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Party Pack-Up: Storage Tips

All the guests have left. Not a trick or treater to be seen for another year. It's time to take down the decorations. People don't realize that there is an art to packing up that can make your life simpler. Here are some tricks that I have incorporated into my packing ritual.

1. Ziplock The Small Critters
Put all of your spiders, bats, mice, and bugs into ziplock bags. This way you don't end up with tiny plastic critters spread throughout your boxes, and you can easily grab a bag of whatever nasties you need during next year's party set up.

2. Buy Large Bins to Store Items
Blue bins, clear bins, big bins, small bins. Plastic bins protect your props and decorations, allow for safe stacking, and can help you find specific props at a glance if they are labelled properly. Which brings me to the next point.

3. Label Your Storage Boxes/Bins
Even if you have only a couple of boxes worth of decorations, this tip can be helpful. I pack similar items into bins and label them on the side. For example, "heads/hands/wigs", "lights & candles", "serving plates", "large props", "critters (snakes, bats, spiders, etc)" and "lab items & bones". This way, especially if I know I am only bringing out certain items to match a theme each year, I can quickly scan the labels and bring out what I need at that time.

4. Use the Bins to Store Everyday Items During Party Time
I bring a bin of decorations upstairs, unload it, and then pack away any 'non-Halloween' item that I don't want out for the party into the bin. When the party is over, I bring the bin out, unpack my everyday items and pack away my Halloween decorations. Makes life easier, and keeps your belongings safe and out of the way while you are celebrating the spooky season.

5. Save Your Spiderwebs
Yes, fake spiderweb cotton is cheap and easily replaced. Toss it away if you like, but I find that spiderweb that has been used a few times are easier to stretch/thin out which makes it look more real.

6. Put Silica Gel Packets in with Your Decorations

You've seen them in almost every pill bottle you've ever opened. Those little packets or plastic cylinders contain a desiccant (a substance that removes moisture from the surrounding air) called 'Silica gel'. It is the most commonly used desiccant for protecting manufactured products (from camera equipment to aspirin).

Those little packets will help draw the damp out of your props and decorations during their dark stay in the basement or garage, and assist in keeping them free of musty mildew. Be sure to add new ones every year.

7. Big Items into Small Items
My storage space is limited. That means if I buy or make large items, I need to make sure they can be broken down into smaller parts for storage.

A good example of a prop designed with storage in mind is my tree. It can be separated into two main halves, and the leaves/ends of the branches are detachable. I also can store other items in the hollow trunk.