Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Christmas Storage Without A Basement

I will start by saying: I miss a basement. We use to have garlands, large centerpieces, and all sorts of Christmas and holiday decorations. A move across the country and the lack of a basement deemed it necessary to dwindle down our Christmas supplies.

While we have more storage than some, we have less than others. Here are a few things we learned when moving from a house with a basement to one without:

1) Prioritize what’s important to you.
Think about how much you use something and how important it is to you. Do you really need that 5-foot snowman that only comes out for 1 month a year? He may have fit nicely in the corner of the basement, but not so well in the corner of the living room. We designated two metal utility shelves to containers of things that rarely get used, while a whole coat closet was designated to all things recreational. (Can you tell where our priorities lie?)  The metal shelf even gets used for a lot of bike helmets and shoes.  Yep, you can tell where our priorities lie.

2) Prioritize what Christmas items are important to you.
Do you use them every year or do they have sentimental value? Our nativity set, a collection of ornaments from my godparents, and some ornaments marking milestones made the cut in our house. Good-bye lovely colored Christmas balls. Good-bye tiered Christmas centerpiece. Good-bye swags and garlands. Good-bye ceramic Santa Clauses. Good-bye fake tree. *boo-hoo* Some people made out really well on freecycle.org.

3) Designate how much of your storage space will be used for Christmas items.
Biker Boy kindly donated enough space in his garage to put in two metal shelving units for rarely used things. That’s a lot of space! We choose to have 3 containers for Christmas items on our shelves of “things of little use.” One for lights, one for decorations, and one for ornaments. If it doesn’t fit, it’s likely going to be given away.

4) Label to find and remember.
Our 3 boxes are labeled “Christmas Lights,” “Christmas Decorations,” and “Christmas Ornaments.” Innovative, isn’t it? Inside our ornament box we store most of the ornaments in their original boxes with a label. The label has a description of the ornament, says whom it was from and what year we received it. We figure what’s the point in keeping it if we can’t remember it? Except if you have lots of storage, and then hey, keep it!

5) Organize within boxes to prevent damage.
Simple plastic light keepers, cord keepers, and even the original boxes things come in. Think outside the box for thrifty storage options: maybe egg cartons, plastic yogurt containers, or those plastic containers that keep apples separate to store things in.

6) Think up and under.
Shelves to store things on. I’ve already mentioned our 2 shelves in our garage. They’re pushed up against the wall because we actually we use our 2-car garage to park 2 cars. Crazy, no? Can you put anything in the rafters? Top shelf of your closet? How about under the bed? Our gift-wrapping items reside in two plastic containers under the bed. I try to get gift-wrap that can be used for all occasions, but sometimes I can’t resist Christmas wrap on clearance. Then it resides under the bed for a year. I’m going to have to start resisting.

7) Display it out in the open.
A few of my ornaments are on display through the house year round. They’re too pretty to box up for 11 months of the year. I love how my mom-in-law has her Christmas village in a curio cabinet year round to look at. Get creative.


8) Now remember where you put everything.
Keeping it all in 1 or 2 spots helps!

Now I have another year of resisting the clearance Christmas items at Target. I do so love decorating for Christmas; it’s just minimal now. I think next year the kids and I will have to start early with collecting things from the yard to use to decorate for Christmas.

Any other handy storage ideas? Any other basement missing folks out there? Stay tuned for a cupboard-crashing day of our recreational closet. Merry Christmas!

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