De cluttering clothes? Or… trying to declutter clothes? Over whelmed because you have a hard time identifying which pieces are clutter?
I feel your pain, clothing seems to multiply when I’m not looking, and de cluttering clothes is a constant battle in our home. While a big purge is awesome, there are clues I find on an on going basis that help me stick things straight into the donate box.
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Clue #1: It’s in the dirty clothes (again), but it’s clean (again).
This is a common frustration for moms. I roll my eyes and think unkind thoughts when it happens in our home. I lecture, remind, and re lecture.
And usually, after a particularly profound lecture, I run across one of my own still clean items of clothing while sorting for laundry day. UGH!
When that happens, I’m reminded that many clean things which end up in the dirty clothes pile actually need to be De cluttered. Usually they are there because I thought about wearing them but changed my mind. I might even have tried them on.
The beauty of de cluttering these clothes is that they can never end up clean, but in the hamper again, once they are gone.
Yay for that!
Clue #2: They are at the bottom of a drawer that wont close.
I put away clean clothes and the drawer wont shut. Instead of throwing my hands in the air at the pointlessness of even trying to do the right thing (right thing = putting clothes away), I take a look at the clothes in the bottom of the drawer.
The ones I’m putting away are ones we’ve recently worn. We like those. If the ones in the bottom of the drawer have been there a while, we haven’t worn them.
Which means we don’t like them as much as the ones we’ve worn. Clothes we wear deserve drawer space more than clothes we haven’t worn.
Clue #3: There’s a dust line on the shoulder.
This is hanging – clothes specific. And a little embarassing.
If a closet is over stuffed and I know we need to purge, I look for clothing with dust on the hangers line.
We haven’t worn those items in the amount of time that it takes for dust to become visible on them. This isn’t a perfect or thorough strategy. Its simply a clue to help me yank out some easy stuff and get on decluttering clothing.
Getting going cures de cluttering paralysis, and even if I stop after I remove the dusty shouldered items, we have less then we did before.
If you’ve struggled in the past to de clutter your closet, you’ll want to try these easy doable steps.
It doesn’t have to be hard. It doesn’t have to be overwhelming. And it wont take you all day.
I’ll walk you through 5 easy steps that will help you de clutter your wardrobe in as little as 15-20 minutes. Really!
Getting your home de cluttered is about consistent progress. It isn’t about perfection. Progress is not perfection.
The same thing applies to your wardrobe.
So don’t worry about completely overhauling your closet and creating the perfect capsule wardrobe right this minute. (unless you have the time, energy, and motivation to do just that).
5 steps. 15 minutes. You can do this!
This post contains affiliate links. I can make money if you make a purchase after clicking on one of my links.
How to de clutter your closet.
Before you get started, grab 3 large bags: One for donations and two for items you will remove from your closet for now. I like to use white trash bags that I can label with a permanent marker.
Don’t get hung up on difficult to get rid of pieces. If there are clothes that you never wear, but that you are not ready to get rid of, put them in a “maybe” bag for now. You can reconsider them down the road and de clutter your closet today.
1 Quickly remove everything youready to donate.
This can include: clothes that don’t fit, that you don’t like, and/or that you never wear anymore. Put these items in your donation bag.
Work quickly! This is your first pass through. Only pull out the things you definitely want to de clutter. We’ll get to the harder stuff in a few minutes.
2 Pull out clothes that don’t fit right now, even if you are not ready to part with them.
Try to keep only a small number of clothes that don’t fit, favorites only, especially if these clothes haven’t fit for a while.
Don’t get hung up here. If you are struggling to let something go, just keep it for now.
I know this isn’t advice you normally hear, but I want you to make progress quickly today.
Progress, not perfection, remember? When you look through this bag of clothes that don’t fit i n 3 or 6 months from now, you may be ready to get rid of more at this point.
Put these clothes that don’t fit, but you want to keep for now, in the second bag, label the bag.
