It probably feels like you just decorated your tree and now it's already time to take it down again. You may be tempted to just start pulling everything off and piling it up to pack, but don't. Instead, make your tree de-trimming a more orderly process now and it'll be easier to unpack things again next Christmas. These tips work for artificial or live trees.
1. Work backwards.
Start by removing the items you put on last when you decorated the tree. If you arrange houses or figurines under the tree, pack these up first. Then proceed to the garland or tinsel, ornaments, lights (if they come off) and finally, the tree itself.
2. Leave the skirt or cotton batting in place.
Or if you don't have a skirt, place towels under the tree until all the ornaments are removed. A soft landing spot helps keep falling ornaments in one piece.
3. Keep the tree lit as you disassemble it.
Doing so makes is easier to spot any burned-out bulbs. Replace them now and save a step next year.
4. Replace any flimsy, bent hooks.
Add new, more secure and sturdy hooks before you pack ornaments away and they'll be faster to hang next Christmas.
5. Write a brief description on any unmarked ornament boxes or tissue paper you use.
Do this while you're wrapping items up, so it's easier and quicker to match each ornament with its proper container.
6. Flatten each branch of an artificial tree.
This makes it easier to squeeze back into its storage box or bag.
- by Carolyn Forte
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