Hi everyone! I hope your January is off to a great start! It’s good to be back behind the keyboard!
My 2023 has started off super busy, and it already feels like the year is moving at warp speed. I’m hoping this year will be as good as 2022 was for our little family.
We marked several great milestones last year, attended a wedding, had visitors from Texas, a terrific summer, a beautiful fall, and had a wonderful, stress-free holiday. I know this year won’t be as exciting as last, but I want to start it off on the right foot. I leave my holiday decor up until New Year’s, but after New Year’s, it all has to come down! I want to start my year off uncluttered and organized! I’m often asked, “How do you store it all?” Especially when it comes to vintage, very carefully!
January this year has been relatively warm, thankfully. “Knock on wood”, here we have not seen the typical snowstorms or frozen, icy weather that we typically see in deep winter. It’s been so warm, that even my snowdrops that typically show in March and April have bloomed!
With the warm weather, we were able to easily remove the outdoor decorations from the house. (Nothing is worse than trying to remove frozen, wet decorations from the outdoors in sloppy, frigid weather). The first thing I put away are holiday blow molds, inside and out. Leaving blow molds outside for long periods of time risks the bright paint fading. Plugs and lightbulbs (and batteries, if they are “modern” versions) should be removed and stored separately, and blow molds should never be stored outside in the elements.
Vintage plastic, though tough, can also get brittle and crack with extreme temperatures, so it is best not to store them in a hot or very cold attic or shed. I store mine on a shelf along a wall in the basement, where the temperature stays pretty even all year long because of the boiler and hot water heater.
I get a bit nervous once January arrives, since we have a live tree each Christmas, put up in late November. I keep it watered, but eventually it becomes dry and becomes a priority to remove. As I was undecorating the tree, I was so surprised by what I found in one of the branches – a praying mantis egg sac! I don’t know how we ever missed it before!
The praying mantis is the state insect of Connecticut, and a great beneficial insect! It’s a good thing that the warmth of my house did not act as an incubator and we had hatching insects!
For my holiday decor, I keep most things packed away in big, locking plastic storage totes, packing everything in smaller boxes inside, with tissue paper or bubble wrapping.
It’s great to keep original boxes, especially with anything vintage. Vintage holiday boxes can be especially cute, but can also be fragile. I look to my recycling for easy storage!
Clean take out containers and containers that salad mix is sold in make great, clear storage. Egg cartons work great for small breakable pieces and glass Christmas tree balls (dust is their worst enemy other than being smashed). The idea is to use materials to help keep delicate pieces from being crushed, cracked or broken.
Metal cookie and candy tins are also great for storing smaller pieces. Make sure to pack pieces in bubble wrap, tissue or newspaper, and place inside the box or container where there is little room for the pieces to jiggle when the box is moved. You don’t want pieces to move around, hitting each other.
Vintage glass and ceramic are both very fragile. Inside the bins, I also label everything, so that when it is time to pack everything back up, I know exactly what piece goes in each box.
I love the little “tchotchke” type figurines from the 1940s and 1950s. Now that we are in late January, I have put my little Valentine girl out on the Hoosier cabinet to brighten up the kitchen.
During the holidays, I have Christmas figurines from the 1940s to 1950s in the form of elves, angels, carolers, and animals. Dust, humidity and extreme temperature changes can make vintage pieces such as glass and ceramic elves, head vases, and pieces like my little Valentine girl, for example, fade, chip, and cause the paint to flake. It’s best to store the boxes containing pieces like these where extreme temperatures won’t harm antique decor. Our basement stays cool and temperate the entire year, and when extreme humidity raises its ugly head in summer, we use a dehumidifier. A basement or a closet is a better choice than a hot attic or shed.
We also have a small lighted village we put out on one table during the Christmas season. For the really small accessory pieces, I wrap those in paper, then place them in baggies, well-marked before putting them in the storage box with the larger pieces.
Just like vintage dolls, vintage Santas made of rubber, vinyl and cloth, need to be kept in a cool, dry climate. Vintage Santas, such as those made by Harold Gale, are made of various materials, including cardboard, wool, and other delicate materials. (Anything with wool should never be stored in any kind of plastic).
The faces of these Santas are all also hand painted, and the paint can crack if exposed to extreme temperature changes.
I wrap my Harold Gale Santas in old, clean sheets or pillowcases, and store them in a dark closet. (Mine are in my guest room; just make sure to let guests know what’s stored in the closet when you tell them they can hang their clothes up, so they don’t get freaked out).
I like to make use of storage in plain sight, as well. I have a small collection of vintage picnic baskets. I use them in various places for decor, as risers for vignettes, and as storage. I make use of space for vintage picnic baskets under pieces such as hall tables, giving the house a cozy, cottage look, while storing “off season” holiday towels, aprons and other linens inside.
I love wreaths on doors, and change them with the seasons. To store, we made use of space along the wall in our garage, with small screws to hang the wreaths and other wall decor. For smaller sized wreaths, repurpose boxes from boots to keep them clean and out of the way.
Inside, one of my favorite ways to add holiday spirit is with vintage ephemera. Vintage postcards are also a fun, inexpensive find when out and about “junking”.
I keep my various postcards in a wooden drawer, stored flat in marked folders, in between acid-free paper sheets. Never store vintage paper where humidity or light can get to it. Some of my postcards are from the late 1800’s and early 1900’s! A photo storage box would also work well and make for easy organization.
Whew! Packing it all up was a bit of a tiring task, but it will be such a joy at the end of the year to unpack and see it all again! I hope your January is going great, and I wish you a very Happy Valentine’s Day, too! See you all next month!
Remember to leave me a comment so that I know you stopped by (don’t forget to do the “captcha” or we won’t see it)!
Until Next Time…Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole