How to store Christmas ornaments, according to experts

Don’t shatter the holidays

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Our Christmas tree decorations often tell our family’s story—from Grandma’s heirloom glass baubles to paper snowflakes the kids made last year. We take special care to place our ornaments just right on the seasonal fir, making sure they’re displayed with the utmost love and respect.

Nothing shatters the holiday spirit more than realizing some of those beloved ornaments didn’t make it through seasonal storage. “Out of sight, out of mind” should never be a motto when it comes to packing away your precious decorations.

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Mac Harman, Balsam Brands founder and CEO, suggests starting off on a good foot by implementing his trick of draping towels around the bottom of the tree at take-down time, especially if you have hardwood or tile floors.

“Any ornaments that slip while you’re removing them will land on a soft surface,” he explains.

In addition to Harman, we asked a few experts for their tips on how to store Christmas ornaments, so you’ll get years of joy out of them.

1. Utilize organized bin storage

This storage option is easily stackable, compact and most importantly clear, making it easy for you to select your ornaments with ease.

Christine Mango, lifestyle host and holiday designer, says, “I'm not a professional organizer, but as the person who has to pull out and install the holiday décor every year, I know what I prefer. There are storage bins made specifically for ornaments with dividers, or you can buy the dividers separately, but I find they don't protect the glass ornaments and don't accommodate large ornaments.”

Instead, Mango prefers wrapping glass ornaments in tissue paper or even paper towels, and then placing them in a clear storage bin. “I keep colors and/or themes separate and tag the outside of the bin,” she explains.

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2. Keep ornaments separate yet cozy

The best kind of organizers are ones that can be stored away easily and can keep your ornaments in their original condition.

According to Camille Colón, a Puerto Rico-based architect and project manager who also works along the East Coast and in Rome, Christmas ornament storage boxes are a must-have in every house.

To ensure the ornaments remain intact, each one should be separate and protected to avoid scratches and dents. “All these boxes are full of nostalgia, memories, and treasures,” she says.

Telescoping boxes that have divisions can be altered to fit larger or abnormally shaped ornaments.

Harman prefers storage boxes with removable trays designed to hold and protect ornaments.

“[These] make taking the ornaments down and putting them up easier,” he explains. “Also, make sure the trays have dividers to protect the ornaments from breaking against each other in storage.”

Bonus if you can find trays and dividers that are acid-free, which will protect vibrant colors from damage and discoloration.

3. Recycle plastic cups, egg cartons, and boxes

Not only does this upcycling method help the planet and reduce waste, it also is more cost-effective.

Maybe you impressed your holiday guests with your homemade garlands? Now, it’s time to impress yourself with your DIY skills when it comes to protecting your ornaments for future holidays.

Colón suggests recycling plastic cups by placing one ornament per cup and storing those cups in a box. You can also recycle egg cartons to accommodate smaller ornaments. Other items perfect for repurposing are snap-close plastic fruit containers (think Asian pears and avocados) in the produce section of big box stores like Costco or BJs.

When packing ornaments, Harman likes to use the original packaging of the Christmas ornament sets, if they’re designed for reuse.

No matter your method, pack your special ornaments with care, so you can enjoy them every holiday.

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