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Seasonal Cleaning

Taking Down A Christmas Tree

Are you the friend or family member who’s jokingly known for leaving your Christmas tree up until spring? The taking down of trees and decorations has a reputation for being time-consuming. However, the task really isn’t that bad once you get started. Additionally, real trees will eventually begin to decompose or grow mold, and you don’t want that floating about your house.

Before you shout, “Bah humbug!” at the idea of this chore, learn how to take down a Christmas tree without reaching for a fifth glass of eggnog.

How to Take Down a Christmas Tree

The best method to take down your tree will depend on whether you’re working with an artificial model or have a real Christmas tree shedding needles in your family room throughout the season.
  • Taking down an artificial tree: Stop trying to cram this tree into the beat-up box it came in. Recycle that and invest in a tree storage bag to make your life a billion times easier. After you’ve removed all ornaments and lights, simply disassemble your tree in sections and gently lay it in the bag. Then cinch and zip, so you’re ready to pack away your tree until next year. Some artificial Christmas tree bags even have wheels, making your life just a little bit merrier.
  • Removing a live Christmas tree: The most annoying part of this process for most people is the Christmas tree shedding needles as they work. You can avoid a lot of this hassle by skipping the skirt and laying down a Christmas tree disposal bag instead. These collect all the fallen needles throughout the holidays. And, after Santa’s gone, you can take down your decorations, pull the bag over the tree and — voilà — it’s ready to be tossed out. Worried about the aesthetic? Some Christmas tree removal bags are holiday-themed, so that they’re both attractive and functional. Alternatively, you can still place your skirt over the bag.
Tempted to attack those fallen needles up with the vacuum cleaner? That can damage your appliance and send you straight to the naughty list. Sweep up needles first, then vacuum any remaining glitter, coal dust or other debris.

Tip: Many cities or HOAs have tree-disposal guidelines or set dates for live trees to be picked up and recycled. Make sure you look into this to avoid fines or trips to the dump.

Storing Christmas Lights

Does unpacking holiday lights conjure images of Chevy Chase with his beach ball-sized snarl of bulbs and cords in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation? Well, you’ll be pleased to know there are some easy fixes for this.
  • Zip ties and plastic bags: As you take down lights, wrap them in a loose circle. Once the strand has been removed, fasten the male and female ends. Secure strands with a bread tie or zip tie so that they don’t get tangled while they’re packed away. Wrap the lights in tissue paper or newspaper to prevent them from bumping and breaking. Then, place the lights in a plastic bag and set them in a storage container.
  • DIY cardboard spools: After unwrapping all those gifts, you’re bound to have some cardboard around. Take a piece and cut it into a spool. Wrap your strand of lights around the spool and then join the male and female ends to keep them from unraveling in storage. Tuck them snuggly in newspaper, kraft paper or something similar so that they don’t break, and they’re ready to be stored until next year.

Removing Christmas Decorations

Taking down holiday tree decorations can be a delicate matter, as many are breakable, homemade or even family heirlooms. There are numerous storage containers you can purchase for these items. A compartmentalized case with hard sides is definitely a good idea if you need to keep more fragile or sentimental decorations safe and sound while they’re not being used.

Remove ornaments individually, and take the time to gently wipe each with a microfiber cloth to get rid of any holiday dust. Next, wrap each bauble or turtle dove in tissue paper before you delicately place it in your storage container. When storing, make certain this box is placed in an area where heavy items will not be stacked on top of it, as this can cause your ornaments to break.

Pro tip: Keep that label maker handy when packing up your holiday décor. Labeling storage containers will lend itself to a more organized garage or attic. This, of course, will make it much easier to find your holiday necessities next year.

Now you’re armed with the secrets to quickly and efficiently pack away your holiday decorations. Don’t be the person who leaves the tree up all year. Ready for the bonus in your Christmas stocking? Knowing how to take down a Christmas tree, lights and ornaments the right way can make future unpacking and decorating much easier.

Need assistance cleaning up after Christmas? The helper elves at your local Merry Maids are happy to work their magic, so you can focus on getting back into the post-holiday swing of things.