Archive for December, 2010

Dec 29 2010

Profile Image of Curtis Cadenhead

Home Organization: Packing and Storing Holiday Decorations

Storage ContainersWhile many of us enjoy decorating for the holidays, almost all of us can agree it is not as near as much fun taking it all down, packing it up and putting everything away. The following tips come from various organizational experts and are sure to help you clean up and store your holiday decorations so they are easy to find and display next year.

 

1.    Purge what you have. Before you pack everything up, go through what you have. It’s OK to get rid of things you really don’t like or items that no longer match your decorating theme. Get rid of things that are broken, strands of lights that are burnt out and things you don’t use anymore. Be sure to recycle what you can and donate usable items to charity. Consider decorations of sentimental value. You might not be able to part with a particular item no matter what, but if something is in pretty bad shape but you continue to keep it because it reminds you of something special, maybe snapping a photo will be enough to preserve that special memory.

 

2.    Gather and take inventory. Before you can organize and store your holiday decorations you have to know what you are going to keep. Collect all holiday decorations and related items in one place. Group similar items. Take inventory. How many boxes of ornaments do you have? How many wreaths?  Does each child have his or her own stocking? Count everything you have and be aware of sizes, especially anything oversized or oddly shaped.

 

3.    Keep track of what you have.  It is not a bad idea to keep track of new holiday items you buy throughout the year whether you find a deal on wrapping paper at a clearance sale or find something special at a craft show you attend in July. One way to do this is to keep a small notebook in an easy-to-find place such as in a drawer in the office or on the top shelf of a kitchen cabinet. Record anything you buy that will be part of the coming year’s décor and holiday festivities. Furthermore, you could do this with other Christmas and holiday related items such as keeping a record of gifts you’ve already purchased, recipes that friends have shared with you, or the dates when your cousins plan to be in town to celebrate the holidays with you.

 

4.    Select a storage space – Look around your home. Select a storage space that is big enough to hold ALL of your holiday decorations and other Christmas related items safely without being in the way all year long. (ALL means everything from gift wrap and cookie cutters to lights and the artificial tree.) This could be a space in the attic, a storage closet, a corner of the basement, etc. Measure the storage space and purchase containers that will fit in the given space. If you have a limited storage space, this may help determine what items you purge in Step 1.

 

5.    Label everything – Make an effort to label every box and storage container with the exact contents inside. The labels don’t have to be fancy. Simply write on the outside of the box or tape an index card to each box listing what is inside. You can even color code them if you choose. Labeling will make decorating a lot easier next year.

 

6.    Store it together – Move all boxes, storage containers, etc. into the storage space you selected. Safely arrange the boxes so they will not fall. Whenever possible, stack your storage containers with their labels facing forward or up so you can quickly identify what is inside each box next year. Keep everything together in one place whenever possible. This makes it easier to get your decorations out next year. There is an exception here. Make note of special items such as highly breakable pieces, linens or antiques. These may need to be stored in a temperature-controlled environment within the main living areas of the home. Keep track of these types of items in your notebook from Step 3 since you won’t be storing them with everything else.

 

Though cleaning and packing up after the holidays is not much fun, and sometimes a lengthy process, these home storage tips for your holiday décor will help cut down the amount of time you spend putting things away and make decorating a little easier next year.

No responses yet

Dec 22 2010

Profile Image of Curtis Cadenhead

Learn the Basics about Cabin House Plans – The House Plan Shop

032H-0005 Cabin House PlanCabin house plans are small in nature and are often used as vacation homes or secondary residences, perfect for weekend getaways. They are generally known for their rustic appearance and ability to blend with their natural surroundings. Many times, cabin home plans are built as a hunting or fishing retreat and work well in the mountains, beside lakes and in wooded areas. The exterior finish and trim often consists of natural materials such wooden siding or shingles and stone. Outdoor living spaces such as covered or screened porches encourage the enjoyment of nature. Inside, cabin floor plans deliver the basic amenities. They usually provide one or two bedrooms (or maybe an upstairs sleeping loft), a full bath, an efficiency kitchen, and an open floor plan with the kitchen and eating space adjoining the living area. Sometimes, cabins even include a fireplace and a stacked/washer dryer unit. The interiors are usually finished with wood continuing the rustic feel inside the home. Log cabins are perhaps the most well known cabin home plans. The designs in The House Plan Shop’s cabin house plan collection are typically less than 1220 square feet and do not have a garage. Due to their small nature and ability to fit into the surroundings almost anywhere, cabin floor plans are closely related to cottage home plans and vacation house plans.

