Five Tips for Holiday Storage

Christmas StorageIf you haven’t put away your holiday decorations, yet, you’re not alone. If it gets to be July and we’re having this conversation, we’ll want to get the decorative balls rolling into some sort of container. For now, it’s perfectly and socially acceptable to still have some lingering lights. When you’re good and ready to start packing, here are a few tips and tricks for closing out the season.

{ONE} Organize your business

Before jumping right in to stuffing a bunch of bins, stop for a moment to sort. Decide if you really want to keep everything. Toss old lights or donate items you know you won’t ever use.keep calm buttonOnce you’ve simplified, decide how you’re going to store your stuff. Some people organize by type of item. For example, all of the lights go in one big bin.

I prefer to pack by location. That means all of the outdoor lights go with the outdoor décor. As long as you liked where everything was situated this year, storing your things this way makes unpacking a cinch next year. Be sure to label the bins with the name of the room to amp up the ease. Speaking of bins…

{TWO} Color-code some bins

Plastic bins are ideal for storing your precious decorations. They’re waterproof in case you have an unfortunate leak in your roof or basement. They’re also pest-proof when they have tight-fitting lids. Nothing freaks me out more than opening a box and finding a spider. #notcool

plastic bin

Rubbermaid bins are durable and have tight-fitting lids.

I like using clear bins so I can see what’s inside. Some people like colored bins, such as red or green for Christmas items. While this makes it easier to distinguish between the holidays up in a dark attic, once you get the bins down, it’s kind of a pain not knowing what’s inside.

Tip: Stick with clear bins, but pick colored lids for each season.

Plastic lids

These are available at Walmart. You could pick red lids for all of your Christmas bins.

If you can’t find assorted lids, use various colors of Duct tape to label your bins. You could use green for Christmas, orange for Halloween, pink for Easter, etc.

{THREE} Divide those ornaments

I’ve had one too many sad moments opening a bin and finding a broken ornament. That’s why I pack them in individual compartments now.

Ornament Storage

This bin is from The Container Store.

You can either purchase special bins like this from The Container Store or take a “plain” bin and make your own dividers with a few cups glued to a piece of cardboard.

DIY Ornament Storage

Get the full DIY instructions at One Good Thing

Don’t forget to pack the ornament hooks. For small items like these and replacement bulbs, use a plastic jewelry organizer.

Organizer

This organizer is from Joann Fabrics.

{FOUR} Wrangle your wreaths and lights

You probably spent a lot on your wreaths – time and money or both! So when it comes to storage, give them some extra TLC. I splurge on plastic wreath holders because they snap shut (no bugs allowed), and they help wreaths hold their shape.

wreath case

This crush-free case is from Spacesavers.

I’ve used heavy-duty trash bags before, and some of my friends use dry cleaner bags. Those work too. You’ll just want to be sure not to stack items on top of them if you’re going this route.

Light storage

Image source: Curbly

When it comes to lights, I like to wrap the strands around pieces of cardboard. You can even jot a note directly on the cardboard about where the lights go.

hose-reel-for-holiday-lights

Image source: Real Simple

If you have a large volume of lights, keep them strung together on a hose reel from the hardware store. Smart, right?

{FIVE} Care for your cards

The last thing I like to do is take a minute to re-read all of the thoughtful cards we received and update my contacts with any new addresses.

Christmas Cards

Image source: BBC

Once that’s done, I always have a hard time throwing the cards away. Brené Brown shared a fantastic idea of snapping pictures of each card with your phone and adding them to your contacts. That way you can see the darling Christmas photo your friend sent every time she calls. Don’t you love that idea? I’m totally doing it this year.

So what have I missed? What’s your favorite way to pack or organize your holiday goods? Give me a shout either in the comments or tag me on Instagram or Twitter @Katejandersen. I’ll be sure to check my accounts between packing all of these bins. Gracious!

Have a great weekend and be sure to check out all of the amazing blogs through Five on Friday.Fiveonfriday

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DIY Pottery Barn Ornaments

Pottery Barn Inspired OrnamentsAs promised, I’m going to share lots of DIY holiday projects this season. Now that Thanksgiving is T-minus 11 days and counting, I think it’s safe to start thinking about Christmas. I don’t know about you, but I like to keep my holidays as separate and special as possible. I feel this way about lots of things. When I was little I had one of those divided dinner plates because I didn’t like my food touching. Holidays are the same for me. I don’t like any Jingle Bells spilling into my Jack-o-lanterns.

