Last week as Kate and I were planning out our blog content for the coming month, she suggested I do a photo shoot of my cute front porch all dressed up for the 4th of July. Sure, great idea . . . except I didn’t have any 4th of July decor. Could I get some? Well, yes, but you see, being the owner of a “storage-challenged” real home, I try hard not to accumulate too much seasonal decor. Because, let’s face it, seasonal decor by its very nature needs to be stored a minimum of ¾ of the year (and usually more).
Still, I do love home decor. And, I have two children who, like most children, love holidays – each and every one of them! So I try hard not to be a scrooge. Over the years (8 that we’ve been in this smaller house) I’ve come up with some strategies to keep our house festive without accumulating too much “stuff”.
5 Tips for Seasonal Decorating When You’re Short on Storage
#1) Each Holiday Gets a Basket and All Holiday Decor Must Fit into a Basket
Barring Christmas, which has like 3 or 4 tubs all to itself, each holiday or season gets one basket max at my house. These are not huge baskets. They fit into the built-in in my family room. I have one for Halloween, one for fall and Thanksgiving combined, and one for spring and Easter. And, now I guess I will need to add one for summer and the 4th of July.
Limiting each holiday to one basket eventually means that when something comes in, something else must go out, which I personally think is good practice when comes to the accumulation of “stuff”.
It also means that when I purchase holiday decor, I have to think . . . will it fit in the basket? If not, don’t buy it. It will just become a storage problem. Fabric banners that fold (like the flag buntings above) – great! Garlands that scrunch or pack flat – yep! Oversized figurines – leave them at the store! Of course, this works best if you are NOT shopping with children, who, will do all they can to talk you into breaking this rule, but stay strong mamas! Your closets (or bookshelves) will thank you!
Here are some of the things I decorate with to uphold this basket rule, while still having a festive house.
#2) Kids’ Crafts Make the Best Seasonal Decor (and Need Not Last Forever).
If you have kids who like to craft, put them to work! The holiday decor will be even more meaningful to them (and you) if they’ve made it. AND with any luck, it won’t last forever . . . so you don’t have to store it! When my kids were younger we spent many fun-filled afternoons making all sorts of construction paper decorations. Then we’d hang them on the porch so the whole neighborhood could enjoy them, and they would NOT outlast the season – so they didn’t take up any space to store when the fun was over. Win and win! And, even if you do have some keepers in the bunch, construction paper packs flat!
#3) Thrift Stores Are a Great Source (and REsource) for Traditional Decor.
Another favorite source for holiday decor is thrift stores. Maybe it’s just because my neighborhood overfloweth with second-hand treasures, but I always have good luck finding seasonal stuff at these shops. Plus it just feels better. It’s cheap. It’s green. AND, if you go over your storage quota for the season, you can donate it BACK to the thrift store when the season in over! (Yes, I’ve done this on more than one occasion!) Another win!
#4) Mother Nature Decorates Like No One Else (and You Can’t Box Her In).
Of course, natural materials bring all kinds of beauty to your space, and won’t outlast their welcome. Fresh or potted flowers in seasonal colors are always festive. In the fall, I’d rather purchase a small bag of gourds and a couple of large pumpkins that can be composted when the season is through, than buy plastic replicas to fill my storage baskets. At Christmastime, most tree lots give away evergreen branches that have been trimmed. I always bring these home to weave through my porch rails, creating a homemade garland. Zero cost and it all goes in the compost (instead of storage) come January.
#5) Decor that Can Cross Seasons Gets Bonus Points (and Storage Space).
If it doesn’t fit in it’s assigned basket (and it’s not for Christmas) it better be on display more than one month! I have lovely faux icicle branches that I use to put up every winter and store the other ¾ of the year. Then my son discovered that he could hang decorative Easter eggs from them, and they gained another month of display time! Yay!
I use the same method with wreaths, which are a beast to store! A grapevine wreath takes me from Halloween to Thanksgiving to Christmas. I have different (small) seasonal florals and doodads that I tie on and change out each month. This means I have just one large wreath and a small cache of accessories to store, instead of 3 large wreaths.
Which brings me back to the beginning of my story . . . how to get my porch picture-worthy for July 4th. I could have gone out and bought cute July 4th wreath (I saw plenty), but, low-and-behold, none would fit in a basket, which means . . . it needs to cross seasons! (or at least last more than a month!)
So, I decided to buy a plain white wreath along with some patriotic doo-dads. And then, in August maybe I’ll swap out the red white & blue with something beachy. And I’m pretty sure next spring this wreath will be sporting some Easter eggs – or a maybe a faux birds nest. Stay tuned for that. But for now, it’s hanging pretty on my porch in it’s red, white and blue!
There you have it: my top strategies for keeping a festive house through the seasons without adding to the storage woes of my home. And if you missed reading “4th of July on the Front Porch” be sure to check it out to see my new wreath on display!
What’s your take on decorating for holidays? Are you a minimalist when it comes to seasonal decor, or do you like to go all out? Please share in the comments.