Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Storage Solutions for Christmas Decorations

People tend to use the same storage solutions for Christmas decorations year after year. The sight of the same boxes (in our family it was a large coat box from the Hudson Bay Company along with a few easily identifiable blue sweater sized boxes from Eatons)being pulled out of the attic was the first sign that the Christmas season was upon us. In fond retrospect, it is amazing how long those boxes lasted. Our family must have used the same boxes for 10 years, perhaps longer. These days a department store gift box would never maintain it's form for that long. A part of good small closet organization is having durable storage containers.

These days, I mainly use hinged top rubber storage bins for our families Christmas decorations. They are durable, protective and easy to use. Most have pre-formed handles that make them easy to carry. The bins are light weight and therefore easy to stack. The storage of Christmas tree ornaments is a delicate business as families often have an assortment of family heirlooms mixed in with an assortment of school made construction paper ornaments. Both varieties are treasured and priceless.

A number of years ago I stumbled upon a really clever way to store Christmas tree decorations. At that point in my life I was just starting to collect my own Christmas decorations and it was also before I began to store most items in plastic storage bins. Just by luck I came across a Christmas store that was going out of business during the Boxing Days sales. This Christmas store had a huge number of delicate and expensive Christmas decorations that were now being offered at a huge discount. Most of the items in the store were being offered at 80-90% off the original manufacturers suggested retail price. Needless to say, this sale lasted about 36 hours and I was lucky enough to stock up. I immediately owned lovely and expensive Christmas tree ornaments around the same time that Christmas ornaments are to go into storage.

I pondered my various storage options on my walk home. I resigned myself to vast amounts of newspaper wrapping or purchasing some bubble wrap. However, as soon as I walked in my front door I was presented with a wonderful storage solution. I had purchased a case of wine in early December to enjoy during the holiday and to use as gifts. The empty case with it's sturdy bottle dividers was sitting at my front door waiting for recycling day.

An empty liquor box or wine box makes a perfect Christmas decoration storage solution. In fact, the sturdiness of these boxes makes them perfect for a number of different uses. With just a little bit of newspaper between ornaments the box provides secure and organized storage for up to 48 Christmas tree ornaments. It really is a perfect storage solution for Christmas tree ornaments and for Christmas decorations in general.

I use essentially the same system even now that I have moved most of the storage into plastic storage bins. I have simply transferred the sturdy cardboard dividers into the plastic bins. I expect that the "free" dividers will last as long as I need them. I have accumulated a number of different sizes in order to customize my store. Wine bottle dividers are generally 3 inches square while dividers used for bottles of Baily's Irish Cream are 4 inches square.

With the use of plastic storage bins and the inclusion of wine case bottle dividers I think I have an excellent storage solution for Christmas decorations.

Friday, 18 September 2009

Closet Organizer to Hold Storage Bins

I need a closet organizer to help my organize my storage bins. Everyone knows that I have found religion with respect to storage bins. I firmly believe that the readily available and often discounted ubiquitous storage bin can play a role in all good storage solutions.
They can really be used in any room of the house (perhaps not the more formal rooms)and are very effective is organizing and storing groups of like items. The key to the success for use of bins is to avoid cross contamination. For example, don't store summer clothing with the odd Christmas decoration. Keep each bin true to the original storage idea and you can't lose.

I have tens of storage bins in use. I have storage bins for camping equipment. I have storage bins for sports equipment. Bins for summer clothes and bins for ski gear. I have plastic storage bins in every closet of my house. All I need now is a good closet organizer that can hold and help organize my assorted bins.

I am going to start with the basement as that is the easiest. In this case I don't really need a closet organizer or a closet organization system. I really just need some good sturdy shelves to hold my storage bins. I can stand the shelving unit at the far end of my basement, against the back wall. My ceilings are eight feet high so I think I want a 3 shelf unit with the final and highest shelf being approximately 5 feet off the ground. I want shelves that are at least 2.5 feet deep and 5 feet wide. In addition each shelf must be able to hold 50 pounds. My first inclination is to check the Ikea catalog. I will be back to finish this blog post once I have done so.

Ok, the Ikea website is useless. If you search for shelving you get 641 matches that include everything that has a shelf ie. cabinets, CD racks, headboards....If you search for a set of shelves you get everything that has a shelf plus every single thing that comes in a set like knifes and door handles and bowls. I know Ikea has some shelves that might be suitable so I will just arrange to get to the store myself this weekend.

As I said, I like organizing my storage bins is the easy part. I think the second easiest area to organize will be the children's play room. Organizing a playroom is always a challenge. I have 6-9 brightly coloured storage bins in there that need a more permanent home. I think open shelves might work there as well. However, before settling on open shelves for the storage bins in the playroom, I want to explore the option of cabinets. Although the open shelves will work, I think having the bins in cabinets might look neater.

I will post again after I do a little more research on storage cabinets for a play room.

Monday, 14 September 2009

Purchasing Storage Bin Tips

As you are aware from my previous posts, I am a big believer in storage bins. I have plenty and I use everyone. I keep everything from winter boots and camping gear to my grandmother's fine china in some sort of storage bin. I find the bins to be light weight, sturdy and for the most part economical. In my opinion they make for great storage solutions.

At least I found them to economical until recently. Approximately two months ago I was approached by a friend you called me to task on my pronouncement of readily available cheap storage bins. She said she had been looking for the last few months and was unable to find any storage bin at the prices I had suggested and really couldn't even find anything that had been discounted by 30%. "Nonsense", I said. "I have purchased all of my storage bins at at least 40% off." I promised her that I would alert her the next time I stumbled across a sale on plastic storage bins.

Well, here I am 2 months later with nothing to show for it. It is true that I have purchased all of my storage bins at a large discount. However, I guess what is also true is that I buy these bins sporadically over the years when they are on sale. I wondered how I was so lucky. the answer soon became clear to me!

Every Friday, I get the Canadian Tire e-flyer in my in box. I have received this e-flyer since I bought my first house. As a result, I know exactly what is on sale at Canadian Tire every week. When I see something I need at a deep discount I go to the store. As a result I have purchased an enormous amount of items at Canadian Tire which have been heavily discounted.

I highly recommend getting this flyer. It's free and I estimate that it saves me hundreds of dollars each year. Go to the website and sign up. The website is Canadian Tire. You will be very happy that you did.

And to my friend: I am still looking for half price storage bins and I will let you know as soon as I find them.