The holiday season is winding down — students are heading back to school, adults are returning to work, mall traffic is subsiding, and winter is here to stay. Usually, that means it’s time to clean up the holiday decorations and store them away until next December. It’s a laborious task that can stress out even the calmest people, partially because you know your actions now will affect the ease or difficulty of taking them back out next holiday season, and you want to make life easy for your future self. Here’s some creative tips for making holiday unpacking next season a walk in the park.

Ornaments can be the bane of one’s existence. Will they break in storage? Will they jumble and become disorganized? There’s some easy hacks to handle these decorations. Manufacturers already produce lots of packaging designed for orb-shaped items, like fruits or eggs. Why reinvent the wheel? Using packaging like this will keep your items organized. Some also use red solo cups for homemade or smaller ornaments so that their pieces don’t fall off.

If you find yourself with a little extra closet space, you can utilize some of that space for wrapping paper, tree skirts, or table cloths. Vacuum-compression hanging bags can help you reduce the amount of space these items take up, as their bulkiness and tendency to unfold makes them a pain to store elsewhere. Similarly, plastic hanging garment bags make excellent storage for long tubes of wrapping paper. These items cost $10 at any general goods store and can save you headache from wrangling and organizing around them all year. 

For little things like figurines, charms, or ornament hangers, tackle boxes are up for the job. Since they already have compartments for small items (namely fishing hooks and bait), tackle boxes are perfect for the tiny decorations you’re worried about getting tangled, broken, or lost in the storage. For extra protection, line the tackle box compartments with felt, newspaper, or bubble wrap to keep the more delicate or fragile items from getting damaged. 

Most of all, if you’re looking out for future you, take a picture of how you arranged everything so that you know where all your items belong next year and you can take inventory if something winds up broken or missing. With this reference, taking everything back out next year will be a walk in the park.