Showing posts with label Tracey Boyer. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Tracey Boyer. Show all posts

Tuesday, July 16, 2024

A Review of Laundry Detergent Sheets


The older I get, the harder I find it to lift that heavy container of laundry detergent to put it in the machine.  I wondered if there was a better way one day while doing laundry.  I was tossing in a dryer sheet when the thought occurred to me:  if there are dryer sheets, could there be detergent sheets? I sat down at my computer and pulled up Amazon.  I typed in laundry detergent sheets and was amazed to see there were many of them.  I browsed through them because there were specific things I needed in laundry soap.  I ran across a brand that had everything I was looking for and more:

The box I ordered from Amazon

1.  Safe for Pets and Kids 

2.  Hypoallergenic - perfect if you have sensitive skin like me

3.  Eco Friendly and Biodegradable including the packaging, no plastic!

4.  Light to pick up and portable - great for traveling!

5.  Takes up very little space for all the laundry that it does.

6.  Free of many nasty chemicals and other things that you will find in many other detergents like:  dyes, bleach, phosphates, paraben, formaldehyde, and trichloroethylene.

How to Use Detergent Sheets

I was also impressed with the price, less than $10 for 200 sheets.  But I wondered, do you just use one sheet per wash?  The answer for that was right on the box.....probably in case you are rather forgetful, like me!  

Photograph off my own box

I decided to give it a try, so a ordered a box.  When it arrived, I loved the fact there was no plastic, and the box can be easily pulled open and pushed closed.  It's so small I just place it on a small shelf over my washing machine.  But the proof is the the washing, (so to say) so I started out with a hard test:  my husbands gardening clothes.  They would be a job for any detergent, but I didn't want to go soft on the first test.

My washing machine!

I used two sheets, and I was impressed with the job that it did.  It took out the sweat stains and the dirt and other stains that were on his t shirts and jean shorts.  It did a great job.  I also tried it on my own lighter and more fragile clothing and it did an equally good job using only one sheet.

Great for All Kinds of People

Carrying these small, light boxes is a blessing, but not just for me, they are also great for:

  • People with disabilities
  • People that live in an apartment buildings with washers in the basement
  • People that have to use a laundromat 
  • People that travel, either for business or with the family to a cabin for vacation
  • People that have to take public transportation or walk to the store to shop.
Think of how much easier it would be not to have to carry that big container of detergent around!  These sheets only weigh ounces, not pounds!

The box I ordered from Amazon


Zimwin's Laundry Detergent Sheets are a winner and something I will be using from now on.  They are so light and simple to use.  Just slide open the small box, take out a sheet, drop it in and you are good to go. They also do a great job cleaning clothes.  I highly recommend this product.

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”

Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Save Money on Household Cleaners with Castile Soap!


castile soap

Castile soap, available in liquid or bar form, is a multi-purpose cleaner made from vegetable oils. It was originally made in the Castile region of Spain, but quickly spread to Europe and the rest of the world. Originally it was made of olive oil, but today it is made with a mixture of some or all of the following:

  • coconut oil
  • castor oil
  • hemp oil
  • avocado oil
  • walnut oil
  • almond oil
  • palm oil

These oils are what give the soap it’s cleansing and lathering properties. It also adds a moisturizing component that most other soaps do not have naturally, unless from animal fats.

Benefits of Using Castile Soap

Good for the EnvironmentPure castile soap has a very small impact on the environment since it doesn't contain additives, preservatives, fragrances, artificial coloring, or other chemicals commonly found in other soaps. It is also biodegradable and non GMO.

Hypoallergenic: Pure castile soap is hypoallergenic, which means it's less likely to cause allergic reactions than other types of soap.

Animal-free: Many people who live a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle prefer not to use any products with ingredients that come from animal sources. Pure castile soap is vegan.

Low cost: Compared to other cleaners available in stores, a bottle of Castile soap is very inexpensive. Good sized bottles are only about $10.

castile soap

This 16oz bottle of Castile Soap is less that $9 on Amazon

Save Money with Castile Soap!

