2-D Core: decorate flat for less stress

Warning! Long post but worth it! 🙂

It probably is not the first time someone has flouted the benefits of “flat” décor for holidays, but if this term starts to float around the interwebs, you know you heard it here first: 2-D Core!


What does it mean? 2-D or flat décor. It means you will save hours of detangling, digging, accidentally destroying, and arranging your holiday decorations. The strategy consists of avoiding large bulky objects that require unique storage (or are too large and wonky to even be stored inside anything) and instead opting for primarily “squishy” or flat items. This cuts down on time to put up and take down your décor and also cuts down on space which both cut down on holiday stress.

This doesn’t mean you need to toss your super special mini-diorama in an eggshell ornament from your childhood.

Cannot be used for padding.

Those are adorable. But it does mean that overall, especially as certain styles come and go, when you want to add to your décor you ask these questions: “Can it be laid flat? Can it fit in a storage bin? If something is laid on top of it will it be ruined? Can it squish?”

And for extra credit: “Can it be used as padding for other items in the box?”

I know there can be objections. Who wants all of their decorations to be flat and bare? That’s super lame. But I’m here to tell you that just because it stores flat does not mean it has to be flat and definitely not lame.

We are almost to Halloween and soon I will be taking down the gobs of Halloween décor I put up. I love Halloween and could easily fill as many Halloween storage boxes as most houses have for Christmas. But for one of the many reasons 2-D Core works, that is, for the compactable aspect, I have only 2 tubs. That’s right. Two tubs hold an (albeit small) house’s worth of Halloween. To me it does not look flat and boring. We have air space filled with banners, created vignettes with creepy cloth, changed a whole wall of pictures, added webs, filled the views with window clings, hung knockers, and placed candles and holders.img_20161027_212052

Of all the items on display I would say only %20 are “3-D” and the rest lay flat without damaging themselves or others in one box. Most of the small things get placed in Ziploc bags for extra protection against snarls or heat damage. It gets hot up in the attic which brings me tooooooo…

One of my favorite decorations for Halloween! My creepy black candles. 🙂 These guys are probably part of the inspiration for my storage methods now. A few years ago, before we had even finished unpacking boxes and fully img_20161027_210540moving in to our house, the decorations were on the bottom of my list for proper storage. Our garage froze in the winter and in the summer it could get to skin melting temperatures. Maybe not skin, but at least candle melting temperature. I took down the Halloween box and lifted out my black candles. They had been resting haphazardly over some other items when they melted in the summer heat and stayed that way until autumn. It was pretty cool and actually made them better for Halloween, BUT because they were practically loose they had stained some other items with their blackness (Ooo could this be a Goosebumps story coming?). Now, even though it is still sweltering up there in the summer, to store them I wrap the candles in paper towels to stop the staining and lay them flat on the back of a Halloween picture frame (cardboard) to preserve their wonky shape! Darkness foiled again! Or, like, paper toweled again.

I should probably find them a box but because they’re all whirligig they probably wouldn’t fit. And that would be way too much work anyways.


Notice the authentic chunk missing from the bottom right stone. Heehee.


So, yes, I obviously have some very 3-D items like the candelabra and the crows, candy bowls etc., but overall I have been very happy with how simple it is to keep most décor flat. When it comes to putting it away I am especially pleased. Here is the low down (Hopefully pictures will be added after Halloween is over.):

I pull all the full frame pictures off the wall and stack them the best I can. Probably takes under 2 minutes. Next I’ll take the photos out of my all-season frames and switch them to the next season’s picture that I keep in the frames themselves. Takes a bit longer, maybe 10 min for all of them. Then I pile up the fabrics that I drape over the windows, frames, and surfaces. I put the window clings in a ziplock bag that I reuse every year. Each holiday has it’s own ziplock bag that I store the clings in. I stack and fold the banners and place them in a reused bag also. After all that is laid out I will put the frames, pictures, and placemats in the storage bin, then one layer of “squishy” stuff like the creepy cloth around the edges, then a layer of small items like the crows or baby food jars that I use for tea lights. Next, possibly another squishy layer and then the bagged items. Finally, I will top it off with the wrapped candles and a final layer of cloth. It’s like one big Halloween storage cake. The other bin will hold the candelabra, string lights, candy bowl(s), and any small items that didn’t fit in the first bin. The whole ordeal takes me about 30 min if I’m not distracted. Like, when everyone else is asleep and I have caffeine in my bloodstream.

