this year’s decor and start one for next year’s inspirations.

  9. Nancy Brantley says:


  10. Cecilia from Georgia says:

    This sounds dreary but so worth the effort for next year! I keep my label maker with me and label each box. Taking pictures and keeping a folder is a great idea! I’ll have to check into Evernote. I didn’t have time to decorate some places that I wanted to, but will work up a schedule for next year. I’m sure nobody noticed or cared but I did! I hope Santa was good to you and best wishes for a wonderful New Year!

    1. Hi Cecilia, I forgot to mention my label maker. Thanks for the reminder.



  12. linda jensen says:

    Great tips for organizing. I do wish I had your energy. But as always I am inspired to organize and make my home a haven. Thank you

  13. Thanks for your ideas. I always enjoy reading your posts and seeing the beautiful photos. I do take pictures of decor every year and use those the next year. I start decorating the same way as the previous year and then change, if I wish. I also store items by room and tape a note to the box with what is stored in each box. It makes decorating so much easier and not overwhelming. Bring down a box, decorate, return box to attic and get another. I’ve been following your suggestion of getting really good faux greenery each year from gift shops. Merry Christmas!

  14. For years now I have been buying 16 quart Steralite clear boxes at Big Lots. That way they are all the same and easily stack. Because I am older, I put labels on the ends and write with a Sharpie to be easier to read at a distance. I buy color dots or sticky notes of the season (like red for Christmas) to put on them. My big red or blue tubs get the same treatment. The next thing I do is put packets of desiccants in them to keep the musty smell out. Because I make wreaths to sell, finally, I put unmade wreaths in new plastic garbage cans with lids. Measure across the top first.
    Merry Christmas. Thank you for sharing your lovely home with us and your ideas.

  15. Merry Christmas Yvonne,
    I miss you on DTT. Love hearing your ideas. Wishing you happy holiday times with your family.

  16. Jan Fusco says:

    Great storage advice. I’m glad to know I do some of them. I do like to purge every year. And I take pictures every year of every seasons decor because I can’t remember squat. I keep them in my Dropbox.

  17. Deborah Hopkins says:

    Yvonne, these are such wonderful tips for putting away our Christmas decor. I hope your family had a wonderful celebration! I miss you being on Decorating Tips and Tricks!! It’s not quite the same.

  18. Great post, as always! Check out Duck Pack & Track. I heard about it on Clutter Free Academy (also helpful and motivating!). It’s a game-changer!

  19. Always good ideas. I have always done pix that Iprint of decorated rooms. Aside from fragile items and linens, I pack each room seperately with the pix of the room. Also, I always have a box titled “did mot use”. I go through that box the following year. What I dont use, gets donated that year.

  20. I learned from my MIL to store ornaments & decorations in furniture drawers in the rooms where they’re used. This makes decorating & undecorating SO much easier & quicker too.

  21. All great ideas for storing Christmas items for next year, BUT, what are you putting on your mantel now as surely it’s too early for Spring decorating.


  22. Great tips, I’ve been taking pictures of all my rooms/vignettes for many years. Boy, it sure helps the following year if you want to repeat something. I also created a word document and listed all my rooms and the decorations/placement for each room. When storing, I also use bins, labeled by room and contents since I usually repeat the decorations every year. I also label my bins and storage racks with numbers so they can be put on the racks in good order, almost like putting a puzzle together since I have so many things. It’s gonna be a little sad to take everything down!

  23. Anna M Costantini says:

    Excellent advice! Makes sense to do this as we’re putting everything away. I tend to just want to finish putting Christmas away after having it up for over a month LOL

    1. Most of us feel like that! But once you put Christmas away how I explained you will be so happy and put Christmas away the right way every year!

  24. Thanks for the packing away ideas.

  25. I, too, have a box for each room for quick decorating each year – but I like your storage ideas and see why that would work better for you and those who change the decor each year. I always look forward to what you are doing in your home (and your recipes!). You have so much creative talent and your home is always so beautiful. Looking forward to your blog in 2021! Happy New Year!

  26. Teresa Hammersley says:

    Before Christmas, I take a picture of my book shelves so that they can be easily restored after the Christmas decor goes back to the attic. I don’t donate unwanted Christmas items until the following November — thrift shops don’t have space to hold onto Christmas decor all year. I actually like the big bins (labelled) so that we have fewer trips to the attic, but I organize them by what I need first: Christmas cards/stamps/pens; napkins, table cloths; cookie cutters & tins; a bin for all the outdoor lights, the village, etc. I don’t want everything brought down at the same time — it’s too overwhelming. I do make a list of what I’ll need next year and post it to my fall calendar.

  27. I so appreciate your organization tips for post Christmas work! I have already put to use many of them but have never thought of using zip ties. I like to use pant hangers for the large greenery items and cover them with plastic bags and tie at the bottom. Thank you again!

  28. Such good ideas for putting Christmas away! I especially like the idea of taking pictures of all my vignettes and decorations. This will be so helpful and I do plan to accomplish this. It took me many hours to decorate and looking back at the pictures next year will be so helpful and shorten my time spent decorating. Another thing I do that helps is to put decorations from each specific room into a bin, and mark it. This takes extra care when packing, but it can be done.