Another great thing about this all natural soap is that it can be made into almost any kind of cleaner a person could need with just the addition of one or more other common ingredients. The following are some of the many things you can make with Castile soap:

All-purpose Cleaner: Combine 1 cup of water, 1 tablespoon of unscented liquid Castile soap, and (optional) 10 to 15 drops of essential oil.  Or you can use the scented versions of Castile SoapThis liquid can be used on a cloth or in a spray bottle.

Floor Cleaner: Combine 1/2 teaspoon liquid Castile soap, 2 gallons of warm water, and 1 cup of rubbing alcohol in a large mop bucket. Keep it stirred while using.

Dishwashing soap: Run a sink full of hot water and add 5 drops of Castile soap.

Dishwasher Detergent: Mix a ratio of 1/1 water and Castile soap and stir gently till mixed. Pour into your dishwasher soap compartment and close.

Laundry Detergent: Use Castile soap straight from the bottle. 1/3 to 1/2 cup per load, depending on how soiled the clothes are.

Toilet Bowl Cleaner: Combine 4 cups of warm water to 1 cup of Castile soap, and mix well. Pour into a spray bottle and spray in your toilet and scrub with a toilet brush. This may not clean mineral stains.

Fruit and vegetable cleaner: Combine 2 drops of liquid Castile soap to a sink of cool water and stir gently to mix. Dip veggies and fruits in the cleaner and scrub with a very soft brush and then run under the faucet in clear water.

Shampoo: Combine 1 tablespoon of castile soap in a cup of water. Use a small amount of this solution to wash your hair. Do not use on colored hair.

Face wash and Body Wash: Castile soap straight from the bottle can be used as a face and body wash. Simply rub a few drops of liquid or use a bar and wash your face and body normally. Castile soap is mild enough to use on your skin and strong enough to kill most infectious bacteria.

Hand soap: Save a lot of money by making your own liquid hand soap. Combine 2 tablespoons of liquid Castile soap and 12 oz. of water and fill your dispenser. If you would like a scent you can add a few drops of your favorite essential oil.

Shaving: Castile soap lathers so well you can rub it in your hands until it lathers and then apply to your face to use as shaving cream.

Pet wash: Combine 1 tablespoon unscented Castile soap with 1 quart of warm water. Stir to mix and rinse your pet before pouring a little at a time on them while softly lathering it in. Rinse with lots of clean water. Do you use essential oils as it can be toxic to pets.

castile soap

A Few Things to Know Before Using Castile Soap

  • Do not use vinegar or lemon juice with Castile soap because Castile soap is alkaline and vinegar and lemon juice are acid, they neutralize each other.
  • Using hard water with Castile soap will leave a milky film behind when used for cleaning. The only way to stop this is to have a water softener which will soften hard water.
  • Don’t use Castile soap as shampoo if you have colored hair, it may remove some of the color.
  • When Castile soap is used as Shampoo, a good conditioner should always be applied after.
  • Castile soap is not healthy for use on plants, do not use it to make insecticidal soap.

Castile soap is a useful item to keep around your house. With the inflated prices of commercial cleaners it is a great way to save money too. I have been using it for years and I have had very few complaints. Give it a try and see what you think. It also makes a great hostess gift for the holidays. Spread the word about this great soap!

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”

Tuesday, May 7, 2024

How to Grow Potatoes in a Bag


growing potatoes

If you want to grow your own potatoes, but you don't have a yard, or your soil is too hard, or even if you just don't want the work of having to dig them up, I have a great and easy solution!

Grow your potatoes in a bag!  I know it sounds ridiculous, but it is actually easy and fun.  It's also a great way to get lots of tasty and healthy spuds to eat!  Anyone can do it, you don't even need to buy any seeds because potatoes are grown from other adult potatoes.

How to Sprout Potatoes to Plant:

It is best to start with organic potatoes, since they are less likely to be a funky hybrid that can't be sprouted or have toxic insecticides on them or even in them.  You can use red or white potatoes.

Wash the potatoes well and then place them in direct sunlight.

