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.

Darkness and clutter the impetus for seasonal organizing

Last week one morning was a rough one.  Everyone woke up on time, homework was complete, no major disasters.  I was just so aggravated with the house.  It seemed like everywhere that I turned there was something in my way or preventing me from completing a task.  I was going to need to do some seasonal organizing to transition from summer to fall.

It all started when I was in bed.  I woke up way before the alarm and was thinking about what I needed to do.  Top of my list  – vacuum.  My children have been really into art lately and there seems to be a non stop trail of paper scraps, sticker backings and broken crayons through the house.  This was the number one reason, besides the passage of time since the last vacuuming, that I needed to vacuum.  I thought about how this paper litter was driving me nuts and how to curtail it.  We were keeping the supplies in my daughter’s room because she has excess closet space and the kitchen does not.  It clear was not working, though.

I was determined to fit the art supplies into the kitchen.  And as I started the reorganization process I realized there were many problem areas to work on throughout the house.  We have been in this house less than a year.  I thought we were pretty organized, but now that the seasons are changing, I realize that we are not.  I tend to have this problem when the seasons change.  There is always that transitional period when summer and fall are battle back and forth.  The sandals and booties, the coats and umbrellas, they all get caught up in the clutter.  Then there is the bounty of produce that comes during this season.  Don’t get me wrong, I love the abundance of produce, but it creates its own bit of clutter.  I process a lot of garden and bulk produce and the related contraptions like the food dehydrator and canning supplies can really get in the way.  Most kitchens (including mine) are not designed to accommodate these extras.

I do normally go on a cleaning mission right before the Holidays, but I usually make through Thanksgiving.  Not this year.  I don’t know if it is the darkness, while I was starting my seasonal organizing process this morning the darkness was really getting to me.  I just had to get through a few more days of Daylight Savings Time and I would be ready to go back to Standard Time for sure.  Now that Halloween and that chaos is over, I am going to bust this clutter by Turkey Day, sooner, if possible.  So I am making a list of seasonal organizing to work on and I am going to tackle one at a time (not necessarily in this order).

  1. Find a new home for the children’s art supplies (attack the catalyst first)
  2. Swap and organize winter and summer clothing completely (The warmth is gone and won’t be back until April)
  3. Organize the hall coat closet
  4. Organize daughter’s closet (that is where the consignment/donate/sell stash resides)
  5. Get together said donatables, consignment, etc.
  6. De clutter kitchen counter tops
  7. Work on the “wall of values” (more on that later)
  8. Reorganize my studio (baby steps)
  9. organize/ arrange china cabinet and hang up some decor
  10. paint kitchen trim and heater (finishing up a project)

That should do it.  It is a good start and should get me to a better place. I may add to it.  Once I get started with organizing I tend to get a momentum going.  I have already gathered some recycling material (2 bags!) and took it to school for the Paper Retriever program,

seasonal organizing Paper Retriever program recycling

2 bags of paper for the Paper Retriever program

I’m off to roll up my sleeves…