Tips & Tricks

What do You Want For the Holidays?

What I want for the holidays

Dear Family:
I am so happy the holidays are here. Before you think about buying me anything this holiday season, I feel that I should tell you that I don’t need a single thing. Seriously, I have everything a person could want in multiples. Anyhow, I like to think of myself as an aspiring minimalist and an “under-buyer.” (Thank you Gretchen Rubin for that term)

You’ll roll your eyes, but I am trying to resist the forces of consumerism that surrounds us. I don’t need

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What to do on Thanksgiving Day (other than eat)

What to do on Thanksgiving Day
Every year we gather with friends and family for a Thanksgiving Day feast of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole and pumpkin pie. For those who are hosting this year, we have some ideas to keep your guests entertained while you prepare the meal and activities everyone can participate in after the big meal is over.

 

Thanksgiving Activities for the Kids

To entertain the children on Thanksgiving consider having age appropriate puzzles, mad libs, crafts and board games on hand. The children can play games, hang out with grandpa and the cousins while the turkey bakes in the oven. Children may work on a craft activity, provided they don’t need the host’s supervision or involvement – you already have your hands full! A game of flag football in the back yard or a trip to the neighborhood park is always a good call.
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15 Holiday Gift Ideas That Don’t Create Clutter

Holiday Gift ideas without clutter

Holiday gift ideas are easy to find for young children. Young children grow quickly and move through various stages of toys they like. The tougher question is, what gifts do you get for the teens and adults on your list? After all, these are the folks who may already have homes full of the latest electronic gadgets and who might not “need” anything.

The following are creative gift ideas which are experience oriented. Best of all, these items don’t create clutter in your home!

1. Spring Break or Summer camp enrollment is a great gift for tweens and teens.
2. Cooking classes from PCC or Sur La Table are a wonderful gift for young and old.
3. A gift of lift tickets at a local mountain is appreciated by teens or adults.
4. A photo book of a recent trip is a great gift for grandparents.
5. Airplane tickets for college students

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Thanksgiving 2016 – Your Practical Guide!

Practical Thanksgiving Guide
The Thanksgiving 2016 countdown is on. We have less than three weeks to plan and execute a fabulous Thanksgiving family event. If reading those words made your Halloween candy headache come back, we can help! Thanksgiving is about time together and a traditional meal – not about weeks of stress or trying to out perfect Martha Stewart.

Early November

  • Now is the time to finalize your Thanksgiving guest list. Take care of the calls, emails, and texts to finalize who is coming to your house for the big turkey meal. Let your family know who will be joining you for Thanksgiving and let them know you will need everyone’s help in getting your home ready.
  • It is time to clear away any dining room clutter. The entire family can help. As a part of playtime, children can return toys and arts and crafts to their bedrooms. You and your spouse can put away items which don’t belong in the dining room. Resist hiding the clutter in a bedroom or closet to be dealt with later. If your dining room (kitchen, pantry, entryway) is buried, and clearing it out seems like an impossible task, a professional organizer can help.
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How to Make Your Sock Drawer Amazing in 10 Minutes or Less

Organized sock drawer

If you are like most people, your sock drawer is an overflowing tangled mess. It is a mix of your favorite socks, old socks, uncomfortable socks, random single socks, old panty hose and who knows what else. Most days you reach in and grab a pair of socks that are near the top and hope for the best. But when you are in a hurry or when you actually need to find something in there, it can become frustrating!

Take ten minutes to organize your sock drawer!

Dump out the contents of your sock drawer on the floor. Select your favorite socks, the ones you wear most frequently – assuming they are in good condition and have their mate. Return your favorite socks to your empty sock drawer.
The rest of the socks on the floor can go into a shopping tote. Now you may have a pretty empty sock drawer, but don’t fret. As you do laundry, add clean socks pairs back into your drawer. If you come across socks with holes, toss them. If you come across socks you know are uncomfortable for whatever reason, toss them.
When getting dressed, first try to grab socks out of your drawer. If you can’t find what you need, find a pair of socks in your shopping tote. When you do laundry, keep returning the socks you like to your drawer. Your drawer will fill up only with socks you actually use.
In two weeks all that will be left in your shopping tote are socks you will likely never wear. Provided that your sock drawer contains enough socks for your needs, feel free to toss or donate what is left in the tote.
Enjoy your newly organized sock drawer. For an even more organized sock drawer, check out this sock organizer!

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The Key to an Organized Entryway

Entryway Organization Before and After

For our family members the entryway is often a dumping ground for coats, backpacks, shoes, sports equipment, shopping bags and mail. But, our entryway may also be the first place our guests see when they visit our homes.  If your entryway is a cluttered mess, then consider the following tips.

Organized Entryway Tips

1. If you don’t already have them, install hooks to hang coats and backpacks. If space is tight then backpacks may need to live in your child’s bedroom. A coat rack also works well.
2. Keep only the most commonly used coats by the door. The rest can stay in the coat closet if you have one, bedroom closet if you don’t. Store off season items in a hall or bedroom closet.
3. Consider a shoe rack or basket to contain shoes by the front door. Extra pairs of shoes can be stored in the bedroom closet and snow or rain boots can live in the garage.
4. Consider relocating

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5 Surprising Things You Don’t Need in Your Home Office

5 things you don't need in your home office

Whether or not you have a home office, you probably have office supplies. You may have LOTS of office supplies going unused around your home. Here are top 5 office supplies you can safely downsize.

