ORGANIZATION: preparing for the holidays

Holiday season is upon us and with that comes decorating, cooking, and cleaning! This time of year can end up seeming so overwhelming that we miss out on the reason for the season. Hopefully these few easy steps can help lend itself to be an enjoyable time of year with the people you love!  

                                         photos from my best friend Callie Davis' beautiful home, found  here . 

                                         photos from my best friend Callie Davis' beautiful home, found here

1. Declutter

This isn’t time to completely clean out & reorganize your house. I repeat: DO NOT try to clean out your entire house before Thanksgiving! It is however, the perfect time to give away old decorations that you don’t want anymore. Time to throw away old ornaments that are broken or you’ve been meaning to fix.  So before you start decorating grab an old Amazon box that’s lying around. As you unpack decorations/move items to decorate set aside items you want to donate or sell. A good question to ask is "will I be excited to put these decorations back up in the spring?"

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2. Safety

Before family and/or friends come over for dinner or to stay for a few nights, this is a great time to check on a few items around the house. Are all your light fixtures/lamps working in your guest rooms? Do you have a fire extinguisher in each room? Are your smoke & carbon monoxide detectors working? If you live up north do you have salt/shovels ready for snowy walkways?

3. Bedrooms/Bathrooms

Check on the bedrooms and bathrooms now so you aren’t stressed the day before everyone gets there! Do you have a clean set of sheets for each bed? A towel & washcloth for each guest? Is each bathroom stocked up on toilet paper? Do you have a little tray of items guests might need (ie. Cotton balls, q-tips, and extra toothbrushes)?

4. Breathe

Enjoy this time with family and friends. It is such a gift to be around all the people you love for a while! If hosting is going to be overwhelming and you feel like life is in disarray then what can you do to mentally prepare? Do you need to get a massage? Hire a professional cleaner to clean so you can enjoy being with people? Have your spouse, child, or friend help with wrapping presents? Listen to your body and take those steps ahead of time so that you’re an enjoyable family member/friend/spouse to be around this time of year!

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If you need other organizing/cleaning tips for this time of year feel free to reach out through the contact tab and I’d love to help any way I can! 

ORGANIZATION: travel for work

Traveling for work is usually a lot of fun! It can also seem stressful when trying to figure out what you should bring and how are you going to make it all fit. Here are some tips that I use when packing for a work trip.

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Tip 1: Think Through the Trip the Week Before.

What city are you going to? What is the weather going to be like? How much free time will you have?  Think through what you’ll need for the work aspect and what you’ll need if you have any down time. If you’ll have free afternoons do you need tennis shoes to go sight seeing? Will you have time to exercise? Are you going to a nice dinner? Next, if you have the space in your home, start folding or stacking items over to the side as you think of things you want to bring throughout the week. (We have a tiny master bedroom so I lay out my suitcase in the guestroom and toss items in my bag throughout the week)

Tip 2: Pack in a Carry On.  

The last thing you want is to land in a new city for a conference and your bag not make it till the day you leave. This will also help you not over pack! I’ve found the less I bring on work trips the easier it is to get ready in the morning because I only have one outfit option for that day.

Tip 3: Minimize What you Bring.

Don’t waste space with items the hotel room and/or conference will have. You don’t need to bring a hair dryer, shampoo, lotion, water bottle, pens, pillow, robe, etc. (I look up the hotel I am staying in to see what amenities are provided) Think strategically about what you have space for in your suitcase. If you can substitute an ipad for your laptop then bring it instead. Your ipad can store movies/music for the plane ride, books, and bring an attachable keyboard to type notes at the conference. Most likely your ipad charger is also the same charger as your phone!

Tip 4: Pack Items with Variety.

When thinking through clothing items, try to bring black or neutral items that you can re-wear throughout the week. (I always bring a pair of my favorite black jeans) Think about shoe options: can you wear them multiple days in a row? Can you dress them up or down? (I usually pack a pair of flats and/or booties that don’t give me blisters and I know I could wear to a nicer dinner or around the conference/meetings all day)

Tip 5: Pack with Strategy.

Start with rolling your clothes tightly and try matching items that are about the same size. Then line the bottom of the suitcase first. I continue to stack and place items in the exact right spot so I use every inch of the suitcase. Use socks to place in the odd gaps between shoes. (I also try to pack as much as I can in my suitcase so my purse doesn’t weigh 1 million pounds)

ORGANIZATION: the linen closet

Organizing can seem daunting and overwhelming, which is why I don’t try to clean out my whole house in one day. An area I’ve seemed to neglect the past year is the linen closet.

The Linen Closet.

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The place where our towels build up, I throw all our medicine, and cram anything I don’t want to try to fit in our very small master bathroom. I’ve tried over the years to create a system that works, but hadn’t had the time and/or money to invest in a system that would work. So here it goes!

Step 1: Take EVERYTHING Out.

I mean it, take every single thing out and so the whole closet is completely empty. Place everything on the floor or a table, just make sure you take every item out.

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Step 2: Throw Stuff Away.

    Grab a large trash bag and start throwing things away. Look at every single expiration date on your medicine (throw it away if it’s expired). Throw away any products you don’t use anymore or say “maybe I’ll use that again.” Throw away towels/sheets that smell like mildew.

Step 3: Organize Items into Categories.

    Place items into small piles with other like items. Some of my suggested categories: medicine (you could break this down if you have kids, or a large variety of types of medicine), travel size toiletries, bandages, everyday towels, dirty towels (for drying off the dog or when the washer overflows), extra toiletries (unopened toiletries that take up space in your bathroom), cleaning supplies. It’s up to you how you can make your space most efficient.

Step 4: Put Each Category in a Container.

    You don’t have to buy a lot of fancy containers. I’m realizing that having items in a container with a lid helps the space stay neater and more organized. You can use old shoe boxes or Apple product cases make great containers. (I bought my containers on sale at Target after Christmas)

Step 5: Label and Put Away.

    DON’T SKIP THIS STEP.  Put all containers and items back in a way that you’ll be able to maintain your new system.  Or at least tidy up every once in awhile. For example, items I use frequently I keep at eye level: our everyday towels, medicine, and toiletries!

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If you are wanting a closet, area, or room of your home organized and not sure where to start, I would love to help!