Shortly before Christmas, I sat looking into my closet. My goal was to get it organized in one day. It wasn’t a big project (my closet isn’t that big) I hadn’t bought anything for this project, as I was just going to tackle it as quickly as I could. I could think about purchasing products afterwards if I so decided.
In the middle of organizing, I realized I was out of good hangers to use. Instead of stopping, and running out to get more hangers, I just kept on going through the clothes. I found more hangers from clothes I was no longer keeping.
I have written other posts about organizing on a low income or while being on a budget. I thought this is the perfect time to talk about how you can organize with out having to buy a thing! You do not always have to purchase supplies, you can just use what you have on hand.
This site contains affiliate links. I can make money if you make a purchase after clicking on one of my links.
Clear out the closet.
Clearing out the entire closet is always the very first step I do. I do this because once you can actually see the pile of clothes you own, you are more likely to truely evaluate what you have. And I found, I have a much easier time to part with things because I see how much I actually have.
Take everything off of the shelves and make sure there is nothing left hanging in the closet. If you have room, I would even recommend taking all the other clutter out of the closet! That includes shoes, purses, belts, accessories.
Starting your organizing with a clean space can help you visualize how you want the space to look, how the space can work for you, and how you can best use the space. Because you are no longer limited to a system you currently were using.
Down the road, in the future, you may want to consider heading over to EasyClosets for easy affordable ways to help maximize your closet space.
Declutter all your clothes.
Now comes the fun part…decluttering your wardrobe! I know, you think I’m crazy for thinking this is fun. But it really can be! Let me explain…
Start by sorting your clothing into categories, such as shirts, pants, dress, jackets, ect.
Once all the clothing is categorized, then you will be holding up each individual piece of clothing. Ask yourself, do I love how I feel when I wear this? If the answer is yes, out it in the keep pile. If the answer is no, put it in the donate pile. If the answer is well… or ummm…. or I guess…. then put it in the maybe pile.
After all the clothes have been put into piles, its time to go back to the maybe pile. Start by turning on some music and trying on each piece of clothing you have in the pile.
Be totally honest with yourself when you look in the mirror. Only keep clothes that you love to wear, because why would you want to keep something that doesn’t make you feel good.
Put away clothing by type.
Get piles of unwanted clothes out of your space. Put them in your garage or your car to donate and/or sell. Only keep the clothes that make you feel great in your space before you try to put those things away. It will give you a clear visual for what actually should go there.
If your closet is on the right side of the room when you are standing in the doorway, you should hang your clothes from left to right. If your closet is on the left hand side, hang your clothes right to left. I know it sounds funny, but think of it like this: you are hanging all your clothes so they face the door. The are some exceptions to that based on the type of closet you have. And set up of your closet, but for most closets, this system seems to be the most effective.
When hanging up your clothes, start by putting away all your pants. Try to use the bottom hanging space for your pants. I recommend going from dark to light. Then move to your dress pants.
Hang your tops by color, but sort by type of top with in each color. So an example would be to grab all your white tops. Then, hang your tank tops first. Then t-shirts, followed by quarter sleeves. Long sleeves are next, followed by jackets and sweaters. Continue this until you have gone through all colors of your clothing.
Dresses should be hung in the space where you have ample space for longer hanging clothes! And keep belts and scarves on hangers, preferably near where the dresses are hanging because there will be room for the length.
Use what you have.
While I love using beautiful organizing containers and bins from Dollar Tree. Sometimes, budgets, or space don’t allow for them. If that’s the case, I’m pretty sure you might have something around your house you could use.
I really love using shoe boxes to organize almost anything. All my kids drawers have their shoe boxes holding all their clothes. I will cut the shoe box lid to use as drawer dividers. If I need to make it sturdier, I will cover it with duct tape. And I love all the colored and decorative duct tape that you can find at Dollar Tree. So you can even spice up your space with some colorful tape.
