Holiday Information | - Part 2

Archive for the 'Holiday Information' Category

Nov 13 2012

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Avoiding Holiday Hazards in the Home

Christmas LightsThe fall and winter holiday season is quickly approaching. It is a time when homes are filled with neatly decorated trees, twinkling lights, tasty meals and treats, festive decorations and family members and friends. All of us expect this combination to yield happy memories and good times for all, but it also poses a huge risk. For instance, the US Fire Administration reports structure fires increase during the winter holidays and the dollar loss per fire is 34% greater than normal. There are numerous safety tips and informational articles available to help keep your family and home safe throughout the fall and winter holidays. Take some time to review this helpful information, so your Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays are enjoyable and memorable for all.

This article brought to you by The HousePlanShop, LLC, the home of the best selling house plans from the best designers!

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Dec 07 2011

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Holiday Lights in a Whole New Light

Filed under Holiday Information

LED Christmas LightsAre you still decorating your yard and home with incandescent holiday lights? The St. Louis County Health Department says it is time to make the switch to LED lights. Often, strings of incandescent lights are wrapped in a hard plastic coating of PVC to protect the wire. This coating can take up to 500 years to breakdown in our landfills. Furthermore, PVC is heat resistant and may contain metals such as tin, lead and cadmium which can become harmful once they make it into the ground.

 

Using LED lights for you holiday decorating and light displays has plenty of benefits. Consider the following facts about LED lighting:

·         LED lights last twice as long as incandescent lights – up to 20 years!

·         They use 1/10th of the energy of traditional holiday mini-lights, which saves on your electric bill.

·         LEDs are cool to the touch reducing the risk of fire.

·         Their brightness does not fade over time.

·         LED lights are durable and harder to break than traditional lights.

·         They can withstand moisture, heat and cold.

·         LEDs are available at most hardware stores and home improvement centers.

 

Before you throw away those strands of incandescent Christmas lights, check with you local hardware or home improvement stores to see if any are sponsoring a collection/recycling mission for broken or non-functioning incandescent holiday lights. Some places even offer discounts on the purchase of new energy-efficient LED Christmas lights for each strand of old lights you recycle. 

 

So, go ahead and make the switch to LED Christmas lights. You’ll save energy, have a more environmentally-friendly holiday light display and save money on your electric bill.

This article brought to you by The HousePlanShop, LLC, the home of the best selling house plans from the best designers!

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Nov 16 2011

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Take Part in “Use Less Stuff Day”

It is time to start a new holiday tradition. The Thursday before Thanksgiving is Use Less Stuff Day. Make a commitment or pledge to yourself to reduce your resource consumption during the holiday season.

 

Here are a few ideas:

 

  • Don’t buy too many groceries or prepare too much food for a holiday gathering. If you do prepare too much, send leftovers home with guests or reheat them the following day for yourself. Try your best not to throw away usable food.
  • Use less energy. Turn down the heat before a holiday party. The body heat of guests will keep the room warm, so lower the thermostat a few degrees.
  • Have a recycling plan. Set up recycling bins to capture all the wrapping paper, gift boxes, bottles, cans, plastic cups, etc. Inform your guests and make sure they know what items to recycle and where to place them.
  • Use fewer disposable paper products and eating utensils. If all your dinnerware, table settings and silverware must be matching sets, rent dinnerware, glassware and silverware for your holiday party. Otherwise, ask guests to bring their own and eliminate paper plates and plastic cups, forks, knives, etc.
  • Use cloth napkins that can be washed and reused at your next holiday gathering instead of buying disposable ones and filling the trash can.

 

Go ahead and make the commitment to use less stuff. Tell your friends and family about Use Less Stuff Day and work toward an environmentally-friendly holiday season without sacrificing the fun and joys all of us look forward to each year.

 

For more ideas about Use Less Stuff Day, please visit www.use-less-stuff.com.

This article brought to you by The HousePlanShop, LLC, the home of the best selling house plans from the best designers!

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Dec 29 2010

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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.

This article brought to you by The HousePlanShop, LLC, the home of the best selling house plans from the best designers!

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Dec 12 2010

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Practical Tips for Holiday Organization and Storage

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. If you are looking for an actually storage to store lots of belongings then consider to Rent to Own Storage Containers

 

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.If there are things that you do not want to get rid of, consider using a long term storage facility so that you can save your possessions and still have the extra room in your house. 

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. If you’re in need of a self storage unit, there are several low cost mini storage facilities that serve that purpose. 

 

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.

This article brought to you by The HousePlanShop, LLC, the home of the best selling house plans from the best designers!

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