In two to three weeks you will have sprouts.  When they get an inch or so long, you are ready to begin the planting process.

red potatoes

Cut the potatoes, with one sprout on each piece.  Leave the potato connected to the sprout, because as it rots it will be fertilizer to the new plant

It is very important that, before planting, you let the cut potatoes sit for two or three days so the cut portion of the potato can dry out and form a protective layer.  If you plant newly cut potatoes, diseases, fungus, worms and insects can easily burrow into the fresh cut flesh and kill the sprout.

While your potatoes are sprouting and curing, order your grow bags.  You can find them on Amazon for a good price, about $2.50 to $3.00 a piece, less if you order a larger quantity.  I usually get the 5 gallon size.  They look like this:


growing bag


They also have bags that have a roll up flap on the side near the bottom, but I find these to be more expensive and the flap are basically useless because the growing potatoes should not be bothered by opening the side of the bag and poking around.  

How to Grow Potatoes in Bags:

1. Fold the bag down till it is about 6 inches tall.

2. Put 3 inches of good dirt in the bottom of the bag.

bag for growing

3. Set three to four potato pieces in the dirt with the cut side down, sprout side up and cover with 3 inches of dirt.

4. Water well.

5. Keep the soil moist but not mud and when the plants are 6 inches tall, unroll the bag about 4 inches and add more dirt, up to the bottom leaves.

8. When the plant has grown to 8 inches above the dirt, unroll the bag again, and add more dirt, up to the bottom leaves.

9. Keep doing this until the bag has dirt three inches from the top.

10. Make sure to keep them watered.  If you repeatedly let the bag dry out, the potatoes will shrink and wrinkle and not be edible.  You will have to water them more often than if they were planted in the ground.

11. When the potato vines turn yellow and look wilted, stop watering them and wait about two weeks.

12. Pick up the bag and turn it upside down in a wheelbarrow or washtub and you will find fresh, tasty and pesticide free home grown potatoes.

This is what one of my bags looked like when the plants came up:


Don't be upset if all the sprouts don't come up.  The fewer the plants the more room there is for the remaining plants to grow bigger potatoes.  You must make sure to keep them watered, it is the defining factor of whether you get a nice harvest or a big disappointment.

You don't have to use these bags, you can use any kind of bag that will take to weight of dirt pressing against the sides of it.  Canvas tote bags, plastic feed bags, reusable grocery bags, any kind of bag will do.  Just make sure if you use a plastic bag to poke lots of holes in the bottom so it has good drainage.

Grow bags are a great way to grow some of your own food in a very small space.  You can grow any type of veggie or fruit plant you want in bags, it does not have to be potatoes.  I have also grown peppers and cucumbers and I have friends that use them for tomatoes and they love them!  They take up so little space you can even use them on an apartment balcony or condo patio.  You don't need to have land to grow your own food!  The best thing is, at the end of the harvest you just empty them, fold them up and put them away till next year.  A real space saver!


Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”

Tuesday, April 23, 2024

A Review of Low Calorie Cheesy Vegetable Chowder


cheesy vegetable chowder

I have always been a huge fan of chowder.  I don't really care what kind, it can be clam chowder, potato chowder, or vegetable chowder, they are all delicious to me.  My nephew, who went to the Culinary Institute of New York, can dish up some of the finest clam chowder I have ever had, it is really to die for!  However, the calorie count on this wonderful chowder was enough to give me a heart attack.  I would estimate probably between 350 to 400 per cup!

I often thought to myself that their had to be a lower calorie way to make good chowder.  So I did some research on the internet.  There are literally thousands of recipes on the internet for all kinds of chowder.  Low cal chowder, not so much.  There are some, so I did some comparisons.  I found that vegetable chowder is usually less calories that those containing meat or fish.  I don't mind skipping the meat, so I decided to try a compilation of my own making for vegetable chowder.