While I love using velvet hangers, sometimes the investment isn’t feasible for your entire wardrobe. That’s perfectly fine. Just use what you have. The biggest thing about organizing your closet is to make sure that you can see all your clothes, and that you feel good about every item you own. That’s how you will be able to keep and maintain an organized closet.
Organize your closet with you spending anything!
I have some super random tips. Some you might laugh at. But once you follow them, you will no longer laugh. So give some of these tips a try. And I promise, if you laugh at them, I wont be offended. I mean, I talked about how to set up your closet based on where it was in your room. If you weren’t laughing at that, well, that is pretty silly to think about at first.
The curve of the hanger should be facing you.
All your clothing should be going the same direction.
Make sure your clothes are not inside out before you hang them up.
Hang your pants with the butt facing towards the wall.
Set up your closet so that all your clothes are facing the doorway, unless you have a walk in closet with a U shape. Then all clothing should be in the same direction all the way around.
Make sure you can reach everything you hang up in your closet.
Try to keep seasonal clothing in your closet all year long. It gives you a better visual for what you have.
Store a bag for dry cleaning in your closet or near your laundry basket. This makes it easier for you to collect your dry cleaning with out it piling up on the floor.
*Start with lighter colors then move to darker colors
*When color coding your closet follow this color system
Now it’s your turn to get your closet organized with out spending anything. Take everything out of your closet and declutter all of your clothes. Put things back in your closet by category and color code your closet.. Use what you have to help organize your space, and don’t forget to follow my random tips for keeping your closet organized.
I love the idea of minimalist living. I strive towards it, in fact. (At a snails pace, yes, but still – I’m striving).
Those who are naturally minimally inclined don’t quite understand the emotional turmoil that some of us feel when we try to take on the task of de cluttering so this post is for all you emotionally attached clutter bugs out there. The ones who want to live in a clutter free space, but struggle because you feel controlled by your stuff.
I get it. I’m high anxiety, seriously over sensitive, and easily over whelmed. Or at least I can be. I work every day to bring my sane self to the surface (that’s what I like to call that little voice of reason that allows me to function – when I choose to listen to her – and I do that more and more these days).
SuperAreaRugs.com Now that I’m able to see my floor… they have the most amazing rugs, and ALL affordable!
This post contains affiliate links. I can make money if you make a purchase after clicking on one of my link.
I’ve learned 4 little tricks to make de – cluttering easier.
De – cluttering is something I have worked on alot in the past couple of years. And man do I love how it feels to live in a home with less stuff. It hasn’t been easy.
If any one can benefit from these tricks I’ve learned to make it easier – well that’d be the icing on the cake. So let me walk you through a typical (for me) decluttering session.
First I tell myself that I will do it no matter how hard it is, because I can do hard things.
Dollar Tree has so many affordable, and pretty things to help with organization. Its one of my go to places if I find I need anything.
#1 Get permission
The first drawer goes ok.
I get the unused ,broken, don’t even know what this is into a box and I feel pretty proud of myself. Then I pick up something that I know needs to go… but it can’t because… (insert ridiculous reason here).
In the past I would have become discouraged, given up and probably drank some wine. But, now I do this…
Getting rid of the thing trick #1 I call someone who I know values a tidy house and understands the burden that excess stuff can be, and I explain that I need permission to get rid of the thing.
I’m no psychologist and I can’t tell you why this works, but having someone else’s permission and support to get rid of the thing helps immensely.
Until I pick up something that some one gave me. (this totally derails my decluttering train).
I want to get rid of it (oh the guilt)
But I can deal with it because I’ve learned:
Getting rid of the thing trick #2 I imagine that I was the one who had given this thing to someone else and I know that if the thing I gave them was causing the this much stress, I would feel terrible! I would want them to get rid of the thing.
I never gave it to them to burden them. So chances are good that who ever gave me this thing wouldn’t want me burdened with it either. They would want me to get rid of it. Plus it helps to remember that I am emotionally attached to stuff, and other people are not. There is also a good chance that the gifter doesn’t even remember giving me this thing, and just sees it as a thing.
