02 January, 2007

Pack It Up

I’ve never really been a big collector. I mean, if you consider headbands and barrettes and fabric and ribbons and everything else I’ve ever bought but somehow can’t seem to part with (see # 80). But other than just general stuff I am emotionally attached too (which is pretty much anything, up to and including my grocery receipts for some reason), I really only collect one thing. Christopher Radko ornaments.

I started collecting them our first Christmas married. I don’t know why I felt the pressure to collect something, and being that I love Christmas and his ornaments are beyond gorgeous, that’s what I chose to go with. And I have not been sorry (has my bank account been sorry? Well, yes.) I can still remember purchasing my first Radko myself, at Neiman’s. I went for the classic wedding bells, to signify our first Christmas married, and I get nostalgic every time I look at that ornament. And don’t laugh, but I keep an inventory of them in an Excel spreadsheet by name and #. Current count has me right around 52. Yahoo! I said don’t laugh.

But I do realize so many of you probably collect other Holiday items as well, that you will need to pack away. Heck, even if it’s just ornaments from the tree, they’ve got to be packed up as well, right? Sister #1 has an obscene amount of Department 56 Snow Village that pretty much takes over their entire house during the Holidays. I mean, you know it’s bad when you have to take furniture out of the house and set up specially made shelves and tables and display units just to house this little holiday addiction. She may not be able to get drunk off of it, but trust me when I tell you it IS an addiction. But the bottom line is she really enjoys it, just as I enjoy my Radko. It is a lot of work though, don’t you think? Carefully opening and unwrapping the breakables, carefully setting them up then threatening everyone with their life if they even come close to touching them, and then having to carefully package everything back up again a few weeks later. This is probably why I chose not to display mine this year. My heart just wasn’t in it this year and I had too much on my plate.

So in my search for some crafty and clever new ideas for storing your ornaments and holiday collectibles, you’ll be happy to know I stumbled upon some great things. Of course, leave it to Martha, to come up with something so simple but yet sensible, that it makes you hit your head with that “duh, why didn’t I think of that” expression. Check out these pictures. By cutting a piece of corrugated cardboard to line the bottom of each storage bin and prevent slippage, she used her trusty hot glue gun to attach simple paper cups to the cardboard base. Wrap the ornaments in tissue paper and place them in the cups. Then all you have to do is stack cardboard-and-cup flats inside the container. You can also see for smaller ornaments, Martha uses egg cartons. Brilliant! But I guess that’s why she’s THE Martha, after all.

Now, if you don’t want to go to all the trouble Martha has laid out, and you fancy yourself more of the run into Target, pick up a load of plastic bins and be done with it type of person, then by all means, have at it. There are storage bins galore out there for you in all shapes, sizes and colors. Divided or un-divided for ornaments, the choice is yours. I like these from the Improvements Catalog, myself. But in terms of storing all other holiday items, then I recommend clear plastic storage bins. You can separate the items by color, location (hallway or dining room), type (lights, candles, garland, etc), then put a large piece of paper inside the tub, face OUT, with the description. That way, you don’t have to worry about the tape losing its stickiness and the label coming off, and it’s super easy for you to spot and know what’s inside each box.

I know I’m not the only one out there who over-bought wrapping paper either. It gets me every year without fail. I can’t help it and I blame my obsession with all things paper on my fascination with festive holiday paper as well. So you know I’m not going to throw my unused stash out. Throw the pretty paper away?! Well that would just be wrong! So you can pick up specific wrapping paper storage containers like this one from Target or Wal-Mart, or do what I do and group them together and secure them with heavy duty rubber bands. I then store them in a HUMONGOUS Toys R Us shopping bag that is also secured with a rubber band. It gets put up in the attic where it will wait until I summon for it next year. But another good idea I came across is to store your wrapping paper in hanging garment bags. If the garment bag has outside pockets, then use those for your gift tags, unused cards, and tissue paper. Pretty smart, right?

So you'd think all this typing and writing about storing my holiday things would have me all pumped up and motivated to start taking down my own decorations and get my party started, but nope. I'm throwing the mini monograms in the car and we are headed out for a bit. I need to hit the grocery store, Mr. Monograms office to get my purse out of his car (which will obviously be our first stop before the grocery), and if the mini's can keep from arguing and fussing long enough, we might even stop at the park before heading home for naps this afternoon. I'm still recovering from the cold from hell, so I see a nap in my future this afternoon as well. So I guess we need to start packing it up in the car now so I'm off.

14 Comments:

Libby said...

