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While there are many debates throughout the year, one we hear frequently this time of the year is how soon is too soon to put up your holiday decorations. Whether you’re on team before Thanksgiving or team after Thanksgiving, Verve is on your side when it comes to keeping your budget healthy this holiday season.

If you love decorating, then one key piece of staying within your budget this time of year is knowing what holiday decorations you already have before you head out to the store for more. Organizing your holiday decorations when you put them away is a good start, but if you just threw all your decorations into a big box (or several) last year and called it good, it’s not too late to take inventory of what you have and get organized.

Keep reading for tips on how to store and organize your holiday decorations.

Tips for organizing holiday decorations

  1. Add some method to your madness. While there are many organizational theories and methods, we’re recommending organizing your holiday decorations the way that works for you (but maybe not the “throw it all in one box method”). Whether your brain works better with similar objects in one tote or box (such as all soft decorations and stockings) or if you prefer packing room-by-room, feel free to do what will work best for you in terms of putting it away AND getting it back out the following year.
  2. Get sturdy containers. While there are Christmas-specific storage containers that work well for some, you can also invest in sturdy packing boxes from your local home improvement store for a fraction of the cost. While it may be tempting to take the short cut on the cost of storage containers by using plastic or paper bags or flimsy shipping boxes, trust us when we say investing in heavier duty containers is worth it. You’ll avoid headaches—and broken decorations—caused by containers that break open while you are carrying them or stacking them in storage.
  3. Pack for the elements. Storage space can be hard to come by, with common storage locations remaining untouched for months. These include the attic, garage and basement, as well as outdoor storage units or sheds. If you are storing your decorations somewhere with limited human activity, consider using air-tight plastic storage contains and put mouse glue boards near your decorations to prevent rodents from taking up residence in your favorite holiday decorations. If you have some decorations that won’t fare well in extreme deviations in temperatures (such as candles), consider packing those separately in a smaller container and store it on the top shelf of a closet. Packing for the weather can also help you avoid unpacking musty decorations covered in mold or animal droppings.
  4. Take inventory. Knowing what you have is half the battle, especially if you have limited space for storage. While it may be tempting to pick up a few random holiday decorations every time you head to the store, take photos of the things that caught your eye in the store and then head home to look at what you already have. See how you can use what you have and make note of what items you’d like to add to your holiday decorations this year. By taking inventory, you can also identify items that are worn out, broken or not working and may need to be replaced. You can also make a list of the contents of each storage container to make finding what you are looking for even easier.

Check out our blog for more home life, budget or family finances tips.