  29. Such good ideas for putting Christmas away! I especially like the idea of taking pictures of all my vignettes and decorations. This will be so helpful and I do plan to accomplish this. It took me many hours to decorate and looking back at the pictures next year will be so helpful and shorten my time spent decorating. Another thing I do that helps is to put decorations from each specific room into a bin, and mark it. This takes extra care when packing, but it can be done.

    1. As a blogger, I have so many images to recall what I put where for Christmas! It is so helpful

  30. Linda Buchanan says:

    When buying storage containers, I always tell people to keep in mind how heavy they will be when they are full. It is tempting to buy the biggest containers but, when full, you can’t lift them. Be sure to label everything you have in that container no matter how small the item is. NEVER wrap anything in newspaper. If you purchase cards for next year, do not put them in with your Christmas decorations. You may want to write your cards long before you start decorating to get that chore out of the way early. Keep a list of who you sent cards to and who sent them to you. I keep my tree in the box it came in, but I reinforced all the corners of the box because I plan to always store the tree in that box.

    1. aLways good to review your posts. While putting up garland on our staircase, discovered one strand lights out. I did buy a replacement, and lo and behold, while searching for something else, i found I had 2 boxes of new lights, about 12 strands! That mystery box is now labeled with its contents. For some years now, I’ve been using clear tubs for ornaments & such.

  31. Just had a conversation this morning with my sister about putting Christmas items away. I told her to use her iPad and snap pictures of decor she used this year. Add them to a Christmas Decor album on her iPad. I have many albums to assist my memory of favorites of all kinds.

  32. You mentioned making advent calendars for next year. What is your source for instructions or ideas for advent calendars?

  33. I thought I knew how to store our decorations, boy was I wrong. Thank you I will be doing a lot better.

  34. As always I enjoy reading your tips…I too take pictures of the decorations, room by room…I found that if I really love a Christmas vignette, i pack the entire set of pieces in it’s own storage box , labeled so if next year I want to replicate, I have the decorations ready….for that particular room or side table….
    Your home is beautiful,,,,,Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

  35. Great ideas! I would add that I take pictures of each vignette, put them away in the same box, and then print the photo on my color printer and lay it on top of the box so I know how to re-create it next year. I took your recommendation and did several table top trees this year And enjoyed them so much! I am going to not take the ornaments off and store them in a guest bedroom closet with a sheet over them. I know it’s lazy, but do you think there are any problems with doing this?

  36. Great ideas! This year I kept things simpler. In preparation for our hopeful downsized move in 2024 I reorganized everything earlier this year. New container idea. My sons are not married and no grandkids yet. Decided to create a “Whimsical Container”that holds all our fun decorations related to younger family members. Not saying I won’t pull some things out here and there but at least it all will be in one place when the time comes to bring the joy of childhood excitement to our holidays. Thanks for all your great posts. Appreciate all the work you do.

    Happy New Year🥂!

  37. CarolBinTX says:

    I love my label maker and not just for Christmas either! I recently reorganized all of our files. My hubs is always looking for certain papers, so I broke things down, different hanging and individual folders, he no longer has chaos as an excuse to look for something!

    I put some things together in “Christmas Lite” boxes. If we’re spending the bulk of the season not at home, it’s still festive before we leave but not overwhelming to pack up in January. I might decorate a few surfaces but not bring out the dishes, coffee cups, linens, etc. This year I decorated surfaces with white pottery and faux greens…still seasonal but not overly Christmas. As my daughter develops her own Christmas traditions, I won’t be decorating in the style of “Pier One coughed up all their seasonal clearance sales for the last 20 years!” Much more subdued these last years!

  38. You have helped me very much over the years I have followed your blog—Thank you so much!
    I have a question. You said make a photo file for your Christmas pictures on your iPhone. Can you please tell me how to make a photo file and put photos in it or send me to a link that shows how to do it?
    Thanks again, Melinda

    1. I think it would be best if you looked that up on Google. You might even like to see a YouTube video.

  39. All great ideas. I, too, use my phone to take pics and store and label bins too. I don’t do the same theme every year so the pics help me – I also do that for Easter and Thanksgiving. I post decor in instagram so I have a record there too. Love your blog and emails. Happy New Year!

  40. MARY-ANN (FROM CANADA) says:

    Yvonne, I always enjoy reading all your ideas for Christmas storage! You are such a great help and I have made a lot of changes because of your fabulous ideas! I always leave my Christmas decor out until January 5th. I decorate early — beginning of November — so that we can enjoy Christmas a little longer as this is our very favorite time of the year! And, I love to decorate.
    I pray that you and Bobby will have a wonderful 2024! Yvonne, you are such a blessing and how I thank God for you! I am so happy that I subscribed to your post years ago!

    1. I am happy too, Mary Ann! I love when I see your comments. You are a good friend I have never met. God bless you and yours in 2024.

  41. So excited to read your ideas and thank you so much for helping us out, you are a blessing😁