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Author: Sherry CastaldiHolidays Home Seasonal Storage

How to Organize Your Holiday Décor

The holiday season means decoration time. Pulling out boxes, bags and containers of all kinds of special treasures you’ve saved   for embellishing your home every year and they are all marked “holiday”.   Where to begin, but to open them all and start dragging items out until you find what you are looking for at that moment.  Eventually you make your way through it all in time to enjoy the holidays for the family gatherings and entertaining of the season, only to be quickly followed by the dreaded post-holiday season of taking down those decorations and putting them away for another year.  But did you know the post-holiday season is the best time to organize all those decorations?

Here are some organizing tips for making this a really productive organizing season too!

  1. This is the most perfect time to take stock of your exterior and interior décor. Has anything served its time well and is no longer useful, looks dated or worn, or anything you would ever use again? Now is the time to purge those items. If you are not going to use them next year, certainly do not take precious space and time to pack them up again. Donate what may be reusable to someone else that you won’t use again. Throw away anything that no longer is of use to anyone.
  2. Sort your items, keeping in mind you want to keep like and similar items together.  Here are some examples of how to sort depending upon what you have; exterior décor from interior décor,  exterior lights from Interior lights, wreaths, garlands, holiday linens, centerpieces, collections of holiday items should be grouped together, ornaments,  candles, etc.  You should now have everything sorted into categories so that all like items are grouped together.
  3. Now is the time to visually see the amount of the items you have and the size and shape of the containers you will need to store them in. There are many assorted storage containers available during this season for just this organizing event.
  4. When you pack your items away remember to use a little packaging paper or bubble wrap for any breakables so they are not just loose in a container.
  5. Label each container from the categories you made when sorting the items. Put the items in the corresponding containers. You may have multiple categories in one container. That’s ok. Just label what is in there.
  6. Now you are ready to store all your containers in their designated area until next year and you will now know exactly where everything is!
  7. There is another sorting option and that is to sort all the décor for each room into its own category, for example; Living Room, Dining Room, Kitchen, Family Room, etc.  This is not advised for everyone but works for some folks that don’t like to think about where they are placing their decorations every year, so a designated container for each room works well for them.

When next year comes around you won’t be opening 10+ containers at once looking for certain items as you are trying to decorate.  By sorting all of your holiday décor into categories and packing the décor into labeled containers will keep your décor organized and easy to access for the next season.  You’ll look forward to knowing where everything is when you’re ready to decorate and knowing where everything belongs when you’re ready to put it away.

Author: Annie Amoon RichardClothing Organizing Seasonal Storage

The Organized Way to Pack for a Trip

Here are simple ways to put the sanity back into the process of packing for a trip:

  1. Keep it simple; what do you really need to bring that won’t be available where you are going?  With all of the new rules and fees for traveling these days, it is wise to take only what is absolutely necessary.  Think of the stuff that you pack as paying to take it by its weight.  You are paying for everything you pack.  Choose wisely.  Is it worth its weight?
  2. Pack a “bathroom bag” with the toiletries that you use every day in your bathroom routines.  This is a great time to make use of those travel size toiletries you have saved.  Keep this bag packed and stocked at all times.  Then when you are packing for a trip, the bathroom bag just goes right into the suitcase.  No more unpacking and repacking for every trip.  This also comes in handy if you run out of your regular supply and forget to replenish right away.  I’ve done this for years and it really works.  An added benefit of this is that you can be all packed before you take your last shower before you go.  You don’t have to wait to pack your last minute toiletries.
  3. Invest in a few classic pieces of clothing that can be dressed up or down, depending on the situation.  Dress in layers for variations in weather/temperature can be unpredictable.  One good sweater or light jacket that goes with everything is a handy piece to have.  Assemble a wardrobe that can easily be mixed or matched to create several different outfits from a few basic pieces.
  4. Stick to the basics of neutral colors and dress up your outfits with accessories.  It takes up far less room in the suitcase to pack an accent scarf or tie, than it does to pack an additional outfit.
  5. Once you have packed, consider eliminating half of what you packed.  Don’t pack based on the “just in case” thinking.  Pack based on what you know you need.  If a situation arises, and you have packed based on the above tips, you will have what you need to be flexible.  And it is a lot easier to simply say, “I didn’t know I would need to bring that.”, than to pack for every contingency and be cranky because you had to pay a lot in baggage fees and drag around a heavy suitcase of stuff that you didn’t even end up using at all.
  6. Pack like things together.  Put all of your electronic gadgets and chargers, etc in one place.  Pack the snacks together, as well as the reading materials or work to do as you travel.   There are few things more frustrating than searching through multiple pockets or compartments to find what you need.  The “assign a home” concept of organizing applies to travel too.  If you use the same travel bags or suitcases, put the same things in the same places each time you pack, and you will find what you are looking for with a lot less stress.
  7. Be comfortable.  Bring what feels good to wear or what you feel confident wearing.

