Saturday, December 27, 2008

Post Holiday Clean Up Tips

AFTER Holiday but BEFORE New Years, TIPS

Now that the holidays are over, don't just stuff your trimmings in a box nor your trash in the dump - THINK about how you can re-think the way you end this holiday season and how it carries over to next year. When you only have a couple of days off - it's easy to throw it all back in the box but DON'T! Read through the following tips to tweak your routine in order to start the year off right - and get yourself better prepare for next Christmas!

Use these simple steps as a starting point to a great new way of
Simpler Living...

As you starting pulling down your tree and gathering your other holiday decor, designate one area to collect and put everything there. I use the dining room table. I pull all my empty storage bins, tissue paper for wrapping delicate ornaments and my camera to the room. I go from room to room, gathering all the things to store and take them to the table. I try to separate the items into "piles" that will be stored together or stored by room what room they go in. Example: All Christmas balls go in one storage bin so they are placed together because I place them throughout the entire house. Everything that I use in the kitchen (cookie cutters, hand towels, etc) goes in one bin, so next year, when I start my holiday cooking , I can pull this one bin out to use if I haven't put up my other decor yet.
After I have been to each room and EVERYTHING is on the table (or surrounding floor!), I begin to pack. Each item is cheeked for damage and put in the "donate" pile if damaged or unwanted. Sometimes I go several years without using an item - when this happens I may keep it separate for a few years to see if I still want it. After a few years of not using it , I will offer it to my brother or it goes in the "donate" box. I also make a list of what I may need for next year (lights, etc).
By carefully packing UP your items this year, it will make Unpacking them next year a breeze. I photo the inside of each bin and place the photo on the outside with a label. This helps me find items later.
Read on for more great tips....

RECEIVED HOLIDAY CARDS - Chances are, with this year's economy, you didn't receive as many holiday cards as usual - but what do you do with the ones you did get? St. Jude's Children Ranch accepters used cards until Feb. 28th. The children participate in making the new recycled cards by removing the front and attaching a new back made with recycled paper. The new card is a beautiful, “green” card made by the children and volunteers. The benefits are two-fold: customers receive "green" holiday cards for use and the children receive payment for their work and learn the benefits and importance of "going green". For the address and more details, please click HERE. The Kendal Companies will also collect your cards and mail them for you. Contact Kendal HERE for more details

TAKE STOCK NOW - not next December! Take a minute to make a mental list of what you need to restock for next year. Holiday wrapping supplies can be found at drastically reduced prices in January. Store gift wrap in tall kitchen trash cans that can be easily stored. Keep all your holiday wrapping supplies separated and stored with your holiday decorations. This keeps it from combining with your everyday wrap and handy when the holiday comes back around.

ORGANIZE your WRAP - Take loose rolls or scraps of ribbons and roll them around an empty paper towel cardboard roll. Use a paper towel stand to stack rolls of ribbons that have their own holders. Use a clean small trash can to stack the long rolls of wrapping paper up. To keep rolls from unrolling and getting crushed, roll a rubber band around each roll, instead of taping the ends. This makes it easy to pull out what you need. Take a sturdy shoe box and fill it with everything you need to wrap - extra Scissors, multiple tape rolls, gifts tags, pens, etc. Any torn or unusable ribbon, save for kid's crafts in a clear tub. They can be used for homemade cards and crafts next year.

SORT your DECOR, as you put it away - Go through an examine each item before you store it. If it's broke, get rid of it. If it still holds sentimental value - then store it with other valuable items, NOT with your usable ornaments. Do you have tons of things you keep but don't use? Don't put it back in the closet. Collect these unwanted treasures in one box and donate them to a children's shelter for their use next year, or contact me HERE and I will keep them for next year's Un-loved Decorations Swap.

ORGANIZE your DECOR - Use everyday household items to retire your decor for the year. Egg crates can hold delicate ornaments. Tissue paper and gift bags from this year's gifts can be packed with holiday tins, towels, stuffed decor. Put all kitchen holiday utensils such as cookie cutters, snowman salt and pepper shakers and holiday paper plates all together and store OUT OF THE KITCHEN and with your decorations. You only use them once a year, keep them with the other holiday items. Keep all the same holiday items in clean, matching, PLASTIC tubs. Label the outside with a picture of the contents.

DONATE unwanted gifts - It's sounds terrible to "re-gift" but if you don't love it and it's only going to end up in the closet - move it out. Take it to the women's shelter. Donate to the military overseas. Give it to your mother - just move it from your house! This is YOUR year to de-clutter, don't start by keeping unwanted gifts.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Start the New Year Early.....

To start this week, BEFORE you fall back into your old routine, check out out great Tips and Helpful Hints for getting a head start on your year by packing up this year with a little more thought. There are great organizing tips for packing gulp holiday items, what to do with all those Holiday cards you received this year, and great ideas for starting your "action Plan" for the new year. Our Opus Sorority book swap is a great way to start purging those books, magazines and other media from your personal space. There are also great tips on how to start your own home recycling systems. However you start making those small changes to make your life simpler, just start - just like in the lottery - if you don't play, you can't win - and de-cluttering your life is defiantly a win.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Looking ahead to January...

Hope everyone is having a wonderful holiday season so far - I am working on the website updates for Jan. and need a little input. My focus will be cleaning up, clearing out and starting anew. I'm looking for your decluttering, recycling, home inventorying, etc tips. Things you actually use or do everyday that help. If you want to leave your name, I'll credit you on the tip if I post it on my website. Until then, keep warm and Merry Christmas.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

December Website Updates

Search our pages and you will find simple ideas that make a huge impact. Check out our list of tips and helpful hints for throwing a simpler, but still elegant, holiday party. Instead of the usual Holiday Dinner, try the step-by-steps instructions on our SIMPLE BRUNCH page which includes pictures, recipes and a shopping list.

There are also great craft projects for children, classic holiday decor ideas, and fun facts for December. Our TOADILY HANDMADE on line store can save you time (and money) with unique and personal gift ideas such as a personalized SKIRT PURSE or a Chocolate Christmas Bouquet. Send those you love a special handmade holiday card instead of plain store-bought ones. Ski Slopes calling your name? How about a holiday away from home? Our travel site has last minute holiday specials for you. Also - mark your calender for January 5th. Our first quarterly Opus Sorority Book Swap is scheduled. Come join us as we kick off the new year!

December Creative Night

Thanks to all the ladies that came out last night - our group was small and it was a little chilly, but we had a great time! I finally started the coral paintings for my dining room and Peggy got a lesson from Marie on watercolors and Chinese brush techniques. The book swap had four new boxes added to the table for next time and the Christmas decor swap table was piled high!

Due to the cold weather season - we are considering taking a break from the actual creative process for Jan. and Feb. It's just too cold in the studio and the heaters did not warm it up enough last night. In Jan. we will just hold the Opus Sorority book swap and in Feb. I hope to invite a lady who is a "Creative Coach" to speak. Keep and eye on the website and your inbox for details. click on the Creative Life Studios or Events tabs

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Thanks to the Cartersville Executive Business Women's Group

Thanks again to the ladies for inviting me to speak at their monthly luncheon. I really enjoyed it and I hope everyone learned some great new party planning tips. The presentation notes and photos are now posted. Don't forget to check for the recipes I promised!