Be ready to sparkle again next year

Twelfth Night is upon us: you may be tired and just want to get the decorations down quickly. However, putting effort into packing them away ensures they last for years in excellent condition. Here are my top tips:

Storage Location

Choose a warm, dry place with easy access that allows you to leave decorations undisturbed until you need them again.

Delicate Baubles

Wrap delicate ornaments individually in acid-free tissue paper or tin foil and then place in egg cartons for additional protection. For larger ornaments split the egg carton into a top and bottom half, place ornaments in the bottom then put the top half on and secure with two elastic bands.

Alternatively place individually wrapped decorations inside disposable cups to keep separate.

Put your egg cartons or cups into a large lidded storage box. Surround them with extra packing, such as crumpled or shredded news paper. Secure the lid with parcel tape and label the box for easy identification.

General Christmas Ornaments

If you are using the packets they came in, ensure boxes are well maintained and repair or re-enforce with parcel tape to provide maximum protection.

If storing in a cupboard or loft space, choose lidded boxes that are easy to store and retrieve. Avoid anything too big as it will be heavy or awkward to get down again – 12 bottle wine boxes or shoe boxes are ideal.

Alternatively, store under a bed in an old suitcase or large purpose-built plastic box available from DIY stores.

Ensure lids are clear of the base of the mattress and will not be rested upon when someone is lying on the bed. Sort your ornaments by size, weight and fragility. Put a base layer of shredded paper or bubble wrap into your boxes.

Then place stronger wood or plastic ornaments on the bottom and add a covering of shredded paper or bubble wrap.

Build up in layers like a lasagne with the most fragile on top.

Ensure you leave space for the lid to easily shut after adding a final protective layer of paper or bubble wrap on top of the decorations.

Secure your boxes with packing tape and label appropriately so you know what is in them next year.

Christmas lights

Take the tube inside a roll of tin foil or wrapping paper.

Cut a small slit in one end and thread the end of the lights through this. Carefully wind the lights around the tube.

Cut a second slit at the other end and thread the plug cable.

This will keep lights safe and easy to unravel next year. Purchase replacement bulbs now and store these carefully in case they are not available next year.

Jamie Hempsall is winner of the Best Interior Design – North East Award in the UK Property Awards. Visit www.jamiehempsall.com or call him on 0800 032 1180.