Resume Paper and Business Cards

Remember that lovely thick paper you purchased so that your resume would look professional? It’s been replaced by email. Recycle it, it’s not worth the space it’s taking up in your home office. Keep your contact information in one location on your hard drive or email address book and toss the physical business cards. You will have more access to contact information when it’s not buried in a drawer in your home office.

Photo Paper

When digital photography was taking hold, it seemed like a great idea to print all your photos at home. The quality was poor and the paper and printer ink was expensive. Today, we share our photos online, over social media, or have photo books made by one of the many photo website providers. If you still have photo paper lurking around, it’s safe to downsize it.

Binder Clips and Paper Clips

These days we are not paper clipping a whole lot of documents at home. If you have huge supplies of paper clips in your home office, keep a handful and downsize the rest.

10,000 Pens and Notepads

As we increasingly embrace shopping list apps and to-do list apps, we have less and less need for notepads and pens. We may have stacks of yellow paper pads lurking and hundreds of long dried out pens cluttering our drawers. Downsize these items and give your office a little breathing space. Additionally, aside from manila folders used for filing, we do not have a lot of use for binders and random plastic folders. If you have been storing empty binders for years without having found a use for them, it’s time to donate them.

Out-Dated Computer Equipment

When organizing your office, you may come across old computers or laptops. Perhaps you’ve been hanging on to these because you are just not sure how to dispose of the hard drive safely. We would be happy to have it shredded for you. Contact us, and let us know how we can help.

For tips on downsizing paperwork, check out Organizing Paperwork.

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How Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) is Killing Your Productivity

FOMO is killing your productivity

Every second of everyday, we are barraged with TV and internet ads, special sales, loyalty program offers and marketing messages cleverly designed to instill FOMO and to make us want to buy “stuff”. Of course, we need some “stuff”, but it takes serious mental strength to resist the FOMO and the constant pull toward over-buying.

“May we have your email address so that you can receive special promotions?”

Every time we visit a store (physical or online) we are asked for our email address so that we can receive coupons and

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Improve the Functionality of your Kitchen in Ten Minutes

Improve kitchen functionality in ten minutes

Our kitchens sustain our family. Our kitchen is where our family and guests gather to eat and spend time together. Ask yourself, on a day to day basis does your kitchen work for you? Are your counters covered with piles of who knows what? Are your cupboards filled to the max? Are you having trouble finding things? Is your pantry a black hole? Are you embarrassed to have guests over?

You can make your kitchen work for you! In just 10 minutes a day!

Tonight…

Set aside ten minutes before going to bed tonight. Start with the counters in your kitchen. Recycle any junk mail or old papers that may be cluttering the counter. Take any items that don’t belong in the kitchen and return them to their appropriate home. Put away one appliance you haven’t used in the past month. Fill and start your dishwasher. That is all for today. You are on your way!

In the morning…

Your kitchen will feel a tiny bit cleaner and more organized in the morning. If you can, empty your dishwasher before leaving for work or school. (I’ve timed it and realized it only takes me THREE minutes to empty my dishwasher! And yes, I was half asleep when I did the time test!) Load the dishwasher with breakfast dishes. Take a look at the counter again with fresh eyes, can anything else be put away? Take a minute while drinking your coffee and make one small change – even if it is just recycling old receipts, or putting a cookbook away. Every small effort helps.

Tomorrow night…

Repeat this ten-minute ritual again before going to bed. Is there an appliance on the counter that is taking up a lot of space, but is rarely used? Put it away. Work on putting away items that don’t belong on the kitchen counter. Put away clean dishes and load the dishwasher. Put away any food that belongs in the pantry. Take out trash and recycling. Quickly wipe down the counter. Start the dishwasher. Your tidier kitchen is

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Get Ready for a Stress-free Holiday Season

Get Ready for a stress-free holiday season
Let’s face it, it’s hard to get ready for the next week, much less for the next season! You are super busy with life, children, jobs, family. Life is pretty hectic as it is. But the last thing you need this fall is extra stress because your furnace suddenly stops working or because tree branches damaged your roof. What you do want is calm. You’d like time to spend with your family. It would be nice to entertain your friends and family in your home this winter.  It would also be nice to have gorgeous photos of your family and cute holiday cards printed and ready to go before Thanksgiving. Yea, not going to happen you say?

 

This mythical holiday bliss is possible! You just need to get started now.

 

Get Ready for the Holidays

• Schedule family photos. Now. Photographers are booking up.
• Arrange holiday travel plans. Buy your plane tickets and reserve your hotel and rental car.
• Update your address list for holiday greeting cards. Order holiday greeting cards.
• Begin a gift list. To keep track of what you have already purchased and what you still need try a list app such as Wunderlist or Todoist. Share the gift list with relatives.
• Consider “experience gifts” or gifts that do not create clutter. Downsize toys before the new ones arrive at Christmas.
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