I had to make it a few times to adjust the ingredients.  At first the base was just too thin, more like soup than an actual chowder.  I was at a loss as to how to correct this problem without causing the calorie count to skyrocket by adding heavy cream. I was stumped for a while.  Then one day I was grocery shopping, looking for some cheese when I saw a bag of finely shredded reduced calorie cheese.  I think a visible light bulb went off over my head, right there in the store.  I could melt some of this cheese in my veggie chowder and thicken it and also add some more flavor!  I made some the very next day and put about half the 8 ounce bag in the pot and stirred it slowly.

cheesy vegetable chowder


2 cups reduced fat chicken broth

1 cup sliced carrots

1/2 cup chopped celery

1/2 cup chopped bell peppers

1/2 cup chopped onions

2 cups skim milk

3 Tablespoons flour

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes 

pinch of black pepper

4 ounces reduced fat cheddar cheese

Vegetables for Chowder


In a medium saucepan, combine chicken broth, carrots, celery, pepper and onions.

Bring to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer until vegetables are tender.

in a covered jar combine skim milk and flour and shake well.

Pour into broth and veggies and stir gently to mix.

Add parsley flakes garlic powder and black pepper and then slowly add the shredded cheese.

Stir slowly and let thicken.

Remove from heat and spoon into bowls with a sprinkle of cheese on top. 

Only 160 calories and 4 grams of fat.

The result of the addition of cheese was a creamy, delicious chowder with medium thick consistency and mouth watering vegetables.  Toss in a few croutons and you don't even need crackers, and all for fewer calories than most protein bars. If you need to add meat, try ham cubes, bacon, or pulled chicken. All of them would be a yummy addition!  

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”

Tuesday, March 12, 2024

A Review of Color Oops - Fix Hair Coloring Disasters


color oops

Got A Hair Coloring Disaster? Too Dark? Green? Poor Color Choice ?

Don't Panic! What you've done, can be undone.....use Color Oops! 

Most hair coloring mistakes can be fixed. Many times you can return your hair to its natural color, as long as you haven't used bleach. If you have used bleach, your hair's natural color has been stripped away, leaving you with hair that is varying shades of light blonde or white. Your original color is gone, and it cannot be brought back. In that circumstance, the best you can do is to follow advice on how to lose the offending color you ended up with, and then dye your hair a color that is close to what your natural color was.

However, if you just made a mistake with hair dye, no bleach involved, there is a good chance that your hair can be restored with Color Oops.

color oops

Hair Coloring Disasters Come In Many Forms Like:

Honest Mistake - the color on the bottle is NOT what you ended up with, for whatever reason.

Going Goth - You decided that you wanted to go goth with jet black hair. Now you look like Morticia Addams.

Your Green is Nothing to Envy - You have over processed your hair and now Kermit the Frog wants your number.

Better Dead than Red - You thought your blonde hair would look cute if it was red. Now you look like Carrot Top.

Being Blue has New Meaning - You decided it would be cool to have blue hair....or pink, or teal or even multicolor. Now you look like a unicorn vomited on your head.

Most are repairable as long as you didn't use bleach.

How Does Color Oops Remove Color Without Bleach?

Color Oops has no bleach or ammonia, but it does have aloe vera and soy protein that will help condition and restructure  your hair while removing the color.  The question is HOW does it remove the color without the damaging your hair?  I found the answer to be kind of like magic.....but of course, it isn't.  

Hair has several layers and the peroxide in hair dye opens these layers up so the color molecules can penetrate.  Your hair may look dark on the outside but the peroxide has lightened the inside layers of your hair, permanently, so Color Oops will not take you back to your natural color. You will end up with lighter hair than your natural shade. Color Oops gets rid of color by reopening the layers of your hair and shrinking the color molecules, so they simply fall off when you wash and rinse.  

Honey, I shrunk the molecules!

Regardless of how strange it sounds, it works!

I have been coloring my hair auburn for years.  Frankly I was just sick and tired of dealing with it.  Any shade of red hair dye fades really quickly.  To keep it vibrant you need to reapply every 4 to 6 weeks, but then as your hair grows, the bottom where it is colored over and over gets darker and darker and the new growth at the top is much lighter.  After a while it can look quite ombre.

So I decided I needed a change, but how to get rid of the red?  And what then?  I was in a real quandary, so I decided to check out hair styles and colors on You Tube.  I saw some really lovely videos on people with naturally gray hair and I considered it.  You Tube is where I saw a video on a product called Color Oops.  I was impressed with what I saw in the vid, so I went to the store and bought some.  I decided on Extra Conditioning because my hair can use all the conditioning it can get.  I still had not decided on the final color, but I decided to go for it anyway.