Stay true to yourself and you will always look fabulous!  It doesn’t make sense to go on       vacation to reduce stress and then pack in such a way as to cause you more stress.  Pack well and enjoy your trip.

Author: Naomi CookHome Organizing Organizing Products Storage Wardrobe Management

Label Me Organized

As a Professional Organizer, one of my favorite tools is my label maker.  With one little machine you can create oodles of labels in different fonts, colors and even add borders.  However, can you create a label without a label maker?  Absolutely!  Check out these other creative and perhaps “new to you” ideas to keep all of your favorite things in place:

  • Use Photos…to quickly find the pair of shoes that you are looking for. While pictures work fine mounted on any shoebox, different manufacturers’ shoes come in different size boxes and those can be hard to organize.  Clear plastic shoeboxes fit the bill for that dilemma, but what I really love are the stackable shoeboxes with an open front!  With those you don’t have to take all the other shoeboxes off to reach the pair you want that day.  By putting the picture on one end and the other end backed up to the wall you will achieve a consistent and colorful look!
  • Have you gone to a lot of conferences and never know what to do with those Plastic name tag holders with the safety pin on the back?  Flip over the paper with your name on it and use the blank side as your label!  Pin them on those fabric cube boxes that you can seem to find almost anywhere.
  • Did you know that if you put a Magnet on each side of a clear plastic bin, that the two of them will bond?  I just tested it and it worked!  Use a generic flat magnet on the interior of the bin and on the exterior, use a magnet with a clip.  Consider creating a small label with scrapbooking materials or pressed flowers, laminating it, and then clipping that on!

The additional ideas listed below are brought to you courtesy of Martha Stewart and her new Home Office line at Staples.  What can’t that woman do!

  • Martha came up with ElastiNote Tags®, which are tags connected to an elastic band.  These are ideal for cord control or to secure a box with jewelry, coins or any other small items.
  • She also created Small Metal Bookplates, which add a classic touch to items like magazine holders and photo boxes.
  • Finally, for those people out there with commitment issues in regards to their labeling, you are in luck!  Chalkboard Labels (conveniently placed near Martha Stewart’s chalk!) and Dry Erase Labels (where are your markers, Martha?) are easy and fun to use.  Just erase and start over again!

Whatever your preference or style there is a labeling option out there for you…even if it’s as simple as a Post-It and Sharpie!  Happy Labeling!

Author: Annette ReymanClutter General Home Organizing Organizing Products Storage

Measure Twice…Buy Once

Home is where you hang your hat. – Proverb

(That is, if you can find your hat and if there’s room for it on the hat rack.)

You’re walking through your local home goods store and you see the most attractive fabric storage totes that would be just perfect for finally organizing your bulging linen closet and you just have to buy them.  When you go to set them up the next day, you realize that not only are they too small to hold the contents of your closet but they are also too tall to fit on your shelves!

It can be so frustrating to spend time picking out a lovely basket or interesting storage piece only to bring it home and find that it is barely big enough to store half of what you had in mind.  It could be baskets to organize your pantry or plastic bins for sports equipment in the garage.  Whatever the intent, there are a few things worth considering prior to running out to buy organizing supplies.

Size:  It’s hard to choose the right sized storage piece(s) when you don’t know how much you have to store!  Before picking out the container

  • Figure out what amount you will be containing by gathering all related items together, discarding anything that is broken, expired or simply unwanted.  Make sure that what is left fits into the area that it will be stored.
  • Measure the space so that you can select a container that will fit – whether it’s a drawer, cabinet or simply an open area, write down the measurements or store a note or text in your cell phone.  This way you will have them handy when that “perfect” product or sale catches your eye!

Function:  The type of items and frequency of their usage should be taken into account when deciding what type of container to choose

  • Items, such as outdoor toys and sports equipment that will be frequently used are best kept in open containers that make for quick access and encourage easy clean-up.
  • Colored bins with lids may be best for seasonal storage, while clear plastic or wire baskets might be better for back-up supplies that you don’t want to forget you’ve purchased.
  • Items like nail polish that you may want to use in the den watching TV one time and at the kitchen table another, might be best kept in a handled tote.
  • Fabric baskets can help manage a linen closet while adding charm.

Placement:  Decide whether or not your container will be in public view

  • If you are looking for a storage solution that will help you organize items under a sink or in desk drawers, metal or plastic may be a perfectly acceptable solution.
  • On the other hand, do you have a lot of office supplies in your den that you need to keep handy?  A plastic rolling cart might fit the need but may not be something you really want on display.  Consider a small nightstand or cabinet that can offer storage while still complementing your décor.

Cost:  Your need for function or fashion will have some affect on the amount you will spend on storage.

  • Picking up some drawer inserts in the dollar section of your office-supply store is an appropriate and affordable solution
  • On the other hand, choosing a filing cabinet that is well rated and designed may cost more now, but will save you money in the long run – both monetarily and in your frustration.

Now that you have considered size, function, placement and cost, you can stroll confidently among aisles of home organizing tools, sizing up all the latest, greatest products with an eye for just the right one that fits your need.