Space Management Survival Guide:: Organize Your Holiday Wrap

by Michael G. Allen

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Have the holidays gotten you crazy yet? Have you fought with the wrapping paper, scissors, ribbon, and tape and felt that you lost the battle? Holiday wrap and ribbon is expensive and none of us can afford to let it go to waste due to neglect (ripping or getting dirty) or just plain not being able to find it. In this article, I hope to share with you some ideas that you can use now to make next year less hectic. We will address several methods for organizing your holiday wrap and ribbons.

For many years, my family's holiday ribbons were shoved in boxes, bags, and drawers in our "craft room" (the basement). Wrapping gifts necessitated a frantic search through numerous piles of leftover holiday accessories, which was very time consuming. Wrapping gifts has become considerably easier now that I use a ribbon box. To make one yourself, take an ordinary sturdy box (a shoe box works great) and insert a thin dowel through the middle going the length of the box. Poke holes through the box so the dowel is removable and you will be able to more easily change the ribbon in the future. Make sure the dowel is 2-3 inches from the bottom of the box so your rolls of ribbon can spin. Cut slits in the long side of the box for the ribbon to be dispensed through. Insert your rolls of ribbon on the dowel and pull the ribbon through the slits. For a nice decorative touch, wrap the box and its top in festive paper before putting the dowel inside (cutting slits through the paper, of course). Your holiday ribbon will now be neatly together and easily dispensed!

Organizing gift wrap was another problem I used to have, but no more. Have you seen those clips advertised that hold wrapping paper together so it doesn't unravel and tear? You can easily make your own very inexpensively by using a cardboard paper towel or toilet paper roll and slitting it along one side lengthwise. Fold this cardboard roll over your wrapping paper roll and it will not unravel and will dispense much more easily.

Rather than store all of your holiday gift wrap at the top of a closet or in a bag in the basement (I know that's where you put it!), why not use a hanging gift wrap organizer and save some time next year when wrapping gifts? You can easily and inexpensively create an organizer with just a wire or plastic clothes hanger and a couple of yards of fabric. First, obtain 2-2 1/2 yards of one fabric pattern and 1 yard of another. With the larger pieces, sew them together right sides facing, leaving an opening at the top for the hanger to fit through. Turn the material right-side-out and insert the hanger. Sew up the hole and you should have what looks like a fabric garment bag.

Cut a slit vertically in the middle to one side so you can place bows and ribbons on the inside of the "bag" for storage. Put bias tape on the edges of this slit so that the fabric doesn't unravel. Attach ties to the sides of the slit so it can be tied shut. Attach long vertical pockets with the coordinating patterned fabric on the same side as the vertical slit. These pockets will hold your long rolls of holiday wrap securely.

Turn the hanging organizer over and on the other side create pockets horizontally for gift tags, scissors, tape, gift bags, etc. Tailor these pockets to your individual needs. That's all there is to it. You will be amazed next year when you go to wrap gifts and all of your holiday wrap is neatly stored in one place. This kind of organizer also works for birthday/wedding/baby shower wrap and has numerous other uses. I hope you try it.

Happy Holidays and wishing you the best in the New Year.


Michael Allen is a part-time planning consultant and professional organizer in Denver, Colorado. He offers workshops and organization services to homes and businesses to help people get and stay organized and maximize their personal satisfaction and professional productivity. For more information, contact him at

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