When the holiday season comes to a close it would be nice if we could dump all of our decorations quickly into cardboard boxes and throw them in the attic or garage not to be seen again until the following year. Although this seems like a time saving idea, it is not. Properly storing your holiday belongings will not only make it easier when you decorate next season, it will also help to keep your home and decorations safe from pests and help you to enjoy your decor for years to come. Holiday decor and cardboard boxes can be ideal harborage and breeding areas for pests. Following these five steps to storing your decorations will save you both time and money in the long run. 1. Invest in plastic tubs to store your holiday decorations. Decorations stored in cardboard can become moldy and are prime targets for a variety of pests from mice to roaches. Pests can easily chew through cardboard to get to the contents inside of a box. According to the University of Minnesota, cardboard boxes provide a climate suitable for cockroaches to live in and reproduce in. 2. Determine how many tubs you will need to properly organize your decorations. The best way to do this is to separate your decorations first into indoor and outdoor. Once you have done this, separate the decorations into groups by where they are placed in your home. Once you have determined the number of tubs you need, and purchased them, place the decorations in the tub and clearly label what room the tub will be used in the next year. Next year you will be able to decorate an area at a time without having to empty all your boxes at once. 3. Store wreaths, garland and larger decor items properly. This year, natural looking wreaths with real twigs and dried berries were very popular. If you would like to store a wreath like that until next year your best option is to get a plastic wreath holder that will keep your wreath off of the ground preventing rodents access that might be looking to feed on the dried berries. If you have a traditional artificial wreath, decorated with man-made adornments, you can wrap it loosely in plastic and hang it from a nail on an attic rafter to ensure spiders and other bugs do not use it for shelter. 4. Protect tablecloths, napkins, tree skirts, and other textiles from mice, moths and other pests. In order to keep your holiday linens safe from those pests as well as from moisture, mold, and dust, store them in a hanging vacuum-storage bag. Not only does it keep your fabrics safe, it is a space saver. 5. Did you decorate your home with a live tree this year? Did you decorate your interior with beautiful greens or flowers? If either answer is yes, it is important to dispose of them properly. Do not throw greenery away close to the home. Much like firewood that is stored close to a home, dead trees and greens are an invitation for mice and other small pest animals. It is recommended that all natural debris be place at least twenty feet from your home. If you don’t have space on your property, most towns now recycle old Christmas trees and turn them into mulch. As an added step to protect your decor and your home, consider placing pest monitors (glue boards) along baseboard walls and around your stored plastic tubs. By placing and regularly inspecting monitors when switching out seasonal decor from your storage area, like your attic or basement, you can take a proactive step towards keeping not only your home but also your decor pest-free. Bonus Tip: When using glue boards as pest monitors in storage areas, fold the glue board as a covered trap to protect the adhesive from dust and debris. Holiday decorations should be enjoyed by you and your family for years to come. By following these few steps, your holiday decorations should look as good as new when you take them out again next year.