Setting for the holidays is exciting. All the lights and ornaments and memories of holidays past. It's fun and it's magical.
And then there's the taking everything down. It's kinda like coming home from vacation and having to unpack and do laundry. Bringing up all the boxes and packing materials and trying to figure out what goes where. This is where organization is your best friend.
There are several ways to store wrapping paper. The space you have available to store it will determine what is best for you. See the slideshow below for ideas and where to purchase. Flat and folded paper can be stored in a simple file folder box.
Bulbs and Ornaments:
Look at your storage containers. Are they boxes handed down from years past? Is the tissue paper to wrap the bulbs in from 19 whatever? If so, it might be time to do a little bit of investing in even a few new storage containers. If you store ornaments outside, use plastic storage bins that can be sealed tight.
Unless lights come straight out of the package, they can be a handful to unwind. Thankfully, there are handy storage solutions that help solve this problem.
Recycle your old lights
While it's easy to want to just toss those old lights into the trash, it's not hard to recycle them! Most hardware stores are drop off sites for recycling those lights. To find a drop off location in your area, just click on the link below.
RECYCLE MY LIGHTS
The phone rings. Friends are unexpectedly in town due to a flight cancellation and they are dropping by in 20 minutes. Aaaaaaak. Today was your cleaning day. Now what?
A few words of wisdom of what to do now and how to create better habits in the future.
Huffington Post, December 19, 2013
Some people are effortlessly able to keep their homes organized. The rest of us? We go around pinning "simple" organization hacks and before-and-after closet makeovers, then go home to our chaotic homes/nests, completely unable to contemplate how to undo days (and weeks) of poor decisions. If you live with someone, or hell, even a pet, multiply everything by two. Have kids? You probably haven't seen your the floor in certain rooms for weeks.
The holidays, while stressful, offer the opportunity to actually address these problems. Letting outsiders in for Christmas might be the kick in the pants one needs to tackle the nest that your living room has become. But there just aren't enough hours in the day to FULLY rehabilitate your messy home. You can, however, fake a clean house. It's a temporary bandage, of course, but it'll buy you a little time until after the holidays.
1. Address The Dish Situation
Wash anything you let "soak" in the sink. Once clean, put anything you'll need to access for party prep towards the front of the cabinets. Anything you won't use? Put them on the upper shelves. Try to justify using disposables for food serving, in order to prevent a repeat problem. And if you're really in a bind, leave everything in the dishwasher.
For A Saner Future... Make it a habit to rinse, then pop into the dishwasher. Stop grabbing a new glass every time you're thirsty. And, know that if a dish soaks for more than an hour, it's going to stay in your sink way longer than anyone would like it to.
2. Set A Timer, Grab A Big Bin
Put anything that's supposed to be in the bedroom but isn't, into the bin. Setting a timer helps eliminate any wavering about whether or not something goes into the bedroom. Once the bin is full, put it into the bedroom or bedroom closet, to be dealt with later. Repeat with other rooms and other bins. Allot 15 minutes per room.
For A Saner Future... Keep a storage bin in each room at all times. At the end of each night, take anything that doesn't belong in the room, throw it in the bin and return to its proper location.
3. Bust Out The Trash Bags
If your entire wardrobe is on your bedroom floor, throw the clothes into trash bags. It's a temporary fix. Throw bags into the closet. If someone sees said bags, say that those are "donations" that you're taking to the thrift store tomorrow.
For A Saner Future... Go through each trash bag per day, sorting out clothes to launder and clothes to donate. Honestly, if you have so much that you could wade ankle-deep in clothes and STILL have wardrobe options in your closet or bureau...it's time to do a purge.
4. Stow Shoes
Under the couch seems to be a good place if your closets are now full. If you're lucky enough to have a mudroom, line shoes up along the baseboard.
For A Saner Future... Get one of those over-the-door shoe organizers, or add a few small shelves to the closet.
5. Contain Small Items
For the random things -- like pet toys and kids' stuff -- use a pretty basket or bin and place on a high shelf. You can also use the bins for stowing towels in the bathroom.
For A Saner Future... Grit your teeth and accept the fact that kids' and pet stuff will always be found where you least want it/expect it. And get more bins.
6. Clear The Coffee Table
This makes a big difference for minimal effort. Either clear the surface entirely, or neatly stack magazines and nice-looking books.
For A Saner Future... Try to make your coffee table the one area in your home that's always neat. It's a small surface, so there's really no excuse.
7. Flip Your Sofa Cushions
The lesser-used side is cleaner. Is your sofa truly horrendous? Pick up a plain slipcover from Bed, Bath & Beyond. No time for that? Drape a blanket across the back of the sofa.
For A Saner Future... Treat your sofa with a light fabric refresher, then vacuum. Get a nice slipcover. They can really hide a multitude of sins.
8. Wipe Down The Windows, Mirrors and Counters
It doesn't have to be perfect, it just has to be done.
For A Saner Future... Try to make a habit out of cleaning mirrors and windows once a week (or every two weeks), instead of "when I can barely see out of it or into it."
Or Swiffer, if you have wood floors. If you have pets, sprinkle baking soda onto the carpet, let sit for 15 minutes and then vacuum. Any mysterious odors are now gone.
For A Saner Future... Do we have to say it? Make it a habit.
10. Burn Candles
Freshens up the room without a heavy fragrance.
For A Saner Future... Candles are like perfume -- a nice addition, but not something that should replace good habits. Use your vent fans while cooking, let rooms air out, don't let dishes soak too long and never burn popcorn.
Ah yes, the holidays. Time for loving families to get together, sing songs and make beautiful memories.
If you are lucky enough to have such a family, that's awesome. But for many families it can be a time when you are bracing for the worst. Pick your situation or family member. You know it's coming. It's just to what degree.
Time to pack your holiday survival toolkits. Being prepared emotionally and coming with a few items can ease your get together. You might even start a new holiday tradition.
Commit these three ideas to memory. If your time together get awkward or strained, think back on them and make the most of your time together.
When uncomfortable topics or people start to drone on, gently redirect the conversation.
Bring along some items to fill awkward times or gaps in the conversation. A distraction may be welcomed.
You can choose your friends, but good, bad or otherwise, these people are your family. Its completely in your control on how to deal with them.
Some people say gift cards are not a thoughtful gift. Rather, it is simply exchanging money.
Who doesn't like getting money?
Gift cards are an organized way to simplify your holiday gift giving. Purchasing several of the exact same item simplifies your time and budget and allows you to spend more time on the things you want or need to do. They also come in handy for those last minute gifts.
Here's my favorite, and practical, gift cards:
Having been the recipient of several cards over the years, I can tell you of one great day we had. One year my husband and I had "gift card day". It was awesome! We went to lunch at Red Lobster, Target, bought some chocolates and coffee and finished the afternoon at Bachmans. Was almost a completely free day.
Best wishes for getting carded this season!
Over the past year I have hired some pretty amazing people to do things around the house. I am so thankful for our exceptionally hard working neighbor girl, Maddie. Would never have gotten those acorns raked and Tucker would have only been walked once a week.
I try to include a tip for every service that I hired out, it's this time of the year that I like to say a little extra thank you. Of course no one should ever expect to receive something extra this time of year, and the amount is completely up to you.
The following list from Real Simple notes some suggested tip amounts. Again, these are only suggestions and gratuity amounts will vary from region to region.
Welcome to my blog. I am glad you are here to read the musings on organizing and finding balance in your life. I hope you find them inspiring and motivating.