Christmas Storage Tricks & Ideas

Lately, I’ve received a lot of questions from readers about how I store all of my holiday decor.  Although I probably have more than most (due to my profession as a holiday designer), I’m going to share some of my storage tricks with you and provide you with some ways to modify it to a more modest collection.

My holiday decor is kept in an on-site storage area that’s only 120 square feet.  I can work easily in such a small area because everything is organized by color, holiday theme or “type” of decoration and kept in drawer units, a few tubs or plastic-wrapped to take advantage of vertical storage space.

My favorite storage tools are:  storage carts, plastic shelving and plastic wrap.

drawer units

Multi-drawer Storage Carts come in all heights, widths, depths and some even have varied drawer sizes.   The varied drawer sizes are useful because you can place small things in the narrow drawers (like icicles, snowflakes, ribbon, ornament hooks, etc.) and larger things in the wider/deeper drawers (like ornaments, tree skirts, tree toppers, etc.)  Typically, these drawer units come with 4 caster wheels, which makes them easy to roll into the house and around the room you’re decorating.  When you remove the wheels, they are easy to stack to create more vertical storage, which is how I use them to separate my ornaments by color and my decorations by theme.  I also LOVE the fact that I can easily grab a single drawer of what I want rather than waste time and energy digging through a container full of everything.

as_orn balls

as_category orns

as_drawer inventoryIf I happen to have a lot of “different” decorations in a drawer together (because they are the same color), I take a photo featuring 1 of each decoration and tape that to the outside, for a quick visual reference when I’m designing.

I even use the space on top of my stacked drawer units for storing larger items as well as my collection of tabletop trees, keeping them dust-free by loosely placing dry cleaner bags over them:as_trees

storage shelf

My ribbon collection is quite voluminous because I purchase it on clearance whenever I find a good deal.  I purchase several rolls (at least 30 yards) so I can decorate mine or a client’s tree, wreath and garland (minimum) to coordinate.  Many people keep larger ribbon collections in plastic tubs or bags, but that can become a quick mess if you don’t secure the end of an open roll of ribbon.  I keep my rolls of ribbon on wooden dowels or on an inexpensive plastic shelving unit, by color:

As_ribbon

Artificial trees and wreaths can sometimes take up a ton of horizontal space, especially if you try to stuff them back into the boxes they came in.  So, I wrap them both in plastic wrap to store them vertically and keep them dust-free.  Also, by the time I’m ready to wrap things up for storage, those cinnamon-scented pine cones are on clearance at the craft and mart stores, so I purchase a bag and tuck a few in between the greenery for a wonderful, scented surprise the next time I unwrap my holiday greenery.

To wrap an artificial tree, I gather my scented pine cones, a roll of inexpensive twine, a small roll of packing tape and I remove the roll of plastic wrap from it’s box/container.  If your tree is not hinged, however, this method will not work.  But if it is… begin by flattening each row of branches.  Knot one end of your roll of twine onto a piece of greenery, near the top of the tree.  Then, starting at the top, lift up an entire row of the flattened branches and secure it in place vertically by wrapping the twine around it, pulling it tight.  While holding the twine tightly, lift up the next row of flattened branches and wrap the twine around that row, pulling it tight.  Repeat this process down the entire tree and I have to admit that it’s easier if you have a helper. 😉  Once all of the branches are vertical and wrapped tightly in twine, tuck in a few scented pine cones and wrap the tree in plastic wrap… horizontally and vertically.  HINT:  I push a piece of greenery (at either end of the tree) through a hole I create in one end of the plastic wrap before I begin wrapping, to hold it in place.  When the tree is wrapped entirely in plastic wrap, secure the remaining loose end with a piece of packing tape.  Below is how it will look when you’re done and as you can see, using this method keeps their footprint small and makes it easy to nestle several trees very close together:

as_TREE WRAP

If you want to wrap up your wreath (keeping it decorated) lightly push the outside wreath branches upward, tuck in your scented pine cones, attach one end of the plastic wrap to one branch and begin wrapping around the entire circumference (under and over) until its completely encased in plastic wrap.  I hang my wreaths (decorated or not) on a nail in the wall above my storage drawer units, but if you have a free space on the back of a garage door, use a wreath hanger to store it there.  Also, you can use additional wreath hangers (attached to the bottom of the top wreath) to hang a 2nd or 3rd wreath below the first one.

as_WREATH WRAPWrapping garland is a little hard, so that’s one of my holiday items I place in large containers and add scented pine cones to.  As you can see, I also note important details and tape those notes to the outside of the container:

as_2010 Garland

I hope sharing these tricks helps you with your holiday decor storage issues.  If you have any questions or need suggestions, please feel free to contact me! 🙂

Enjoy the Creativity!

EILEEN

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Using Paper products to help decorate your fireplace for Spring & Easter

In today’s marketplace, paper comes in so many forms and is a perfect fit for my creative, yet budget-conscious, brain.  So, if you’re looking for new ways to transform your fireplace from Winter to Spring (and Easter), read on because I think you’ll like the creative way I found to incorporate 3 different paper products to create 2 new designs.

