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Getting Ready for Gift Wrapping

December 18, 1986|BONNIE McCULLOUGH

Is the holiday rush getting you down? Want to experience some control? Spend $7 and 15 minutes to set up an organizer for Christmas wrappings. At least you'll have control of one part of your life.

Buy a large 10-gallon plastic wastebasket. You want it tall enough to hold the long rolls of Christmas paper, with a base wide enough not to topple over easily. Attach some sort of pouch to the basket to hold little things like tape and name tags. This could be a simple plastic bag, skinny box, or an apron, somewhat like the cloth nail-aprons you find at a hardware store. Tie the apron onto the front of the basket. Make a little hole in the soft plastic and insert something like a shower-curtain ring or even a piece of string to hold the apron in place.

In the beginning, I collected all the gift-wrapping supplies in my bedroom, and everyone used my bed to wrap, always leaving a mess. The solution was to make the supplies portable so the children could take them to their own bedrooms or set up a temporary work station on the kitchen table or in front of the TV.

Try making a gift-wrap organizer. During the holiday season, it keeps everything together and makes the project portable. During the off season, use the basket to store left-over wrap. Cover with a large plastic bag to keep off dust.

Mail-order catalogues offer a cardboard version for organizing wrapping supplies, but carefully read the size description because some of them are so small they don't hold the large rolls that are so common around Christmas time. However, I do like to use the smaller cardboard organizer for other wrapping supplies during the rest of the year. When not in use, it sits in the closet next to the vacuum.

Another area of home life that you can organize is the telephone and address file. It doesn't matter so much which system you use as the fact that you have a specific place to keep addresses and that you take time to update them. Use either a 3x5-inch recipe box or address file to create a mini-file for addresses and telephone numbers. Each card has one family name and address. They are put in the box in alphabetical order. Some are filed by last name. In other instances, the card could be filed behind a subject: plumber, insurance, or mechanic.

There is room on the card for address changes and notations about important events or dates of correspondence. For example, on each card that represents the name to which I send a Christmas card or letter, I write S-86, (meaning, I sent a card to them in 1986). It's not appropriate for me to send cards to everyone listed in my file.

A week or two after Christmas, usually on a Sunday afternoon, I sit down with the stack of Christmas cards and letters we received in 1986 and compare them to the address listings in the file. Again, I make a note on the card, R-86 (meaning, received a response in 1986). I don't mean to give the impressions that I don't send unless if I have received, but this is a way of keeping my eye on a friendship. If, after several years, a person that I consider a friend has not kept in touch, it's time to evaluate whether I want to continue the relationship.

As I compare the stack of cards to my file, I check addresses to make sure the one listed on my card is correct. This exercise only takes a few moments a year. If you care about friends, family and associates, you have to invest a few moments every year to update addresses. It's so easy to loose track of people in our mobile society.

There is room on the card to mention details such as the wife's maiden name, birth dates, deaths, etc . . . little details to jog your memory. Having such an organized file system is wonderful when you are trying to put together an invitation list for a wedding reception.

With the card system, you don't need to recopy everything. Staple business cards directly to the file-cards. Tear off the corner of the envelope with the return address and staple it onto the file-card.

One of my 1986 goals was to redo our personal and business files and integrate them into one. I chose a large file with several colors of cards for quick visual identification. White cards for family and friends; green for family business and pink for career contacts. Telephone numbers for the children's playmates are written on yellow. It took me about four hours to put the whole thing together. Every time I look at it, I feel so successful and organized. Don't try to redo telephone and address files during the busy holiday season; put it on "to-do-list" for 1987. For now, collect cards and letters in a basket until a slow January evening.

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