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How to store wrapping paper and holiday decor, according to experts

Don't let taking down decorations steal your holiday joy.
Kara Birnbaum / TODAY

Wrapping paper storage tips | Wrapping paper storage picks | Holiday storage tips | Holiday storage picks | FAQs | Meet the experts

If you're anything like me, you probably go a little overboard with all of your holiday decor (I can't help it; it's all so cute!). Now that the big day is over, it's time for us to tackle the biggest post-holiday task: how to store it all.

Storing things like wrapping paper or fragile pieces like ornaments can be tricky and even messy, if done improperly. That’s why Shop TODAY spoke to several organizing experts to get their professional opinion on the best way to store your favorite decor and gift wrapping necessities year after year.

How to store wrapping paper

Experts recommended several ways to store wrapping paper including using a cart, under-bed box, a storage bag specifically designed for it and even a regular plastic trash can.

Mindy Godding, co-founder of Abundance Organizing, personally uses a wrapping cart to store all of her wrapping paper, while professional organizer Janelle Cohen likes to use a cheap trash can that holds all of her rolls upright and can be tucked away in the back of a closet when not in use.

Wrapping carts

Godding calls a wrapping cart an “active storage solution” for the season. Hers has four drawers, a lid on top and side holders for everything from her wrapping paper to gift bags, tape and tissue paper. She uses it all year long and just swaps her supplies for holiday stuff when the season arrives. Plus, it’s on wheels so it’s easy to bring out when you need it and put away when you’re done.

“You can use these carts for almost anything but they’re really, really good for wrapping paper and supplies,” she says.

Storage bags

If you don’t have enough space for a cart or want something that’s more portable, a storage bag might be the way to go. There are wrapping paper-specific storage bags that have space for your rolls, and some even have additional compartments that can hold tape, gift bags, bows, tissue paper and anything else you need to wrap presents. But before you go buy just any storage bag, Godding suggests making sure you know the size of the wrapping paper rolls you have.

“When you’re getting a roll of wrapping paper, it’s either going to come in a 30-inch size or a 40-inch size. [It’s] important to know what you have or what you’re going to buy because there’s different sizes of storage. So you don’t want to get a regular one and then realize all of your tubes except three are the longer size. Then you won’t be able to store them,” she advises.

Storage bins

For an easy, no-frills way to store wrapping paper, Deanne Bridenstine, director of merchandising and design for The Tailored Closet, recommends opting for a really big bin during the months when you’re not actively using your supplies. Just make sure it’s a bin large enough to hold your wrapping paper rolls without smushing or crinkling the ends. Plus, if it’s a short but long or wide bin, it can be easily stored under the bed, she adds.

Trash cans

Probably the most affordable solution of the bunch, Cohen says (clean) plastic garbage bins that'll keep your wrapping paper rolls upright will get the job done. It can be easily stored in a closet or even under the bed if you have a high enough bed frame.

Wrapping paper storage solutions, according to experts

Sterilite 18-Gallon Red Tote Box

If you want to keep it simple, you can just throw your wrapping paper in a large bin like this one Godding recommended. KC Davis, licensed therapist and author of “How to Keep House While Drowning,” recommends using containers that aren’t object-specific so you can repurpose it for something else in the future.

mDesign Extra-Long Gift Wrap Storage Bag

Godding calls out this extra-long storage bag that measures in at a whopping 48 inches long. There are two mesh pockets on the door and a smaller compartment for ribbon. With two handles for easy portability, you can turn anywhere in your home into your own personal gift-wrapping station.

Ikea Råskog Utility Cart

For another, more affordable option, Jessica Litman, founder of The Organized Mama, says you can get a quality craft cart from Ikea. This is ideal for smaller wrapping necessities like mini rolls of paper, ribbon, gift bags, gift tags, tissue paper and other items around that size.

Gramercy Rolling Cart by Simply Tidy

Litman also says similar carts can be found at Michael’s that can serve as your gift-wrapping station. This one comes with 10 accessories for organization including a rack with hooks, a metal peg board and a gift wrap organizer.

Elfa Gift Wrap Cart Platinum

This specific cart was called out by Godding and Litman. Litman calls it the “most effective way to organize” and Godding is a fan of its customizability. It comes with five mesh drawers, a ribbon dispenser, wrapping paper organizer and accessory basket, but you can purchase additional cart accessories to make it suit your needs.

How to store other holiday decorations

Once the holiday season is over, we are tasked with storing not only wrapping paper, but the rest of our decorations until next year. Combine what you already have with the new items you picked up this year, and you might be left with more than you can handle. But don’t fret! The experts offered tips on how to manage that, too.

Storing wreaths

Out of all your decorations, storing wreaths is the easiest to do. Bridenstine offers two simple options: wreath boxes or — if you have extra wall space — slat walls and hooks.

