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A tale about organizing ...

2 months ago
last modified: 2 months ago

When I was younger /newly married, I bought a long plastic box that could slide under my bed -- used it for wrapping paper. It worked fine ... but in the last 5-6 years I've become dissatisfied with my wrapping storage, and stuff was kinda all over my house: Empty gift bags in the dining room chairs, rolls of paper behind the bedroom door, a whole bag of unopened Christmas paper and ribbons in the guest room closet and who knew what in the attic. I wasn't even using the plastic box.

Then on Pinterest I saw a really cool cart filled with wrapping paper -- oh, so cute! It was a three-drawer Elfa cart on wheels. Ohhh, I wanted it! But the cart was $200. Nooo. So I kept looking, and I found similar organization systems using three-tier carts from Michaels /Hobby Lobby in the $30-40 range. That's acceptable! So I started studying the various Pinterest models, trying to decide what'd work best for me.

The more I planned this project, the more I realized the cart would be inferior to the box under my bed. I'd have to store it in the coat closet, which would mean moving some things that already "live" in that spot. The cart would only hold 8-10 rolls of paper, and they'd be on the side of the cart ... maybe a bit unweildy during movement. And it wouldn't be dust-proof. And, honestly, I don't wrap that many gifts!

Fortunately I figured out -- before I spent any money -- that this project would've been a disaster. Instead I gathered up allll the wrapping items from around the house. When I saw it allll piled up in my living room, I realized the problem was over-consumption and failing to use what I had (which happened because stuff was all over the house, and I didn't know what I had).

I removed a large stand-up box of Christmas paper from the attic ... the paper was yellowed and wrinkled and full of Disney characters like Pocahantas, so it was clearly about 15 years old. And the box had spiders in it. Straight to the trash. Two shopping bags with 8-10 rolls of unopened paper each + various accessories. Lots of empty gift bags + tissue paper. I found a box of gift bags in the attic ... most so old that the glue had failed /they were split open. How'd I get all this stuff?

I kept what'd fit in my plastic box. I discarded extra-long jumbo rolls that wouldn't fit. I rolled some paper "together" on the same roll to save paper -- all similar papers. The box is crammed full /holds about 25 rolls of paper. I added three plastic boxes (from the dollar store) down the side ... one to store a tape dispenser and scissors with the paper ... one for bows and ribbons ... one for tags and tiny-small gift-card boxes. I folded my tissue paper in half and laid it all at the end. Gift bags were the biggest problem, and the answer was throwing away many of them; I don't favor gift bags, so I kept two in each size ... I tucked them UNDER the rolls of paper. I might go back and discard them, as I favor actual wrapping paper. I also told myself they sell all these things at the dollar store. I don't need to dedicate lots of storage space to things so easily replaced.

In the end, I have the original box PURGED and BETTER ORGANIZED, and it's so much better than the Pinterest-cute project that so grabbed my attention. I spent $1.25 for the three plastic tubs that keep things organized on the side. It holds all I need. It's dust-and-bug proof. I now have tape and scissors stored right in the box ... a Sharpie marker too. I don't need to buy wrapping paper for maybe 5-6 years.

The moral: What are you trying to over-organize?

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