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Organizing for Packing Shoe Boxes All Year Long

With national collection week behind us, those of us packing shoe boxes for Operation Christmas Child, are ready to begin thinking about the boxes we will give in 2014.  By shopping and crafting all year long we can pack our boxes for less and either pack more or pack them fuller.  I wanted to share a simple way to organize your shopping/packing to be able to keep up with your fillers for those of you packing a few to several boxes.  If you are planning on packing several dozen or hundreds check out this spread sheet I made a few years ago: Shoebox Supplies Check Off List--You can print them off, tuck them in a notebook and check them off as you shop all year and you will know when you have enough of each item.

Collecting empty shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child packing.

Find your empty shoeboxes--ask shoe stores & stores like Kmart with
shoe departments.  Find out more in this post about What Type of Shoebox to Pack In.
  • Have one more than you plan to pack for overflow.
  • Find a place to keep them with easy access.
    • Under your bed.
    • In a corner of your closet.
    • Spread out under your shoes in your closet.
    • On a closet shelf.
    • In the Basement/garage.

Make a list of MUST haves for each shoe box--such as:
  • Hygiene items
    • soap
    • washcloth
    • toothbrush
    • comb
  • School Supplies
    • pencils
    • paper
    • sharpener
  • Etc.

Make a copy of the list for each shoe box.
  • Attach this to the end or top of each box or tuck it inside.
  • Keep a pen or pencil with your boxes.

Pack as you shop.
  • Empty your purchases right into the boxes.
  • Check off the item on your list for that box.
  • If you have anything extra put it in your overflow box.
    • You may have multiple packs that you split and it gives you extra.
    • Make a copy of the checklist you are using for the boxes and use it to tally what is in your overflow box.
    • Your overflow can be used to pack extra shoe boxes or donate it as fillers to the collection center or a packing party.
    • You may also be able to trade with a friend--some of your extras for some of theirs and together you can pack more boxes.
    • You can also use it to start the next year's boxes when you set up for another year of packing.

Benefits of packing this way.
  • When next year's national collection week rolls around you will know exactly what you still need to buy.  
  • You will also know to stop buying a certain item because all of your boxes already have it--saving you money.
  • If you find your boxes full early in the year you can choose to pack more boxes.
After packing our shoeboxes this year my daughter, Sarah, printed out our list of must haves and we prepared our boxes and tucked in a few overflow items.  Then when we needed more empty shoeboxes for the Operation Christmas Child packing party, they were all dumped out into a box so we could have the shoeboxes for this year.  I think I had better go get them organized like I just shared in this post.

If you are looking for more tips for packing check out our series of Tips for Packing Operation Christmas Child Shoeboxes.


Tanya said...

I have no room to store the shoeboxes for the year so I organize differently. I have a few storage tubs in my shed that I keep all my OCC purchases in. I use one for school supplies, one for hygiene items, one for toys, and one for stuffed animals and clothes. I keep a list of all I buy in the house so I know what I have and what i need to buy before packing. I discovered this year that for each full tub it equals about 10 packed shoeboxes!

Cheryl @ Simply Shoeboxes said...

Tanya, that is basically what I have been doing, too, but this year I wanted to try a little different way, since I have room, and pack as we go. we will see how it goes. Love that you figured each filled tub equals 10 shoe boxes!

BTW, for the big packing party we will be doing I will be doing it your way, but using the boxes we made for the packing party and divide by age as we go.

Thanks for sharing this--the more ideas shared the easier it will be for all of us to find what works for us.

Disclosure: Links on Simply Shoeboxes may be affiliate partners or referrals.