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Deconstructing Holiday Decorations

It’s A Holiday Wrap Up

It’s that time again. The holiday festivities are over and we have to put away all of our seasonal stuff. The excitement of our new gifts often is in vast contrast to the daunting challenge of putting away our seasonal décor. You know you have to do it sooner or later, but sometimes in the end you’re just frantically rushing just to get it done.

To take away holiday stress for next year we want to find the right marriage of saving time, keeping our precious ornaments safe, creating easy access and not taking up extra space. Here are some things to keep in mind.

1. Audit. What did you like this year and what didn’t you like? Takes photos so you can easily replicate vignettes you create like a fireplace mantle or your Christmas tablescaping. Get rid of anything that was damaged and give away items that don’t fit your tastes. No sense packing and unpacking things you haven’t used in years!

2. First things first.
Decide the order of how you will store your decor. Think about the timing of what you use. Know what comes out first and make sure you pack it in last. Some décor also works from Thanksgiving right through to the New Year. Make sure that’s the type of items that are in a place to be easily brought out first.

3. Timing.
  Often our holiday decor is in deep storage like cubbies and crawl spaces. It’s better to put up our outside lights when it’s a little warmer and maybe less snow.  And maybe you can get those cards out to the post office early next year if they are the first thing you see. Advent calendars, Elf on a Shelf and other activities and treats for the kids should be stored within easy reach as well so you’re able to quickly pull them out when the holidays arrive.

4. Know how.
Think about how you pack it up. Consider making a list. Maybe packing room by room/area/vignette will work best for you? For example:IMG_0193
– Foyer: garland, greenery
– Den: blankets, pillows
– Dining room: linens, candles
– Bathrooms: special towels, soaps
– Fireplace: stockings, ornaments
No matter how you pack your decorations, label boxes clearly so you can easily find items on the fly. No one wants to spend more time in the basement/crawl space/attic than they have to!

5. Know what it is. Label containers, create lists, use see through storage bins, photos.

6.  Needs assessment. As you pack, make a list of what you will need for next year. Or, if you are a bargain hunter like me, you may want to run out and buy a few items while the sales are at their peak!

7. Separate. Keep your holiday gift wrap with your holiday items and separate from your other wrapping paper and cards.  I always keep a pair of scissors and tape with holiday wrap so I’m good to go in an instant.

IMG_01928. Pack carefully. Take extra time with fragile keepsakes. You don’t want large bins crushing delicate things. Use soft things to keep ornaments safe – a Christmas table cloth, napkins, pillows, Santa hats, and stockings are all good choices. Using these items to buffer ornaments will also save space. This is extremely important in our age of downsizing and condo living when every inch can count in a storage locker or closet.

9. Safety first. Not only do your ornaments need to be safe, you need to be safe too. Don’t pack bins too heavy – especially if you’re maneuvering them from tight places, like the attic. Don’t rush. Enlisting a friend or family member as a spotter to steady you and to hand things over to is never a bad idea. If you used a ladder to put it up, make sure you are just as careful bringing things down.

10. Let it go. Be careful of the kiddies’ homemade ornaments. They may look sweet with all that food and glitter, but food can attract critters of all sorts. Not to mention, most holidays are sparkling enough without transferring all that gold dust getting through all of your décor into yet another year.

This year, just like the jolly man in red, take the time to make your list and pack it twice. The extra care and attention when putting decorations away will remove so much stress when you prepare your home for the holidays next year.

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Downsizing…Now What? – Professional Organizers of Canada Guest Post

Are you ready to downsize? Know someone who is? A well organized move can make the difference between chaos or a peaceful transition.

There are ways to plan for a stress-free move. Follow our Downsizing Checklist to start on the right path:

1. Start the discussion early: For some, the decision to move may not be a welcome idea. Plant the seed early to start discussing the benefits of downsizing.

2. Determine what isn’t moving:Next is the time to do some space planning and decide what you don’t want to move. Decisions can be made to sort into the following categories: 

  • Pass to family/friends
  • Sell
  • Donate
  • Recycle
  • Waste

3. Contact a Realtor: Ask for referrals, find someone you enjoy working with!

4. Declutter and stage: Time to get the house ready for sale. Consider decluttering and staging if your home needs an update.

5. Book moving company:Make plans for truck rental, moving assistance, or hire a moving company.

6. Packing:Purchase packing supplies, enlist the help of family and friends, or hire a Professional Organizer to get the job done quickly.

7. Update address:Be sure to notify utility companies, services and personal contacts.

8. Moving day:Assign one person to be in charge of all questions of what is going where.

9. Unpacking: Make the transition as smooth as possible by unpacking right away.

If you are stuck or require assistance anywhere along the way, call a Professional Organizer – we are here to help!

