The holidays are always busy and my house usually gets neglected in the decoration department if I don’t decorate Thanksgiving day or shortly after. The rest of December I am usually helping everyone else with their houses so mine has to be done way ahead of time. But that is okay- for all the work that goes into it I like to have it up as long as possible to enjoy it more.
My decorations are by no means perfect. Each year I tweak a little and have some ideas of how to improve the following year. But here is a little sneak peek…
(Excuse the poor photography -a new camera is on my wish list)
One of my favorite things to help clients with is Holiday decorating! Everyone has their own unique style and holiday traditions which makes each house different and fun.
Most of us have acquired quite a collection of Holiday decorations but each year there is always a temptation to add something , change a theme or update a look. Holiday decorations don’t always have to be expensive. There are plenty of ways to spruce things up without spending much except for your time. (which I realize many of you are probably short on) But for those of you that are up for a little DIY decorating here are some creative ideas I have found over the years.
-Look at catalogs and magazines for inspiration to create the look you want
–White lights can make quite an impact-they can be used in jars, vases, hung from the mantel. (there are some great battery powered lights for those of you that don’t have easy access to an outlet).
-A can of spray paint can transform almost anything! If you have some decorations that need a face lift, maybe you have changed your color scheme? Basically if you like the shape of something but not the color just spray paint it and make it work with your decor. (vases, candlesticks, wine bottles, etc.)
-I have seen many things recently on Pinterest on how to make snow covered jars-a little glue and some epsom salt.
–Tree branches that have fallen in your yard could make great miniature trees. Stick the branches in a bucket of sand or rocks and cover the bottom in burlap. Then spray paint the branches white, add a little glitter or some white lights and you have a tree! (this would be great for a front porch)
– A little burlap, raffia or ribbon can add just the finishing touch to something.
-Buy some silk fabric for a tree skirt. It is a fraction of the cost and looks beautiful.
-Buy inexpensive garland and add your own ribbon and other embellishments. This looks more custom and high end and it reflects your own look.
-Go to the dried flower aisle and pick out some great pods and pine cones to add into your tree, wreaths or garland.
I just finished reading “the life-changing magic of tidying up” by Marie Kondo. The book has gained such popularity that of course I had to see firsthand what it was all about. I do have to say that out of the many organizing books that are out there this one is worth picking up. While I won’t spoil the whole book for you here are a few of the major points.
Sort by category, not by location:
The general theme behind her book is to gather all the like items from your house and sort by category not by location/room. For instance, if you are going to sort your medicine then gather it from all areas of the house-the bathroom, kitchen, linen closet or wherever and organize it at once. I have to say that I wholeheartedly agree with this method! This is the best way to organize and makes it easier to find items when they are in one general location instead of scattered all over the house.
“Does this spark joy?”
Her main mantra is ” does this spark joy?” She believes that every item you own should spark joy. I think this is a good way to gain a different perspective while tackling the organizing process. It really makes you think hard about whether or not to keep something. However, I do have to say that not EVERY item in my house sparks joy. Most of us have cleaning products, first aid supplies, laundry detergent and other necessities that we need to run a household. So while this philosophy works great for clothing, artwork, decorative items, books and other miscellaneous categories that are more personal it does not apply to everything in my opinion.
Never pile things: vertical storage is key.
Marie believes that everything is much more functional stored vertically. I do have to say that this works great in dresser drawers. Rolling or folding your shirts, leggings and other items makes them so much easier to see and access when they are stored vertically and each one is visible. And the best part of this system is that it is a real space saver!
A few other philosophies….
There are also many other philosophies shared throughout the book. Some of these may not be for everyone but it definitely makes for an interesting read. For example, the fact that your socks need a rest after being worn and should always be folded flat. Or that you should thank each item you own on a regular basis . Another one is that you should remove all soap, shampoo and conditioner from your shower after each use and wipe them down and store in the bathroom cabinet. The thought process behind this is that it keeps your shower much cleaner and the items from building up a residue. While this is a great thought I find it totally impractical for most people. If I did this I would find myself in the shower and wet with no soap or shampoo!
