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
I love these ideas and that little girl figurine for Valentine’s Day is beautiful.
Hi Carol, thank you! Isn’t she cute? She is from the 1940’s, and is actually a vase. I was lucky to find her – I got her for a song! Thanks for reading and commenting! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole
Where do you buy your acid free products? I have a collection of old post cards from one of my grandmothers.
Hi Denise, I like the archival acid-free clear postcard pouches. You can buy them on Amazon. Just make sure it is archival, acid free. Always good to hear from you, dear farmgirl! Happy New Year! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole
First time reading this blog and I enjoyed it
I’m always keeping leftover containers, never know when they will come in handy
So paper products should be stored in acid free sheets? Are they easy to find?
Hi Helen, Welcome! I am glad you enjoyed the post. If you are storing vintage ephemera such as post cards, you really should be using archival products. You can buy acid free archival pouches for post cards, archival paper, and acid free tissue paper for a pretty good price on Amazon. Thanks for reading and commenting! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole
Love seeing all your decorations! I also love vintage and have several vintage decorations myself. I have, over the past few years, been giving away many of my Christmas things as I just need to scale down from what I used to do.
I hope you and your family have a wonderful year in 2023.
Hugs and Love to you!
Hi CJ, Dear Farmgirl! So good to hear from you. I hope you are staying warm with all of that snow! We have not had much this year at all, but winter is just getting started here so we will see. Thanks for reading and commenting. Wishing you and your beautiful family a Happy 2023! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole
Thanks for so many storage tips…I lack in the labeling department and can see how much easier it would be as the next season approaches. I don’t always put everything out each year and it would better simplify in my search for specific items. Recyclable containers are great. I use plastic, 2 liter bottles with the tops cut off for my larger bottle brush trees…no fun when they get crushed or tangled.
Hi Shirley, thank you for reading and commenting, and oh my! Your tip for storing bottle brush trees is GENIUS! I have quite a few of them. They are one of my favorite things to decorate with – even new ones are full of charm. I love your tip, and will do that from now on. Thank you!!! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole
Thank you for the tips concerning packing up any vintage. The Valentine Dresden lady is beautiful. We have the house decorated for Valentines Day.
HAPPY VALENTINES DAY
Joan,Marion and Marilyn
Hi Joan, Marion and Marilyn! Happy New Year! Don’t you love Valentine decorations? It makes the bleakest part of winter here cheery. Glad you enjoyed the post…always great to hear from you! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole
I too, love the little Valentine figurine. She was quite the find. Don’t know if you get citrus fruit shipped to you, but I re-use those boxes for many of my decorations since the trays and padding make safe spaces for ornaments and the boxes themselves are sturdy. I always know they are Christmas because of the oranges on the boxes!
Hi Suzanne, thank you! And another great idea for storing! Thank you for sharing your tip! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole
Nicole,, I am such a ding-dong.. I kept typing in the “WC Captcha, and it coming back as invalid.. then I realized,, I needed to read and do what it said! LOL!
Hope my 1st attempt posted… fingers and eyes crossed… heeheehee!
LOL, Grace. I know, captchas can be a pain. But your comments went through. And you are JUST THE CUTEST! Luv ya, Farmgirl Friend! ~Nicole
Ok, my comment didn’t go through, so here is another try… lol!
“Nicole, I agree with you,, using old fast food containers, and coolie tins are great for storing those sweet ornaments.. I also use the ‘gift bags’ for soft items like table cloths,towels etc..
