Once Halloween is over it’ll be time to take down all your decorations and pack them away with costumes until next fall. While many stores are now offering containers in black and orange for your Halloween needs, successful storage requires more than just buying a few random tubs. You need a plan.
Sort, Sort, Sort
The best thing about sorting is that you can start the process while your decorations are still in use. Just walk around and make a list of all Halloween items. Make a note of what you want to keep and, therefore, store, what needs to be thrown out or recycled, and what you can donate to Goodwill or pass on to family or friends.
It is also a good idea to sort what items will be stored together. If you only have a handful of decorative items, they might all fit in one big orange tub. More likely, you’ll need multiple boxes, tubs, or containers for all your decorations. Decide if you’re going to group them according to theme (ghosts, monsters, spiders, etc.), location (outdoor, roof, office cubicle, door, etc.), or type (lights and candles, hanging, figurines, etc.) or by some other classification. Think about how you will want to find various items when it’s time to decorate next year and group accordingly.
The last thing to sort is your boxes, tins, tubs, and packing materials. If you still have the original boxes for fragile or electronic items, decide if they will go in a larger tub with other items or stand alone on a storage shelf. Now you’re ready to take down the decorations and pack in an efficient manner.
Many decorations are fragile, made of glass, ceramic, or paper. Some are electronic, with lights, speakers, and even small motors. Many are strung on cords or strings. All of this will need to be taken into account when packing.
If you don’t have the original boxes for fragile items, be sure to use bubble wrap, tissue paper, etc., to protect these items. Consider storing them in smaller boxes or tins to keep them from getting jostled in larger containers.
You will need to decide how to handle hardware such as hooks and wreath hangers. You can either pack them with the item they hold or create one box with all such hardware — just be sure to be consistent in whichever method you choose.
Make note of any items that require climate-controlled storage, like candles and electronics, so that they aren’t ruined.
Buying tubs and containers that are Halloween colors will make them easy to find in a storage unit or attic full of boxes. If you are using regular boxes and tubs, you can still use color-coded labels or markers to get the same benefit.
As with any type of storage project, you’ll want to make an inventory list of what is in every box and a more general label on the outside. Always think about how you will look for things next year.
Choose Your Location
This is a two-step process. First, are you going to store things in your basement, garage, attic, laundry closet, storage unit, or someplace else? Try to find one location, so that all your Halloween boxes are in the same place. Make sure it meets the environmental requirements of your most fragile items. In other words, don’t put all your boxes in the attic if you have even one box of candles.
Next, plot the location of each box or tub. Ideally a “last in, first out” rule will work. The decorations you’ll want first should be easiest to reach. This would include the hardware box, if you put everything in the same one. However, you’ll want to keep in mind that heavier, larger items should go on the bottom of a stack and some items should go closer or further from light sources depending on the sensitivity of the contents.
Taking down your decorations and saying goodbye to Halloween for another year may be a sad time, but at least you can rest easy knowing everything is ready for next year.