Purging and decluttering

January is the time for that obligatory post about purging and organizing. I always go clutter crazy and organize after the holidays. Not because it is a new year, fresh start and all of that conventional wisdom type stuff. No, I do it because after the hustle and bustle of the holidays and the extra clutter of the decorations and general stuff, I need a blank slate, a reset. The walls feel so blank and the house feels so bright and I need that clean feeling for a couple of weeks. Then there is that long stretch of winter we still have to get through. Stuck inside more often than not. I need the space to breath and take it in for a bit. By the end of January and beginning of February, I am plotting new decorating projects.

All through the year, when something seems disorganized, or full of clutter or we acquire too much stuff, I reach a breaking point and deal with it. I did a lot of purging before we moved last fall, after we moved last winter and a little purging and decluttering in between the and now. I never think there is more, but there is always more. I have been busy purging closets and nooks and crannies of unneeded items and does it ever feel good. I have a charity pick up scheduled for early February, so I will share a few of my purges and reorganizations as we finish out the month. Stay tuned for more posts on how I got to this pile.

purging and decluttering

DIY Christmas ornament storage

Each year I usually buy a new splurge ornament.  I love the Merck Family and Inge Glass designs, but I am not totally snobby if  find what I am looking for in a no name brand.  I try to represent something eventful that happened over the previous year.  The year we went to Maine, I bought a little lobster (I thought of it after we got home- there was a Christmas store in Bar Harbor that totally would have had one, instead I really had to hunt for my little guy).  Sometimes they are just a really cool design and I like them.

Assorted Christmas Ornaments

My children came along and I started to buy them an ornament too.  This year was trains, because they are all about trains, we put are train around the tree for the first time and I found some cute ones for a great price.  Each of them have a box with their “special ornaments” in them.

train christmas ornaments

I searched for a decent storage box that didn’t cost a fortune and even though one box of ornaments could be worth hundreds of dollars someday, I just could not justify paying $30 or more for a box.  Then I needed a box for each kid and myself and that adds up fast, for boxes, people.  Many of the boxes on the market are cheesy or inadequate too.  I read that plastic is really bad for glass ornament storage, so those affordable plastic bins weren’t going to cut it either.  I came up with this idea since I had these storage boxes anyway and in the past I had made my own custom storage boxes.  These office file storage boxes (sometime called a Banker’s box) are a nice size, have handles and nice lids.  Copy paper cases are a good option as well.  I use them for other holiday storage and they are great.

Supplies you will need to make your DIY Christmas ornament storage:

Office file box or a copy paper ream case

Cardboard box (at least as big as the file box)

Sharp craft or box knife

Straight edge/ ruler

Diy Christmas ornament storage supplies

Start by assembling your cardboard file box and measure the inside width and length.

Diy Christmas ornament storage

Decide how tall you want your dividers to be and cut out strips to fit the width and length of the file box.  You will need at least two of each for stability, but you can do as many as you need to customize your storage.  Use the long sides of the cardboard box to make the layers (you will get two).

Diy Christmas ornament storage

Use the short walls of the box to make the short dividers and the long flaps to make the long dividers.  This works out well, because you will probably need more of the short dividers than the long dividers.  I made 3 short and 2 long.   I wanted space for generously sized ornaments otherwise I would have done 4 width sized dividers.  I also adjusted the placement to make different sized openings, because many of my ornaments are varied is size and shape.

Diy Christmas ornament storage

Cut a piece of cardboard that will be the size of the bottom of the box.

Diy Christmas ornament storage

Now that all the pieces are cut out lay them out and determine where you want them to intersect.  Diy Christmas ornament storage

Lay all the short strips on top of each other.  Cut notches about an 1/8″ wide and halfway through the height of the strips.  Notch out on the long strips halfway through the height where you want them to intersect with the short strips.  (I forgot to take a shot of the strips pile and notched- sorry)

Diy Christmas ornament storage

Test the notches by fitting them together.  You want to make sure they are sitting flush across the top and bottom.  The dividers need to be fairly level in side the box and then level for the cardboard layer to lay on top of them.  A box like this will hold 3 layers unless you have some of those really large Christopher Radko jobs to store.


