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The holidays are a special time of year for most, filled with merry festivities, time spent with friends and family, time off and travel. What’s not to love? The clean-up, that’s what!

When it’s finally time to confront taking down the decorations, here are a few ways to simplify the task, preserve your holiday decor, and stay safe in the process, courtesy of Pillar To Post Home Inspectors.

Enlist the whole family. The onus for ‘de-decorating’ shouldn’t be placed on the shoulders of one person. Get the whole family involved with age-appropriate tasks, with one person removing ornaments from the tree and carefully packaging them, another taking down lights, and someone else gathering miscellaneous items, like garlands and trinkets.

Start at the bottom. When taking ornaments off the tree, start at the bottom and work your way up to avoid knocking ornaments off in the process.

Handle broken ornaments safely. If you do encounter a broken glass ornament, remember that it’s sharper than you think. Wear gloves when removing them, and place them in a box not a plastic bag; the sharp edges can tear the bag. 

Work at the right level. To avoid accidents, work at or below shoulder height.

Use ladders properly. When using ladders, be sure to set it on a level, balanced surface, and have someone hold it.

Have many boxes, not a couple. Store items in several, manageable boxes that are easy to lift and carry, as opposed to a couple of giant ones. Your decoratives will be better protected, and you’ll avoid injury trying to handle a box that’s cumbersome and too heavy.

Remove real trees carefully. If you have a real tree, place a sheet underneath it to control falling pine needles, and use a turkey baster to remove excess water from the stand. You can then use the sheet to drag your tree outside. Remember that pine needles are dangerous to children and pets, so vacuum any strays as soon as possible.

Buy a container for your fake tree. Don’t store artificial trees in the box they came in as cardboard wears down over time and won’t protect your tree from water damage. Invest in a sturdy plastic container instead. 

Organize lights. Store each strand of lights separately in a bag or box to avoid damage, and to make untangling a whole lot easier next season. 

Label away. Finally, be sure to label every item on the outside of its container so you know what’s what next year. Or number the boxes and keep a corresponding inventory list in a handy spot.  

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