The Real Tree Situation + Free Orna-Organization

January 06, 2012   //  Posted in: DIY, Holiday-Related Projects, Organized   //  By: Emily   //  8 responses

We got our Christmas clear-out on this week (taking a brief window of opportunity when it arose, in an effort to not be that couple with their Christmas tree up at Easter… although if you think I’m looking at you, I’m not judging).

Truthfully, we could have left it up (and decorated) because it’s still alive, root ball and all. It might have even grown 5 inches since I brought it home, or I might just be making that up out of sheer desire of wanting something much, much taller than a shrub. Petite frame aside, it was the perfect tree. I’m usually eager to get the tree out of the house after Christmas because of cut-tree tendencies to drop every last needle when the clock strikes 12AM on December 26th, but happily, I’m reporting that I have yet to sweep up any fallen needles. It’s as healthy as a post-Christmas tree could be.

There hasn’t been a lot of of snow yet in Rochester, and I could probably get away with planting it straight into the ground (especially because we’re suppose to surpass 40-degrees today and this weekend, sweet), but instead I bundled up the still-potted base with burlap and stuck it out on the deck as a little decoration. The lights are still on it with an extension cord (I’m not anti-holiday lights until springtime), and just having it around in a different capacity makes me happy.

Mini-tree, relocated.

Although, in the right light at the right angle, I’ll probably mistake it for a human crouching at my back door at least 30 times before it’s planted. Criminal Minds-brain.

The burlap’s just a piece of scrap that I tied on with a string. The loose ends are looped into the container. In hindsight, I actually wish I did this inside for the holidays instead of settling for the barrel that I found at Lowe’s. Makes it a little more rough and authentic.

5-gallon container of the tree is wrapped in burlap.

The ornaments themselves are packaged up and back in the attic. Because we’ve acquired some more delicate and irreplaceable ornaments this year, I repurposed some leftover shipping boxes and made compartmentalized ornament storage. Yes, I know you can buy these at the store (maybe 80% off right now if you hit the right clearance rack), but mine were still f-r-e-e versus $5.00-$50.00, or whatever companies are charging these days.

Assembling the compartments for the ornament storage.

I made the custom storage pretty simply; starting with two boxes, I designated this shallow white one as the case for the ornaments because it was much more strongly constructed than many of my brown cardboard boxes, and had a good closure on it. I had to tear some stickers off the top (well, didn’t have to), but it’s otherwise in fine ship-shape.

Recycling a cardboard box for ornament storage.

I used a second box (from one of our many Amazon purchases) that happened to be the same length and width as the white box, and unfolded it completely (no cuts necessary).

Recycling a cardboard box for ornament storage.

Quite simply, both the shorter pieces of the brown cardboard box (from the box width), and the longer pieces of the box (from the box length) were cut into 4″ wide strips with an utility knife.

Because I have big, small, squishy, and oblong ornaments to store, I designed the box to have assorted sized compartments. Each piece of cardboard for the 18″ length received matching slits that cut half-way through the width of the cardboard (at the 2″-mark, 4″-mark, 6″-mark, 9″-mark, and 13″-mark).

Making cuts to create a custom grid for ornament storage.

The shorter pieces that would fall across were cut at even intervals as well, at the 3″-mark, 5″-mark, 7.5″-mark, and 11″-mark.

With the cuts in the right places and facing each other, the grid slid together smoothly and then right into the box it would live in.

Assembling the compartments for the ornament storage.

The ornaments were each wrapped in pieces of tissue paper (a bought an extra package for about $0.14 on Black Friday and still managed to not need it in any of my own wrapping this year), and the ornaments filled in the spaces that they were most appropriate for, size-wise. No squishing here, the tiny ornaments had a home, as did the big ones, and the fragile ones received extra padding.

Individually wrapping ornaments with tissue paper. Hello, cute owl.

Turns out I had a lot more than I thought, so I whipped up a second box too (just happened to have another shallow box that was the perfect size). Happily, some ornaments that were longer than I accounted for still fit, as the cardboard left me with a pretty accomodating arrangement, folding wherever I commanded it to.

Custom fitting ornaments into the DIY storage. Bingo.

I ended the show (closed the boxes) by tying the new bundle together with a piece of recycled holiday ribbon, but not before first taping on a label to the top of the white box (partially to cover up the tears from where I removed the label, partially for utility).

Wrapped, ready for next year.

And like that, the holiday fun is stowed away for another year. The only reminants are the still-burning sparkly candles on the mantle + the burlap-wrapped un-ornamented tree on the deck. Until next year, little treasures.

  • Gin
    6 years ago - Reply

    Owl shout-out!

    I’m delaying the de-decorating until winter actually starts. Go ahead, judge as you will. As it is, I’m wondering if spring is here.

    • Emily
      6 years ago -

      Hahah, that sweet, sweet owl. Now that you put it in my head, it does feel like springtime with no decorations and no snow. Shucks.

  • Tania
    6 years ago - Reply

    I love your diy ornament box especially because you can customize it for size. I might go for the live tree option next year (I can’t believe I didn’t ever think of it…saw someone’s blog on Maui about a NFP that promotes it…plant a tree). Doesn’t even have to be a fir, any tree is cool with me.

    • Emily
      6 years ago -

      Yes! Thanks Tania! I don’t find many people selling the trees with the roots (even here in the northeast) but if I ever find a supplier who will send me 8-footers, I’d be all over them.

  • Colleen B.
    6 years ago - Reply

    Great idea. Nicely executed.

  • Rachel
    6 years ago - Reply

    My mom gave me 3 of those wood ornaments for the kids! They’re so cute :-) and great idea btw!!

    • Emily
      6 years ago -

      Cute! Which ones?

  • Michal
    4 years ago - Reply

    Thank you for the clever instructions. I think this will be a big help in a few days when we are taking down the tree. I am going to share this idea with others too. Happy New Year.

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