Problem: You end up tossing loads of wrapping paper and other packaging materials. Solution: Instead of throwing away used gift wrap and tissue paper, run it through a paper shredder and use the fluffy strips as packing filler when you're putting away your decorations, suggests Sandy Stuckey, a former director of special events and entertainment at Gaylord Opryland, in Nashville.
Problem: You've finally perfected your decorating scheme, and you don't want to forget it. Solution: Label each string of lights, segment of garland, or ball of mistletoe with a marker and masking tape as you take it down so you'll always know which item to hang in the entryway and which is just the right size for the mantel.
2 of 7Mark Lund
Packing It Up Like a Pro
3 of 7Mark Lund
4 of 7Mark Lund
Smart Storage Solutions
5 of 7Mark Lund
What to Buy, What to Toss
6 of 7 Dana Gallagher
Problem: Your stored candles lose their shape. Solution: "Candles should be put away flat, out of light, and in a fairly cool area to prevent warping and preserve color," says Susan Stockman, a spokesperson for the Yankee Candle Company, in South Deerfield, Massachusetts. An alternative solution, says Taylor, is to use neutral-colored candles that you can leave out all year.
Problem: The holiday linens end up as wrinkled as a turkey's wattle. Solution: Ironing a big linen tablecloth is probably the last thing you want to do after you've spent the entire morning cooking. "Use skirt hangers for all your tablecloths, place mats, and napkins so they don't become creased at the bottom of a box," says Hill.
7 of 7Ditte Isager
Problem: Plastic lawn ornaments and other large, oddly-shaped decorations take up too much space when boxed. Solution: Save the zippered garment bags you get when you buy a new suit or dress, and use them to protect bulky plastic figures, such as sleighs and reindeer, suggests Hill. Then hang the bags in a closet or on a nail in your attic.
Problem: You need to store your decorations in the basement, which is always damp. Solution: Use plastic storage containers with tight seals, and place them up off the floor on shelves or palettes, in case of flooding. To help keep boxes free of moisture, Hill recommends dropping in a few silica packets (often found in new shoe boxes, or available for purchase at the Preservation Station, preservesmart.com).