Okay, let’s kick this off with a few ornaments. I was thumbing through the most recent PB catalog and saw a few ornaments that looked like perfect DIY candidates. I gave them a try, and they turned out great. Plus they were ridiculously easy to make. I had to share!

Ornament Supplies

The basic supplies for all three ornaments!

>> Glitter Initial Ornament

Glitter Initial Ornament

I used a silver glitter that looks like pewter.

What you need:

  • Chipboard letters
  • Spray glitter (the secret ingredient)
  • Ribbon for hanging
  • Small hole punch, if needed

What to do:

When you use a can of spray glitter, all you have to do is place your chipboard letter on top of some newspaper and spray away. That. Is. It. Once the glitter dries, you can add another coat, if needed. Be sure to turn and spray the backside, as well. That way it looks pretty from all sides when it’s hanging from the tree.

If your letters don’t have holes at the top, you can use a small hole punch. Then take your ribbon, thread it through the holes and secure with a small knot at each end.

Backside of Glitter Monogram

I tied knots on the back side of the letter.

An easy alternative would be to hot glue the ribbon to the backside of the letter.

>> White Feather Ornament

I tried to take a pic with the ornament backlit so you could see the feather better. It's really pretty in person!

I tried to take a pic with the ornament backlit so you could see the feather. It’s really pretty in person!

What you need:

  • Clear glass globe ornament
  • Package of white feathers or a feather boa
  • Toothpick or bamboo skewer
  • Ribbon for hanging

What to do:

Carefully open the top of your ornament by pinching the two sides of wire that are threaded down inside. Next, take one of your feathers and slip it inside the globe.Feather OrnamentYou might need to take a toothpick or skewer to help fan out the feather inside the globe. I added two feathers to help fill the space. Slip the top back on and add a pretty ribbon.

Similar ornaments sell for $10.50 each at Pottery Barn. I made six of these for the same price. Plus, you can probably make them faster and easier than you can say “Christmas.”

>> Monogrammed Glass Globe Ornament

Monogrammed Glass Globe OrnamentWhat you need:

  • Clear glass globe ornament
  • Adhesive letters
  • Ribbon for hanging

What to do:

Once you select the letter you’d like to use, simply adhere it to your clear ornament. If your letters are small enough, you can do a full monogram. Here’s a nice refresher on monogram rules by Mark & Graham. Once your letter is in place, simply tie the top with a gorgeous bow and boom, clap, you’re done.

Any of these ideas, especially the personalized initial ornaments, would make amazing hostess gifts, teacher gifts and friend gifts!

Oh, and light bulb sleeves make great ornament packaging. (I love to repurpose when possible.) Trim the sleeve to size, tuck your ornament inside, and wrap the outside with wrapping paper or tissue and a bow.

Have fun making these ornaments! If you don’t have time to make them this week, no worries. Just pin the project on a Pinterest board for later. Be sure to stop by tomorrow for Creative Tip Tuesday. I’ll have some (hopefully) inspiring words on how to stay calm, cool and creative this crazy season.

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Friday Wrap (with Five Faves)

Happy Friday! I’m attempting to link into “Five on Friday” for the first time, so hopefully I’ll meet a few new friends today!

Here we go:

  1. If I had to wrap the week in a word, it would be joyful. Even though I attended a funeral for my friend’s father, it was such a beautiful experience that left everyone feeling inspired. His nickname was “Brownie” and was one of those guys who loved life, was never short on a joke (or prank), and knew how to appreciate a good beer. The stories shared at his service were both heartwarming and hilarious. As I was listening, I made a quiet vow to myself: don’t take life too seriously. Our time here is a quick breath of air in the grand scheme of things. I want to enjoy every second of it – while laughing as often as I can.
  2. I was proud to wish my own dad a happy Veteran’s Day on Tuesday. He was in the Air Force for many years and retired as a Lt. Colonel. He served our country with great pride, and I’m a better American because of him. Love you, Pappa Joe!
    Pappa Joe

    My sweet dad, Pappa Joe!

  3. I saw my first snowflake of the season this morning. And it’s only November! That’s a rare treat in Arkansas. It didn’t stick to anything, but it was alive for all of five seconds. Some may dispute, but I saw it. I hear more is on the way this weekend. Brrr and bring on the cocoa. Or maybe another Chestnut Praline Latte from the ‘Bucks?
    Chestnut Praline Latte

    I tried one this week, and they are sugary goodness in a cup.

