Pulling the decorations out of storage, and placing them around the house is always so much fun, but when the holiday season is over, the large task of cleaning everything up, and packing it away begins. It can be nearly impossible to stuff each item back into the container it came from, and this problem is only compounded by the irresistible temptation to buy new ornaments and knick knacks each year. The resulting pile of crumpled plastic packages, pine needles, shiny bobbles and sap covered trinkets can be a daunting task to face, but cleaning it up and putting it away can be easy. The tips below will help you reduce the mess, organize the clutter, and eliminate all of the unwanted crap you have left over.
Artificial vs Real
In an attempt to limit unwanted debris after the decorations come down, many people choose to put up a fake tree, and hang an artificial wreath on their door. While you will definitely save yourself some sweeping and vacuuming in January, you’ll also be creating a storage problem for yourself all year long. It can be pretty tough to get everything back into the box it came from, so If you don’t weigh the cost of storing the gigantic mass of plastic that unfolds to become your tree, you may end up regretting your decision.
Selecting and cutting down a real tree can be a valuable family tradition, and it’s tough to beat the fresh and festive scent that a pine tree sitting in your living room creates, but fake ones take way less time and effort to retrieve, and there is no sticky sap involved either. Artificial allows you to avoid strapping an oversized conifer to the roof of your car, but organic ensures excess clippings to decorate other areas of your home.
Fake trees can be reused season after season, and they do have a lower lifetime cost, but most would agree that this does not actually make them more eco-friendly in comparison. The PVC material they are made from is a petroleum based plastic that is environmentally offensive, and there are several carcinogenic emissions associated with it’s creation. In addition to plain old PVC, you may also find lead and other dangerous additives used to soften it, and many of these extra ingredients have been linked to several types of cancer. Furthermore, there is some concern that, over time, contaminated “dust” may fall from the tree to coat surfaces below.
When disposed of and recycled properly, real trees are quite eco friendly, but when discarded improperly, they can lead to a heap of unwanted waste. Although the natural material will degrade in a relatively short period, the immediate burden may create a problem. Farm raised Christmas trees grown without pesticides are very good for the environment, and when continuously replanted and recycled after use, they make a healthy and eco friendly choice for your holiday décor.
If you go the artificial route, you’ll need to have adequate storage space available, and to make things easy, you should also have specialized storage containers. You may be able to get by for the first year using the flimsy package that the tree or wreath came in, but over time it will become less rigid, and eventually useless. In many cases it may even be a maddening experience trying to get it back in once. Rather than have a half-open box tipping over in your attic, you are better off getting a storage bag that can contain and protect the whole thing.
Our sturdy storage bags are the perfect way to cover and secure your artificial décor, and make it easy to haul in and out of storage. The fake needles will be shielded from dirt, dust and bugs, and several handles will allow you to pick everything up and place it wherever you want. Instead of wrestling with tiny openings that will never shut all the way, you’ll have a wide opening that makes it easy to slide stuff in and out quickly and easily. With ample space to accommodate almost any size tree or wreath, there will be no frustration or excess effort required, and your décor will be in a compact container that’s ready for storage.
Real Tree Removal
If you choose to put up a real tree, you’ll have to dispose of the dried and dying leftovers once you take the decorations off. It can be pretty tough to shove the whole thing into a single trashcan, so you may have to take certain steps in order to dispose of it properly. There are many ways to recycle or reuse natural trees, and we will list several of them below to give you some options that will help you eliminate the waste associated with choosing a real Christmas Tree.
Important: Never burn your tree indoors in a fireplace or woodstove as a way of disposing of it.
Pro Tip: You can eliminate most of the mess caused by falling needles by prepping the area before you erect your tree. You can usually find large tree bags at a hardware or home improvement store. They are intended for containing the tree when you toss it out, but if you lay one down first, and then place the stand over it, the bag will act like a drop cloth or tarp to collect all of the needles. It can easily be hidden beneath the tree skirt, and it will allow you to quickly pick up and remove the majority of needles that fall. This will reduce the overall mess, but also the effort required to clean it up. Just pull the bag up and carry the whole package outside. Once outdoors, you can pull the bag off, remove the stand, and deal with the tree in any way you wish.
- Mulch It – Totally biodegradable and ideal for retaining moisture and protecting plants, you can remove the branches, run them through a chipper, and then use the resulting mulch to improve results in your garden. The coating under shrubs and flowers will prevent unwanted weed growth, and as the wood breaks down, nutrients will release into the soil.
- Create a Habitat – Ideal living quarters for birds or fish, you can keep the tree intact and strategically place it to provide a home for critters. They work well in ponds and streams to create a habitat for fish, and when lying on it’s side in your backyard, it can make a nice home for various species of birds.
- Decorate Your Garden – When you cut the trunk into thick discs, you can use the pieces to edge flower beds and create a natural border that looks great. You can also cut larger pieces to use as platforms for potted plants. Secure them in the ground, and install at different heights for a simple and effective improvement to any yard.
- Insulate Delicate Plants – Use the needles alone, or break off larger branches. If you arrange them over the surface of perennial beds and other locations, you can protect plants from snowfall and freezing temperatures.
