DIY Gift Wrap Storage Made from PVC Pipes

The holidays are now long over, but that doesn’t mean that gift wrap still doesn’t come out! It’s just more for birthdays and baby showers these days.

In the past few years, I’ve developed a kind of wrapping paper obsession. I have a really hard time walking past a cute roll of wrapping paper without buying it! I attribute these impulse purchases to one thing: A massive improvement in my gift wrapping skills in the past few years!

Gift Wrap Organizer and Wrangler! DIY Project Made from PVC. Organize your wrapping paper! | SuperNoVAwife

I used to be a TERRIBLE gift wrapper. Then I finally made myself watch tutorial after tutorial for properly wrapping gifts. And now that I’m such a good wrapper, I love to have beautiful wrapping paper to go along with the tight, crisp corners of my wrapped boxes!

But, storing wrapping paper had become a problem. I had one of these gift wrap organizers for a while, but was so awkwardly shaped that it was difficult to store it in the closet or anywhere else. (For what it’s worth, we still have one that we keep Christmas wrapping paper in, but we keep it in the attic 11 months of the year, so the awkward shape isn’t as big of a deal for the attic!) .

Underbed wrapping paper storage containers also weren’t ideal, mostly because not that many rolls can fit in a single storage container.

Ideally, I wanted something to store behind our bed headboard. Why? I’m pretty sure the only reason that I wanted to store it behind the headboard is because that’s where my parents used to store their gift wrap, and learned habits die hard. Although they just used to kind of toss their wrapping paper behind the bed. I wanted something a little neater.

I had an idea to corral my wrapping paper using some sort of PVC “box.” And that’s exactly what I set out to do.

PVC gift wrap storage

But first, there was some cutting do do.

First, I went to Home Depot and bought ten 1/2 inch PVC pipes. I also needed 3-way PVC elbow connectors, which Home Depot did not appear to sell (and the sales associate confirmed!). So, I had to order 8 1/2″ PVC fitting connectors from Formufit.

First, I kind of fit everything together the way I wanted it to go, even though it was enormous.

XX

You’ll notice that there aren’t two PVC pipes connecting the top two sections though, which would have made it a complete “cube” shape. I figured that, because I was going to be cutting pieces of PVC, I would just use one of the cut pieces to eventually complete the top part. That saved me a few bucks on buying two extra pieces of PVC.

Hopefully that’ll make more sense in the next few photos.

First, I had measured the depth behind our bed’s headboard to get an idea of how deep the organizer should be. Then, I measured that length on one of the pieces of PVC and marked it with a pen.

Measuring PVC pipe

Then, I cut the PVC using a miter saw. (I’m sure a bunch of tools would’ve worked for this, it’s just the easiest tool we can use in our space. Similarly, if you already know the measurements, Home Depot or Lowes staff can cut it for you.)

Cutting PVC using miter saw

Then, using that cut piece as a guide, I cut the remaining three pieces that I needed (for a total of four cut pieces)

Cutting PVC for DIY gift wrap project Cutting PVC for DIY gift wrap project Cutting PVC for DIY gift wrap project Cutting PVC for DIY gift wrap project

Then, I just had to put it all together. It would be a narrower version of the large cube above, and would include the two “top” pieces.

Assembling gift wrap organizer Assembling DIY gift wrap organizer

Then I put it behind our headboard.

Storing gift wrap behind headboard

(I swear, we sleep with sheets on our mattress. It was just sheet-washing day!)

Then, I filled up the PVC storage thingy with rolls of wrapping paper!

DIY wrapping paper storage from PVC DIY wrapping paper storage from PVC

It was perfect for what we needed! Although the photos make it look like the bed is pulled out kinda far from the wall, it’s really not noticeable. The only people that can ever tell are people that see our bed when walking out of the master bathroom. Which is just me and Ken!

Do you have a wrapping paper addiction? How do you store your paper?

Ribbon Storage Project

So, let’s talk about ribbon.

Up until a few years ago, my gift wrapping skills were DREADFUL. I mean, like a 2nd grader who insists on wrapping their own gift for their best friend, terrible. Every Christmas season, I’d be watching countless YouTube tutorials on how to wrap gifts, and my presents would still end up so ugly.

Well, a few years ago, I finally discovered the best gift wrapping tutorial. I discovered that my problem had been I was using WAY TOO MUCH PAPER when wrapping a gift. I finally learned how to measure just enough, and that really made my gifts already look infinitely better.

