The Storage Hack That'll Keep Your Christmas Ornaments From Shattering

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There comes a day at the end of your Christmas celebrations when you have to clean up your decorations and pack them away until next year. It might be one of your least favorite days of the year — whether it's because you have to say goodbye to the cozy holiday decor or you hate trying to find a place to store everything for the next nine months. If it seems there's always one casualty every time you open the Christmas ornament box — that 20-year-old newspaper scrap can only protect so much — rather than rely on decades-old paper, use plastic cups to protect your ornaments and keep them organized. Fill up the bottom of a storage bin with plastic cups. Fit as many cups as possible while ensuring they can sit flat. Then, put an ornament in each one. Once you're done, cover the top with cardboard. Then, create a second layer as you did the first.

You may need to buy several cups up front if you don't already have them on hand, but they will last for many years, so it'll likely be a one-time expense that will increase the life of your ornaments, making the cups well worth your investment. Since newspapers are a thing of the past at this point — and never worked well for ornament protection anyway — it's time to adopt new ornament storage methods, and you can make sure you never run out of packing material again.

Protect every ornament for years

Placing one ornament per cup will prevent fragile ornaments from scratching or breaking. However, you can store several small, non-breakable ornaments together to condense them. Be sure they don't poke out the top so you can have a flat surface for the next layer. Average storage bins will likely fit two layers of cups, but larger bins like the 20-gallon Rubbermaid Brute Tote ($45 on Amazon) can hold three. The deeper the bin, the more layers you can have, but wider bins will hold more cups in a single layer. Pack leftover space at the top with tissue paper, newspaper, or leftover packaging airbags you saved from Amazon orders. You might be able to fill the space with flat decor, reusable gift bags, or pillows to save even more room in your closet.

This storage hack lends itself to some modifications, so feel free to use what you have on hand. Styrofoam cups will work, too, as will old plastic drinking glasses. So, if you don't like to buy disposable plastic, head to your cabinets, local thrift store, or garage sale to find some inexpensive cups. If you don't have spare cardboard for the layer between the cups, use folders, printer paper, or scrap fabric instead. Be sure the material you choose will stay flat enough to prevent the top cups from falling into the bottom ones. Keep heavier ornaments on the bottom layer and lighter ones on the top to avoid mishaps.