- Recycle it – Many communities have programs where you can drop of your tree, or have it picked up. There is usually no charge for this service, and some areas will even provide free mulch in the spring as a result.
- Throw It Away – No the most ideal route, but certainly possible. If you intend to toss it out as yard waste by putting on the curb for your garbage company, you’ll probably have to cut it into smaller pieces first. Once sectioned, you can place it in the can and the job will be done.
- Burn It – You never want to burn this type of wood indoors, but it makes the perfect camp fire or fire pit fuel. Save it for summer and dispose of it while roasting marshmallows under the stars.
- Make Something – An easy project that will help you produce something out of the waste is drink coasters. Simply saw thin discs, then sand and coat with polyurethane to make them moisture-proof.
- Support Something – The thinner branches make great stakes for house plants and other stuff, so tear one off and stick it into the soil to prevent limp plants from falling over.
- Make a Trail – Shredded pine makes the perfect ground cover for defining paths and paving trails. Lay it down to improve the look and feel of backyard trails.
Cleaning Up Pine Needles
No matter how well you prepare, or how careful you are when you haul the tree out, you can almost guarantee that there will be a pile of needles left over. Most people would recommend against using a vacuum cleaner to suck them up due to the loud noise and potential for clogging. Regular nylon brooms can be pretty frustrating when it comes to sweeping up needles, especially when there is moisture involved. When wet, the little green pieces will stick to your floor, and when dry, the broom will still pass over the top to leave some behind. With enough effort, you should be able to get any hard floor clean, but when the needles fall on carpet, the job gets more difficult.
If you use a rubber broom to collect your leftover pine scraps, you will reduce the time it takes you to finish, and you will also improve results. It works on carpet or hard floors, and it will make it easy to collect every last needle in a matter of seconds. They won’t fly around, the bristles won’t float over the top, and if the mess gets wet, the saturated pieces will sweep up just as easy. Instead of sweeping away like a maniac to not even get everything, you will be able to gather everything in a fast and efficient manner, and no de3bris will be left behind, no matter how small.
How to Use It
- With bristles on one side and a solid squeegee blade on the other, you can flip back and forth to achieve the best results for this job.
- To collect needles, simply pull the broom towards your body, and use short strokes.
- The strong and pliable bristles will form a solid wall to gather everything you come in contact with.
- As you sweep, a slight charge will build to prevent flying debris and aid in the collection process.
The sticky goo that seeps from your real tree can be a real pain. Some species will be more sappy than others, but if you’ve ever handled a real tree, you know what a problem it can be. The super sticky substance is notorious for coating clothing and skin, and it can be nearly impossible to remove. Traditional methods are pretty sketchy at best, but when you choose a better way, you can easily remove every spec from your body, your clothing, or any surface throughout your home. Quick N Bright is a natural cleaner that will break down the sap, and release it’s bond with the surface it is destroying. When you apply it to skin or clothing with the right method, it will loosen the mess, and allow you to remove it completely.
How To Do It
- Use the paste full strength, and cover the sap completely.
- Allow to sit for several minutes, then agitate to loosen.
- Take a clean damp cloth, and rub the loosened sap off the surface.
Who can ever get the ornaments back into the package they came in? And for the skilled few, how long do those flimsy boxes last anyway? A better option would be to ditch the random selection of boxes, and switch to one larger storage solution that also offers improved protection. Our Ornament Storage Box allows you to keep several layers of ornaments all in one place, and they will be far more protected than they are when only shielded by some thin plastic film. This multi-layered crate has handles on the sides to make it easy to carry, and a zippered top that opens all-the-way up to make it easy to find the stuff inside. It even has a label pocket at the front so you can quickly tell what’s inside without digging around. You will reduce the amount of space required to store your ornaments, you will keep them better protected, and you will also improve organization and make it easier to take everything in and out of storage.
Storing Wrapping Paper
Random rolls lining your attic or closet is not a good idea, and with no protection, you can almost guarantee wrinkled or ripped paper when it’s time to wrap. Our Wrapping Paper Organizer provides a secure and organized location to store your excess rolls, but it also allows you to keep related items in the same place. You won’t have to search for pens, tags, ribbons and tape because additional pockets and compartments allow you to keep everything in one place. You will improve organization, ensure great looking paper, and also reduce frustration by never wondering where anything is.
Storing Everything Else
All of the other clutter should be contained, collected and organized as well, in order to complete the holiday cleanup process. The better you do when putting stuff away, the more fun you will have next season, when it’s time to set stuff up again. Sturdy clear crates make a great option for storing random décor, because they offer extreme protection, but also the ability to see inside without opening. Built in handles make for easy transport, and stack-ability makes for compact storage. If you label each crate on the outside, you’ll be able to tell, in seconds, what’s inside.
- artificial vs real
- artificial storage
- real tree removal
- cleaning up pine needles
- removing sap
- storing ornaments
- storing wrapping paper
- storing everything else
- Rubber Broom – Find out more or buy one.
- Rubber Brush – Find out more or buy one.
- Handy Sweeper – Find out more or buy one.
- Ornament Storage Box – Find out more or buy one.
- Christmas Tree Storage Bag – Find out more or buy one.
- Wreath Storage Bag – Find out more or buy one.
- Gift Warp Organizer – Find out more or buy one.