Make any needed adjustments.  Continue cutting all your notches until you have a free standing grid of dividers.  Place the dividers into the box.  Add your layer of card board and then another grid of dividers and so on.  I only made on layer for now.  I only needed this box for a few newer ornaments and I have some smaller boxes that will fit inside.

Diy Christmas ornament storageThe smaller boxes inside are also DIY with dividers (see the lobster snug in his little box?)

Diy Christmas ornament storage

I also like to throw  a few extra sheets of tissue you in for adding more ornaments easily.

Diy Christmas ornament storage

Here are some other boxes that I have made in the past.  In some cases the dividers were reused and cut to fit the boxes.  Gift boxes work really well, especially if they are made to hold liquid or glass (like perfume or gourmet sauces gift box).  Hey remember when department stores used to give you tons of gift boxes, that is what the plaid “wrapped” box is.

Diy Christmas ornament storageDiy Christmas ornament storage

So keep your eyes peeled, you never know where you might find a good box for DIY Christmas ornament storage.



Inexpensive Christmas ornament storage

There are so many special Christmas ornament storage boxes that you can buy nowadays.  They are beautiful and tidy, but so expensive.  I buy A LOT of Christmas bargains at the end of the season.  I have bought sets of a dozen ball ornaments for as low as .80 cents.  I want them to last and I want store them neatly, but spending $30 on a box that holds 36 ornaments (the cost of which may not even exceed $5.00) just doesn’t make sense.  I have found some really inexpensive and even free storage solutions right around the house.

Each year I organize a bit more as I acquire new items and pare down older items. I am going to share some ideas with you that I have come up with for inexpensive Christmas ornament storage.

I discovered how great holiday card boxes can be a few years ago.  They are perfect for flat, generally not breakable items like these brass ornaments.

Reused holiday card box for ornament storage

And these stained glass ornaments.  I still wrap some tissue loosely around them so they won’t scratch and knock around.  the pink tissue with gold hearts on it is totally recycled from Victoria’s Secret too.

Reused Christmas card box for ornament storage

They can be handy for packaging up a little cookie or candy gift as well.  Sorry, I don’t have a picture of that because I haven’t done it in a while.  This is such a bonus because you can bet that I bought the cards at 80% off too, so ignore the price points that you see on the boxes..

Inexpensive Christmas ornament storage reused Christmas card boxes

Another great reuse is canning jar boxes.  If you don’t can yourself, you may know someone who does can.  Ask if they will give you the boxes.  They come with dividers to protect the jars like this Ball canning jar box that I reused for some large teal after Christmas ball ornaments I scored a few years back.  The dividers are a bit roomy so I added some packing paper around them.  I should really make some dividers for this box like I did with the one below.  These boxes do not have lids, but when stacked neatly inside of another storage box, I have not found a problem with that.  I do keep the boxes level, but I do that with anything breakable, no matter how well packed.  I have yet to find a broken ornament when I unpack the decorations.

Ball canning jar box reused for inexpensive Christmas ornament storage

I also made my own dividers for this Ball canning jar box.

Ball canning jar box reused with custom dividers for inexpensive Christmas ornament storage

These are a Target bargain, but they are smaller and I was able to fit 20 in instead of only the 12 allotted spaces for canning jars.  The dividers were easy to make with scrap cardboard and basic tools.  I will be posting a tutorial tomorrow on custom ornament storage.

Keep an eye out for small boxes that are sturdy or come with dividers.  You may overlook something like a box that a set of glasses that you bought in the spring came in or a fruit gift box like this one apple gift box from Indian Creek farm.


Indian Creek apple gift box reused for inexpensive Christmas ornament storage

The plush foam is especially nice for storing ornaments that are family heirlooms or special splurges.  More on that in tomorrow’s post.

So there you have quite a few suggestions for free and inexpensive Christmas ornament storage.