How to Extend the Life of Your Holiday Decor

Although there’s an abundance of beautiful Christmas decor available in stores every winter, it’s expensive to buy a whole new collection of decorations every year. Instead, take the time and attention to keep your existing decorations in top condition, well before the onset of winter so you can use them year after year. Follow some cleaning and storage tips to help your decorations, especially if they’re antiques or heirlooms, last as long as possible while still looking festive.

1. Watch for dust as you’re opening boxes of Christmas decorations. Wipe the outsides of containers with a slightly damp dust rag before opening to start with a clean slate. You can also lay out an old sheet on the ground where you’re working to catch any dust that falls off the decorations.

2. Use a dry rag or feather duster to remove any dust that you notice on your ornaments, wreaths, or artificial Christmas tree as you’re setting them up. Moisture can damage many of these, so keep the water and dusting sprays at bay during this stage, particularly with older ornaments. A wet cloth can wipe off paint. Clean your decorations before you put them away so you can get rid of dust before it has a chance to settle.

3. Dust your artificial Christmas tree before you store it each year so it’s clean when you pull it back out again. Dust each branch as you take it down and arrange them gently in a storage bag. You can also use a vacuum with an upholstery attachment on the lowest suction setting. A zippered bag will keep dust out while the tree is in storage so it’s read

y to go next year. In addition, consider keeping the box your tree came in as an added layer of protection when you’re storing it.

4. Carefully clean Christmas ornaments before putting them away, especially if they’re antiques or family heirlooms. Use a dry cloth, or even a soft toothbrush, to gently wipe off dust and get it out of tough crevices. A compact feather duster may also work. If you have any wax ornaments, you can use a cloth dampened with warm water to get off dust that may be sticking to them.

5. Wrap each ornament in white acid-free tissue paper and pack them carefully into boxes. The best ornament storage boxes have a separate compartment for each ornament, complete with sturdy walls between the compartments to ensure ornaments don’t damage each other. Ornaments should be in a single layer and all boxes should be sturdy so they don’t crush anything.

6. Store decorations away from bright and humid areas. Both light and moisture can damage ornaments and artificial Christmas trees. If possible, store boxes of ornaments in a single layer, or at the very least, avoid placing heavy boxes on top of them. If you have glass ornaments, try to avoid storing them in very cold environments. The glass may crack when moved from one temperature extreme to another.

The time and energy you put into cleaning and storage is likely to pay off. Not only will you save money, but you’ll also create memories around your decorations as you pull them out and set them up as a family each year.

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