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How to Properly Store Christmas Trees

Keep your artificial Christmas tree and your house clean with these storage tips.

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Putting away an artificial Christmas treeAdam C Bartlett/Getty Images

Why Christmas Tree Storage Is Important

An artificial Christmas tree, a good quality one, is an investment. Off the shelf, it will set you back more than the cost of a real one, but you’ll reap the savings in the seasons ahead, and it won’t take long at all for your artificial tree to be cheaper than buying a fresh one every year.

To get the most out of your artificial tree, you have to take care of it. True, you don’t have to water it or sweep up needles underneath, it’s important to store it properly once the holiday season ends. Proper storage certainly saves space in your home, but also keeps your tree looking good year after year. If you just jam it in a bag and cram it into the back of the closet, it leads to damaged branches, pests and even mold.

So when it’s time to put away your tree for the year, the following storage methods will help make sure it looks just a glorious when you set it up next Christmas.

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Upright Christmas tree storage bagvia containerstore.com

Horizontal or Vertical Christmas Tree Storage

Depending on the type of tree and space available, you can store it standing upright or laying horizontally. Horizontal storage is the easy choice, especially for trees that disassemble, but vertical storage saves floor space.

If you choose upright storage for your tree, be sure to put it somewhere kids and pets won’t climb on it and stabilize it to ensure it won’t tip over. Home retailer Hayneedle recommends placing it in a corner and in a tree stand.

Want more? Check out these smart Christmas storage bins for your other decorations.

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Artificial Christmas tree in an old boxFly_Fast/Getty Images

In a Christmas Tree Box or Bag

The cardboard box your tree came in is not ideal for long-term storage. You’ll want something that keeps out moisture and pests. A designated Christmas tree box or canvas bag will do the trick. If you plan to store your tree vertically, get an upright storage bag. By storing your tree in the right container, you’ll prevent funky smells, nesting rodents and other problems next holiday season.

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FH13DJA_TREEBI_01Family Handyman

With Wrapped or Unwrapped Branches

It’s best to fold up your tree’s branches after removing the Christmas ornaments, lights and other decorations. That’s usually enough, especially if you store the tree inside.

However, if you want to go the extra mile, Hayneedle recommends wrapping the tree in plastic wrap as a second layer of moisture protection. This is also helpful if stray branches make it difficult to place your tree in its container. The plastic wrap secures unruly branches to the trunk. Self-adhesive bandages will also work to bind the branches, but they won’t keep out moisture in a damp basement.

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Disassembled Christmas treeIvan Melnikov/Getty Images

Assembled or Disassembled

Most artificial trees contain several sections that lock together. You can take them apart to save holiday storage space. If you opt for an upright container, you’ll leave the tree assembled, saving time during set-up next year. Some horizontal storage options will also accommodate an assembled tree.

If you have a particularly tall tree without a large basement, attic or storage room, disassembling is the better option. Disassembled trees are compact and easier to manage.

And while you’re in the process of putting away Christmas decorations, be sure to check out these great ideas for how to store your Christmas lights and other decorations.

Mikayla Borchert
Mikayla is an assistant editor for Family Handyman, specializing in indoor and outdoor gardening, organization and décor. She has one cat and holds a B.A. in English from the University of Minnesota. Outside of work, she likes running, skiing, hiking and tending her balcony garden.