Do you have many Christmas ornaments casualties? When the holidays are over, taking down Christmas ornaments and lights can feel like a job more suited to acrobats and contortionists than us mere mortals with feet of clay.

But this year, we’ve got some great creative ideas to make this job a little easier and help keep your holiday decorations safely stowed away until next year!

Step 1: Sort

The first step is to triage your decorations.

Separate indoor and outdoor decorations, so you can pack away each one at a time without having a complete mess everywhere.

Then, group your home decorations by kind: wooden ornaments, table centerpieces, mantelpiece decorations, holiday napkins, candles, place cards, and special dishes.

Next, it’s time for the lights. Untangling the web of tangled lights is no easy task. Use your arms to wrap them around your elbow as you take them down, keeping an oval shape, and label them with masking tape so you know which ones goes on the tree first next year.

Pull out labels and start designating storage boxes and crates so you know what goes in each box.

Step 2: Store

Once you’ve sorted your decorations, it’s time to store them. You can go with store-bought, or get inspired by some of these wonderfully creative ideas, even if you’re short on space.

Wrap wooden decorations in tissue paper and place them in a cardboard box, largest items first.

For more delicate or glass ornaments, use bubble wrap or tissue paper (not newspaper, as it can damage the decorations). Pack similar-shaped ones together. Secure the odd-shaped ones with tape. If there’s extra space, add more bubble wrap or newspaper (here, you can!).

Label boxes with the list of its contents, or buy flat, stackable one-layer boxes so you can easily see what’s inside.

For garlands, wreaths, and wrapping paper, why not use a hanger and garment bag or dry-cleaner to keep everything tidy? Hang them at the back of an attic or den closet.

Wrap Christmas candles in socks cellophane to keep them from melting, and store them in a labeled storage box away from heat. Does your kitchen have special storage nooks and crannies? If so, keep your special holiday dishes and tableware together in a cabinet or hutch.

Add a lining of bubble wrap of soft cloths in between your plates, and fill gaps with newspaper.

Store Christmas tree lights by wrapping them around cardboard pieces to keep them safe and untangled for the following year. There are store-bought solutions, too, perfect for securing and storing lights.

All done? Just the tree left. Use old belts to tighten the branches against the bark so it’s easier to wrap up (try cellophane!) and place in a deep bag.

Step 3: Secure

Are your Christmas decorations taking up far too much space in your house, even with these tips?

Ideally, your Christmas decorations could have their own storage area, wherever that is, so you can keep everything together.

Maybe it’s time to consider smart storage solutions, like an under-the-bed storage system, overhead compartment in your garage, dining room cabinets, clever under-stair shelving and drawers, or attic storage closets with shelves.

With a dedicated section of storage for your holiday decorations, next year will be a cinch!