Those are just a few of the highlights so if you are up for some organizing or “tidying” inspiration I would recommend the book. You don’t have to agree with all aspects of the book to still enjoy it!
This Thanksgiving take time to enjoy family and be thankful…
Once the holidays are in full swing it is really hard to sit back and relax. We all get a little panicked from time to time when we feel there are not enough hours in the day to get it all done. Thanksgiving is really all about family and giving thanks…and hopefully a really delicious turkey dinner that leaves you in a deep relaxed state of sleepiness for hours.
Of course the cook of the Thanksgiving meal has to work for hours to prepare the feast and get ready to entertain and sometimes that can be stressful.
A few things to help you be ready for entertaining family and friends:
-Make sure that you start any organizing/de cluttering projects at least a month or two before the holidays so that you can finish up loose ends before your guests arrive.
-Organize your recipes for any meals you are going to prepare and put them where they are easily accessible. Or even load the recipes on your ipad or start a holiday pinterest board.
-Take inventory of your casserole dishes, turkey roaster, carving knives or any other cooking items you may need.
-If you are doing formal entertaining then make sure you have your table setting picked out complete with tablecloth, centerpiece, place settings and serving pieces. (Iron or launder anything you are going to need ahead of time.)
-Start some family traditions and get everyone involved in helping make the day special.
Once all the preparation is done then remember to sit back and cherish your time with family and friends. Remember we all have something to be thankful for and sometimes we are in such a hurry that we forget to slow down and take it all in.
A few weeks ago I was running in target for a quick errand when I came across a beautiful sight. I was instantly drawn to a display that had great lighting, white streamlined looking shelves and beautiful home decor. From a marketing standpoint my instant thought was brilliant! Now not all Targets have adapted this new display yet and I don’t know if they all will but I was definitely impressed.
What made this display great was that it was very clean looking and modern and you had plenty of space to walk around. The home decor was also organized by color and so you could go to a set of shelves and actually grab items from the same color palette to use in your home. Basically it is foolproof decorating. The way the colors and different textures were mixed created such a nice display that it made you want to buy it whether or not you needed it or it was even the right color palette. It was almost as if pottery barn or another high end store had been dropped into the middle of this Target. And one of the best parts was the prices were very reasonable. So you can get the high end look for a fraction of the price.
Just wanted to let everyone know to be on the lookout. If a room in your home needs a quick refresh this may be just the time to go shopping! Or maybe you just need some design inspiration….that could be fun too.
I’m not sure where the summer went and how we are already nearing the end of October and Halloween is around the corner! I know it sounds crazy to some but you know what Halloween means? It means Thanksgiving and Christmas are right around the corner! I would say it is crunch time. The more you can do now when things are somewhat calm and the chaos of the holidays has not fully set in the better off you will be.
Some tips for an easy Holiday transition:
-When you get out the Holiday decorations make sure you take that time to get rid of anything old or broken that you no longer use.
-Pick out only your favorite decorations and weed out the bulk that you really don’t need.
-Donate any nice unwanted decorations to a local charity ,children’s shelter, nursing home or a local place in need where someone can truly enjoy them. But remember just because someone doesn’t have much is all the more reason they do not deserve things that are broken or beat up!
-Make sure you keep all the holiday bins that are labeled and designated for THAT holiday empty and ready for when the time comes to put everything away. ( I have seen many clients try to steal the bins for another purpose while they are empty and come up short when its time to put away that holiday they were originally designated for.)
-Once you are happy with your decorations- Take a photo with your phone! This will make it so much easier next year if you want to duplicate the look. And yes printing out the photos and putting them in the bins is even better. That way you are not scrolling through hundreds of photos on your phone the next year.
-Having photos is also a great way to remember your holiday inventory the next year when you are out shopping and are tempted to add to your collection but can’t remember what you have. (especially if you hit those half off sales the year before)
-Involve your family or friends in the decorating process to make it more fun and less like a chore.
-Decorate as early as you think appropriate that way you will have more time to enjoy your decorations and all the hard work and time you put into them.
-Next sit back and enjoy!
(or start the holiday shopping, holiday cards, organizing for guests…..)