After I applied Color Oops, my hair looked rather unusual.  It was kind of multicolored......some light red, light brown, dark brown and of course, gray.  It was not a look that I was thrilled with which I understand is not uncommon.  There is a good chance that anyone that uses this product will not like the hair color they end up with.

The answer is simple, just recolor your hair.  Color Oops does not do any damage to your hair, so you are safe to recolor it quickly.  I waited two days, but that was more for my scalp, which was kind of tender.  I decided to go blonde because it is easy to maintain when you have a lot of gray, but I was wondering how blonde it would actually come out without bleach.  I loved the way it came out!  I was surprised that it did come out such a light blonde considering it really was more auburn than any color, pre-Oops.  I always wanted to be a blonde, but I never wanted to have to bleach my hair and maintain it.  Now I have pretty blonde hair and I only have to reapply the color about every 3 months, when it starts looking more gray than blonde!

Below is a video showing how to use Color Oops (she chose to use Extra Strength) and the results.

I was delighted with the results I got from Color Oops.  It was quick and easy to use, did not damage my hair and left me free to dye it the color I wanted.  I could not ask for a better or easier way of fixing my color problem, unless of course I could use magic!

color oops

Color Oops Extra Conditioning

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”

Tuesday, February 13, 2024

A Review of Three My Pillow Products


pillow banner

Just about everyone in the country has heard of My Pillow.  It is a company that started out guessed it:  pillows!  Since then, the company has branched out into making many other items.  Quilts, mattress pads, blankets, slippers, pet beds and many, many other things.  It seems like no one advertises more than My Pillow.  The owner of the company, Mike Lindell, stars in all his own advertisements and still spends around 72 million dollars a year on advertising, according to  Obviously this company is a big success story.

The question is:  

Are My Pillow's products as great as the advertisements claim?

I can't speak for all purchasers, but I have bought three different products from My Pillow, and I can give you my fair assessment of the each, based on my personal experience.  Rated on a scale of 1 to 10 for price, quality and comfort.

Let's begin with the original!

My Pillow Pillow

My husband has a terrible time getting comfortable to sleep.  He has tried many different kinds of pillows:  goose down, memory foam, gel insert, you name it, he has tried it.  We had discussed trying My Pillows a few times but had decided against it because we felt they were too expensive.  Back then, they were like $60, if memory serves, and that was too much for our taste.  I believe it was around Christmas time that they had a big sale and were selling them for $19.99 so we decided to try one.  After shipping it was more like $30.00.

The pillow arrived and my husband tried it and it was an immediate hit!  The very first night he said it was cool and very comfortable.  He has used it ever since, and that  has been a few years at least.  He says it is as comfortable today as it was the first night, years ago.

So the pillow gets a 10 out of 10.  

Good on price (on sale) 

Good on quality (has not worn out after years of use)

Good on comfort (as comfortable today as it was when new)

My Pillow Towel Set

We decided to buy some My Pillow towels about five years ago.  Our towels were getting rather thin, and My Pillow was having a sale.  We got a set of six, two bath, two hand and two wash clothes for $29.99.  We chose medium green to match our bathroom decor.  They arrived in a timely manner and when we pulled them out, we noticed they were pretty thick which we were happy about.  However, they did not seem very soft.  I mean, they were not scratchy, but they were not as soft as I expected.  I decided to wash them and dry them and see if that changed things.  They did come out a bit softer, after washing.  

I will say that the absorbency of the towels lives up to the promises made by Mr. Lindell in his advertisements.  They really soak up the moisture when drying off, especially my hair when I wrap it in the towel after washing.  It seems to wick the water off my hair and it is really drip free and partially dry when I remove the towel.  We were impressed with the absorbency, however in the last five years, the softness or lack there of, has stayed the same.  There is one thing, however, that we found really amazing.  In 5 years of use, our bath towels do not look worn at all or has the color faded at all.  See the picture below.