My goodness, the Radko ornaments are bea-u-tee-ful! I store our ornaments in the boxes in which Harry and David ships their pears.

MarcyM said...

Your hubby may not want you to know this but Saks is having a 50% off sale on all of their Radko ornaments. The Saks in Palm Beach Gardens has a huge selection to choose from. I wish I collected them because they are so pretty but I have too many shoe, belt and bag collections to start adding another. Have fun packing and hopefully shopping!

Susan D said...

I love the Radko ornaments as well. My mom started me on that tradition & I received a wedding bell as a wedding gift last year!

We received one of the Swarovski crystal annual snowflake ornaments last year & have actually started that collection. Now, to box them all up for another year!

Elizabeth H. said...

We use the ornament storage boxes from the Container Store. We seem to be adding a box a year.

suburban prep said...

The thought of beginning to take down the christmas decorations is heavy on my mind. But the fact that we keep the main collection I have going up for a few more weeks is a good one. My collection is with German nutcrackers. it began when I was in high school and then I worked for a company that sold them and then when I got married people added to them. They are not cheap and especially now the ones that state they were made in West Germany are quite valuable. Because a number of them lend to other times of the year we don't feel the need to bring them down "right" away.
my other collection is more "stash" of yarn since I am a knitter. It is beginning to take over the guest room.

Monogram Momma said...

Marcy, it is probably a REALLY good thing there is no Saks in the town I live in now!

Suburban Prep, My sister collects the Steinbach nutcrackers so i know those are pricey but so beautiful and worth it! My best friend from prepy school's mom had such a large collection that she had huge built-in's installed for one entire area of their (very large) basement. That way they weren't in sight every day, but she got to enjoy them all the time when she went downstairs. She had doors put on them so she wouldn't have to dust all the time too.

Amber Lee said...

My mother collects all things snowman. This year, my mother finally had enough ornaments to have a snowman themed tree. My father was not happy with this, since he is quite connected to the ornaments that we would bring home from school/sunday school/girl scouts. What do you do with the things that the mini's make?

Monogram Momma said...

Well, Amber Lee, prior to the Mini's our tree was very pretty and frilly. But now it is sort of funny looking with all balls and breakables and pretty things on the top 2/4 of the tree, and on the bottom 1/4, is all their made ornaments and non-breakable ornaments. I am hoping next year to have 2 trees. A tree in the bonus room w/ all the mini's ornaments and other hand made fun/kitschy colorful stuff, and then just do a formal tree in the family room downstairs. I think they will be old enough for me to do this next year, but it's a good thing I have a full year to convince Mr. Monogram of this!

I love the idea of a snowman themed tree! Maybe your parents can compromise and they can do a second smaller tree somewhere with just the old handmade ornaments from your youth.

Kris said...

Radkos - very nice! I started a collection of Byers Choice carolers the year we were engaged - I guess because my mom has them & she started me up with 2 skaters (His & Hers). They take a lot of care to pack away & I realized that this year, I need to invest in some more Rubbermaid bins or tubs for their storage. The unpacking & packing of the Christmas stuff is daunting, I hit it head-on this weekend while I felt like I had the energy - needless to say, Hubby was not so pleased that I decided to make New Year's weekend THE weekend to do it all - you know, college football & all ...

STL Sarah said...

I love the Radko ornaments too. I've always thought that when I "grew up" I would have a tree with just Radko ornaments. Although this year my FMIL got us a bunch of blown glass ornaments from Bonners. I love them, too!

STL Sarah said...

Oops- I mean Bronner's.

Susan said...

I started a silver ornament collection for the girls when they were born (crosses and snowflakes) and a godmother sends each lovely ornaments every Christmas, so hopefully they will have enough for a pretty tree when they are out on their own. We also have the "dog" tree where any and all ornaments are welcome! LOVE the storage ideas - mine are packed away in the boxes that jelly jars come in, but it takes up so much room. I'm adding your ideas to my to-do list!

suburban prep said...

We have a great room in our house ( actually townhouse-condo) andthere is a shelf that overlooks the entire room and that is where I place the nutcrackers. That way they aren't in the way but they are part of the decor. Plus little nieces and nephews aren't able to get to them. (One niece wanted to play with them last year). I have a number of them but I think I am no where near other peoples amounts. I think mine is in the size range of 25-35

Preppy Rider said...

I adore Christopher Radko ornaments and collect them myself. (Selfishly, I give one to my mother every year in hope that I will one day "inherit" her collection.) I am sure your tree is gorgeous!