This is also a good time to assess the stragglers in the bins. The decorations you didn’t use this year. Ask the questions they would ask if they could talk: “Why wasn’t I used this year? How old am I? Is there anything wrong with me? Will I ever have a chance to shine again or has my time come? Would I look better in someone else’s house? I know you like me, but WHY DON’T YOU LOVE ME??”



It’s sad, but someone has to decide their fate. This very year I said goodbye to my %100 glittered skulls, spiders and pumpkins because…I hadn’t used them in 2 years, they were a style that I had moved on from, and while I actually do still love them and think they look awesome I can’t let my toddlers play with them (so there would be tears) and if they did get one down the glitter would get in every nook and cranny of the house (more tears, from me). But finally, all of these reasons combined with the fact that they took up a third of one tub meant they had to move on.glitter-spongebob

So, this wasn’t supposed to be a Halloween post necessarily, it was the example I had on hand. Christmas is a bit trickier because there is just so much traditional stuff that we can’t change. But overall there are many ways to use 2-Dcore over Christmas as well. For example, even in ornaments. We are a young family so we are still adding to our ornaments and other pretties, as we call them. Whenever I see a new pretty that I want I have to ask myself how I plan on using it and storing it to find out if it is really something I should bring home. If you have a large collection already, talk to your stragglers. They are longing for a conversation with you. If you can’t use them on your tree could you display them another way? If it’s an heirloom that’s not your style is there another family member who would proudly hang it each year? If it’s just junk it may need a trip to the waste bin if it can’t be upcycled or recycled. No hard feelings, stragglers. Life if no fun in the bottom of a Christmas box.

Wait, a few more things about Halloween you ask? Why sure! Here are some opinionated blurbs:

If you have little patience for tangles like me, STAY AWAY from that web stuff! Just don’t. I know. It’s so cool. I tell myself every year that I will reuse it for next year and it isn’t wasteful but every year I open those bins and make the triangle face at it because all you can do is smile all angry-like. Just can’t deal. Everything sticks to it. Ugh.


The DOLLAR STORE is your best friend for Halloween! They have tons of stuff and guess what? A lot of it is flat. Because?  Packaging and cheapness. They have great signs, faux chalkboards and creepy cloth. They have the holograph portraits and even the crows are from Dollar Tree. Even our tomb stones are from the Dollar Tree and it is a good thing too. It gets very stormy at our house and sometimes the rain completely obliterates outdoor decorations. They fly everywhere like actual creepy flying objects. So if my Styrofoam tombstone (band name?) is up in a tree and has chunks missing, although that might make it cooler, I know it was only a dollar and not the end of the world.

By the way, speaking of creepy portraits, why not print some of these off to fill up your family photo frames. Are these not the most terrifying things you’ve ever seen (aside from the lady dressed as wallpaper)? Like more than anything gory or any monster, the general take away is that the most bone-chilling costume you can wear is a poor attempt at making a duplicate of normal human face from household products.

Finally, I’ve given up on tea lights and electric tea lights. All that work goes into your pumpkin and you can’t really see it in the dark without a hundred candles inside. Get a string of lights at the dollar store at Halloween. They are about 3 ft long and come in green, purple or yellow. Throw those in without untying them and plug them in from behind. BAM! Your purple glowing pumpkin can be seen down the street. And hopefully if it isn’t raining and warm like it is at my house your pumpkin will last longer than a week. I’m a little bitter.



One thought on “2-D Core: decorate flat for less stress

  1. Great advice. 32 years of decor and I love the flat stuff. I need to have that conversation with a lot of the bottom of the barrel things!


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