8 Hacks for Cleaning and Storing Holiday Decor

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The holidays have come and gone, and yet, your holiday decor is still hanging around, like a New Year’s Eve dinner guest at 2am who can’t take a hint. (Please don’t be that house.) We’ve got all the tips, tricks and hacks you need for cleaning holiday decor in a timely and efficient manner, so come December 2021 (or, you know, early November), your ornaments, lights, and garlands will be ready to go. 

String Lights on a Hose Reel

To keep your holiday lights from getting tangled, wrap them around a portable hose reel. Attach the end of your string lights to the starting notch on the reel and crank it until it all spins up. To store it, you can roll it into your garage or shed. You can also cover it with a garbage bag or storage case to prevent any further damage. So next year, you can roll them off with ease (and no knots, thank you very much). 

Use Egg Cartons to Store Small, Delicate Ornaments

I’m all about reusing and recycling and this tip fits the bill. Instead of tossing your delicate, ever-so-breakable Christmas ornaments into a box and hoping they’re still in one piece next year, use leftover egg cartons for ultimate protection. (I know you have them from all the Christmas cookie baking and eggnog drinking, cough cough.) You’ll find the ornaments fit perfectly, and you don’t even have to spend a dime.  

Hang Your Wreaths on a Rack

Wreaths are bulky and can make quite the mess which is why I recommend hanging them on a rack. This prevents any feathers or twigs from being squished or breaking off. Here’s another option: if you have any extra space in your basement or storage room, you can add a cheap storage hanger like this one that can hold up to a dozen wreaths. It’s easy to install and the shape keeps them from falling off the end. 

Put Your Gift Wrap Rolls in a Trash Pail

I don’t know about you, but I have wrapping paper for every occasion so I know the rolls can pile up—literally. One way to prevent this is by getting a trash bin and stacking the rolls in them vertically. You can shove it in a corner so it’s out of the way but be sure to make it clear to your spouse or kids that it is not garbage. 

Put Your Gift Wrap Rolls in a Fabric Shoe Holder

For those who are really into gift-wrapping, a trash bin might not be a sufficient storage option. If you don’t limit yourself to wrapping paper and go all out with bows and bags and tissue paper (like me), you might want compartments for optimal organization. Using an over-the-door fabric shoe holder like this one, is a great way to store your wrapping supplies and make sure they are organized and accessible. If tissue and wrapping paper need larger slots, you can make them bigger using a seam ripper and moving the stitches down. To really make it a one-stop shop, put scissors, tape, and small gift bags in the smaller slots at the top. 

Store Gift Bags in Magazine Holders

Simple magazine holders like these are great for organizing gift bags, and even tissue paper. You can group them by holiday or occasion. And if you’re really Type A like me, you can make color-coated labels so you won’t have to go digging to find the right bag. Magazine holders look clean and seamless on display and won’t be an eye-sore on an open shelf.  

Delicately Vacuum Wreaths and Faux Trees

I cannot stress this enough: cleaning your holiday decor (including wreaths and faux trees) is a *must* before you pack everything away for the season. Wreaths and faux trees are epic dust-collectors, which is why you need to wipe them down and dust them off. Before cleaning a faux tree, be sure to disassemble it (with ornaments and lights removed, of course). Then take a handheld vacuum to suction dirt off the branches. You can then use a Maker’s Clean microfiber cloth to wipe them down. 

Wipe Down Your Ornaments

Speaking of wiping down, you need to do so with your ornaments, too. For glass ornaments, spray glass cleaner onto a cloth and gently clean. For porcelain or crystal ornaments, use a duster or Maker’s Clean flat weave microfiber cloth. Wear gloves at all times. In the case of a mishap, you want to protect your hands.  

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Melissa Maker is an entrepreneur, cleaning expert, founder of Toronto’s most popular boutique cleaning service, and star of the Clean My Space channel on YouTube (but she still hates to clean!). Every week, Melissa delivers new videos dishing expert advice on cleaning products, tools, DIY substitutes, and practical, timesaving solutions to everyday problems. Melissa has appeared on the Today Show, and has been featured in InStyle, Real Simple, and Better Homes and Gardens.