How to Pack Christmas Decorations for a Move
Dec 10, 2020
Taking holiday décor from storage to the moving trailer
Each year, after the holidays, you carefully store your favorite decorations, so they stay safe and ready to bring back out the next year. So, if you’re planning a move, you’ll want to take that same careful approach, but add a little extra protection. While it may be a bit more work, going the extra mile when packing helps ensure you can deck the halls with your most treasured keepsakes for years to come!
Before you start packing, keep these tips in mind
Unless you’re moving during the holidays when decorations are being used, pack them first. This will give you plenty of time to gather specialty containers you might need.
Get rid of unwanted items
Are there things that get left in the holiday totes each year? Maybe it’s something broken but sentimental. Or perhaps it no longer matches your design aesthetic. Either way, if you no longer want it, don’t move it. Tip: If it’s something sentimental, take a picture of it before passing it on.
Use boxes, not totes
Many people store their holiday decorations in plastic storage totes. These work well stacked in a storage unit and are easy to carry down from the attic; however, when it comes to moving, they aren’t ideal. Since they aren’t square, they can easily shift during transit, and the plastic can break when items are stacked on top. Read more about why you should use boxes instead of plastic containers to move.
This is more about ease of unpacking (and believe us, you’ll want that). Pack holiday decorations with other holiday decorations — not with everyday household goods (say no to packing wreaths with regular picture frames). Then you can carry holiday décor strait to storage and unpack just the stuff you need.
Clearly label each box with the contents so that you can find them again at the holiday time. Instead of just writing “Holiday” on the box, be more descriptive and write, “Halloween porch” or “Christmas Village,” so you know exactly what’s inside.
Invest in good supplies
Packing properly is more than just good boxes. You’ll also need plenty of packing paper and Bubble Wrap® to keep items secure. Though it may be tempting to use free newspaper, avoid if you can—especially for sentimental holiday décor. The print can transfer to items and it is very difficult to remove.
Fill boxes fully
When you’re just packing for storage, it’s no big deal if you don’t fully fill the box. But, when you’re packing to move, every box should be completely full, with no wiggle room, so nothing shifts inside. If you have extra room, fill it with up with crumpled packing paper.
Get the supplies
The décor you’re packing determines the materials you need. This list will get you started:
- Small, medium and large moving boxes (use original boxes when possible)
- A dish pack kit (for ornaments or small, fragile items)
- Paper padding or moving blankets (for large items, like outdoor decorations)
- Bubble Wrap®
- Packing paper
- Specialty containers, like light reels or wreath boxes, if applicable
Time to pack the decorations
We’ve broken down common types of décor with the steps required to pack them.
If you still have the box the tree came in (and it’s in good condition), use it. If not, consider purchasing a new box online or at a hardware store — or create a custom box from cardboard flats. For even more protection, put the tree in a Christmas tree bag before placing it in the box.
- Wrap fragile ornaments in Bubble Wrap® or packing paper, then place them in a divided box (like a dish pack kit)
- Place non-fragile ornaments together in zip-top bags (so they don’t get tossed with the packing material), then pack the bags in a box filled with crumpled paper to support them
- Make sure to mark the box “fragile” and avoid stacking heavy boxes on top
Lights and garland
If Christmas lights are just thrown into a box, the bulbs could break, and garland can become a tangled nightmare (we’ve all been there). Instead:
- Roll the lights around a storage reel (find these cheap online) or
- Wrap the lights or garland around a sheet of cardboard, using tape to secure the ends and finishing with a layer of Bubble Wrap® to keep everything secure
The easiest way to pack a wreath is to place it in a plastic wreath container. If it isn’t a tight fit, wrap it in Bubble Wrap® before placing it inside. Then place the wreath container in a box to pack it.
For inflatables, it’s best to use the original box if you have it. If not, fold them up into a moving box. Place the stakes in a zip-top bag to keep them together and pack them in another moving box to prevent punctures.
For big things like nativity scenes, skeletons or candy canes, use moving blankets to cover them, then use tape to secure the wrapping (be sure to only tape to the blanket, not the item — it could damage the finish). If the item fits into a large or extra-large box, that will offer the best protection during transit. If not, pack it like furniture in the moving equipment, and use ropes or straps to tie it down.
Miscellaneous holiday items
Use our packing tips for best practices for everything else. Pack things like stockings, ceramic pumpkins, tree skirts, snow villages, etc., like you would any other household belonging. Use original boxes when possible (sturdy boxes made for moving when it’s not), wrap breakables with Bubble Wrap® or packing paper, and use crumpled paper to fill space and keep things from shifting in the box.
Trying to plan a move during the holidays?
Along with packing up the décor, moving over the holiday season involves extra considerations, like timing and planning the celebration during the process. This guide offers helpful information for anyone moving during the holidays.
If you have questions about packing holiday decorations, leave us a comment. We’re here to help!
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