After the winter holidays have passed you’ll face the enormous task of packing and storing all of your holiday decorations for next year. Below are eight tips that will make the task go more smoothly than before and make it easier to decorate your home next Christmas.
- Christmas tree – The box your artificial tree came in seems like the most logical storage box, but repacking your tree in that box will seem like an impossible task. You’ll have to smash and bend all the branches in order to squeeze the tree back inside it. Also, the cardboard box can deteriorate if subjected to moisture and could also be prone to insect infestation. Instead of using the Christmas tree box, try a Christmas tree bag or a commercially available plastic Christmas tree storage box.
- Christmas lights – Get rid of the tangled mess of light strands you deal with every year. Dispose of any strands of lights that no longer work properly. Then, roll each good strand of lights into a ball and place each ball in a separate plastic bag or empty coffee can. Another option is to wrap each strand of lights around an empty wrapping paper roll or a sturdy piece of cardboard. Then place all of the bags, cans or wrapping paper rolls together in a plastic storage container to prevent moisture damage.
- Decorations that you’ll have to reassemble next year – Before taking down decorations that you had to assemble, take pictures of them the way you set them up so you can remember how to do it next year. Then take everything down in the reverse order of the way you set it all up.
- Christmas candles – Wrap each candle in an old sock, tissue paper or a plastic shopping bag to prevent scratching. Be sure to store away from heat sources such as an attic where heat could melt the candles.
- Holiday wreaths – Most department and home stores sell Christmas wreath storage boxes of various sizes. However, boot boxes often work well for small and medium-sized wreaths. Just remember, whatever you use to store your wreaths must be able to maintain the shape of the wreath until next year.
- Christmas ornaments – Many ornaments come in individual boxes that work well for repacking and storage until next year. Try using other small boxes for homemade ornaments or wrap them in tissue paper and store in a larger box. For small ornaments, use an egg carton.
- Holiday linens – Store each Christmas linen in an individual Zip Lock bag if possible, and then put all of them in a plastic storage container together to prevent moisture damage. Or you might consider dedicating the top shelf of your linen closet to holiday linens, towels, blankets, pillows etc. Place a few dryer sheets in between your items to keep them smelling fresh until next year.
- Label the storage boxes – Tape a detailed list of what is inside each box to the outside of the box so you can quickly determine what is inside when it is time to decorate next year. Clearly number the boxes so you know how many you have (for example, Box 2 of 9). Use the number order to identify which boxes should be unpacked first next winter. Box 1 should be prominently labeled and contain all the things you’ll need at the beginning of the holiday season like your advent calendar and the holiday greeting cards that you’ll be sending to family and friends if you bought them on clearance this year.
With a little planning and effort, you can organize and store your holiday decorations in an efficient manner that will be easy to find and display next year.
Is your garage a piled mess of items you need to store but don’t have a designated space for them? Do you wish you could one day park the car in the garage again? If so, it is time to organize your garage. The best way to do this is to clean out the entire garage and install storage cabinets and other accessories to help you stay organized.
Once you clean out the garage, sort items into two piles – the items you want to keep and the items you no longer need. Now determine if the things you are getting rid of can be recycled, donated or just thrown away. Next take a look at your “keep” pile. Assess how much storage space you’ll need and what types of storage accessories will best accommodate your belongings. Garage storage cabinets are available in a wide variety of choices so it should be easy to find just the right ones to fit in your garage and accommodate all of your belongings. In addition to cabinets, there are other storage accessories available like shelving units, workbenches and counters that provide extra storage space and even work space.
Install storage cabinets and shelves according to your needs. Be sure to consider locking cabinets for items that you need to keep out of reach of small children such as power tools or harmful chemicals like pesticides. Remember to give the kids some storage space, too. Floor cabinets and shelves at the bottom of the shelving unit are easy-to-access for children allowing them to have a place to story outdoor toys, skateboards and soccer balls. Do you need a workbench for small home repair projects or a lighted counter space for hobbies? Consider all the reasons you’ll use your garage and install all the proper garage furniture and storage accessories.
Once cabinets, shelving units and other storage accessories are installed, store all your belongings in their designated spaces. Each time you use a particular item, return it to the place you got it from. This will help keep the garage floor clear and leave room for you to park the family car.
The House Plan Shop hopes you’ll have a tidy garage in no time. For more information about getting organized, check out our home organization blogs.
If your New Year’s resolution is to get organized, The House Plan Shop is here to help you! Home organization is not easy task! It begins by getting everyone in the family on board with you. Your organization plan will not work if the entire family cannot understand and follow it, so keep each person of your family in mind as you organize and everyone from Grandma to the youngest child will help keep your home organized.
Now, think of your home as being composed of various centers with each one focused on a specific purpose, task or activity. Create a dedicated center for each specific purpose by dedicating a space for the tools, supplies and items needed for that specific purpose or activity. Make sure the dedicated space is large enough to handle all the tools and items related with that center’s specific tack or activity. Not only is each center focused on a particular activity or task, but it also provides a space to organize all the things associated with it. Once you’ve established a few centers in your home, you’ll be on a roll. You’ll notice how quickly the clutter in your home is cleared, miscellaneous items find an established home and how organized you’ll feel knowing just where to go in order to find a specific tool or complete a particular activity. The more centers you establish in your home, the more organized your house will be and more tidy it will look.
Below is a list of centers (and the items they store and organize) that would be beneficial to your home and family. Consider establishing some of them in your home. Tailor each center and its contents to satisfy your family’s needs and lifestyle.
