As we approach the holiday season, we are reflecting on the evolution of Boxed Up, our DIY home decor box. Boxed Up turned five in September and we have had the pleasure of curating so many fun projects! From the ideas...to the sourcing...to the designing to the boxing and everything in between, it's been a fun ride!
The Boxed Up Cart is Open and So is Our Holiday Box!
We are currently accepting new members into the membership which means the first box those new members would get is the November project. And, since November is the perfect time to start planning for the holidays, this will be our Holiday Box as well. Twelve Days of Decking the Halls is the title of this box... and that is more than we ever give away in terms of clues about the box. Mystery is the name of our Boxed Up game, so we don't want to ruin our current members' surprise!
But, just to dig a little deeper into November's box without giving anything more away, here is what you can expect. Twelve mini projects, each unique yet all coordinating around one central theme...Decking the Halls! These mini projects can decorate your own halls OR deck the halls of your family and friends because they would also make great gifts. You can purchase your mystery Twelve Days of Decking the Halls box here!
Check out Some Previous Posts...
The Evolution of a Box (aka How We Curate our Boxes)...
Aside from the fact that those of us DIYers love a good project to keep us occupied and serve as a form of "therapy," the COMMUNITY is what means the most to me. For some members, Boxed Up has gotten them through some tough times. For some, it was Covid and lockdown. For others, it's a way to decompress and work through illness or after a stressful workday or work week. Our community of members couldn't get any sweeter. We are so lucky to have a group of individuals who love to show off their final projects, get inspired and congratulate each other on a job well done.
Boxed Up came to be as a result of in-person workshops becoming difficult for some to attend due to busy lives and distance. We are fortunate to have followers from all over the country, and Boxed Up seemed like a natural next step in trying to bring the experience of an in-person workshop to everyone who wanted to participate.
As I said already, Boxed Up recently turned 5 years old. The economy has made things super tight for many but one thing we have not done yet is raise the price on our monthly boxes. In fact, when we originally launched, they cost more than they are now! We feel that, with everything that has happened over the last several years, this is a huge deal. Will we be able to continue that forever? That would be unlikely. But, for now, we strive to keep the quality and integrity of each project while keeping the cost the same.
And what about the mystery? No, not everyone loves surprises. But we have learned that just about everyone gets giddy over the thrill of wondering what is coming to their door or inside that box of goodies! And what's even better is that each project can be made completely according to member tastes and styles! We simply provide a sample or two for ideas and members take off running with their own incredible creativity. They inspire ME!
So, how does one box come to life? What does it take to get a box to our members? We try to start the year out by making a general list for about a year's worth of ideas as a starting point. We start putting screenshots of ideas into a shared platform so that we can both input ideas from wherever we are and discuss.
Month by month, we narrow down the exact pieces, down to the very last embellishment, ribbon, bead or supply by mapping it out in our heads and doing a prototype. In some cases, a project may be in the works for months and months (which is the case for our November box…We started planning it in January!) Some boxes require trips to visit two local wood crafters that we work with to discuss and re-vamp until we feel it's just right.
Curating these DIY Home Decor Boxes Takes Teamwork!
Let me take a moment to clarify one thing. I’m using the word “WE” quite often in this blog post. I am so fortunate to have brought Darcey on as part of my team even before Boxed Up was a glimmer in my eye. She has been around since the beginning and is an integral part of this entire community and membership. There is no I in TEAM, as they say. Darcey is the person I run every single decision by…every single month…every single project.
All of the products must be ordered in time for us to sort, count, bag, wrap, and do any prepping before boxing day. Is ribbon part of the box? How much…one foot? A yard? Then it needs cut to length…each and every individual piece. Are there going to be 68 beads? Guess who counts them out… one by one? Yep! That’s all us… BUT sometimes my kiddos get involved. They have been known to take a weekend or summer day helping dear old Mom out!
To keep from having to order every size box under the sun, we also have to ensure that every project will fit in one of a few sizes of boxes - length, depth and width. So, while we are in the design process, we have to consider how it will all fit in the box. That’s, in fact, much easier said than done!
Sometimes items get lost in the shipment process (on their way to us). Sometimes supplies become damaged in shipment which means hurry up and find a solution. Other times, I am picking the items up and loading my vehicle to take back home to my basement. We source quality products and work with local wood workers as well as Etsy and other small businesses to help support families right here in the United States.
Shipping, Packing and Labeling the Monthly Boxes
Now, we can't forget about how we will protect the items inside each box. Will we use crinkle shred? Will it be brown paper? Will we need to provide some type of support behind anything to keep that item from breaking in the shipment process?
In full transparency, what I personally struggle with the most, is making the videos while I complete a sample of each project... Not so much the videos themselves but the editing afterwards and getting all of that done in time to order the trifold inserts. The videos get edited, I upload them into a video storage platform, wait for them to upload (which can feel like forever if my wi-fi is not working properly!), and then we can create a QR code. The QR code must go into the project trifold and the trifold needs to be completely proofread and finalized before it can be ordered.
Then it's boxing day! Wait... do I have enough outer box stickers? Why does it always feel like I forget something? Sometimes I do but mostly it’s just a short lived panic. Do we have the HOUSE cards printed and ready to insert? Did one of us pick up the trifolds? Did we count correctly so that we have the right number of boxes?
And so boxing begins! Well, after we fold them into actual boxes, that is. Every single box needs to be assembled from its “flat” original form.
How do we want the items to go into the box? All of the items need spread out and we get a packing strategy in place once we decide how we want the items to look when members open their box.
So we pack, pack, pack questioning ourselves multiple times as we go about whether we forgot that one item in that one box…or was it that one?
From cutting the outer box vinyl stickers that get applied first (which is like peel and stick wallpaper) to adding the main box label to sealing the boxes with dreaded packing tape… each step is a must but we’re not done yet!
Each box gets a name label that says whether it's for shipping or pick up and what the name of the project is so that any extras going on my shelf can quickly be found later.
Then it's time for the shipping labels. Who is monthly? who is quarterly? Who do we need to open up and add a bonus to because they won the weekly game of HOUSE or participated in Tea Time Talk? After multiple times of counting and making sure the right number of shipping labels are printed, we can finally schedule a post office pick up. And the remaining boxes that will be picked up by members can be taken to the pick up cabinets.
At this point, we usually take a deep breath and switch gears to discuss the next project before exhaling. It won’t be long until the entire process has to start again!
If you are still here and read that all the way to the end, thank you! Do you love DIY and home décor? Do you long to find something you can do from the comfort of your own home that allows you some time to yourself? You deserve to carve out some time to create. Creating something with your own two hands has so many benefits. In fact, you can read another prior post about that here!
Should you decide you want to become a part of our incredibly creative, sweet community that is full of members of ALL skill levels, we would so love to have you join us! Join us monthly… or quarterly… Simply check out our Boxed Up Subscription Options. Or even just grab yourself one of our November holiday boxes by preordering before October 20th. We have options so that you can find the best fit for you.