Linda Hamer Kennett
The gifts are gone from under the tree, there is scarcely enough ham left to make a pot of soup, and you now realize that you should have asked Santa for a new bathroom scale because the old one is weighing five pounds heavier that it did last month. Yes, Christmas 2012 is officially over. Now on to a chore that I dread, putting away all of those Christmas decorations.
I have made my first resolution for the New Year. This year instead of throwing everything into boxes, and hoping for the best, I am going to get organized!
I started with my vintage Christmas postcard collection. After several years of procrastination I finally took a few of my favorites to have them framed. This will make them easier to display next year and by mounting them on acid-free paper they will retain their beauty for many years to come. The ones that I am not framing I will store individually in zip-lock sandwich bags.
I am hopelessly sentimental and as a result I have nearly every Christmas card that I have ever received. I do not know where to keep them and I can’t bring myself to pitch them, so I have decided to donate them. Organizations such as nursing homes, children’s hospitals and those who work with the handicapped and the elderly use them for craft projects, or recycle them for resale. This not only eliminates a box from my closet, it allows me to make a donation that will be greatly appreciated.
Now on to the ornaments. After wrapping each of my collectible ones in bubble wrap I am placing them in corrugated divided boxes. Your local liquor store will have an abundance of these. They are sturdy, they will protect my keepsakes, and the are free. For my small ornaments I get the same type of protection with egg cartons. These, by the way, are also great for bubble lights and antique bulb covers. If you do not have bubble wrap, tissue paper left over from your gifts will work. White is preferable, and under no circumstances use newspaper as the ink can transfer to the ornament causing permanent staining.
I love garlands, wreaths and sprays, especially the ones I decorate myself with vintage fabric, ribbons, and small antique toys, but what a pain they are to store. My neighbor shared a tip with me that I will pass on to you to make this tricky chore simple. After removing all of the decorative items, place your greenery in large black garbage bags. Then take the bags to your garage of basement and hang them from the rafters. When you go to take them out next year they will be fluffy and dust free, and in the mean time they are out of the way.
And now for the ultimate “undercoating” job.....the strands of Christmas lights. Tangled and knotted, I used to feel like throwing them out each year and just buying new ones. Now I save those big cardboard tubes from the wrapping paper and snake the lights through them. Each tube will accommodate two strands of lights and keep them tangle-free. Now, back out to the garage to put up two bicycle hooks. Place them twelve inches apart and the tubes will sit securely in the cradle of the hooks. Each set of hooks should hole two or three tubes of lights.
Once we get through New Year’s Eve I am finished with my good china and crystal until next December, so back in the cabinet it goes. Remember to always store glasses and stemware in an upright position to prevent tiny chips from becoming big cracks. As for your china stack it if you must, but place a small sheet of fine grade bubble wrap in between each plate to prevent ware. Pressure will cause porcelain to crack over time, so be careful not to stack it to high as the weight of the plates against themselves can cause damage.
Well the decorations are gone and so is 2012. I wish each of you fond memories of the year gone by and the very best that life has to offer in the year ahead. Until next time......Linda
(Linda Hamer Kennett is an associate member of the International Society of Appraisers specializing in down-sizing and the liquidation and appraisal of estates and may be reached at 317-356-8967 or firstname.lastname@example.org.)