How to Store Holiday Decorations

Keep your decorations safe, organized, and easy to find for next year’s celebration.

Photo By: Brian Patrick Flynn

Photo By: Stacey Brandford

Holiday Traditions

Decorations are an important part of many families’ holiday traditions. A smart storage strategy ensures favorite items are easy to locate — and not tangled, dirty, or damaged.

Don't Waste Prime Real Estate

When determining an area of the garage for storing holiday decor, "Don’t waste prime real estate," cautions Chris McKenry, owner of Get It Together LA and a member of the National Association of Professional Organizers. “Don’t put your holiday decorations up front when you only need them once a year. Store them up high or in the corner.” Two out-of-the-way options: ceiling racks and high shelving. Both are ideal for bulky, lightweight decorations and leave room below for more frequently used items.

Tubs of Different Colors

When choosing storage products, forgo easily damaged cardboard boxes in favor of weatherproof plastic bins that can be stacked to save space. If you decorate for multiple holidays, choose tubs in different colors: orange for Halloween, red for Valentine’s Day, and so on. Label each container as specifically as possible: “figurines for mantel” rather than “holiday decorations.”

Christmas Lights

To avoid frustration next year, test lights before storing them and discard strands that don’t work. Secure neatly coiled strings of lights with clips or wrap them around a large spool, and store them in weatherproof plastic tubs.

Tree Ornaments

Choose from a variety of storage options, from specialty ornament chests to inexpensive bins. McKenry recommends either storing ornaments in archival boxes or wrapping them in acid-free tissue paper before stowing them in waterproof bins. “This will prevent rusting and tarnishing,” he says. Add dividers (you can even repurpose wine box inserts) to separate and cushion ornaments. Never wrap ornaments in newspaper, McKenry says, as the ink can cause damage.

Table Linens

Launder tablecloths, placemats, and cloth napkins before storing them, neatly folded, in waterproof bins. If you wrap linens before stowing them, be sure to choose acid-free paper to avoid damage. If necessary, take preventive measures to deter moths or rodents.


Cushion holiday glassware, figurines, and snow globes with bubble wrap and store them in padded china storage containers.

Tree, Garlands and Wreaths

Store these items in specially designed moisture-resistant zippered bags or cases. Smaller bags can be hung on wall hooks, while the tree tote can be placed in an unused corner or suspended from a heavy-duty ceiling hook. Select a tree bag equipped with wheels for easy portability.

Small Hardware

A plastic pencil case or tackle box can organize ornament hooks, stocking hangers, tiny replacement bulbs, and other small items.


Carefully deflate front-lawn displays, check for damaged plastic or cords, and be sure they are clean and dry before stowing them in bins.

Delicate Items

Wooden decorations, candles, handmade items, and gift-wrapping supplies can easily be damaged if your garage is prone to moisture or extreme temperatures. It generally is best to find a spot for them indoors, such as the back of a closet or under a guest bed. Bonus: Learn how to make this wooden Christmas wreath.