IDEA #1

For the first fireplace look, SCRAPBOOK PAPER helped me create an “Art Comes Alive” look above The Seasonal Home’s family room mantel.

Tracing around a wood butterfly shape (Hobby Lobby – 50 cents) created the large butterflies and a cookie cutter (I already owned) helped me create the smaller butterflies.  Because I have a hard surface surrounding my fireplace, I was able to use dots of hot glue, from a low-melt glue gun, to attach my butterflies to this surface.  You could also use “Tack It” (office supply dept.) or COMMAND strips to attach them to more delicate surfaces.

I found the vintage frame at a thrift store ($3), lightly spray painted it white and placed it on the mantel.  [NOTE: Typically, these are reasonable if they don’t have artwork in them].  The yellow clay pots are a recycle from a look I created last Easter (https://seasonalhome.wordpress.com/2011/03/07/yellow-at-easter-its-not-just-for-chicks-anymore/ )… so, “zero” dollars.   The aqua, polka-dotted bunnies ($3.99 each) and the yellow, polka-dotted candles ($4.99 each) are both from Old Time Pottery.  The yellow vine came from a clearance section of one of my favorite local stores ($6.75) as did the aqua birdie ($1.99).  I picked up the yellow gingham ribbon (see clay pot trim & mantel inset) at Joann’s, etc.  for only $1.75 with a 50% off coupon and the large aqua flower at Hobby Lobby for $1.99.  If you’re familiar with my blog, you’ll recognize my white candlesticks, bird nests and eggs because they roam somewhere different, every year, in The Seasonal Home.

For Part #2 of this look, I wanted to transition my fireplace hearth from Winter to Spring.  In keeping with my nature look, I thought it would be a great idea to make a cushion, flanked by some green topiaries from around the house, to create a park bench feel and also, add additional seating for my Spring and Easter guests.  The aqua gingham fabric, buttons, yellow bias tape & rope insert as well as the 2 bed pillows – $15.00 (Walmart).  So, this entire idea cost $47 to create and I love the fresh look!

IDEA #2

For the second look, I used two different paper products – Green, plaid Hallmark gift wrap (love this stuff because the lines on the opposite side make it easy to cut straight! lol) and white poster board (50 cents), both from Walmart ($4).  I taped a large piece of gift wrap to the back wall & upper inset of the fireplace and removed the logs/grate, to replace it with Dept. 56 artificial grass ($14), edged out with artificial lettuce leaves, to create a base for my 2 sitting, Mom & baby bunnies and used fuzzy Christmas snowball ornaments for their tails.  Finally, I dotted the grass with a few small daisies and also sprinkled them on the mantel and around the large, white bunny cookie jar (sitting inside the cabbage plate) to create continuity. 

CLICK on any photo to enlarge

On the mantel, I used items you’ll also recognize from previous posts, including the wreath, which is the yellow & white daisy wreath from the post I shared above.  I simply added a few different colored flowers to it.   And of course, I simply cannot decorate for ANY holiday without filling up one of my apothecary jars.  This time I added a set of glittered Easter Eggs.

On the side table, you’ll recognize another one of my white candlesticks, on top of which I placed a small clay pot of pink daisies.  You can place SO many different things on top of candlesticks during different seasons, so I highly recommend investing in a set of these to help with your decorating.

This look would be hard to price out for you because I used many items I already had, but it turned out to be one of my favorite looks because it’s so bright & cheery!

Enjoy the Creativity & Happy Easter!

EILEEN

CHRISTMAS DECORATING “How To” DVD is ready!

WE SHIP IMMEDIATELY!

HERE IT IS!  I am very excited and pleased to announce that I have completed my first, full-length (1-hour) “Christmas How To” DVD, through my publishing company (Creative Families, LLC).  It’s available right here on this blog (see right-hand column) and I made sure it is extremely affordable (only $10!) by making it another home-grown product.  It will teach you the basics as well as some of my best secrets for decorating a Christmas tree, plus MUCH MORE!  You’ll even learn my own unique short-cut for creating a designer bow.  If you enjoy my decorating style, this video will show you how I accomplish it.  Here’s the video trailer:


 

 

Garland “Alternative”

Every year, I place lighted garland at the top of my kitchen cabinets.

This year, I created a simpler, yet just as dramatic idea for decorating the tops of my kitchen cabinets.  I found a felt ribbon that has a jingle bell embellishment sewn along its length.  Using 3M poster strips, I had no problem hanging the ribbon and getting it to stay in place.  And the 3M strips are not only removable, but they do not damage your wood or walls, according to the package guarantee.  It’s a much simpler alternative to hanging garland for those of you who are very busy, this time of year, and need a quick decorating idea.

If you want to see how it looked, with my other holiday decorations, feel free to check out my newest holiday video:

And if you are enjoying my holiday design style and would like to know more of my “Pro” Christmas Decorating Secrets, check out my BRAND NEW DVD!  Available for sale 11/15…

see the promo in the right hand column of this blog.  If you want a little sample of just a FEW things you will learn, here’s the ad for the DVD: