[Guest Post] So this is Christmas... Part 2 - Organising and Storing Christmas Items

Today I'd like to welcome Fiona to the 'Keeping up with the Joneses' community! She is an organised mum like me, and an inspiration when it comes to all things Christmas! She has agreed to write a guest post for my Christmas series. Thank you Fiona! 



I love Christmas, L.O.V.E, love it! I'm the kind of person who gets excited when I see the first decorations in the stores in September. I like to get in early and buy decorations as I see them in case they sell out early (it's October as I write this and I have already bought most of what I wanted to stock up on). 

I love the smell of tinsel and the sparkle of glitter, it feels almost magical that first time I see Christmas decorations and walk amongst the aisles of pretty glittery goodness. 

Christmas is such a lovely time of year - acts of kindness, forgiveness, quiet reflection, the wonder and promise of a baby in a manger, time spent with family & friends. For me, decorations help set the mood within my house for all the wonder & excitement of Christmas as we celebrate this special time of year. 

You can imagine my horror, then, when I opened up my boxes of Christmas decorations to discover that a colony of ants had moved in! All of my little treasures that I had so carefully wrapped up on New Year's Eve were coated in a brown dirty mess of ant poo and ant-shredded tissue paper. The boxes had previously been triple sticky taped and were high on a shelf in our shed. I was so upset and I decided that the card board boxes I had been re-sticky taping for 5 years HAD to go. 

I left the boxes for about a week because I was in denial and I knew how much work was ahead of me. I was also dreading how much I would have to throw out. 

My first job was to get hubby to buy me two sturdy 52L crates. Once I had the crates (and the motivation to tackle the job) I collected:
 - my handheld vacuum
 - baby wipes
 - our recycling tub
 - a big black plastic garbage bag
 - a little scrubbing brush

When I clean I would normally tip everything out and sort it, but because I was working with delicate items I couldn't do this. I just started at the top of the box and took things out one by one. Each item was either brushed, wiped down and moved to the new crate or sent to the recycling tub or rubbish bag. 

At the bottom of each box was a mess of ant poo and little broken bits of decorations. I tipped all of this into the rubbish bag and then put the whole empty box into the big bin outside. 

Once I had sorted all of the boxes I ended up with two full 52L crates, one full recycling tub and one black bag of rubbish. I also had a bag full of Christmas clothes (I have kept all of the Christmas clothes and outfits for my kids. We have one boy and one girl), Christmas hats, stockings and my tree skirt that needed to be washed. It took me another week or so to get it all washed in between all of the everyday washing. Together this all filled a third 52L crate. 

The only item that won't fit into the new tubs are my tubes of basic coloured ornaments. I have two colour sets of pink / blue / silver from my original colour scheme and my current set of traditional red / gold with a touch of silver. For now I have found the best way to store them is in the original tubes. I know at a glance what colours I have and when it comes time to pack them up I know that they are all accounted for when each tube is full! I store them by bundling them all together and then wrapping sticky tape around them all to make one big bundle of ornament tubes. Then they are easy to carry and store (just make sure each tube end is sticky taped shut before you attempt this or you might have a bauble explosion). 

I have since bought three 2.5m tree like Christmas garlands that I have been planning to buy for quite some time. I need to buy a fourth crate for them. When we sort all of our outdoor Christmas lights I plan to store them in a fifth crate. The crates all stack so well and it is now easy to identify the Christmas decorations and what is in each crate. The downside is that it makes the rest of the boxes in the shed look even more disorganised! But that is a big job that hubby and I need to do together. 

I am so glad I tackled this big job and that I took the time to clean and reorganise all of my ornaments. I think I may need to buy a smaller tub that can be put into one of the crates to protect the very delicate items, but otherwise I am very happy with this new system. I can't wait to pull everything out and set them up now that I know they are clean, protected and ready to go on display! I hope that I have inspired you to go out and reorganise your own Christmas decorations so that they are clean, organised and ready to go on display this Christmas time. 

Fiona :)

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