Tuesday, December 30, 2014

DIY Ornament storage

I woke up this morning with the distinct thought 'I'm going to be moving this summer!' (What ever that means). 

Being on break, I have a little more time to get things sorted and then put away, rather than trying to do it after work and driving my family crazy, and since it's Christmas and it's out and has to be put away, I thought well, why not get started putting Christmas things together? Because the last time I moved, everything went to my apartment piecemeal as I discovered I needed/wanted it, and was a giant mess to pack back up again. Not. This. Time. This time I will be prepared. 

So I did a Google search. Looked under images; DIY. And turned up several DIY storage solutions. Some included cutting cardboard strips and making cells [frankly I haven't the patience...] one involved dowel rods that slip in and out of hiles drilled into the ends of a storage tote [I still don't have a drill or bits...] and several involved using plastic cups. 

Because we didn't throw a holiday party and have plastic cups laying around. Right? In truth, actually, we didn't, and we didn't get high ticket came-in-a-giant-cardboard-box items either. SO. I went to the store this morning and came back with 

  • qty 2 sleeves of heavy duty plastic cups [16oz, ~$3 each]
  • qty 2 flippy top bins [~$7 ea] in Christmas colors. Which weren't on sale. Yet.
  • qty 2 foam core boards, 20x30 inches, by 3/16[?]  [~$2 ea] in white. because it was cheaper than black, or buying a cardboard display trifold or box.
Things we had at home that I wish I would have known we had but I bought anyway were:
  • qty 1 high temp hot glue gun, fun size [~$6]
  • qty 2 glue sticks for  the fun size glue gun [~$1 per package]
Things that I already had at the house that were super helpful:
  • rotary cutter and mat
  • utility knife
  • gosgrain ribbon, ~1/2" wide, cut into [qty 4] 9" strips
  • some 9oz red cups that were smaller and slimmer than the 16oz, and filled in gaps nicely [waste not]

Things that, had I been thinking, might have been a good idea to scrounge for, at home or the store:
  • those 6oz crystal clear plastic cups you drink punch out of at parties. They're the perfect size for most bulbs

Bought a tub with straight sides, no fru fru indentations for hand holds all the way down the sides. This would have saved myself a ton of trouble trimming to fit. I was also thinking jeez, how big a box do I want to be wrangling next Christmas? A ginormous one? Or several smaller one. Small wins.

On another note, I ended up running out of clear cups. So rather than glue the remnants of 9oz red cups to the top board of the second box, I just left it empty, and filled cups in along the two long sides of the rectangle. I have small stuff I keep in egg cartons; they should fit in there nicely. Also, there is just enough clearance above the two tiers of trays that I should be able to pad the top with seasonal linens; the tree skirt I keep meaning to make, the stockings, those sorts of things.

There was a lot of trial and error cutting, getting the first piece of foam core to fit into the bottom of the first bin. A lot. So for the second go round, since both bins are the same size, I traced the two bottoms, upper and lower tiers, onto the other piece of foam core and cut away. I also discovered it was better to put the base into the bin, put glue on the bottom of a cup and press it down than try to glue outside of the box - I had a much better idea of where to put the cups to get as many onto the board as possible. [hence the tinier red cups, to fill wasted space].

This would have been the part where I stood back and admired my handiwork.

Then I realised I had a bit of a problem. [This is after all the cups have been glued down to the boards, and are sitting in the boxes] My brain said: these boards will be full of ornaments, and therefor heavier than they are now. Trying to pick the boards up from the bottom of the box by the cups might result in cups tearing off. Fix it now.

This is where the pieces of ribbon came in. Like cupboard handles or a dresser knob, they're there to help lift the tray out of the bottom so that the cups don't rip off while you're struggling a full tray out of the box. Two really healthy globs of hot glue on either long end and some gentle pressure. Those puppys aren't going anywhere. 

Now I find myself asking, was that really cheaper than buying the special box? Eh, probably not, but I know now what I will be saving through the year to sort and fix my mother's ornament boxes up. 

Some of the really tiny ornaments we store in old, labled egg cartons [in a box that holds other things], and no doubt will continue to do so. But for now, when it comes time for me to fly the coop, I will know exactly where to find Christmas.