Buy a Tree Bag When You Get Your Tree
Slip a tree disposal bag over the base of the tree before putting it in the stand. (Tear a slit for the trunk so the tree can get water!) The bag is hidden under the tree skirt until you're ready to haul the tree out the door—without leaving a trail of needles through the house. Just remove the ornaments from the tree, pull the bag up like a pair of pants, and you're on your way.
Christmas Tree Basics
Check the height of the tree before you bring it into the house to make sure it'll fit under the ceiling. Then if you have to shorten the trunk, the sawdust will stay outside. Cut an inch or so off the bottom of the trunk. The fresh wood can absorb more water, so the tree will stay fresher longer. Check the trunk diameter by test-fitting the stand. If the tree's too big, you'll need to either get a bigger stand;—or start whittling. Use a lopper to trim any bottom branches that don't clear the sides of the stand.
Don't Cut Off the Netting?Yet
When you bring your tree home, carry it into the house and set it up in the stand before removing the netting. It'll slip right through doors, hallways and stairwells without making a mess. You'll find it easier to get at the tree stand screws and easier to tell if the tree is straight.