Whether you keep the tree up until January or take down your decorations immediately, it’s essential to have a game plan. If you have children or pets, this is especially true. Many folks find this a sad or depressing job. This makes it even more important to do the job efficiently. Here is a guide to getting the holiday decorations down, safely stored and house back to normal.
Choose a day when you are fresh. Don’t wait until after a long day at work. Begin in the morning and don’t leave things laying around overnight. Fragile decorations get broken more easily and it’s distressing to wake up to a mess.
If you have small children, don’t try to do this with everyone in the room with you. Taking down the tree is a one person job. There are many safety hazards: electrical lights, sharp needles, cords, delicate ornaments and more. This might be a good day to have a movie party in another room with a picnic of sandwiches on the floor. Hire a babysitter or take children on a trip to grandma’s for the day. You can put baby in the highchair with a snack and drink and toys to watch and be with you. Keep pets away from the carnage as well.
Don a pair of rubber or knit gloves and a close fitting shirt. Tie back hair. Live trees become very brittle as they dry. They also give off a resin which can cause rashes. That coupled with the needles can make the job of undecorating uncomfortable.
Gather all the presents that may be under the tree. Put the opened ones in the rooms they belong in. If you have any unopened ones that still need to be delivered or mailed,bag them up and place them on a porch or in a cloak room where you’ll remember to take them.
Remove the ornaments first. Begin with the glass or breakable ornaments first. Remove the hooks and place them in a zippered bag. Disassemble any with several pieces. Place ornaments back in their boxes. If you don’t have boxes, egg cartons work for smaller ones. Place ornaments in old socks, dish clothes, hats or mismatched gloves. You can also use any fabric, cloth or stuffed ornaments to cushion the more delicate ones.
Next, remove any tinsel garlands or icicles. Don’t leave these on the tree; they are ecologically unsafe. Make sure none are left around for little ones or pets to choke on. Don’t vacuum them up as they will clog the vacuum. Wind garland around a piece of card board. Make a slit and tuck the end into the slit.
Remove the lights last. Wind each strand gently around a piece of heavy cardboard. Insert the cord end in a slit you cut in cardboard. Place each in a separate plastic bag. Repeat this procedure with any bead garlands.
For the tree itself, take an old large sheet or tablecloth and drape it over the tree. Bring the ends together at the base of the tree. Drag it out trunk first holding the sheet around the base. Don’t remove the sheet until you come to the curb or wherever you will leave it to be hauled away. If you have a fireplace, or you can burn leaves, you might cut the tree in pieces and incinerate it, so there will be one less tree in the landfill.
As you vacuum the needles, frequently check both the bottom and the nozzle of your vacuum to see that neither become clogged. Change the back after your holiday clean up. Happy New Year!