Showing posts with label Holidays. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Holidays. Show all posts

Monday, December 30, 2013

41 Simple Ideas for Holiday Organization

Howdy friends!  How was your Christmas?  I hope that it was completely magical and full of blessings.

I know that some of you are already ahead of the game, and have moved on from Christmas and packed up your things.  I, however, have not.  I can't help but want to hold on to that sparkle for a few extra days after Christmas is over, so I wait until New Year's day to put away the pretty lights and holiday bling and return to our version of normal.

That said, I am really in the organizing mood!  And this year found so many great ideas, some old and some new, which I wanted to put together in one giant Christmas organization post for you.  So I apologize if I am too late, just pretend that I am really ahead of the game for next year as some of these ideas were just too great to wait!  And for those of you who are still looking to organize the remainder of your Christmas gear, hopefully you can snag a few ideas to still implement this year.  Suddenly, I am feeling like Dr. Seuss.... 

First, let's chat about gift giving, since that is really a huge part of the season.  One thing that I have loved year after year is my Gift Giving Tracker.

However, something new that helped me when it came time to wrap all of those happy little packages was our new gift wrap station!

For those looking for other great wrapping stations, I am still gaga for this over-the-door awesomeness created by my gal pal Cassie!


If you are looking to tote around your gift wrapping essentials, you must check out this amazing DIY caddy created from a fast food cardboard drink carrier.


When you have the space, it is great if you can carve out a little nook of your home for gift wrapping away from the kitchen table.  I love this happy office corner, which can be used all month long for last minute gift wrapping sessions.


If you are at all like me and use your ribbon year round, check out this smart solution which pairs dowels and a plastic basket for rockin' ribbon storage!


And once the gifts for the kiddos are all wrapped and pretty, organize hide them inside a storage trunk until Christmas Eve.


But how about organizing all of those decorations?  Many of us sprinkle Christmas throughout our entire home, and even trim a tree.  So many things to store away nice and neat!

Tip number one is to always add a sleeve or clear pocket to each bin, so that you can easily tuck a contents list inside.  This will prevent rummaging next year!

Tip number two is to fall in love with Ziploc bags and Gladware containers!  I try to reduce my use of them in my day to day life, but when it comes to storing itty bits and even those shatterproof ornaments, they are my go to organizers!

Tip number three is to wrap the rest around cardboard!  The cardboard wrap method prevents items from tangling and works for everything from lights to garland; and is a simple and free solution!


Tension rods work great as well!


I am also simply smitten with this alternative solution to cords and strands, which is to wrap them with Velcro strips.  Easy peasy!


Other free storage solutions include empty apple containers...


Or maybe egg cartons tickle your fancy?


I am sure you have seen it 100 times, but the plastic cup glued to cardboard stacking trick is pure genius!


Tip number four is to pack things up as if you were unpacking them!  Place less used items at the bottom, frequently used or the first items use decorate with, at the top.  Make things as simple as you can for next year.  Also, keep original packaging and even use gift boxes to provide storage inside of storage for those ornaments and special decor pieces.

Last but not least, tip number five is to store all Christmas decor in similar style and colored bins for easy identification.  This will ensure you are only grabbing at bins that matter most during the holidays, and not left searching amongst bins of memorabilia and auntie May's fine china.

I am head over heels for these stackable divided bins used by Katrina of the Organized Housewife!  They are so wonderful for dividing ornaments by category and separating decor types.


When it comes to storing a Christmas wreath, I have tried those hard sided bins and they only work well if you have a wreath small enough to fit inside.  So happy I stumbled upon this idea to use a hanger paired with a dry cleaning bag for my additional storage-less wreaths!


Do you display the lovely faces of friends and family that grace your mailbox in the form of greetings throughout the month of December?  How freakin' adorable is this card display crafted from an old window shutter?


But what do you do with those cards once the year has come and gone?  I don't keep them all, but the ones with family photos get stored away in a special greeting card binder.

You can't go wrong by just paper punching them and placing them on a ring by year.  Simple.  Adorable.  And memorable!

Last but not least, this little holiday binder didn't leave my side this season.  It worked out great, and I look forward to adding to it for years to come!  Even my guys used it a few times, which of course, made me warm and fuzzy inside.

So who is geared up to do a little extra organizing this year, to ensure next year goes off without a hitch?  What are your favorite Christmas and holiday storage and organizing tips?  Anything work particularly well for you this year?

 Image used for header graphic found here.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

75 My Kind of Holiday - Our Christmas Traditions

Although it seems as though much of the blogword is focusing their attention on Christmas home tours {cough, cough, guilty}, as fun as it is to get our home holiday ready, Christmas is all about the traditions.  That is what excites me most about the season.  The warm fuzzies.  The kids doing good deeds.  Making a list and checking it twice.  And for once, not a "To Do" list!

I don't always take a moment to switch gears from this organizing and project heavy blog, but it is nice to share a few stories that fill the walls of our home I am always writing about.  And until I sat down to write this post to share with you #mykindofholiday, it never occurred to me how many fabulous traditions we have built into our Christmases, year after year.  I just may cry while writing this and reflecting on some favorites... I am a sappy one...

Yesterday, I shared my new wrapping station setup

Although gazing at it just may become my number one hobby, it means more to me than pretty and functional gift wrap.  It also represents one of my most favorite Christmas traditions.

This tradition has carried on from my childhood.  And it is funny, as a kid, it kind of annoyed me.  But now, I look back and know my mom was a freakin' genius... and I completely appreciate it. 

There is a reason why they always use the saying, "Like a kid on Christmas morning".  It is one of the most exciting and magical mornings of the year.  Like most kids, my brother and I would wake up earlier than normal, and tip toe out of our rooms and start rummaging through our stockings, and shaking the packages under the tree.  There may have even been mornings when I went as far as unwrapping my gifts to peek inside, and then fixing them back up before my parents woke up.  I know, such a rotten kiddo.  My mom caught on to this and decided to keep the magic and mystery of Christmas morning alive.  Thus, the Santa numbering system was born.

Santa got sneaky and started putting a number on each package under the tree, leaving a letter with the key in the hands of my parents.  All of the sudden, my brother and I had no idea who the presents were for, and the excitement and mystery of Christmas morning returned.

Thinking back on all of my Christmas mornings growing up, I may not recall each and every gift I received, but I do remember the pure exhilaration of sitting in a circle with my family, reading the letter from Santa and realizing which of the packages I would get to tear open.  And even once my brother and I were in high school, the tradition stayed alive and brought us many laughs.

Each day leading up to Christmas, I will plan out the gifts {with my super awesome gift planning printable} and stash them away in secret hiding spots all around the home.  Then, on Christmas Eve, my husband and I turn into Santa's Elves.  We put on holiday tunes and spend time together wrapping all of the gifts.  Then, the really fun part, creating the letter from Santa!

The presents are sweetly tucked under the tree, and we head to bed with giant smiles spanning from cheek to cheek.  Once morning rolls around, we lie in bed and giggle as we listen to the kids playing guessing games and wondering which gifts are theirs, all while we hold the key.  And the best part is that we get to be "present" when the surprises are revealed.

Although the gift numbering tradition is a long time favorite, we have a few more, which we cherish as well.

Christmas Pajamas

This is another tradition that was started during my childhood.  Every year my mom would purchase me a special set of pajamas to wear on Christmas Eve.  From plaid, to penguins to Christmas trees, I rocked it all.  Now, one of my warmest moments each year is watching the boys open their pajamas and letting them wear them much of Christmas day.

Christmas Countdown

A few years ago, we started our Christmas countdown tradition.  I love pulling out a fun activity from the box each day and drinking hot cocoa, having dance parties, blasting Christmas music, crafting, decorating and purely unplugging to enjoy simple moments with one another.

O Christmas Tree

As I mentioned in our holiday home tour, our tree also carries special meaning.  Each year, we head to the very same tree farm and pick out a tree as a family.  Every last member must agree on the tree, and the owners of the tree farm are always excited to see how much the boys have grown from year to year.

Ornaments with Meaning

Each year on Christmas Eve, the kids take a trip down memory lane and tell stories of all of the ornaments they have created, crafted and collected over the years.  We look at their small handprints and toothless smiles, and hang all of our meaningful ornaments all over the tree.

'Twas The Night Before Christmas

When all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.  On Christmas Eve, no one in our home is stirring because we are all listening to dad read us The Night Before Christmas...


I wish I had a baking bone in my body.  Sometimes we attempt to make Sugar Cookies and usually just eat them straight out of the oven when they are still soft and warm.  Most of the time, members of Bryan's sweet family bake us a plate of delightful treats, and sometimes, I depend on Target.  Regardless of how we acquire our cookies, Santa appreciates them just the same!

Miracle on 34th Street

A movie the entire family can snuggle in and enjoy, each and every Christmas day, while wearing our Christmas cozies, we tune in to watch Miracle on 34th Street.

So there you have it.  A few of our Christmas traditions which we hold near and dear to our hearts.  Now it is your turn.  I would love to hear what makes your home so special to you during the holiday season.  Any traditions that you have been carrying on since childhood, or even longer?

As a member of the Target Inner Circle, this post was written as a collaboration with Target and their #mykindofholiday campaign.  All opinions are mine.

Friday, December 13, 2013

84 IHeart Christmas Home Tour 2013

Are you getting into the holiday spirit?  I have been busy getting our house into holiday shape, so that I can sit back and enjoy the last bit of the month surrounded by Christmas bling.  We always have fun playing Christmas tunes and getting our craft on, and this year was no exception!  In fact, we took things a bit further than we typically do, and I couldn't be happier with how our home is emoting so much glee.

You see that white stuff?  Baby it's cold outside!  And we have snow!  It is shaping up to be a white Christmas!

This year my sweet friend, Chris from Just a Girl Blog, invited me to participate in her Christmas Tour of Homes {make sure to check out links full of endless inspiration at the end of this post}.  So today you get to take a glance around our abode, which has been all dressed up for the holidays!

Before you step inside, let's chat about Holiday Home Tours.  When I was first invited, I hesitated.  Each year we typically spend some time doing a small Christmas display in our kitchen and decking out our tree.  From there, I sprinkle little bits of cheer around our home.  Have you seen some of these tours?  Oh. My. Greatness.  So many amazing ideas.  So many beautiful photos and homes and decor.  Could I even compare?

Wait.  What?  Compare?  Not OK.  One should never compare.

I have never been one to go crazy around the holidays with boatloads of new decor and a complete new look.  It is expensive, I don't have the storage and too many decorations can make our home feel cluttered and small.  So I do what I can to reuse items from my stock in new ways and keep things simple.  Aside from a few small purchases, majority of my decor consisted of ornaments and ribbon.  Like I said, simple.  Hopefully you will gain a new perspective of our home {yes, my everyday home tour tab needs to be majorly updated}, and find some crazy easy ideas that you can do in your own home around the holidays.

For the front of our home, I went with a brilliant new color combo of teal and red.  I love how the red appears to be so incredibly vibrant against the teally blue, such a difference over last year's white door.  I do not typically decorate with red throughout the year, so this was a really fun for me.  I brought in some red throughout the interior as well, let's head on in!

Ready to gain a new view of our home?  Here is our living room, dining and kitchen in one shot.

Someday I imagine hosting Christmas gatherings without a giant wall between the kitchen and living room.  It will really open things up.... OK, I am done daydreaming, back to the tour!

When you enter our home, we have a very small landing which received a little welcoming attention.

The poster was purchased from Caravan Shop for $5 and printed at Staples for $4.  The boys had fun making a countdown chain at the beginning of the month, but they haven't had the hearts to tear it apart, so we decided it just made a playful addition to the space.

We found a small, unfinished wooden dear head at the craft store, which I gave a quick coat of paint.  Then, I hot glued a small bulb on the nose to give the boys a little giggle.  A command strip holds it to the center of the entry mirror.