Many of you are sending the kiddos back to school this week. I know this is a hectic time! Shopping for new school clothes, school supplies and getting back into a routine after a leisurely summer. There are a few easy things that can really help save you time and make you feel more organized.
Establish a drop zone somewhere in the house:
(Near the door where you tend to come in and leave the most)
-Make a spot for the kids backpacks, coats and shoes
-Check the drop zone at night before bedtime to make sure the “homework” folder is where it needs to be.
-Are there any special notices from the school you need to see or sign?
-Any special items needed for next day?
Make a lunch packing station:
-Designate a shelf in the pantry with snacks that are used for the kid’s lunches
-I like to dump the individually wrapped snacks out in a clear bin and get rid of the bulky box
-Have the kid’s lunch boxes on the shelf near the snacks and all you have to do the night before is load it up and put in the fridge
(maybe even put a post it reminder at the drop zone that says “remember lunches!”)
Kid’s Activity file:
-Purchase a small decorative tabletop file box without a lid
(Container store has a great selection)
-Keep this file box near your drop zone or on a kitchen counter or kitchen desk
– It will hold around 6 files
-I would use this as your pending items that you want to quickly reference
-Some examples of categories would be:
1. Soccer or other sporting event or class- keep calendar, directory, team info
2. School -special field trips coming up, class pictures, fundraisers, etc.
3 . Medical-any immunization records or recent doctor visits or important info
4. Summer camps or other activity ideas
5. Emergency info for babysitters, etc.
(emergency contacts, cell #, doctor, veterinarian, neighbors #, etc.)
6. Any other categories you may want handy!
Sometimes we become so used to our surroundings that we do not look at things objectively. We all have a tendency to gather decorative objects and home decor without always thinking about it. Maybe a friend or family member gave you a gift that wasn’t really your taste or you inherited hand me downs from family. It is a common theme for people to keep things out of guilt. Take an honest look at your house and when decluttering choose to keep items that truly make you happy.
In a perfect world we could all go paperless but most of us are not quite there yet. Most of my clients struggle with paper in one form or another. Receipts are one of those pieces of paper that seem to collect and migrate all over the house.
There are multiple options for saving receipts and many of them are not so easy to maintain. I have had many clients who purchased a “neat receipts” scanner to scan all their receipts. However, when the scanner is still in the box stuck in a closet it does not do much good. Why does it stay in the closet? Because the backlog of receipts and time it takes to get caught up. If you are going to use this system why not start fresh now? Don’t try to go a year back and scan everything because that is keeping you from creating a new system. Just start today.
Another option for saving receipts is a glass jar ,decorative box, ziploc bag or any other appropriate container. This will work for receipts that are mainly saved for one purpose or one category. For example, all clothing receipts saved just in case you need to return a recent purchase. However, a years worth of random receipts would become a bit messy and require a lot of organization later.
One option I really like is a small portable decorative file box without a lid. I set it up with about 6-8 hanging files in different categories and then just drop the receipts in as I get them. Create categories that work for you such as tax deductions, office expenses, clothing purchases, internet orders, home improvements, medical etc.
The key with any of these systems is to weed out the receipts every few months so that the system does not get out of control. For example, once you have worn your new shoes or new dress and know the item will be kept then the receipt is no longer needed.
Of course, the easiest way to control the amount of receipts is to throw any away that are not needed. You can usually go to your bank account and reconcile most expenses so some receipts really don’t need to be saved at all.
Summer time is in full swing and so is the heat! Many of you are taking beach vacations or sitting by the pool. If you have kids they are probably scheduled for one or 2 camps this summer. Summer flies by and is pretty busy so many of you don’t think about shopping for organizing supplies.
Whether you have college age kids, little kids or no kids you can take advantage of the summer sales and selection! I have noticed this month that many stores have back to college “dorm room” organizing supplies. Places like Target and Bed Bath and Beyond have lots of organizing items in fun colors designed for college kids dorm rooms or apartments. These items are available for a limited time and come in more unusual brighter colors. They are in a special area separate from the regular inventory. It is a great time to pick some things up at a cheaper price for a kids room, playroom, game room, garage or any other space that needs organizing.
Get inspired! Having some fun containers is sometimes just the inspiration you need.