Well, then an obsession began. Fun wrapping papers, fancy ribbons, washi tape. I went a little overboard buying ribbon from PaperMart a few years ago, and since then, I haven’t had a good way of storing them. I don’t use them for much else other than gift wrap, so it’s not like I need constant access.

So, I had them stored in a canvas under-bed storage container. And it looked like this:

Ribbon in underbed storage container

Not ideal, but not terrible either. But, even though I didn’t need regular access to the ribbon, when I did, it was still a total pain in the butt to drag it out from under the bed.

I had the idea of storing ribbon vertically (certainly not an original idea), but on a somewhat larger scale. And then storing it in the under-utilized space behind our headboard.

And so it began. I bought two dowels from Home Depot (5/8“ and 1/2” and found some extra scrap 2×4″’s we had laying around. I wanted to drill holes in the 2×4 for the dowels.

At first I used a hole saw, but the hole saw created holes that were way too big for the dowels.

Using a hole saw

Then I tried to find a regular drill bit, but couldn’t find any that were as big as 5/8″. (They might exist, but we just don’t own any). So then I went digging in our tool chest, and found these spade bits. Ken had bought them to install a door sensor one time (that’s a topic for a different post).

Spade bit set

There was a 1/2“ spade bit and a 5/8” spade bit, and they both worked perfectly!

Drilling holes Drilling holes Drilling holes

Even though it didn’t make sense intuitively (at least not for me), I thought I’d have to use a slightly larger bit to fit the dowels. But as it turns out, the 5/8“ hole from the 5/8” spade bit fit the 5/8“ dowel perfectly, and the 1/2” bit fit the 1/2“ dowel perfectly too! So perfectly, in fact, that I didn’t even need to use any wood glue to make the dowels ”stick.” I pounded them on the top a little with a mallet, and trust me, the dowels are stuck in those holes!

Dowels in holes Dowels for ribbon storage project Tall ribbon storage project.

Although it didn’t quite fit ALL my ribbon (I might need to make one more!), it is such a more efficient way of storing them.

Ribbon storage project

And we tucked it behind the headboard:

Ribbon storage behind bed

And now, any time I need to access ribbon, I can just pull out the holder from behind the bed and snip off the ribbon I need.

Ribbon storage behind bed

Oh, and I should point out that I can STILL lift it up by the dowels when it is full of ribbon, and the dowels still don’t come out of the holes.

That’s it! Do you have a ribbon obsession? How do you store your ribbons?

Tall Vertical Ribbon Storage

What to Cook and Eat during a Kitchen Renovation (Complete meal plan ideas)

Temporary Kitchen Setup during Kitchen Renovation

A few weeks ago, a coworker was saying that she and her husband wanted to renovate their kitchen, but she was completely stressing out about how she would cook and feed her family during the six week renovation.

I had this exact fear when we renovated our kitchen a little more than two years ago now! I gain weight just by THINKING about dining out excessively (I kid, but only a little). So there was no way I wanted to eat takeout every meal for our scheduled six week renovation.

 

Meal Plan Ideas during a Kitchen Renovation (What to eat during a kitchen renovation)

 

But, with a little bit of planning, we only had to dine out a few times! Is eating during a kitchen renovation going to be the healthiest or cheapest food of your life?  Nope. Is it going to be the most environmentally-friendly time of your life considering all the paper plates and utensils you’ll be using? Nope. (Unless of course you want to wash dishes in your bathroom sink). But should it keep you from getting that awesome kitchen you want?  No way!

Here are some tips and tricks that helped us!

 

