How to Win the Storage Wars – Holiday Edition

With the holiday season quickly approaching, are there visions of tangled Christmas lights and cracked ornaments dancing in your head? Or maybe your Thanksgiving turkey centerpiece is missing a few feathers?

If you’re short on closet space (or lacking proper storage containers), the “putting it all away” season might feel like a great tug-of-war with unruly reindeer figurines or a disappearing act with misplaced holiday candles. Not to worry. Put aside fears of collateral damage from last season’s storage wars, and keep reading for tips that will keep your holiday valuables shiny and bright (and full-feathered) for seasons to come.


Monterey ParqueMorgan Hill, CA

How to Store the Four Basics:

Just as there are four major food groups, one could argue (maybe unsuccessfully) that there are four major categories of holiday stuff that gets packed and unpacked season after season. Here are a few “handle with care” approaches.

1. Ornaments and Figurines.

  • An empty egg carton. Treat small ornaments like the breakable little things they are and store them in an empty egg carton. Just, you know, really make sure the carton is empty before you store it away for a year.
  • A tackle box. You’ll find perfect-size compartments for small ornaments and figurines, like those from a miniature train set. This is also a handy place to store ornament hooks.
  • An ordinary box or container. An empty box of any type can be transformed into a safe haven for ornaments and collectibles if you carefully wrap each object individually before storing it away. Used gift wrap works great for this purpose and you’ll earn bonus karma points for recycling. It’s also a good idea to use multiple boxes (one for breakables, one for non-breakables), so you don’t end up with a black hole of holiday stuff that’s hard to dig through.

2. Gift Wrap.

  • Umbrella stands. These are the perfect size and shape to hold rolls of gift wrap. (And gives everyone in Southern California a reason to own an umbrella stand!)
  • Over the door organizers. If you’re short on closet space, this option will take up very little extra room and will also offer pockets for ribbons and bows.
  • Under the bed storage containers (see also; where to store below). They make actual gift wrap storage containers that will slide under your bed. Just remember that you put them under there or you’ll end up with twenty different rolls of wrapping paper.

3. Festive Wreathes.

  • A wreath container. Yes, such a thing exists, and they take two forms so you’ll have your choice between a hard plastic container that looks like a giant Bundt cake pan (which will make you efficient and hungry at the same time) or a soft, zippered case.
  • A hat box … a very large hat box. And this might also be the place to store holiday dinner table centerpieces.

4. Holiday lights.

  • Original packaging. Sometimes the easiest answer is the one that came with the lights. I have a set of mini-tree lights and they were packaged with a foam tray that has individual grooves for each light and keeps the wire from tangling.
  • Cardboard. Wrap the lights around a thick piece of cardboard to keep the wire neat and tidy.

Homestead, Maricopa, AZ

Where on Earth Do I Store All This Stuff?

If you don’t have room in a closet to stash your holiday decorations, consider these options:

  • An air-tight container. If your storage space is in an attic, basement or outside storage unit, look for a weather-proof, air tight storage box that will keep out moisture, mildew, and all manner of things that crawl in the night.
  • An ottoman with storage space. If you have more holiday decorations than you have closet space, an ottoman with a removable lid is a great place to stash things you don’t need to leave out year-round.
  • An under-bed storage container. The clear choice here, is well, a clear container so you can take inventory with just one glance. No more missing candles! (Be sure to measure the space from floor to box spring so you don’t bring home a container that won’t fit).

Whether you celebrate Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa (or even Festivus!), these tips will help ensure that your holiday-relevant trimmings will survive into the New Year and well beyond.

Are you looking for a new home with extra storage space and/or a flex room? Visit us online at to view floor plans and find a community near you.

A.J. Bowker is a contributing writer to From House to Home. She has lived on the East Coast, in the Midwest, and is now settled in Southern California. One thing she has learned from living in various parts of the country: home is a state of mind.