No responses yet

Dec 14 2010

Profile Image of Curtis Cadenhead

The House Plan Shop: 8 Holiday Road Trip Travel Tips

Holiday Road Trip Travel TipsIf you are like most of us, you are likely to take at least one road trip during the holiday season to visit family or friends. Whether your road trip takes only a couple hours or a couple days on the road, The House Plan Shop believes these travel safety tips will help ensure a successful road trip this holiday season.

 

1.    Give your car a checkup – Before setting out on your road trip, make sure your car is in good working condition. Be sure to get an oil change before you leave and check your antifreeze levels and tire pressure.

2.    Prepare for cold weather – If you are traveling where it will be cold and snowy make sure you have plenty of window washer fluid. Be sure you have ice scrapers in your car as well as other emergency supplies for cold weather such as a thermal blanket, flashlights and even a set of jumper cables.

3.    Plan your route – Map your route of travel. Check traffic websites for detours and construction zones. If your holiday road trip will take more than a day’s travel, make hotel reservations at establishments along your route. Don’t forget to pack your maps and hotel reservation confirmation numbers.

4.    Prepare for kids and pets – If you are traveling with children or pets, road trips can be an adventure. Pack drinks and snacks for the kids as well as entertainment – books, games, a favorite stuffed animal, DVDs, music, etc. As for your pets, don’t forget to pack food and any medications your pets may need.

5.    Know the best time to drive – Traffic and roadway research shows roadways are safest to travel during the day. The most dangerous times to travel are early in the morning and late at night when drivers are more likely to be intoxicated or tired. It is recommended to travel between 7:00 am and 10:00 pm. Depart early and plan to be at your destination or hotel before it gets too late. AND…don’t forget to buckle up!

6.    No alcohol – It is illegal and it is not safe to drink and drive. Research concludes even one alcoholic drink is enough to cause important changes in cognition, which can affect your ability to drive. Just wait until you arrive at your destination and enjoy a holiday drink with friends and family.  

7.    Take breaks – When taking a road trip it is necessary to give your body and mind a break. Pull over in a safe place about every 3 hours for 5-10 minutes to recharge your body,  stretch your legs, give your eyes a quick break. Grab a snack, a soda or even lunch if necessary. If you are traveling with multiple drivers, drive in shifts so no one experiences fatigue.

8.    Wake up or catch up on sleep – Statistics report in 2009 alone over 100,000 car crashes were due to drowsy driving. If you are driving in shifts with another driver, take a nap while the other person is behind the wheel. If not, pull over in a safe well-lit place and take a quick power nap. But perhaps the best idea is plan to check into your hotel early in the evening so you can go to bed early and catch up on sleep for the next day’s drive.

 

The holidays are a wonderful time for everyone. Make sure you and your loved ones enjoy them by staying safe when taking a holiday road trip.

No responses yet

Dec 12 2010

Profile Image of Curtis Cadenhead

Practical Tips for Holiday Organization and Storage – The House Plan Shop

Want to have a little less stress this holiday season and for years to come? The House Plan Shop recommends these practical holiday storage and organization tips for everything from decorating to storing pieces and parts for new toys and games.

 

1.    Take pictures – If you like something about the way you decorated your home this holiday season, take photos. You don’t need to print your pictures. Simply save them on your computer and use them for a reference next year. Maybe you like the way you decorated your mantle, the new idea you tired in the den, or have a fabulous outdoor light display. The photos are all you’ll need to decorate the same way next year.

2.    Make room – If you have kids, it is no secret they are bound to end up with more treasures this holiday season than there is room to store them in your home. Now is the time to clean out and make room for new toys, clothing and other items that will soon be here. Involve your child in this clean-out process. Have them make a pile of toys they no longer play with or have outgrown. Separate toys into “usable” and “broken” piles. Donate good toys to charity and throw away or recycle anything that is broken. Do the same with clothing. You must make room in the closet or dresser for what is to come. Get rid of anything that no longer fits your child. Pass on usable pieces to a relative or friend that could use it, or donate it.