  4. The girls started a new thing this week where they put their favorite blanket in the dryer while they’re taking a bath. After they dry off, they literally wrap in a blanket of warmth. Why haven’t we done this sooner?!
    Avery & Clara

    Look at those snuggly little peanuts.

  5. I just pulled out my Hip Hop Abs DVD. Not to get all Bridget Jones’ Diary on you (remember that funny book?) but I’ve been feeling a bit “swollen” lately. I don’t know if I’ve overdone the salt, sweets, carbs or all of the above, but I was prompted to workout. I try to do yoga once a day to get some form of exercise. I just don’t usually do sweaty workouts – unless they’re fun and have good music and make me forget I’m actually working out. That’s where Hip Hop Abs enters the picture. Even though I feel like a total dork doing my “tilt, tuck and tighten” with Shaun T, I pump up the volume and stomp it out in my garage every now and again. Once you get the hang of it, it’s actually pretty fun.

What I feel like:Hip Hop DancerWhat I probably look like:bad-dancerHave a great weekend and I’ll catch you on Monday with some gorgeous DIY ornaments inspired by Pottery Barn. Here’s a sneak peek:

Let's make these glittery initial ornaments!

Let’s make these glittery initial ornaments!

Feather Ornament

Let’s make these gorgeous glass and feather ornaments, too!

Thanks to Liz, DarciChristina, and Natasha for letting me join your fun Friday adventure. I hope to catch you all again next week!Fiveonfriday

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DIY Pumpkin Seed Ornaments

IMG_4412Earlier this week I listed three ways to use your Halloween pumpkin seeds – other than the usual heat and eat. One idea I mentioned was making a beautiful and easy ornament like this one above. And when I say easy, I mean it took me all of 20 minutes to gather my goods and have this picture taken. Not to mention, I had everything I needed on hand. Hopefully you will, too!

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Dried pumpkin seeds
  • Small seeds for the center
  • Cardboard circle – about 2” in diameter
  • Piece of felt – same size as the cardboard
  • Pretty ribbon
  • Glue gun
IMG_4346

All of the supplies, minus the glue gun

Ways to make this practically free:

  • The pumpkin seeds can come from your freshly carved jack-o-lantern.
  • The small seeds can be anything from birdseed (which I had in the garage) to poppy seeds (which might be in the spice rack).
  • I raided the recycle bin for cardboard. Then I traced the bottom of a mason jar to get a perfect 2″ circle.
  • Inexpensive squares of felt can be found at any craft store.
  • When it comes to ribbon, I’m like a squirrel. Any time I receive a gift or see ribbon on sale, I stash it away in plastic bins in my craft area (aka garage). I received this gorg velvet ribbon on a gift and knew it would find the perfect craft one day. Hello.

Here’s the step-by-step guide:

  1. Fire up your glue gun!
  2. Glue seeds to the outside rim of the cardboard circle. Then work your way to the center with each row of seeds.
  3. Once you’ve filled the entire cardboard, place a dot of glue in the middle of your ornament.
  4. Sprinkle smaller seeds on top. Birdseed, poppy seeds, even sunflower seeds would be pretty.Steps
  5. Glue your strip of ribbon to the back of your ornament in a loop.
  6. The finishing step is to cover the back of the ribbon with felt. This makes it look nice from all angles.
    Finishing step

    The final steps. Boom. Boom. Done.

    You’re finished! How easy was that? As I was making this, my mind was racing with fun ideas for how to display and use these ornaments. I might be making a few dozen batches of these babies!

  • Hang it to the stem of a pumpkin for some added charm.
  • Tie it to the top of a holiday gift. After all, it is an ornament.
  • Give it as a hostess gift hooked to the neck of a bottle of wine. Be sure to make the ribbon long enough to slip around the bottle.
  • Attach to the center of a bow on wreath for an extra accent like this!IMG_4374
  • Or add to any decorative element. I’m going to put this cuteness on my mantle.Decorative
  • Make festive Thanksgiving napkin rings! Instead of looping the ribbon, glue the ribbon flat in the center so you can tie it securely around your napkin. See below.IMG_4408

Happy crafting and enjoy your lovely pumpkin seed ornaments!

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