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I have dubbed 2013 “The Year of Getting Organised”. I have a long list of organisation goals that I plan to work through this year, and first on the list was sorting out my Christmas decorations. Until now, my “system” for Christmas decorations consisted of an array of cardboard boxes, paper bags, and general chaos….
This photo doesn’t even show the entire collection of craziness. It all took up so much space that it had to be stored in three different rooms – wherever I could fit a box, I threw it in there. As much as I love decorating our tree, the clean up afterwards was a nightmare. Boxes from one end of the living room to the other. So this year I decided – enough of this!
I began by clearing some space in the top shelf of one of our wardrobes. I measured the space that was available and purchased two plastic tubs to fit that space. Notice I worked out how much space I had to work with first, before buying the storage tubs. I have very limited space so I couldn’t just buy a whole lot of tubs and then find somewhere to put them. If your space is limited, determine your shelf size first, buy a tub to fit, and work from there.
Next, I made divisions in the tub using scraps of cardboard. I recycled the boxes that our ornaments had been stored in previously. It was so much fun cutting up those headache-inducing boxes! Dividing the tub into sections keeps everything nice and ordered. You can buy tubs that come with the dividers in them already, but I chose to do it myself for two reasons. One, I was on a tight budget and buying a tub without built-in dividers was less expensive. Two, doing it myself meant that I could make it just right for my storage needs. I could make the sections exactly the size that I needed. A couple of tips – try to cut the strips of cardboard to exactly the width of the tub so they fit very snugly. You don’t want any gaps between the cardboard and the sides of the tub. I used adhesive tape to attach the cardboard to the sides of the tub and to adhere one cardboard strip to another. As for the height of the cardboard dividers – try to make them slightly lower than the height of the tub. This will give you an extra layer of storage space. I’ll explain about that a bit further down in this post.
After I had made my cardboard dividers, I started adding ornaments. I wrapped our fragile glass ornaments individually in tissue paper. The others I just put straight into the tub. How gorgeous is this? Organisation just makes me so happy! I could stare at this picture for hours. It is going to be SO much less work to decorate the tree next Christmas now that I’ve done this. But wait, this tub gets even better…
Next I got to work on our garlands. I took another piece of cardboard, again recycled from the boxes we had been using previously to store our ornaments. I cut a small slit on the top left corner as shown above and used this slit to hold the garland in place. I then wound the garland around the cardboard so I now have this….
This makes my heart sing! Really. I feel calm just looking at it. I cut another slit at the other end of the piece of cardboard to hold the end of the garland in place. Next Christmas – no more tangles, knots or chaos. Wonderful!
I stored our Christmas lights in the same way as the garland described above.
I added the garland and our Christmas stockings to the first tub. This is why it is a good idea to make the cardboard dividers slightly shorter than the height of the tub – so you have space to add another layer of items. The best part about this new storage system is that I can see at a glance what we have and it is so great to have it all in the one place.
I used the second tub to store our very fragile ornaments. The individual boxes with dividers were the ones they came in when I bought them many years ago. The baubles on the right are vintage mercury glass ornaments so I wrapped them in bubble wrap to keep them safe.
I gathered any other random, loose ornaments and sorted them into zip lock bags.
So much better!
And this is how the second tub looks. I put the lids onto the ornament boxes shown earlier, then on top of those I have stored the zip lock bags of loose ornaments and the hooks for hanging the ornaments (which I sorted into two plastic containers, one with small hooks and one with large hooks). I have also used this tub to store the paper bags from our Advent calendar.
So there you have it. From complete chaos and wasted space to two tubs that fit into a space that is only 30 in x 16 in (75cm x 40 cm). This project has not only saved on space, but time as well. Decorating the tree next Christmas (and putting it all away again) will be so much less work.
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