Helpful Kitchen Tools During a Kitchen Renovation

  1. Countertop Oven. When I got my first full time job and moved into an apartment, I realized that my oven sucked. The temperature was never calibrated properly, and it always burnt my food. So, I bought a little countertop oven. It was great! I used it my entire 2.5+ years in that apartment (and my subsequent apartment) to cook anything that required baking. It won’t fit a 9×13 dish, but since I was living alone, a standard 8×8 dish was always just fine. When we moved into this house in 2009, I just stored it in the attic, and when the kitchen renovation rolled around, we pulled it out of storage!  Mine is old, so I can’t find the exact model, but it was certainly not fancy or expensive, and it still worked great! But there are plenty of more expensive models.
  2. Microwave. Mmm. Microwaved meals. Everybody’s favorite, right? Well, it’s only for a finite amount of time, so a few microwaved meals here and there won’t kill anybody. Especially the ones I think are higher quality like frozen burritos from Trader Joe’s, or Trader Joe’s Sweet Potato Gnocci with Butter and Sage. Even some spaghetti-o’s with Texas Toast (heated in your countertop oven!) is a perfectly acceptable choice! So, make sure you don’t put your microwave in storage during your renovation or throw it away too quickly if you’re getting all new appliances!
  3. Electric panini maker. This was great for making grilled cheese and other warm sandwiches!
  4. Crockpot. Oh, how the crockpot was so fantastic during our kitchen renovation. We bought lots of crockpot liners to simplify cleanup as well.
  5. Outdoor Grill. We also used our charcoal grill for lots of food that we typically would’ve cooked inside, as well as for our normal grilling foods like steaks! (We have a Weber 22.5 inch Kettle Grill, but any outdoor grill would do!). To simplify grilling, we pre-marinated and then froze lots of meats! If you happen to have an indoor electric grill, that would also work great!  (We didn’t, and we were just fine)
  6. Hot plate. Although we went our entire kitchen renovation without a hot plate, I was tempted to buy one a few times. We already owned all the previously mentioned tools, and I was hesitant to spend money on something new, like a hot plate. But I could definitely have seen it be useful for things like boiling water for Macaroni and Cheese or other pastas during a renovation.
  7. Lots of disposable kitchen stuff such as plates, utensils, and bowls.
  8. Bonus item: Although we didn’t have one at the time, I have grown to love the pressure cooker I bought about six months ago. There is some light cleanup involved (but usually just the single pressure cooker “pot”), but it is great because you can even brown meat or sear steaks in it!

 

What to Eat during your Kitchen Renovation

 First and foremost, have a meal plan (more on that below).  That will help you pare down the equipment you would need during your renovation.

  1. Freezer Meals. Any glance on Pinterest these days, and you’re likely to find tons of pins for Freezer Meal ideas. I’ve been meaning to try it in earnest myself. So, experienced freezer meal cooks would probably have no problem lasting their entire renovation with a freezer full of homemade meals. Unfortunately, that seemed kind of overwhelming to me at the time.  But, in the weeks leading up to the renovation, I did make double batches of a few meals that I thought would freeze well, like manicotti italian casserole (one of our favorites), salisbury steaks, and chicken enchiladas (links to recipes are below!). I think I ended up with six frozen meals total. To cook them or heat them, we used the Countertop Oven!
  2. Pre “anything” from the supermarket. Pre-cooked chicken packages? Sounds great! Pre-made salads and wraps from the deli aisle? Perfect. Rotisserie chicken from Costco? Yum! Pre-made things are obviously more expensive, but I think it’s well worth it during a renovation! I don’t want to be chopping up individual ingredients for a salad on a folding table. Save yourself the frustration and buy it premade!
  3. You know all those “processed foods” that everyone hates on these days? I’m not a fan of processed foods either, but mostly because of taste. Start stocking up! Again, this isn’t forever. So loading up on things like hot dogs, frozen fish sticks, chicken nuggets, and spaghetti-o’s will help you have some options on those nights that you’re desperate for a meal idea! There are some healthier ideas too like packages of fully cooked chicken sausage.

Keep in mind that a kitchen renovation might be a perfect time to do a quick weekend getaway too! Yes, that would be three days of dining out, but it’s away from home, so that makes it totally different and okay, right?  Right?

 

Meal Plan for a Kitchen Renovation

I planned out 20 days of meals (with the intention to just repeat the 20 meals as long as the renovation continued), including a few days of healthy takeout like Subway and Sushi. Did we follow the meal plan precisely? No, of course not. For instance, one day we might have had a really heavy lunch and we weren’t hungry for dinner. And we were invited to a family party one evening and didn’t eat our normally-planned meal. But you get the idea. It was fantastic to have that framework there to avoid being overwhelmed at the idea of “What’s for dinner!”

