How to Store Your Decorations to Survive a Military Move

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stack of two plastic storage bins holding Christmas decorations.

A couple of days ago I told you how I pack our Christmas and holiday decorations to survive military moves around the world.  Today I want to share with you how to store holiday decorations prepared well enough so they’re ready for a move any time to any place (a few little tips I’ve learned thanks to moving with the military).

How to Store Holiday Decorations

Store items in boxes or plastic bins

I prefer to store all decorations in plastic bins to protect my items from water and bugs. Having grown up in a tropical climate, I’ve seen the damage that can be done to decorations that are stored 11 months out of the year without protection from bugs. Plastic bins also provide protection from humidity and flooding in basements or storage areas. We started with cardboard moving boxes and slowly purchased a few new bins each year at the after-holiday sales until we were able to replace all the cardboard boxes. If you are using cardboard boxes, set them on shelves or on top of plastic bins to protect the cardboard boxes from water damage due to flooding.
stack of three red and green Christmas decoration storage bins with text reading Plastic Bins.

Wreath boxes and special boxes

white box with holly print labeled Ornaments to Treasure.
various printables of Christmas decoration storage labels and gift tags.
views of labels on different red and green bins and cardboard boxes of decorations.
There are some items that don’t easily fit into a standard box or bin. It’s worth hitting the after holiday sales to get the right sized bin to protect those items. Things like wreaths or special ornament boxes really make a difference in protecting your decorations because the bin is sized just right for those particular items and this protects the decoration during moves.

Grab these printable Christmas Organizing Labels and Gift Tags in my shop. You can print unlimited copies for your personal use. 

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Label Storage Bins and Boxes Clearly

I label every box or bin of decoration with what the contents are.  Originally I used masking tape and a Sharpie to label the boxes, but I’ve been changing to using my label maker because I like the clean crisp look.  I label the top of each box and adjacent sides.  Often after a move, my boxes of decorations are not, hmmm, how should I say, not nicely organized by the movers.  Labeling on the 3 sides helps me find exactly the box I’m looking for.  I label most of my boxes with the rooms that those decoration usually go in.  On some boxes I add labels with specific items that I may need to find right away (items like the advent calendar or the Santa hats that might be needed for a parade).  Labeling the boxes also helps me put the decorations back in their correct boxes after the holidays.

List Contents of Boxes or Bins

I don’t list the contents of every box, but I do for certain items.  My family collects ornaments from each place we move and each of my children have their own box of ornaments.  I have a list that I keep in each box detailing the ornament, the year and who gave it to us.  This list helps me keep which ornaments go in which box straight.   You can also take a photo of the contents and add it to your box.
Christmas motif ornament storage box with title text reading Specialized Boxes & Bins.
Have I missed any decoration storage tips?

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  1. Great tips! I need to label my boxes better. I find myself having to dig through all of the boxes for one thing! It is a big time waters and very frustrating.

  2. Wow! Moving so much you are definitely an expert. I like all your ideas especially the taking a photo of items and putting on box idea.

  3. I too have moved often, but not military moves. I recommend investing in GOOD colored markers and labels. When you box things up, use a color code system of what goes in each room. When arriving at the new house, have signs pre-printed that say “Green Boxes” Blue Boxes” etc. Then the movers know what room the boxes go to. (I provide them with markers for the boxes they pack also for each room!)

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