Happy Organizing!

Packing For Travel – Professional Organizers of Canada Guest Post

packing pic

Successful packing for a trip is a very useful skill. Vacations are not daily life – so we don’t need to bring all our everyday life items with us.

Many airlines are now charging extra fees to have luggage checked, so for cost effective purposes – PLAN carefully.  If you do, you may be able to fit a week’s worth into a carry-on suitcase – provided it’s for a sunny and warm destination.

When it comes to packing your bags, a light touch is what you need. Use your weather app before your trip to get a better sense of what to expect.

Plan

·         Lay out your clothes ahead of time; select carefully.

·         Stick with one or two colours that coordinate and are versatile.

·         Layer the outfits, so you can peel off and on according to the temperatures.

·         Choose clothing you can wear on more than one occasion.

Pack

·         Roll clothing items to save space and provide greater visibility if you are going to be living out of the suitcase for a while.

·         Use space-saving bags, packing cubes or transparent kitchen-storage bags. These are useful if you are going to be making several stops, because it keeps like items together and eliminates random packing.

·         Leave space in your suitcase if you think you are going to shop.

·         Pack shoes last, soles up. Fill them with small crushable items such as hosiery or socks.

Loss or Theft

·         Be prepared for lost luggage: carry a change of clothing and must-have medications, and possibly jewelry on the airplane with you.

·         Buy luggage that – if lost- is easy to describe or identify.

·         Consider a second copy of passports, important ID and credit cards in luggage or on your smart phone as back up.

·         Once you’ve selected the items to pack, take photos of them. To make an insurance claim, you may need to remember everything that was in the lost suitcase. The photos may be useful for the next trip as well in planning what you took.

POC logo 2005

Simply Zen Guest Episode

This past winter I shot a segment for my friend Elaine Shannon’s tv show “Simply Zen.” We talked about travel tips, packing techniques and how to make the most out of your overnight bag. We travel together to conferences so we’re practiced champs at getting everything we need in our suitcases and still leaving room for the shopping!

Check it out.

Taking off! Six Tips for Travelling

Sometimes the most stressful part of travelling is everything leading up to the trip – and let’s face it, it can take the fun out of the trip before it even starts. Use these tips to reduce the stress before you leave, while you are travelling and when you return!
1. Check the weather forecast at your destination – even if travelling to a warm country – for ideas on what to pack. Build your travel wardrobe around one basic color (black, navy or brown) to expand wardrobe options and limit luggage. If you plan on driving and it calls for snow, try to leave room in your schedule so that you can take off earlier to avoid the storm. If travelling through snow is necessary, pack an emergency kit, a shovel and some gravel in case you get stuck.
2. Use travel sized toiletry items to save space. Fill them only three-quarters full to save on extra weight charges if travelling by air. Place in zipper freezer bags to avoid leakage. If you have the time, purchase these items once you arrive at your destination. If your suitcase is full and you want to squeeze a few more items in, drop the bag on the floor a few times to make everything settle and create more space.
3. Use plastic dry cleaner bags or tissue around clothing to reduce wrinkles. Another method is to place two items of clothing together flat and fold them around each other. Try not to fold clothing any more than it needs to be to fit in the suitcase. Some may even iron everything before placing it in the suitcase. If it goes in crisp and clean, odds are more in its favour of coming out the same.
4. Pack snacks and bottled water for yourself and the kids. Fill a cooler if you’re on the road. This eliminates unnecessary stopping and can be much cheaper. Eating in the car can be hard for kids to manage, so use a shoe box as a tray to hold a sandwich, a drink or fries and keep from spilling.
5. Pack an extra bag for items you buy or receive on your trip. This especially applies during the holidays. If time permits, wait to wrap presents you will be giving until after you arrive at your destination. This saves on space and you don’t have to worry about damaging your pretty wrapping paper.
6. Take care of home before you leave. You will be returning at some point, so tidy your house before you leave. The thought of returning to a messy house can put a damper on your vacation. Try not to let too many people know you are going away and set several lamps on timers to switch on/off at various times so it appears as if you are home. Have a neighbour pick up your mail – or stop service – and take out the garbage bin on garbage day.

You can’t do everything, so if everything is not perfect before you leave, try not to let it bother you. Once you have left your house there is nothing you can do about it, so wait and take care of it when you get back – you might as well enjoy your trip!

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© 2010 Colette Robicheau
The Organizing Coach
Organize Anything
Phone: (902) 233-1577 Fax: (902) 455-0553
http://www.organizeanything.com
Permission to reuse or redistribute these materials is hereby granted provided they are reproduced or redistributed in their entirety with full attribution.

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