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Organizing the Holidays

I don’t know about you, but the holiday season just recently crept up and kicked me in the back of the head. The last thing I remember is begging my daughter to wear her Halloween costume and I somehow awoke a month later wondering where all the Christmas lights came from.

Every year it’s the same song and dance for me; I put up the decorations and just as I am taking the empty decoration containers downstairs, I realize it’s time to put them back into storage for another year. My house always seems to look like you’ve interrupted it’s mid-life crisis with decorations half hung and scrap pieces of wrapping paper on the floor. BUT NOT THIS YEAR! I have a pre- New Year’s resolution to make it through the holiday while keeping my dignity intact.

Not everyone has this kind of room to store their artsy-craftsy wrapping paper. In fact, not everyone has this much room to store canned goods, let alone superfluous nonsense. Let’s see what practical alternatives us “normal folk” can use, because this isn’t happening.

This handy-dandy wrapping paper corral helps keep all of your rolls in one tidy spot. My mom actually has one of these and hers has a little storage hat that will keep her tape and scissors. It’s definitely convenient, but who wants to spent $15+ on a home for wrapping paper? (Not this girl.) I think we can find something cheaper.

This is a more cost effective version of a wrapping paper corral. In fact you probably have most of these items in your house already so the whole project could cost you a whopping $0.30 for hardware.

Maybe you’re not a corral type of person, or just don’t have the floor space to spare. Well you can always suspend the storage on hooks or nail them to the wall. To the left you can see a run-of-the-mill toiletry pouch has been re-purposed to contain tape, tags and all of the other gift-wrapping odds and ends.

Now the door hanger is well and good for the smaller bits, but what if you would like to keep the paper rolls with the other tchotchkes? You could always create a paper hanger with wooden dowels mounted on the wall, but I am going to be rude and assume you don’t want a permanent wrapping station stuck to your wall.

Here we have a shower caddy that has been given a new identity. Some caddies will have the possibility for more paper storage or less ribbon storage, but the great thing about these is that it was made to be something completely different, which gives you full authority on how you choose to use it.

Now that we have our wrapping paper ordeal under control, it’s time to move on to the rest of our life… or at least to Christmas decorations.

Ornaments are one of those pesky things that you don’t REALLY want to take time to organize, but you know if you don’t you’ll end up with broken pieces and crushed dreams next year when you open them back up. So every container company has decided to capitalize on that fear by creating variations of this storage device. Honestly this will work, but these boxes (depending on the size and brand) can get up into the triple digits. Seriously?! Yes.

But Martha Stewart in all her infinite wisdom has (of course) a cheaper idea. You still have to drop money on a plastic tote (typically in the $12 area), but that’s about it. You cut pieces of cardboard to fit into the totes.

Simply hot glue disposable cups in rows to the cardboard and fill the cups with paper towel. Ornaments fit safe and sound inside the cups and you can even leave room for an egg carton to be glued to the cardboard as well. Can it get any better?! No, it can’t.

On top of ornaments, as the holiday coordinator of your household you have the added responsibility of tackling Christmas lights, which (let’s be honest) I would almost rather wear a hat made out of chewed gum. But it doesn’t always have to be a nightmare. Products like “The Roller Thingy in a Bag” can ease the blood pressure when it comes to packing and unpacking lights. This contraption, again, costs money. And if your significant other wants a new iPod or an autographed baseball of some long deceased player (I wish I was kidding) then money is somewhat of a hot commodity.

I don’t really know what else to say except put your money back in your wallet and wrap your Christmas lights around something that is free. Thank you.

And finally, we have the age old question of “What the hell am I suppose to do with all of these Christmas cards?” If you set them out on a table then they constantly fall down (unless you tape them up), but then you lose a whole tabletop to cards. Or you put them in a stack, throw them away and feel like a total jerk about it. I think it is an adorable idea to set-up a tree to showcase cards, but I, for one, am not going to dig through lawn scraps this late in the year to find the perfect twigs, so let’s look at other options as well.

Hello garlandy goodness! A handrail is a great place to display your card collection this season. It’s out of the way and attached to an area that already has some intricacy. This person used ribbon and clothes pins to attach the cards to the bars, which makes it easy to pop one up there whenever you get a new one in the mail.

Honestly, you could hang up cards on a ribbon anywhere in your house. That person did it on the banister and this person put them over a mirror. You could hang yours over a doorway or from the shower curtain rod (probably not the most practical suggestion).

The purpose of all of this is to make your life easier around a time that is meant for fun. Stressing about tangled lights or trying to remember where you put the tape isn’t what I would call a good time. But no matter how you decorate, what you celebrate or how you choose to carry out your holiday traditions, it’s important to remember what this season is really about–presents.

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About Kristen Van Loon

My name is Kristen Van Loon and this is the chronicle of my search for *Oomf!* Not only have I deemed myself qualified to revamp, repair, refurnish and refine my house, but I also jump into any DIY project that my friends, co-workers, family and practical strangers stumble upon. I would love to tell you that this is my full-time job and my complete life mission, but I make my bread and butter elsewhere and raise a daughter (Olivia). I have some experience but no time, no formal training and no money. My only saving grace is that I love figuring things out, I’m great at improvising and I’m always inspired. For the record, some things that I do (play with electricity, for one) may seem risky, and some of them are. I will always tell you what I’ve done, but I won’t ever suggest things for you that aren’t safe. Even though I push the envelope, I am only marginally incompetent. If sources (father, my brain, Google) tell me not to do something then I usually won’t. But if I do try and it blows up in my face (figuratively or literally) you will hear all about it, and you hopefully won’t attempt it. At the end of the day, I hope to inspire you. Space-Lift isn’t just a blog, it’s a verb. It’s an action that brightens your surroundings by assaulting everything that needs improvement. Nothing is off limits, and all possibilities will be considered.

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