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Blog: Paper Doll, Tackling The Stacks And Piles
Paper Doll Wraps Up the Holidays and Makes It All Stick (Part 1)

When we talk about paper clutter, we're usually discussing functional paper -- files, coupons, contracts, insurance policies, and papers that trigger activities we have to perform. Rarely do we have a serious discussion about paper that, while serving a purpose, is mainly aesthetic in nature. Until the holidays, that is, and then all the rules change.

Do you find yourself searching under beds and in the backs of closets, trying to locate the right piece of wrapping paper to fit an oddly shaped box? Have you ever spent painstaking hours trying to get a present wrapped just right, with the side flaps (somewhat) even and the bows just where they ought to go, only to find your family had turned into paperniverous creatures of mayhem the minute the presents were unveiled?

Whether you're talking about getting it all together to wrap the gifts, or dealing with the detritus after they've all been opened, this is the time of year to deal with wrapping paper clutter!


Some people wear a signature scent or have a signature wardrobe color. Tiffany & Co. is known for those iconic blue boxes.

Why don't you opt for a signature color for the holidays? Then, you'll only have to buy rolls of one type of paper instead of searching for appropriate patterns and risking running out of paper at the last minute. And you won't have to worry that your teenage nephew will take offense at teddy bear wrapping or that Uncle Joe will be teased about his Barbie-clad crime novel.

Pick a festive color or neutral pattern that works for everyone. Red and green are Christmas-specific and blue is considered a Hanukkah standard. Why not pick a shimmery gold or silver that covers all eventualities, and then add an elegant ribbon or bow? For kids' gifts, take a page out of the Paper Mommy encyclopedia and affix small candies like Tootsie Rolls or colorful, cellophane-wrapped (American-style) Smarties all over the top of the package.

(Trust me, the kids will be much more careful about unwrapping their presents to ensure they don't accidentally toss one precious candy.)

Experiment with having a signature wrapping paper color just for one season -- it'll save time and effort, and you may never go back to having dozens of rolls of oddly-sized, mismatched wrapping paper.


If you like the idea of a monochromatic wrapping style but still feel the need for a little more jazz, dress up your wrapping with some spectacular tape. Brooklyn-based designer Karl Zahn's Oboiler has some smashing black and white lace tapes (50 yards per 2" wide roll, $10 each)

that add elegance to any shipping container or wrapped package.

(Thanks to Dr. Joe Stirt of the blog Book of Joe for the excellent pointer to the lace tape, as well as to the yet again sold-out Marie-Héléne de Taillac jewel tape. Joe is not only "the world's most popular blogging anesthesiologist," but he's the source of information on the niftiest of gadgets and doodads. What professional organizer Jeri Dansky is to stuff for organizing, Dr. Joe is to...everything else.)

Duck® brand's EZ Start® printed packaging tape has exciting new designs for packing up a special gift with pizzazz, including a chipper Cinnamon Snowflake and a black and white Paisley.

The other designer colors and patterns range from peacenik Peace and psychedelic Tie-Dye, to Pink Zebra and Black Olives, to spooky Skulls and a festive Reindeer. They run about $4-$5 per roll.

Japanese washi paper tape is another impressive alternative to traditional tape. Washi, a handmade paper with adhesive backing, is used for decorating, crafting and scrapbooking, as well as for wrapping packages. It's similar in consistency to masking tape, but is smoother and available in bright colors and appealing patterns.

It can be hard to find washi paper tape in brick-and-mortar stores, but the Texas-based Etsy shop Pretty Tape has a wide variety of washi to solve all your wrapping, decorating, scrapbooking and "oooh, pretty!" tape needs, including this cheery stars/bells/candy cane set ($8.50/set of 3).

Paper and soft goods distributor The Hach has a few love holiday samples including mTape's 1.5 cm wide Reindeer set (gold, silver, and silver polka dot reindeer, and gold polka dot Santa):

and a 1.5 cm Angel set (gold angel, gold polka dot angel, green candlesticks, and red polka dot candlesticks). The Mistletoe set (green and red mistletoe, gold and red mistletoe, green/gold stripes and red/gold stripes) comes with two 7-mm rolls and two 3-cm rolls. Sets are $20, and individual tape rolls may also be purchased separately for $4-$6 each.

Happy Tape has numerous collections of Christmas-themed washi, including this vintage two-roll set (50' rolls of 7 mm green and 30 mm red) for $9.75.

Cute Tape carries an adorable Knit Reindeer Christmas Tree pattern perfect for wrapping up those holiday sweaters ($7.50/10 m long, 20 mm wide roll).

Unfortunately, I've yet to find any washi tape suitable for Hanukkah or Kwanzaa (or Solstice or Festivus, for that matter). If you know of a purveyor of other winter holiday washi paper tape, please leave a note in the comments with the name of the company. (Reminder: As a protection against spam, the comments section doesn't allow linking.)


Once you have the right paper, it helps to have a central location for all of your wrapping paraphernalia: wrapping paper, ribbons, tape, scissors (for cutting paper and curling ribbons), a straight edge or ruler (for cutting paper evenly), note cards and sparkly pens (if you're into that kind of thing). You could invest in Martha Stewart Gift Wrap Hutch:

but I suspect that if that kind of finery were your style, you probably wouldn't be reading Paper Doll.

Create your holiday wrapping station out of the way of heavy traffic areas of your household, like a guest-room closet or deep drawer. If you want your aesthetic paper aesthetically organized, select all-in-one containers like Rubbermaid's under-bed appropriate Gift Wrap Organizer
or any of a variety of vertical wrapping paper & supply caddies, like the Gift Wrap Vertical Organizer or the Gift Wrap Work Station, both from The Container Store:

If you just want to stash your wrapping paper tidily and keep it somewhat portable, but don't care as much about your style of containment, consider using a wide umbrella stand or clean liquor store "cell box" (with dividers) to stash your wrapping paper upright.

And, if you lack the floor space that even a typical vertical arrangement might provide, a hanging gift wrap organizer, like this one from Jokari works well inside a closet or bedroom door or even flush against one side of a coat or guest closet.

If you keep a lot of different kinds of supplies (ribbons and bows, pretty tapes, pinking shears and scrapbooking scissors) for your wrapping, keep them organized and all in one place in your wrapping station, even if that means owning extras of a few items. Running to the kitchen to get scissors and digging through your children's backpacks for a straight-edge ruler will just waste time when speed and efficiency are at a premium. (You want to get things wrapped before everyone gets home/wakes up/wanders in, don't you?)

A simple tool box (or a medium Bento Box) will keep stored wrapping supplies tidy. Similarly, the multi-layer Snapware Craft 'N Stack Storage containers are superb for corralling all the accoutrements for your upcoming wrapping extravaganzas in one place.


While wrapping paper is the traditional way to present gifts with flair, there are a variety of alternative (and planet-friendly) ways to decorate presents until the big reveal. Next week, we'll unwrap a whole slew of surprising, attractive, eco-friendly and economical wrapping options.

Until then, I leave you in good hands by directing you to The Holidays Made Simple: Easy Gift Wrapping With Gift Bags and More, a post by my great friend and the afforementioned blogger extraordinaire, Jeri Dansky.

posted on: 11/29/2011 10:30:00 AM by Julie Bestry
category: Paper

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Paper Doll, Tackling The Stacks And Piles

by Julie Bestry

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Julie Bestry, President of Best Results Organizing in Chattanooga, TN, is a Certified Professional Organizer®, speaker and author. Julie helps overwhelmed individuals and businesses save time and money, reduce stress and increase productivity through new organizational skills and systems.

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