  1. Sour Cream Enchiladas (Made ahead and frozen)
  2. Manicotti Italian Casserole (Made ahead and frozen)
  3. Turkey Avocado Panini
  4. Go out to eat
  5. Steaks on the outdoor grill. Pre-marinated ahead of time using this recipe (our all time favorite). Then we just wrapped them in plastic wrap, put them in a plastic bag, and froze them.
  6. Slow Cooker Pulled Pork BBQ (eliminated the last step of putting in oven to avoid dirtying a dish and just added BBQ sauce to the crockpot)
  7. Grilled Cheese with Bacon and Thousand Island Dressing (cooked using panini maker)
  8. Frozen fish sticks and frozen french fries (cooked in countertop oven)
  9. Rotisserie Chicken (store bought)
  10. Salisbury Steak (Made ahead and frozen. I didn’t make the mashed potato portion of this recipe)
  11. Frozen pizza (we like Freschetta. Cooked in countertop oven)
  12. Burgers and frozen french fries (pre-formed the patties and froze them. Cooked burgers on the grill!)
  13. Go out to eat
  14. Sourdough Chicken Panini (using pre-cooked chicken from Trader Joe’s)
  15. Garlic chicken cheese rollups (Made ahead and frozen)
  16. Trader Joe’s Frozen Taquitos (Cooked in microwave or oven!)
  17. Meatball subs (Just cover frozen meatballs with jarred sauce and put in the oven! Use a disposable foil tin pan for easy cleanup. Put meatballs on store-bought sub rolls. You can even add some Mozzarella cheese to the top and throw it back in the countertop oven for 10 minutes).
  18. Frozen chicken nuggets and french fries
  19. Frozen Bertoli “Complete” meal
  20. Hot Dogs and chips (can cook hot dogs in microwave).

REPEAT AS NEEDED.

If the food we put in the oven required a baking sheet, we covered it with nonstick foil to make cleanup easy.

 

Temporary Kitchen Setup

We setup a “temporary kitchen” in our basement.  It just consisted of two folding tables (one six foot and one square table)

 

Temporary Kitchen Setup during Kitchen Renovation

 

We had the microwave, crockpot, toaster, and panini maker very handy. We also had bins beneath the table containing things like ziplock bags and other cleaning supplies. We kept out our stainless steel utensil holder (pictured on the black table next to the dish pan). Serving and cooking utensils were probably the most frequently used non-disposable things we had to use. We also kept a dishpan handy, as well as canned and other packaged foods.  Also, things like cereals, breads, chips were kept handy on the tables.  Really, it wasn’t bad at all! Keeping it neat (er, well, as neat as possible), really helped maintain our sanity!

That’s it! See, it’s not as bad as you think, right?  What did you eat during your kitchen renovation?

Storing and Organizing Parts (small parts, medium parts … all parts!)

Organizing and storing small parts

As you can probably tell based on our blog posts, we have many projects we work on at home. Some of them are technology-focused, some of them are traditional DIY home improvements, some crafty, others garden-related. These projects often require STUFF. So much STUFF. When I first moved in with Ken, I could not believe the sheer quantity of tech stuff he had. Cords, wires, cut cords, motherboards, remote controls, tiny screwdrivers for building computers. You name it, he had it.

Ken and I had been living together for nearly a year when I realized that any time I needed to find something, like an extension cord or a power strip, I always had to ask him where he kept them. He almost always could locate the item quickly, but things weren’t organized in a way that anybody but Ken would be able to understand.

 

Organizing and storing small parts

So, it began. The great home organization project. The first “major” undertaking of this project began in 2010, when we started migrating things to bins. We installed an Elfa shelving system in our laundry room, and we got to work.

In general, we have multiple categories of storage sizes.

Medium parts storage.

We store items in these Sterilite 6 quart bins and Sterilite 16 quart bins.

We find that the 12 inch deep Elfa shelves are perfect for the 6 quart bins, while the 16 inch deep Elfa shelves fit the 16 quart bins perfectly.

We seriously keep Sterilte in business. Here are a few examples of what we keep in our medium storage bins:

  • USB cable bin
  • Short extension cord bin
  • Long extension cord bin
  • Candles, matches, and lighters
  • Remote controls (since we use Universal remotes, we store the individual remotes in a bin)
  • Power strips / surge protectors
  • Velcro, glue, and other fasteners
  • String, bungees, and rope
  • Fish tank supplies (even though we haven’t gotten new fish since our last ones died, we still keep the bin!)

And many other bins. There are a few that you probably wouldn’t find in other homes, but we have thanks to Ken’s many technology projects. Those are bins like Speakon cables, molex connectors, computer cards, and Cat–6 patch cables. But, each type of item has its own home, so we can always quickly find what we’re looking for.

Smaller parts storage

We store smaller items in these Accessory Boxes that we buy at the Container Store. These are for items that aren’t quite big enough for the Sterilite bins.