- After School Center – hooks or closet to hang coats, stash backpacks and store anything else the kids carry to and from school
- Arts and Crafts Center – desk or work table, task lighting, storage for pencils, paper, paints, crayons, clay, glue and other art supplies
- Electronics/Cell Phone Charging Center – desk or table near electrical outlets, cell phone charges, iPod charges, basket/bin to place electronic devices when not in use
- Entertainment Center – TV, DVD player, DVR, remotes, program guide, channel listing, comfortable seating, DVDs, video game counsel, video games, snack tables
- Homework Center – desk or table for each person doing homework, good lighting, pens, pencils, paper, notebooks, computer, dictionary, calculator
- Laundry Center – washer and dryer, laundry sorter, laundry baskets, hangers, laundry detergent, stain treatment, fabric softener, folding counter, bleach
- Mail Center – desk or table, basket to collect incoming mail, later opener, stamps, envelopes, calendar, check book
- Phone Center – telephone, phone book, personal/family address book, emergency phone numbers, bulletin board, calendar, pens, message pad, folder containing restaurant coupons and carry out menus
- Work Center/Planning and Scheduling – desk, good lighting, computer, file cabinet or file box, stapler, pens, desk calendar, planner, note pad, other office supplies
- Workshop – workbench or table, hand tools, toolbox, hardware organizer for nuts and bolts, etc., extension cords, storage for power tools
- Outdoor Clothing Center – closet or storage bin near the garage entry for coats, hats, gloves, scarves, umbrellas, boots and shoes
- Sporting Center – closet or storage bins, baseball gloves, soccer balls, tennis rackets, bike helmets, skateboards and other sporting equipment
- Recycling Center – recycling bins for various materials, trash can for non-recyclables
- Indoor Home Maintenance Center – brooms, mop, cleaning supplies, buckets, cleaning cloths and sponges, replacement batteries for smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, replacement light bulbs, vacuum)
- Outdoor Home Maintenance Center – rakes, leaf blower, snow shovels, broom, ladder
- Safety/First Aid Center – first aid kit, pain relievers, flashlights, candles and matches, bottled water
- Grooming Center – hair care products and tools, shaving tools, grooming kit, skin care products, bathroom sink and mirror
- Play Room/Center – safe open play area, organizational cabinets/shelving units, games, toys, stuffed animals, building blocks
For more information about getting organized at home, check out our entire collection of home organization blogs.
Now that the holidays have come and gone, it is time to start packing up those holiday decorations and get them ready to store for next year. Below are a few simple ideas to help you store holiday lights so you don’t find a tangled mess of light strands next holiday season.
- Cardboard Square – Cut a square of heavy duty cardboard. Cut a slit in one side of the square. Then, secure the end of a light strand by threading it through the slit. Wrap the strand of lights around the cardboard and thread the other end of the strand back through the slit.
- Plastic bags – Wrap each strand of lights in a ball and place each ball in an individual plastic bag (any type will do.) Then store all the bags together in a clearly labeled box.
- Empty Wrapping Paper Tube – Simply cut a slit in both ends of a wrapping paper tube. Secure one end of the strand of lights by threading it through the slit. Then wrap the lights along the tube. Thread the other end of the light strand through the slit at the opposite end of the tube.
For more holiday ideas, check out our entire collection of holiday blogs.
Try as we might, it is hard to keep our homes completely clutter free. Below, The House Plan Shop provides quick tips to keep 11 spaces in your home neat and organized. Read on if your home could use a little organization.
- Bedroom closets and dressers: Get rid of any clothing item that you no longer wear, doesn’t fit any more or is torn or ripped and cannot be repaired. There is no need to have closets and dressers jam-packed with clothing you don’t wear or can’t wear. Make room for the clothing pieces you love so you can find them easier.
- Bathroom: Use up or get rid of half used bottles of shampoo and conditioner. If you don’t like their effect on your hair, consider using shampoo for shower gel and conditioner for shaving gel.
- Linen closet: Group towel sets and sets of bed clothes together. Get rid of any mismatched sets. Use frayed towels for cleaning rags in your workshop/garage.
- Foyer/Hall closet: Give all the things you grab on the way out the door a place of their own by the door so you can find them when you need them and return them to their proper place when you come back home. Make a space in the closet or under a bench for shoes and boots. A circular canister works well for umbrellas. Give the kids a hook in the closet or on the wall to hang their own jackets and backpacks.
- Kitchen: Clean out the pantry and cabinets. Get rid of any canned goods that are out of date. Throw away stale bags of chips. Sort through dishes and cookware including utensils. Get rid of chipped dishes and mismatched sets. Free up cabinet space by getting rid of extra serving dishes you never use. If you have multiple cooking utensils, keep those in the best shape and toss out the duplicates.
- Family room: If you plan to sit on the couch, get rid of all the extra throw pillows. It is OK to keep a couple decorative pillows, but there is no need for 10-15 of them. Keep 2-3 pillows that are in good shape and match your décor, but get rid of the rest. Clean out your media cabinet and get rid of CDs and DVDs that are scratched or broken or that you no longer us. Recycle the plastic cases.
- Mail organizer: Designate a space in your home to place your mail until you have time to go through it whether it is on the kitchen counter, an entry table in the foyer or in your office. You’ll always know where to find the mail.
- Office: Organize files in a meaningful way from phone and electric bills to health records and receipts and warranties for appliances. Create a filing system that works for you, i.e. arranging files by color file folders or alphabetically.
- Playroom: Eliminate broken toys and those with missing pieces. Recycle anything you can. Put game and puzzle pieces back in their respective boxes or containers and stack them in cabinets or on shelves. Get rid of toys the kids no longer play with. If they are in good condition, donate them to charity.
- Laundry room: Establish a sorting procedure for sorting laundry by arranging labeled baskets in the laundry room. Teach your kids to sort their own clothing.
- Garage: Sort everything in the garage and group like items in storage tubs. Get rid of broken toys and bikes that have been outgrown. Securely store power tool and hazardous chemicals out of reach of children.