Holiday cleanup: How to dismantle the decorations

Packing up after the holidays is time-consuming. Fragile ornaments, tangled lights, and unwieldy trees make it a frustrating time. However, it’s also an opportunity to set up your next holiday season for success.

Take pictures

Do you like the way you set up this year? Take a picture! A photo will allow you to look back next year and know precisely where each decoration goes.

Secure storage

Make sure your storage area is ready before you start to pack. Clear a path to the area, and make sure there is ample room for your decorations. Organize them in one place to make them easier to find next year.

A specialized moving box from TWO MEN AND A TRUCK with dividing cells to keep fragile items safeReplace old boxes, pick up supplies

Your decoration boxes will naturally break down over time. If some of yours have seen better days, it’s time to replace them. Make sure you’re using boxes with enough support and strength to keep your decorations safe.

To add to their safety, pick up some bubble wrap or packing paper (we can help with that). These materials will come in handy when you start to pack your fragile items.

Make note of delicates

Isolate fragile items from the rest of your decorations to keep them safe. Keeping delicates separate allows you to take the necessary precautions while moving and storing them.

When it comes to packing up these fragile items, make sure to wrap them in the right materials. Bubble wrap and packing paper are ideal for delicate items. You may reach immediately for the newspaper, but that can cause problems. Newspaper can leave ink on your ornaments, which is the last thing you want. Bubble wrap and packing paper will protect your decorations without wearing off on them.

Keep the lights untangled

We’re all familiar with the twisted lights that bog down the start of the season. Fighting with tangled strands is an aggravating waste of time. Skip it next year.

Grab a cardboard box and cut off one of the flaps. Start by cutting a slit in the top and bottom of the flap. Tuck one end of the strand into the slit at the bottom and start wrapping the lights around the flap. When you reach the top, slide the other end into the slit at the top.

This will keep your lights stationary, tucked in, and (best of all) untangled.

Label and list

Speaking of organizing, now is the perfect time to get everything sorted for next year. Label each box with an inventory of its contents to make next year more efficient. You’ll know exactly what’s inside each bag and box.

It’ll also help you throughout the year. You may need a string of lights or specific decoration during the year, and labeling will make it easier to find exactly what you need.

Remove the tree

Taking down the tree is the unofficial closing of the holidays. Whether you have a fake tree or a live one, there comes a time it must be removed.

If you have a fake tree, you’ll have to plan your route to the storage area. If you’re going through a doorway, try to do so with the bristles rather than against them. Going with the branches allows for more flexibility and less chance of damage to your tree and walls.

Before moving it at all, make sure to bag it. This will keep your mess (and that pesky flakey snow) contained and your tree safe during storage.

For a real tree, it’s important to check your city’s pickup schedule. Many will have a schedule to pick up trees left curbside. They may also have a dumping area you can take it to.

Check out resources like this to determine when your tree can be removed.


TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® is a local mover with 24 years of experience moving Madison’s community and businesses forward. We have donated nearly $1.5 million of in-kind services to the community.

To get your free quote, visit us online or call 608-278-0800!

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