“Using some slat wall with hooks gives me a place to hang not just my holiday wreaths, but my wreaths for all seasons,” she tells us.

Storing ornaments

Litman says divided ornament holders are “by far the most effective way to store ornaments.” Bridenstine also calls out using ornament-specific storage boxes for your more fragile pieces. Since they’re specific to ornaments, you’ll always know what’s in the box, but just make sure to wrap up glass and other breakable pieces before putting them in for an added layer of protection.

If you don’t want to rely on ornament-specific boxes, Marissa Hagmeyer, co-founder of NEAT Method, suggests “using divided trays and stacking them in a weathertight bin." She adds that the weathertight quality is important because it’ll prevent dust and bugs from getting inside.

Repurpose items you already have for storage

Cohen says duvet cover bags and sheet set bags are perfect for holiday storage because they’re clear, so you can see what you have, and you’ve likely already got a few unused ones floating around your house. Even though the bags are transparent, she still recommends adding labels so you know exactly what's inside.

Keep your collection restricted to one bin

Another way to keep holiday decorations manageable is to stick to one designated box of an appropriate size, a method that Cohen uses herself.

“If I end up accumulating too much over the holiday season and now it’s not going to fit in the bin that’s designated for my holiday stuff, I do a quick edit and decide what I’m actually going to use each year,” she says. “It [can be] too overwhelming and when you’re unpacking or packing it up, it causes anxiety instead of joy and it should always cause joy. It’s the holidays.”

Don’t be afraid to de-clutter

Litman recommends parting ways with anything you didn’t use this holiday season to make the next one easier. “I feel like a lot of people declutter as they’re decorating and I like to do it at the end because you’re already sick of all of those things,” she says. “Get rid of the stuff you didn’t use or you don’t plan to use again and it’ll make storing the rest of the stuff easier."

“I always thought of holiday decorating as involving lots of tchotchkes and extra items that sit on shelves, but that can be really overwhelming for people and much harder to store,” Davis echoes. “I’ve found that if I keep an eye out for clutter-free decoration, I find that those things store more easily, they are less overwhelming to put up and to take down and they feel a little [less overwhelming].”

Holiday decor storage solutions, according to experts

Brightroom Large Latching Clear Storage Box

Davis likes to go to Target for their affordable storage items. This container from their in-house organization brand, Brightroom, has built-in handles so it’s easy to move around and it’s clear, so you can easily see what’s inside. While not currently available for shipping everywhere, check your local Target store to see if you can grab it with curbside pickup.

Simplify Ornament Storage Organizer

Instead of tracking down individual boxes for ornaments, an object-specific box like this one can make the take-down process easier. This one holds 112 ornaments, has a zip closure and folds flat for storage when it’s not in use.

Elf Stor 30-Inch Supreme Canvas Holiday Christmas Wreath Storage Bag

If you’re looking for something solid to store your wreath in, Litman recommends stopping by your local hardware store to pick up a style from the Rubbermaid brand. If you’d rather just get one delivered, this wreath bag is an affordable option. It’s 30 inches in diameter and eight inches wide so you can easily store your fully decorated wreath.

Elfa Utility Board

If you want to keep things simple with a slat board like Bridenstine recommended, this option from The Container Store is currently on sale and comes in four different sizes. All you need are some hooks and you, too, can rotate out your seasonal wreaths.

mDesign Ornament Storage Box Set

Godding recommends this storage set that comes with two boxes in either taupe or a classic black buffalo plaid. It has paper board separators that you can use if you want to store fragile pieces, but the not-so-fragile ones can easily be thrown in there, too. Plus, the label space on the lid will help you identify what’s in there with a quick glance.

3 Light Storage Spools with Case

Instead of fighting to untangle your string lights every year, Godding says these light spools are headache-savers that are worth the money. Each bag comes with three spools that hold up to 75 feet of C7 lights or up to 150 feet of mini lights.

Meet the experts

  • Mindy Godding is a certified professional organizer and co-founder of Virginia-based Abundance Organizing, a company that specializes in home organization and downsizing.
  • Janelle Cohen is an interior decorator, professional organizer and founder of her own company, Straighten Up by Janelle.
  • Deanne Bridenstine is the director of merchandising and design for The Tailored Closet, a company that specializes in helping clients create home organization systems that work for their lifestyles and space.
  • Jessica Litman is the "mama" behind her business, The Organized Mama. What started as a blog nine years ago has blossomed into Litman becoming an expert in organizing family spaces.
  • KC Davis is a licensed therapist, author and founder of Struggle Care, a mental health platform designed to help people with functional barriers complete everyday tasks like laundry, organization and hygiene.
  • Marissa Hagmeyer and Ashley Murphy are the co-founders of NEAT Method, a luxury home organization company that offers services across the United States.