On the bottom is one of our bath towels, used practically daily for five years.  The top one is a hand towel that has never been used.  It is for decoration only and sits folded up in a basket full of hand towels and wash clothes on our bathroom counter.  I can't tell the difference, can you?

 So the towels gets a 9 out of 10.  

Good on price (on sale) 

Good on quality (does not look worn or faded after five years of use)

Fair on comfort (we wish they were a bit softer)

My Pillow Percale Sheets

We had been wanting to try My Pillow Sheets for a long time, but the price was pretty high, in our opinion, even when they are on sale.  After Christmas this year, (2024) My Pillow had their normal sale on sheets, but with the added bonus of free shipping.  The sheets were still going to be $49.99, even with the sale and free shipping, but my husband said "It's now or never" so we ordered a set.   I tried to order them online, but the website would not give me free shipping, so I had to call them and the order was not easily dealt with even then.

When they arrived, I was shocked at how much the box weighed for only one set of sheets.  They came in a fancy heavy duty plastic case with a zipper, which I thought was pretty much a waste of money since once out, they would never be able to fit in that bag again!  Anyway, we pulled them out and immediately noticed they were not at all soft.  They were very stiff, and not at all inviting for bed sheets.  I told my husband that we probably needed to wash them to soften them up, so we placed them directly in the washer.  We washed them and dried them with two fabric softener sheets.

Unfortunately, they came out even stiffer than they went in, with the added bonus of being so wrinkled it was shocking.  They were a total mess.  We tried stretching them taunt on the bed, but even then they were still wrinkled.  See the picture below for what they looked like.

bed sheetsbed sheets

We were really disappointed.  There was nothing we could do to solve this problem.  I wasn't about to iron sheets, and even if I was willing, the sheets were stiff and awful and not anything I would want to sleep on.  We had no choice but to send them back.  I went to the website to start the return when I saw that they expected me to pay $9.99 to return the sheets.  This was unacceptable to me, so I sent an e mail to customer service asking them to send me the return postage sticker so I could return the sheets and I explained why.  The next day I get an e mail saying that they did not pay for returns, it was up to us to pay the return shipping.  I sent another e mail to them, explaining, that the merchandise was faulty and it was My Pillow's responsibility to pay for return shipping.  I got another e mail the next day saying that the agreement on the website (in other words, the fine print) said that I was responsible for return shipping no matter what the cause of the return was.......BUT!  They were willing to e mail me a return shipping label and take $9.99 off the amount of my refund.

I was stuck.  I knew if I went to UPS that the postage would be even more than $10 because the sheets were so heavy.  So I emailed them back and said to send the shipping label and I hoped that $9.99 was worth losing my business forever.  I was so mad!

So the sheets get a 0 out of 10.  

Price was too expensive

Quality was as bad as it could be

Comfort was nonexistent 

AND customer service was bad when ordering and extremely bad when we had to return the product.


recap of my experiences with My Pillow are perplexing to try to summarize.  Three products with three different assessments; one great, one pretty good and one absolutely dreadful.  The only fair conclusion I can make it that when you buy from My Pillow, you take your chances on what you will be getting.  It may be fabulous, or it may be deplorable.  I do highly recommend their original pillows, but as for the rest, buy at your own risk and know if you need to return it, it will be at your expense.

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”

Tuesday, January 16, 2024

A Review of Christmas Decoration Organizers


Christmas decoration organizers

Last week I knew it was time to take down the Christmas tree and put away the holiday decorations.  This is a task I do not look forward to, for many reasons.  It's kind of depressing, this time of year, the end of the holidays with nothing to look forward to but gray dreary days and freezing cold weather for months to come.  

As I have gotten older, this task it kind of like a game of hide and seek.  I take all the holiday wall decorations off the walls, and then it is time to try to remember where I put the regular decor when I took it down to put up the Christmas stuff!  I start thinking.....did I put that in hubby's office?  In the bedroom, under the bed?  No, I put that in the front coat closet, and when I look, it's not there. It's so frustrating!