3.    Be wrap ready – There is no doubt you’ll be wrapping plenty of gifts this holiday season, so be ready. Purchase a storage container to hold all of your wrapping supplies and keep everything in one place. Collect ribbon, scissors, tap, gift tags, etc. and place them in a storage container. (Some storage containers are large enough to hold rolls of gift wrap and all of your other supplies.) When it is time to start wrapping, you won’t have to search the house for the tape or look for gift tags; you’ll know right where to find them.

4.    Be prepared – As a parent, you have a pretty good idea what toys and games your child will be receiving as gifts. If you anticipate anything with small pieces or lots or parts, have containers ready to go as soon as the gifts are open. You can use anything from Zip-Lock bags and repurposed butter tubs for smaller items to storage bins.

5.    Store for next year – When the holidays are over and it is time to pack up all the lights and decorations, store them in a manner that makes them easy to find and ready to use next year. Store all the items used to decorate a particular room in one storage container and label it “great room,” “kitchen,” “dining room,” etc. When it is time to decorate next year, you can tackle one room at a time and won’t have any problem finding the decorations you need. If you do print the photos mentioned in Tip # 1, you can store them in the storage containers with their corresponding décor.

 

The holidays can be a time of fun and enjoyment with family and friends, but we often get caught up in the hustle and bustle and become overwhelmed and stressed out. With these holiday organization and storage tips, you’ll be more prepared for the holidays giving you a little more time to relax and enjoy them.

No responses yet

Dec 07 2010

Profile Image of Curtis Cadenhead

The House Plan Shop: 5 Holiday Safety Tips

Step StoolThe holidays are approaching quickly and it is easy to get caught up in the festivities of the season, but this is no time to let your guard down when it comes to following safe practices. The House Plan Shop has five holiday safety tips for you to review. Keep them in mind this holiday season.

 

1.    Practice Fire Safety – Most residential fires occur during the winter months and with extra activities to attend and plenty of family and friends stopping by to visit, it is easy to forget about fire safety. If you burn candles in your home, keep them away from holiday trees, curtains, blankets, and walking paths such as the hallway and other high traffic areas. Most importantly keep them out of reach of children and pets. Do not leave fireplaces, space heaters, candles and stoves unattended. Do not use grills, generators or other gasoline- or charcoal-burning devices inside your home, including the garage and basement. Make sure smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors are working properly.

2.    Prevent Injuries – Injuries can occur anywhere at any time including during the holidays. Use a step stool instead of furniture when hanging holiday decorations. Make sure your ladder is secure before climbing to the rooftop to hang holiday lights. Leave the fireworks to the professionals.

3.    Keep an Eye on the Kids – With so much happening during the holidays, it is easy to get caught up in a conversation with Aunt Jane whom you haven’t seen since last year or have fun participating in the events at a holiday party. But remember if the kids are with you, you must keep a watchful eye. Whether they are eating, playing or watching a movie with their cousins in the other room, you should know what your kids are doing at all times. Keep potentially dangerous items such as toys, food, drinks and other hazardous household items out of reach. Make sure toys and game pieces are used properly. If your kids have any food allergies, make sure to check out all food items and drinks that are served at any holiday gathering you attend and help your child make healthy decisions about what to eat.

4.    Practice Travel Safety – Whether your holiday travels take you across town or completely across the country, practice safe travel habits. Do not drink and drive. Always buckle up. Make sure your child is properly fastened in his/her car seat, booster seat or just buckled in properly according to child safety laws. Also, make sure your car is in good working order and be prepared for inclement weather.

5.    Be Healthy – The holidays can make it hard to follow your normal daily routine, so make sure you continue to practice good habits for your health. Wash hands often. Dress warm in cold climates and stay dry. Cook foods to their proper temperatures. Make sure to schedule some down time in your busy schedule to relax and regroup. Most importantly make sure the whole family gets plenty of rest.

 

These simple tips will help ensure you and your family will enjoy a safe holiday season.

No responses yet

Older Posts »