Tuesday, January 15, 2019

15 An Organized Gifting Caddy

First, THANK YOU! I sincerely appreciate all of your encouraging comments on my last post, as well as the abundance of emails and messages I received. This community really amazes me, and I adore that we all bond over a passion for our homes and organization! It sounds like many of you are on a quest to simplify and reduce home clutter with me this year, which keeps me awake at night with excitement! Let's do this 2019!




I have always been a bit of a sentimentalist, and I really love giving gifts to friends and family throughout the year. Just as much as I find joy in the process of looking for something thoughtful to give, I also really enjoy the process of wrapping it all up! I have absolutely nothing against a gift box or bag, but sometimes it just feels a little more special to add a ribbon, embellishment, a handwritten note, an ornament, monogrammed tag, etc... And those extra touches don't have to take much time, but they really go along way.

Five years ago I put together the ultimate gift wrapping station. It had extra of everything from twine, bows, bags, boxes, tissue and quite a few rolls of gift wrap. It was epic and went viral and I don't regret the project for a second. It served me quite well over the years, and it has taken me a long time to work my way through a lot of the supplies and cards. But it was a bit much. And over the years as the nearby counter became cluttered with toys and Lego builds, I would gather my supplies and take them to my office or the kitchen table to do my wrapping. In my quest to reduce and simplify this year, I decided that it was time to downsize this part of my life in a way that takes up less space and offers some portability.


I actually put all of this together last month before Christmas, and it couldn't have worked out better. And because I can still use it year-round for anniversaries, birthdays, and just-because days, I decided I would share the tote-tastic idea with you!


I began with the large KUGGIS bin found at IKEA. I have used smaller versions of these bins and I absolutely LOVE them. They really have become one of my "go-to" storage items as of late. However, this is my first time using this particular size, and I was ridiculously eager to try out the addition of the divided organizing tray that tucks away nicely inside.

The top tray is really great for smaller embellishments and cards. It can also fit a smaller address book (if you are old-school like me and still use one of those during the holidays).


If I am at a stationery store and spot a nice greeting card, I pick them up so I can be prepared ahead of time for special dates or for those celebrations that come up last minute. The larger areas of the tray are a really wonderful size to fit all of those greeting cards, thank you notes and envelopes.


I also like to add tags, ornaments, bows, etc... and the smaller divided areas are a nice way to divide out the tapes, twine, and gift toppers. I also keep a few gift cards on hand to hand out randomly when the mood strikes (I just put a small amount on each and will give them to strangers or kind employees as a random act of kindness).

There is more magic happening below the tray, which is completely removable.


The nice thing about this bin is the amount of space/storage to keep everything all together. The base of the bin is a nice size for gift bags, boxes and larger sheets of tissue. I found some food storage containers at the dollar store to add a little extra division for the bows, tissue and smaller ribbon spools. They are light-weight and inexpensive and couldn't have worked out better.


I used a small tension rod for my larger spools of ribbon, placed at the outer edge of the bin. It is easy to be removed if I need to swap out a roll but stays in place for grabbing a quick bit to add to a package.


I use a small piece of masking/painters tape on each spool to keep the ribbon from loosening inside of the bin in-between uses.


Above you can see the entire bin in action and how everything stacks in a compact and portable tote.

I have also really condensed my gift wrap rolls down; I find it best to actually only purchase solid craft, black or a simple stripe/dot gift wrap that can be versatile year round. That allows the ribbon and toppers to shine and also keeps the number of rolls that I have to store to a minimum. I currently just keep them in a corner of my office closet until I can finish up with a little refresh of that space in the near future.

I also looked into an under-bed bin that would allow me to store the rolls and cards/embellishments together, however, our bed frame doesn't allow for most of those bin sizes. But they are another great option for doing something similar. Here are a couple of those options:




I was able to condense my large bookcase of packaging and gift wrap items down into a mobile gift wrap station and it couldn't have worked better this past Christmas.



Also, I am totally sold on the amount of storage and functionality this KUGGIS bin offers! I have also seen the tray insert used inside of a drawer as a divider for tech and office gear and it was brilliant. So tell me, have you tried these bins and if so, how do you put them to use around your home?

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

129 Catching Up and a Hello to 2019!

Happy New Year to you! I hope that the holidays have left you with a full love tank and that your 2019 is off to an incredible start!

Oh, how I have missed you all so very much!



It always feels a little awkward coming back from an extended break, especially when they are unplanned and much longer than ever anticipated.

Truth be told I have always had huge goals and amazing intentions for this small slice of the internet, but 2018 just wasn't meant to be my year (again, womp womp). For someone who is generally an energetic go-getter, learning to navigate the past few years has been a true personal challenge and journey. And having to do it online has been flat out tough, especially when I am trying to walk the line of personal and professional in front of an audience. If I have learned anything, it's that no matter how much you plan, life can change those plans in an instant. And as a self-proclaimed planning obsessed girl, that has been a hard pill to swallow.

I am not 100% ready to dive into my absence, although I hope to someday down the road. Just know that your support is deeply cherished and I appreciate those of you who continue to check-in. The outpouring of love, comments, emails, DM's, etc, has been so overwhelming over the past couple of months, and for that, I am eternally grateful. They continue to uplift and encourage and I truly hope that THIS IS THE YEAR that I can give that back to you.


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I have a few things to cover since I have been away, so let's begin with Christmas decor storage.


I have never been a minimalist by any means and I truly enjoy layering our home with our character and personality. At the same time, I am making 2019 the year to reduce and streamline. This last Christmas I only put up a fraction of our decor, and I noticed that our time entertaining and enjoying the holidays wasn't at all negatively impacted. I also appreciated that it took much less time to pack everything up this past weekend! Keeping it understated was refreshing and allowed me to focus on what really mattered most to me, and it was also the most relaxed I have been during the holiday season in years. I definitely need to continue to remember this and apply that understanding to more areas of my life this coming year!

I know some of you probably had your decor packed up December 26th, but for those of you who extend the season and enjoy the layers a little longer, I thought I would share my top Christmas decor storage tips (a refresh of this post here). And if you already have everything packed away, tuck these tips in your pocket for next year (or give your bins a quick remix when the mood strikes).

CLEAR STORAGE BINS

For so many years I selected solid bins because I didn't like the visual clutter that generally comes with the clear versions. A few years ago I decided to give clear bins a whirl (I love these) and it really has been so helpful! I appreciate that I can get a quick idea of the contents without having to do any rummaging or digging.

LABEL


Even though the bins are clear, and some of the contents are simple and obvious, other bins still have a mixture of items such as ornaments, embellishments for different trees, stockings, garland varieties, books, wreaths, ribbon, tree skirts, lights, etc... Therefore, labels can help to differentiate categories and assign items/bins to specific areas of the house. This year I updated my labels to an editable version, that way I can just type the contents, print them out and slide them into the label sleeve attached to the front of the bins. I saved my labels to my computer to easily edit and reprint down the road if needed. You can download the editable label printable for free here.


CATEGORIZE


Make the most of your bins and divide them out in a way that makes the most sense for how you decorate. Zippered storage bags work really well to corral and categorize smaller items like ornament hooks, ribbon, beads, special ornaments, replacement bulbs, light clips, stocking and wreath hooks, etc...

THINK OUTSIDE OF THE BOX

Are there other items that you only use during the holidays? Specific items for entertaining or baking or cooking? Maybe you use certain pillows, candles, appliances and serving platters for a month or two out of the entire year. If your storage is limited around the house, don't give those seasonal items prime real estate with your day-to-day belongings. Instead, pack those pieces away with the remainder of your Christmas decor.

TIS' THE SEASON TO CLEANSE

This is the best time of the year to streamline your Christmas inventory. While packing everything up, take the time to recategorize your bins and eliminate the items that didn't make the cut this past year. Handle each object and ask yourself if it is worth your time, space and energy moving forward. Also discard any items that are broken, torn or worn.

Donation Ideas:

  • Drop off your gently used holiday decor at your local donation center (Salvation Army, Locally Owned Thrift Stores, Goodwill, etc...)
  • Check with your local Habitat Restore, some do holiday-specific sales throughout the year.
  • Inquire with local shelters to see if and when they typically accept holiday decor, and what specific items are most beneficial.
  • Does your city decorate for the holidays? Think of areas around town that put up Christmas trees or string lights that may benefit from the items you no longer have a use for. Libraries, hospitals, community centers, etc...
  • Have you heard of Give Back Box? I recently read about this donation program and I love it! It really emphasizes the one-in-one-out rule, but can be used beyond that method! When you receive merchandise in the mail from select retailers, you can reuse that box along with a free shipping label to donate your household goods and clothing items. Give Back Box selects a charity based on your location, however, there are ways to select your own if you wish. Christmas decor is accepted, so pack up a box and ship it on out!

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Remember last year I flocked our artificial tree? I promised to give you an update on how it held up through storage and I am happy to share it did really well. I have noticed that flocked trees will shed no matter if you DIY or purchase them that way, and ours did drop some flocking during setup and decorating. However, not enough to notice on the tree itself, and minimally throughout the time that it was up. I am excited to try the flocking process again down the road on some garland and outdoor topiaries, and I love that I can always easily add more to the tree over the years as necessary with the remaining flocking powder.

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If you are looking for a couple of idea-inducing reads for the New Year, I contributed to two publications on newsstands now:


Inside this month's issue of Parent's Magazine, we focussed on Little Ways to Love Your Home.




While inside the Family Circle issue you will find a great section dedicated to making the most of your home's hot spot: The Kitchen! So many great suggestions in this one!

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In other iHeart news, 2019 planners were released in my shop last month and I get so much joy filling in the colorful pages for the new year. I am thrilled to see that you do too!



The FAQ page is loaded with details on the sizes, layouts, coversheets, printing suggestions, and images. The pages are fresh and beautiful and seeing them being used by you all throughout the year is a true treat, so thank you for Instagramming and sharing those images with me.

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This time of the year is generally known for starting fresh and setting goals and organizing every nook and cranny of your home. I have had a few conversations with friends and they have mentioned that the new year gets so built up that they feel like once the clock hits midnight, they should have this automatic boost of energy, and that when they wake up they should feel some sort of magical feeling and clear vision for what is to come to finally get their lives together. So. Much. Pressure.

While I personally do love that the new year is a great benchmark for setting goals and reflecting and evoking change, I want to remind you all (and myself), that lifestyle changes are gradual and don't happen overnight, and all big things come from a culmination of smaller steps. It's great to set goals and be fired up, but also be realistic and break those goals up throughout the year. Think of little changes that you can make each day that will help you reach a larger goal by next month, next quarter, or even by the end of 2019. That is how I am personally approaching this year; day by day, bit by bit. It doesn't all have to be done by the end of January.

I am still wearing a lot of hats, and aside from trying to be an involved and loving wife and mom, I have a lot of business-centric goals that include updating and organizing my website (and a new home tour!), moving my online shop and adding fresh new items, working with clients (best feeling), and writing a book (big goal). Pair that with the administrative responsibilities of running a business, freelance writing, creating content and sharing it actively on social media, I get a little overwhelmed managing it all and managing it well. When I work on a project, I get so hyperfocused on that one specific thing, that it can take away from all the rest. Sometimes the blog takes a hit, sometimes my personal goals take a hit, sometimes my family takes a hit, sometimes my shop takes a hit. I can organize a closet no problem, but maybe I need to find someone to organize my life (ha!). Time management, prioritization, and balance are all my personal top priorities for 2019. Some things will have to move to the bottom of the list so I can actually do the more important things. And this is that moment where it all rounds right back to my small steps towards the big goal mantra.




I don't want to drag this post out any longer, but a few final notes about our year to come:


  • Last year we didn't focus a lot of attention on our own home or projects. I am approaching my 10th year of blogging and that is a LOT of organizing, crafting and remodeling. We simply needed a break, even if we still have a lot of wish list updates to make, going at it around the clock is exhausting, expensive and disruptive. It was time to let things rest, and we did. Buuuut, our oldest is graduating high school this year!!!!!! He is receiving college acceptance letters and about to spread his wings and I am holding back tears of joy (and let's be real, tears of selfish sadness) on the daily. With graduation comes a graduation party and a big party is a great motivator to check lingering home tasks off of the list, as well as a lot of deep cleaning. Time to relight that fire!

  • How do you all feel about doing a home cleanse with me this year? I really wanted to do this last year, so the past few months I began researching and building a really great resource of ways to clear clutter from your homes. It always pains me a bit to see how piles of trash bags can so quickly be associated with organizing, so I am diving deep into options for feeling less guilty about getting rid of our belongings. And I would really love for it to become a library that can be referenced and built-upon over time. You in?

  • I don't have a lot of closets or drawers left to organize around here, this year my biggest pain points are PAPER (I have a plan!) and photographs (I don't have a plan!). What are your biggest organizational pain points? Knowing your problem areas could really help me come up with new content, so if you could take a quick second to leave a comment on this post with your organizing goals and struggles, I would appreciate it to the moon and back!


Let's raise a glass of wine, a coffee filled mug, or a bottle of water, and cheers to 2019!



P.S. I just went back a re-read my intro to 2018 post. Wow. Sounds like I am rewriting history and even mimicking a few of the same sentences word for word, nodding and still feeling a lot of the things that I felt last year. Believe me when I say that as frustrating as that is for me, I know it is also frustrating for you. Please know that I never take you all for granted and I really hope to break the cycle. There are definitely some things I need to change, and I appreciate your continuous grace as I work on bettering things around here.