The main reason I dislike taking down Christmas decorations is the mess of boxes, bags, and totes that I have to sort through to find the right place to put everything.  Old dusty cardboard boxes, cracked plastic totes with ill fitting lids, ripped paper bags and garbage bags.  Just looking at that jumble of awful looking containers was enough to make me want to just leave the decorations up!  

That is when I decided that I was going to organize my decorations!  I started looking through my boxes and realized I had probably never thrown away any decorations or ornaments since I moved into my first house in 1993!  All the changes of decor over the, Victorian, contemporary, and now Americana and I never got rid of any decorations, just added new stuff and more boxes.  Wow!  

It was a daunting task, but I was determined!  I went through each box, this was the stuff in the boxes that I had not put out this year, or to be honest, for a few to many years.  I put all the items that a never use anymore into a big cardboard box and marked it for charity pick up.  I have to be honest, it was hard.

After that was done, I knew the first thing I was going to need was some new Christmas decoration storage containers.  I didn't really feel like going out, so I got a cup of coffee and sat down at my computer to do some shopping online.  I started with my usual go to, Amazon.  As I started looking, I was surprised at the large price range in organizers.   It was strange because they all looked close to the same.  But being a veteran shopper of Amazon, I knew to stay away from the really inexpensive stuff, because it would probably not last more than a few years.  If I was going to buy storage, I only wanted to buy it once!  So an hour later, I made my selections and placed the order.  It was less expensive that I have first thought.  

This is what I bought:

wrapping paper organizer
When shopping, the first organizer I looked for was for wrapping paper.  I am so tired of keeping my wrap and tools in a garbage bag!  Always digging in the bottom for tape or ribbon.  I found this one and I knew that I had hit gold!  It has a movable divider so you can shape it how you like, and dual zippers, and two large pockets for tags and tissue paper.   It holds up to 27 rolls and has lots of room left for scissors, tape, spools of ribbon and bows.

This is the organizer that I love the most!  Worth every penny!

wreath storage
Next came wreath storage.  I usually keep mine in garbage bags and by the time they make it up stairs the next year they look like they have been run over by a truck.  This round container with two sets of handles is perfect for keeping my wreaths in great condition year to year.  They are big enough to store two wreath or more, but I decided on one for each of my large wreaths so they would not get mashed.  I bought the 36" size, but they also come in 24" and 30".  

They are very inexpensive and so worth it, trust me!

ornament storage boxes

I really loved this container for several reasons.  It is large, so all my ornaments fit in one place.  The sides are sturdy so my valuable items are protected.  The top opens from either side and inside are 8 separate trays, each of which lift out with handles!  I think this will make tree decorating so much easier.  There are even two large pockets on the outside to store other things.  I put Christmas cards in one and ornament hangers and extra tree light bulbs in the other.  It holds up to 128 ornaments. 

All that storage in such a compact box.  I really recommend this container!

plastic storage totes
I use these totes for the rest of the decorations.  I was happy they came in a four pack, as I needed all four of them. I have a lot of wall decor and snow globes and other crafted decorations.  I use one tote for table top stuff, one for very fragile glass things, one for wall decorations and the last one for my Christmas village.  I am happy that these totes are tall, my large stuff fits so I don't have any odds and ends laying around in bags to get misplaced.  But the best thing about them is the latch handle.  It keeps the top on tight!

With these totes you never have to wonder "what is in this box?"

christmas tree storage

Last on my list was a tree storage box.  I am so tired of that frayed, dusty tree box!  I dread seeing it every year, so now I don't ever have to again!  I bought this tree storage box because I liked the fact it had wheels.  When filled with a tree, it is heavy!  This year my husband loved the ease of moving it when he took it to the basement.  I also like that it has dual zippers and a sturdy handle.  I believe it will last for many years.

So these are the organizers I got after Christmas.  There were so many others I would love to have but I will probably get a few more next year.  I am so happy with my purchases, they all match and they take up very little room in the basement.  No more dreading bringing up the Christmas decorations!  I can hardly wait till next year!

Oh, and one more thing.  The sturdy plastic totes are perfect to put my regular home decor in when I have to remove it to put up the Christmas stuff.  I just put it all in the totes and after Christmas it is all right there, waiting to be put back up.  No more hide and seek!

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