Most of the items we keep in these bins are probably pretty unique to folks who work with computers and other electronics. We have bins of of splitters, couplers, microfiber cloths (it seems like everything you buy with a screen these days come with microfiber cloths, so we just throw them in there), switches, power pigtails (which I don’t even understand), and many other things.

Small parts storage

For storing very small parts, we used these Akro Mils Drawers in different sizes, including this one with all small drawers, and this one with a mix of small and medium drawers. We mounted these drawers on the wall in our laundry room.

We keep things like screws, rubber bands, thumbtacks, washers, picture hanging supplies, nuts, small batteries, spare keys, staples, drill bits, screwdriver bits, and many other tiny items in these drawers. We even have a drawer for telescope parts!

Everything gets a label and we can find things very easily when we’re looking for them.

 

Large storage

We use these blue bins from Rubbermaid in the 18, 14, and 10 gallon sizes. In these blue bins we keep things like interior painting supplies, tarps, and shipping and mailing supplies (like bubble wrap and brown paper).

 

 

The system is constantly in flux. For instance, sometimes we’ll acquire more of a particular part, so we have to move the items to a larger bin. But, it’s a great system because we can easily move things around and adapt, creating new bins or removing them when necessary.

Although these photos are just from our laundry room, we have this same organizational system, using the same size bins and boxes, all throughout our house. For instance, in my home office closet, I have bins with sewing supplies, travel supplies (like small bottles for traveling), paint and paintbrushes, cards and stamps, extra picture frames, and camera supplies. We have a TON of the blue Rubbermaid roughneck bins in our attic as well, storing party supplies, Christmas decorations, and seasonal clothes.

It does take a bit of work to make sure things don’t get too out of control. For that purpose, we have a “to sort” bin. For times when we don’t feel like putting something back in its proper bin, like when we’re mid-project or in a hurry, we put it in the “to sort” bin, and we try to go through that fairly regularly.

I’ll probably post a bit more about our organization techniques, including what we keep in all of the bins. How do you organize your stuff?

Organizing a Spice Drawer

Can we talk about messy kitchen drawers for a second?

Since our kitchen renovation finished up about 16 months ago, I’ve been able to keep most drawers and cabinets relatively neat. MOST. There are two that have been really difficult to maintain. 1) The undersink cabinet, where we keep a lot of cleaning supplies, and 2) The spice drawer, which is the topic of this post. (I’ll get around to organizing that undersink cabinet … someday.)

My spice drawer was driving me nuts for months.

The drawer had mismatched bottles, some small enough to stand up, others too tall and had to be laid (lain, lay?) on their side. I had spice bottles, spice envelopes, and spice shakers. I was constantly on the hunt for spices when I was cooking, and well, to make a long story short, it created unnecessary stress in the kitchen.

So, I finally set out to organize my spice drawer!

spice-drawer-organization_0

After browing many many wholesale bottle websites like SKS Bottle, Wholesale Supplies Plus, and Speciality Bottle, , I settled on buying 40 of these Clear French Square Glass Bottle 6 oz w/ Cap from Speciality Bottle. . I liked that I could buy them by individual bottle, and not some huge bulk amount.

I set out a few of the newly purchased bottles and started transferring the spices from the store bottle to the uniform, 6oz bottles I had purchased from Speciality Bottle.

I hadn’t made any labels yet, so I needed to keep the old bottle next to the new bottle as I went along so I wouldn’t get the spices mixed up.

Once I finished the rebottling process, I opened up the 1 2/3″ Diameter White High Visibility Avery Labels I had purchased (Avery 5293).

I downloaded the template for the labels, and then, just by looking at the bottles sitting in front of me on the table, I started entering the spice names on to the labels.

Once I was done, I printed the labels, and started putting them on the bottle lids.

Once I was done, I put all the beautiful, uniform bottles back in the drawer, and admired my work.

Ken admired my work too, although he did playfully suggest his displeasure that some of the labels were not on straight. One thing at a time, right?

As phase two of this project, I might also label the bottles themselves (maybe using a cuter template like this), that way I don’t get them mixed up if I have th lids of several spice bottles while cooking.

I love it.  LOVE IT LOVE IT.  I love that the spices can stand up, maximizing the space in the drawer, and I love that the labels are clear and easy to read.  As soon as I open the drawer, I can spot the spices that I need.  No more digging!

Do you have a constant battle with one (or more!) of your kitchen drawers? How do you handle it?