I use to take photos of the items packed in the plastic bins, and taped it to the top of the bin, but last year I sorted through a lot of stuff that i no longer needed (went to donation or passed onto family) and have not updated my photos,, Hmmm, mighyt be a good summer project…
Happy January sayeth the Kat…”
Hello My Dear Farmgirl Friend! I am glad your comment has gone through. I apologize, but the captcha had to happen as we were getting too much spam. Anyway, love your idea of using gift bags to store things, as well! And taping pics of what’s in the bins to the outside- brilliant! I will try that next year. I have done that with my shoe boxes before. Great idea for the big bins. Stay warm! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole
I’m new to your site and can’t wait to see and hear more… We’re neighbors, I’m west of you between Chewelah and Colville, living offgrid in a 12×32 Hickory Shed… Looking forward to learning more ideas from you…
Hi Cat, and welcome. I had to look up your area…I believe you are in Idaho, where our dear MaryJane lives. We farmgirl bloggers are all in different states. I am in New England. Your area sounds wonderful! Welcome to all things MaryJanesFarm. Hope you will visit again soon! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole
Wonderful ideas and helpful hints!
Hi Karen, thank you so much! I have packed and unpacked Christmas at this house for over 25 years now, so I feel like a pro at it, LOL! Thanks for reading and commenting! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole
Hi Nicole, I have never commented before but I just love reading the blogs from Mary Janes Farm magazine. I really enjoyed this blog and love your Valentine girl so wanted to comment on it.
Terri Sansoucy in AZ
Hi Terri, A Big Farmgirl Welcome to you! Thank you for visiting, and I am honored to receive your first comment! I am so glad you enjoyed the blog, and I hope you will visit again. I see you are in Arizona – I love it there. Friends of ours moved there many years ago, and I loved visiting. Hope you have a wonderful Valentine’s Day! Thank you for reading and commenting! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole
I didn’t put up a tree this year because I was nostalgic for the old bubble and snow cone lights. But I did display all my lovely vintage blown ornaments in large glass terrariums. So it’s nice to read your entry and see I’m not alone in loving vintage ornaments, they’re ever so much more classier than modern day baubles.
P.S. packing vintage in Florida is super duper ever so tricky, plastic wrapping is really bad in our humidity, so I wrap mine in paper napkins and left-over tissue paper.
Hi Ann, your collection sounds awesome! I also have a few 1940s blown glass ornaments that I display in bowls as opposed to on the tree.
I hear ya about Florida. I grew up in high-humidity, high-heat Texas. When I moved to New England thirty years ago, we really did not get that kind of weather, but now, our summers are very Florida-like for several weeks. That’s when we use our dehumidifier and/or air conditioner. Vintage pieces need temperature-controlled, humidity controlled conditions, so kudos to you on keeping your collection in good shape! Keep it up! Thanks for reading and commenting! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole
I also use the clear plastic boxes from salad greens for storage of small items. I use a hair dryer to loosen glue then peel off label or put another label over the original. Thanks for the storage tips.
Hi Isabelle, thank you for sharing a great, clever tip! What a good idea; some of those labels are really hard to remove. Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole
Nichole, you are sooo inspiring! Just love your 1940 – 50s collection! Keep it going!
Happy Valentine’s Day
Hi Roberta, thank you ever so much! Happy Valentine’s Day! Thanks for reading and commenting! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole
Nicole, such terrific advice & ideas for keeping holiday decorations safely stored until next Christmas. It made me smile to know that you tuck away decorations in plain sight (sort of!) too…I keep Santas in an old copper boiler that’s sitting by a window and glass bulbs and garland are in a trunk in the dining room. I even leave a couple of small Santas out on shelves to try and remind me to keep a spirit of Christmas year ’round. I’m guessing you decorate your vintage camper, too…I’ve always wanted to do that! Thanks again, always fun to see you’ve posted, and we appreciate you taking the time…I know how busy the days can be. Mary
Hi Mary! I love this – you have some great storage in plain sight ideas, too. Just like you, I do have a few little pieces that are in a curio year round. 😉
Thank you so much for the nice comment! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole
Thank you for sharing. I enjoyed your organizational skills! Loved all the vintage decorations and advice on storing. Thank you, again.
Hi Janice, thank you so much! I am so glad you enjoyed the post. I like to keep things organized…it is a task that always feels so rewarding, and keeping things organized saves time in the long run! Thanks for reading and commenting! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole