Christmas decorations are a must in order to make the holiday season much more festive. Shades of green, red, white, gold, silver, blue, orange, yellow and the entire spectrum various colours help make Christmas a very special and memorable occasion.

Once the holidays are over, though, the inevitable task of taking down and storing those decorations must take place. If you want to keep those decorations safe and usable for next year's Christmas, then you are going to find these tips quite useful to keep in mind:

Clean and inspect your decorations

Once you take down your decorations, the first thing you must do is clean off the dirt and check for damage. Minor scratches and scuffs can be ignored, but broken edges and stripped wires are signs that you have to dispose the item. Not only are broken decorations ugly, but they also pose inherent hazards like how broken edges can cut and stripped wires can shock. Cleaning, on the other hand, is a straightforward enough task for items like metallic baubles and plastic decoration pieces. A simple piece of moist cloth can do the job quite nicely for items like this, but fussier and more fragile need a more delicate touch. A soft-bristled brush and sharp breathe of air can clean the more sensitive Christmas decorations.

Group your decorations according to type

The general rule of thumb is to group your decorations according to purpose. Living room decorations go to one group, Christmas tree ornaments go in another, outdoor decorations go in another and so on and so forth. The reasoning behind this is that you need only to bring a few packages to an area, bring out the decorations and start putting them up in a jiffy. Larger Christmas decorations like statues and artificial Christmas trees are best stored in the same level where it is placed. For example, if you put up your Christmas tree on your first-floor living room, then it is easier and more practical to keep it in a closet or room located on the same floor. This makes it easier to move the tree around without having to wrestle through a flight of stairs.

Tie up Christmas lights to prevent tangling

Once you've rolled up your Christmas lights and similarly elongated Christmas decorations, tie them up with at least three pieces of wire placed at regular intervals. This prevents the cords from tangling up, allowing you to store the lights without much of a hassle. Just be careful when handling the lights, especially if the bulbs are made of glass. Tie the wire firmly enough to keep the cords in place but loose enough to prevent doing any lasting damage to the piece.

Package your decorations with old newspaper

Fragile ornaments can break when they come into contact with hard surfaces. Even a slight jolt can be enough to crack the thin shells of baubles and any glass ornaments you may have lying about. This is where old newspaper comes in. Simply crumple up the old newspaper to form thick strips and layer them in between your fragile ornaments. Not only will the newspaper absorb the impact of any sudden bumps, but it will also prevent the ornaments from scratching each other when they come into contact with one another. You can also use bubble wrap or foam chunks when you are dealing with extremely fragile items.

Place all pieces in tightly sealed containers

Cockroaches tend to squeeze themselves into dark containers, and you really don't want to open up your decorations to find a nest of cockroaches that have littered the entire package with faeces and dead bodies. This is why you need to store your decorations in sealed containers with no openings wide enough for bugs to crawl into. If you store your decorations in a box, a generous amount of packaging tape spread over all the cracks and openings will do the job quite nicely.

Place all items in a cool and dry place

Heat, moisture and direct sunlight can quickly destroy a wide variety of Christmas decorations. Sensitive parts can be warped, colours will fade and funky mould can even grow under the right conditions. This is why it is important you store these decorations in an area that is cool, dry and far away from sunlight. Proper ventilation is a plus, although this should not be much of a problem if you store your decorations under the aforementioned conditions.

Keep these tips in mind and you'll be able to keep your Christmas decorations safe and sound - ready to be used for next year's festivities!