This is my method for getting rid of my live Christmas tree without trashing the house. By January the needles and branches are extremely brittle and go everywhere.
No pictures knocked off the wall. No scratched walls. No back breaking from lugging a whole tree. No wasting time with those giant and useless Christmas tree bags.
And best of all, less pine needles everywhere. While this isn't a big deal with Douglas Firs it is brutal with other species, say Colorado Spruce trees. Their needles are tiny evil daggers that get stuck in everything and make you want to scream when they get stuck in your sock. I know from experience.
Minimal hassle and supplies.
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Step 1: Supplies
Receptacle (I used a large bucket)
Step 2: Prep Tree
This one is pretty obvious. Remove all the ornaments and lights.
Step 3: Get That Tree on the Tarp
This is the hardest part. Spread the tarp out as best as you can over your area. My tree stand has three rebar legs. I lifted the leg closest and slid as much of the tarp under it that I could. I then had my wife push the tree for me while I laid on the floor to slide the tarp under the other two legs. If you have a smaller tree you might be able to pick it up and simply place it on the tarp. My wife likes 8 foot tall trees so I can't move it that easily.
Step 4: Cut Branches Off
Put gloves on. Get pruning shears. Start cutting the branches off. I cut them smaller to fit in the bucket I use. If you have a fire place you can cut them to fireplace size to burn. Cut to your needs. Smaller tends to be less messy but takes more time.
Cut until you fill up your receptacle. Then take outside or wherever you are disposing of the branches. It took me five buckets to remove all the branches. This process took maybe 20 minutes so I suggest listening to some music. Thanks Pandora shuffle!!
Step 5: Remove Trunk From Base
Remove the truck from the base. I placed some grocery bags around it to make sure that no water leaked on the way out of the house.
Dispose of however you want. I threw mine in the wood behind my house.
Step 6: Admire All the Mess
Check out the tarp now that the tree is gone. It's probably covered in needles and small branches and sticks. Mine was. Appreciate that it's on the tarp and not your floor or rug or carpet. It's not much fun to get out especially if the needles are evil.
Step 7: Remove Tarp
Remove the tree stand while being careful to not spill any water still in the basin.
Carefully fold up the tarp to trap the junk inside. This is easier with two people.
Take outside and discard.
Step 8: Clean Up / Life Back to Normal
Sweep and/or vacuum your floor to get what was there before you started and anything that might have missed the tarp.
Put furniture back.
Celebrate that the tree is gone while not having destroyed anything or messed up your house.
In all, the process took me about 45 STRESS FREE minutes.
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