(Post originally written for Metrolina Habitat Restore 1/20/16…)
Have you put your Christmas away yet?
This is such a common question this time of year and I have already had several people ask me how I protect and store my vintage holiday items. Since for me this has been a strange and ever evolving process, I thought it might be helpful to share what I’ve learned!
Ever since I started collecting vintage Christmas I have been working to find a foolproof and organized system of storage from year to year. So much of what has evolved into my current system seems like complete common sense to me now but I really wish I had started out with this info years ago–it would truly have made life so much easier. With the help of some important organizing tricks of the trade from my blog sister Jennifer Burnham of Pure and Simple Organizing, I think I may have finally honed my forever storage plan!
The biggest switch I initially made was moving everything from cardboard boxes to plastic bins for allow for more sturdy, stackable protection in my attic. These large plastic bins often show up at the ReStores, so keep an eye open and pick them up there at a fraction of the cost of new whenever you see them! Some of my items were just in large vintage cardboard boxes- these are fun to look at and read but just not practical for actual safe storage and will weaken over time. I highly suggest using clear see-through bins; this helps with item identification. My very favorite tip from Jennifer is to color code the lids of your bins to the season for ease of organization and quick identification in your attic, basement or wherever you store these items— brilliant, right?! So as of this year most all of my Christmas vintage has been switched to bins with red lids! I’m going to store spring & summer items in pastel bins, and fall in gray. I love the idea of being able to find my stuff at a quick glance; thanks for this great tip Jen!
Exactly how you pack these vintage collectibles is just as important to their longevity as what you choose in which to store them. When working with a group of breakables,
I layer the sides and bottom of the bins with bubble wrap before I put anything else in for a layer of cushioning.
Anything breakable gets wrapped individually and often times put into a smaller cardboard box before it gets packed in the bin to provide an extra layer of safety against breakage.
Other packing and storage tips:
-I always pack collections and similar items together. If collections take more than one bin I will number them: 1/2, 2/2 etc.
-I use masking tape or a label on the outside (rather than writing directly on the outside as I typically did on the cardboard boxes) so I can know exactly what I have stored in each bin. If I want to change it around next year it’s easy; I take off the old label or tape and replace with an new updated one.
-Items that aren’t breakable but may collect dust (anything flocked, velvet or plush) get packed in individual plastic baggies.
-Sometimes I pack unbreakable items down into a breakable container like shown with these flocked Santas in the large ceramic Santa pitcher. It then was swaddled in lots of bubble wrap before it was placed in the bin.
It typically takes me much longer to pack it all away because everything has to be packed carefully so I can enjoy it just as much next year! This is not nearly as much fun as putting it all up- but very necessary.