Saturday, February 28, 2015

Wrapping Up More Home Organization

I think of myself as an artistic sort of person. Most of the time when I say that, I mean writing; but I dabble in other things. I sew, cook, enjoy garden design, and other things people would consider to be artistic in one sense or another. Or at least crafty.

Which is why this truth about me makes me cranky:

I cannot wrap gifts.

There, I said it. I'm pretty clumsy at it, and packages from me look like they may have been scotch-taped together by a drunk raccoon. All my crafty efforts in other areas seem to make no difference when I'm confronted by a roll of paper and a gift box. It makes me highly, childishly irritable.

Over time, it's dawned on me that part of my problem with gift-wrapping is that it was such a big production in this house. I had two places where I stored some of the supplies. Tissue paper was scattered in multiple places too. And then I had to run down the tape and scissors from wherever the kids had squirreled it away.

By the time I got to the actual wrapping, I was already annoyed. Not a good way to go into anything crafty, or what's supposed to be an act of generosity. So it made sense to have a dedicated place to do this: a gift-wrapping center.

I actually resisted that idea for a long time. Because gift-wrapping centers smack of all the things I dislike about the Land of Lifestyle Magazine Make-believe-- that everyone's got loads of space in a blank slate of a suburban house and all the money in the world to customize it for a single-purpose use. And all the stuff on the shelves is color-coordinated with everything else and the room itself.

I am not saying that I wasn't attracted to the idea of that. This layout from Country Living is relatively simple and sweet and entirely doable:

Photo Source: County Living
But even doing something like that added a lot of time, effort, and costs to a household that already has several projects ahead of it in priority.

I did decide that finding a dedicated space for gift-wrapping was worthwhile. It just wasn't going to be beautiful.

This was a few hours of effort, with mostly existing stuff, in the corner of the furnace room in the basement. The table is a surplused metal lab/study table from the local university that I moved from another area. The shelves and pegboard were already hanging there. The boxes and basket I already owned, and they hold bows and gift tags.

I purchased the dish organizer on the shelf to hold folded gift bags, and I bought the small metal trash cans to hold the giftwrap. Um, about that. I have an embarrassing amount of giftwrap, I know. I am of the opinion that about 5 rolls at a time are plenty. But my mom gave me her stash, and I got carried away at a sale, and here I am with two buckets of gift wrap. On the upside I should be good for giftwrap for the next 5 years, and I hope to empty out one of those cans for another use down the road.

The window a/c units under the table, which I use in the upstairs bedroom windows during the summer, were already there and I didn't have the gumption to move them just for this picture. They'll be stored elsewhere next season, and I might hang some curtains under the table to store extra shipping boxes out of sight. I also haven't really done anything with the pegboard, but that can also come at a later time.

One other small expenditure: this tape dispenser.

It's a double dispenser, with a small reel for adhesive tape and a larger one for box tape. It has a cubby for scissors and pens. It's also hard to walk off with.

I need to stock up on tape and fill the dispenser, and I'll be ready to go the for the next round of birthdays, or Christmas. I cannot promise that my gifts won't still be looking drunk-raccoon-esque, but at least getting the job done will be less of an ordeal.

As a bonus, the area is not completely dedicated to gift wrapping alone; it will be multi-tasking, and soon. But that is another blog post.

What organizing projects are you up to in your home? What's working for you?

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