January 07, 2014

Lesson 161: Just One Organizing Post

Holidays in the High house were brilliantly fun growing up, full of noisy children, creative presents, and an overabundance of food. As I've said before, my grandparents knew how to shower us kiddos with a special kind of love.

However, there was one aspect of all this holiday cheer that just didn't seem to fit for a young child. In our family, you had to wait your turn to receive a present, and when it finally came, you were presented with this perfectly wrapped wonder. You were dying to rip into it, jumping at the bit, really. You hands made contact, you'd found the paper's soft spot, and just as the party was about to begin, my grandmother would quietly demand from the other side of the room, "Now, don't forget to be careful with the wrapping paper."

Be careful with the wrapping paper? You've got to be kidding me. Is that even a thing? I mean, down in its DNA, isn't wrapping paper meant to be destroyed, designed to rip, destined to tear, while dramatically expressing its defeat in exaggerated separation sounds. Its cries are half the fun of winning the battle, I mean opening the present.

Well, not in my grandparents' house. In their house, we always had to save the wrapping paper. Next Christmas would come around, and you'd find someone else's name written on the back of your gift in black sharpie, remnants from Christmas' past.

In my old age (29), it seems I've taken a page out of my grandmother's book. Ok, so I don't save the paper part, and to be honest, I probably shred my gifts' coverings just a little too completely, if you know what I mean.

But, after a being on the receiving end of a bridal shower, a wedding, baby showers for a girl ... and for a boy, and now having to attend countless other events geared towards these same celebrations, I have begun saving gift bags.

And tissue paper.

I'm sure you do too.

For the longest time, it all sat piled up in a plastic bin in a closet, never being used. I continued to buy new bags and paper whenever a party came up, spending $5 on gift wrapping per time. $5 does not sound like a lot, unless you know 20 pregnant girls, every 9 months. Y'all, it adds up!

So, one night, I dumped the whole box on the floor.

I discarded broken and just plain ugly items.

Then, I sorted by size, event, and so on. I stood the bags straight up and down, which makes it super easy to file through them, and kept the various sizes separated by using discarded (read here: ugly, but unbroken) bags.

Surprisingly, everything found a place in the box. Who needs to store more gifting supplies than this? There are plenty.

It's not pretty, but it has worked excellently. I spent no money on the project, and in the past few months, I've probably saved $50.

I think my grandmother would be proud!

Lesson Learned: Sometimes it is necessary to organize mish mash items making them accessible to use.


  1. I'll let you know if this lesson translates well for my UN-decorating the house today. Re-packing some of these tree ornaments (much like salvaging wrapping-paper) kinda feels like putting toothpaste back in the tube. Sometimes it's just easier to rinse it down the sink (toothpaste, not tree ornaments).

  2. A tip for "saving the wrapping" is using cloth/fabric as your wrapping paper. This will probably only work for at home if you want to really save it, but if you buy different lengths/widths of fabric, tie it up with a pretty ribbon, you'll never need to buy wrapping paper again!

  3. By the way, the "Unknown" is me, Dorothy.


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