The credenza, also known as our school cubbies, didn't change too much.  Right after I posted that I couldn't kill succulent plants, I killed our succulent plants.  Seriously, who does that?  Me I guess.  So, the blue planter received a sweet little tree along with some ribbon and colorful bulbs.

The Thanksgiving table setup was working quite nicely, and I say, don't fix what isn't broke.  So a lot of the same elements played into our Christmas table as well; like the stripe runner and tree stump/cloche jar combo.

Reds to keep things traditional....

And a little bit of pink for fun!

How great is that bulb garland?  So inexpensive to make as well!  Just head to the dollar store and load up on ornaments, and string them on ribbon.  There are quite a few tutorials on Pinterest, I used this one.

We had some small white planters from IKEA, which I taped off and got gold glitter happy with.

I also spray painted a couple of plastic toy deer figurines.  A few more and I would have Santa's entire crew!

Our boys love coming home to a nice cup of hot cocoa or apple cider after school.  Instead of pulling out all of the fixings every day, I just set up a simple little cocoa/cider bar.

A couple of mason jars filled with cocoa, marshmallows and candy canes, and we have a sweet way to keep our tummies warm.  Excuse me for a moment; I may have to make myself a quick cup.

That is about as much as I do in the kitchen.  Our counters have limited space so I keep our decor focused in the dining area.

Time to switch gears and take a peek at the tree!  Every year we head to the same tree farm and pick out the perfect addition to the Jones home.

I think this is the first year we actually got our measurements right!  They always look so much smaller at the farm, we get them home and WHOA!  But this year, it fit just right!

All of the decorations were the same we have used in previous years.  Only this year I switched up how we strung the ribbon, and we crafted up a few extra ornaments out of paper to beef it up a bit.

We are fans of Christmas traditions, and we have a few that we do year after year around here.  Under the tree you will find a special box of ornaments, all of the ones we have collected over the years made by the boys and given to us as gifts.  You know, the ornaments with meaning.  Christmas Eve, we open that box and the kids place them on the tree one by one as we all go down memory lane...

Next to the tree is a small table that holds our Instagram photos, a dice game and a small book for the boys to jot down special Christmas memories.  It is also makes a great beverage holder.

The bookcases were also kissed with bulb garland.  I really love the color and sparkle.

We recently added a small table in front of our couch and it seemed like the ideal place to keep our Holiday Planning Binder and a dish to hold the Christmas greetings that we receive in the mail from our smiling friends and family.

Although I mostly stick to the dining and living area for decor, this year I decided to play with our mantle in our lower level family room as well.  It is where we hang the boy's stockings after all!

Another tradition we treasure on Christmas Eve is to sit and read The Night Before Christmas in our holiday pajamas.  It only seemed fitting to cut some gold vinyl giving tribute to our favorite story.

We already had the hooks for the stockings, however, this year they got a quick coat of gold spray paint to give them new life.  Earlier this fall I had gone on a fall walk with the boys and snapped a few photos.  A little playing around in an online photo editing program and I was able to add Santa hats to each of their heads.  I then printed their pictures from our home printer and placed them in some cheapo frames found at the craft store last year.

I told my hubby a few birch logs would look nice next to the fireplace, so he took a trek through the woods behind his parent's home and found a fallen tree.  So fun to literally bring the outdoors, in!

We have been working on the storage space under our stairs, which is also right off of my studio.  I had visions of sugarplums a gift wrapping station dancing in my head, so we put a rush on the project so I could use it for the holiday season!  Since no IHeart Organizing tour would be complete without a little organization, here is a sneak peek!

But this post is long enough so more on that project super soon!

We will end the tour with that awesomeness and excitement!  It is so fun to see what some ribbon and bulbs can do to make our spaces feel holiday ready!  Thank you so much for stopping by today and enjoying our happy holiday home with us!

Ready to see more holiday home tour inspiration!?  The Christmas Tour of Homes has been going on all week so there is plenty to be found!

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