#3 Ask for help
Then, I get to the thing I can not get rid of.
There’s no way. I sort of want to, but my resolve is going and I need this thing for absolutely no reason. I can’t.
Getting rid of the thing trick #3 I get someone else to get rid of it for me. I have to say, I don’t do this very often, and I do it less as I get better at allowing my sane self to be heard.
#4 Get rid of the thing now.
I’m done for the day, so I set the box of stuff on the spare bed. I’ll donate it next time I go to town. I feel ok right now about the things I’m getting rid of and even if some of it was difficult to imagine parting with, at least I get it in the box so I can start coming to terms with the fact that its gone.
I’ve noticed that 89% of the time I never even thing of the thing again after its out of the house.
I’ve also noticed, that if the box stays on the spare bed, the stuff will get out of the box.
Taking a good hard look at the clutter in your home can be overwhelming, and is usually the first hurdle you have to jump across before you can actually work out how to declutter and organize your home.
But, what if you knew there was an easy way to get clear of clutter and organize your home?
I have a simple decluttering hack that makes decluttering easy and fast. And all in 5 simple steps.
Why de clutter?
De cluttering is the very fist step you should take when you start to organize your home. After all, there is not much point in organizing a mess, right?
There are also other reasons why you should de clutter.
Less clutter means less stress. You may be constantly worried about the mess in your home with out even realizing it. Not to mention the stress when you are trying to find an item!
A cluttered home makes you tired. Having constant clutter around you makes it hard to focus and organize your thoughts. You may also be using up more energy then you think on worrying about your homes clutter.
You will have more space. Not only physically, but mentally too! When you stop have to worry about tripping over a mess or moving things around to create space you will be surprised by how much lighter you feel mentally as well as having more room to breathe in your home.
Cleaning is easier. How to make cleaning your home easier? Have less to tidy up! You have more space to clean which makes the chore much easier.
Your home is healthier. If you have lots of clutter, chances are you clean less. Or if you have cluttering habits like not washing up straight away, your home is breeding germs! And don’t forget the actual physical danger of a lot of clutter like tripping on clothes thrown on the floor.
You can save money… And even make it by de cluttering. When you get into the habit of having less in your home you will stop buying unnecessary items. You will also be more organized which means you stop buying replacements for items you can’t find… and in the process of decluttering you can sell all those unwanted items for cash.
You can learn self awareness. Learning to decide what is important to you is a fantastic life skill. You might start by learning with items and nic nacs, but this skill will flow into all other areas of your life too.
You might stop being late. All those minutes trying to find keys, shoes, and your phone all really add up. Watch your time management skills improve as you declutter.
You might make different decisions. How does clutter affect your decision? Well, take for example moving house. Maybe the thought of having to move everything is enough to keep you from making the change. It could be stopping you from having your home in the style you love, if it doesn’t go well with all those items you have been hoarding for 10 years!
How to organize your home.
How to get rid of clutter-Easy steps to de clutter.
So, now you know why getting rid of clutter is important. But, what are the 5 magic steps to decluttering?
As you know a pact is a formal agreement… so make one with yourself and the clutter in your home. Use it as a tool to help you remember the easy steps to decluttering. The best part is that you can use this tool for large spaces like whole rooms and also for the tiniest areas like an office drawer.
But, what does a pact mean?
The first step to decluttering.
Before moving or sorting anything ask yourself some questions.
How do you want to use this room?
What is the reason you want it organized?
How do you declutter your room?
You wont really declutter unless you dig deep with these questions. It’s no good answering that you want the house tidy. Being really specific will give you a solid goal and help you stay motivated.
For example, say you want to organize the piles of paperwork in your home office. Ask yourself why do I want to organize this space?
Maybe it’s because last time you needed an important document it took you half an hour of sifting through the pile, or maybe you missed paying your insurance because the bill disappeared into the pile.
Once you’ve answered the question, then move on to step 2.
Decluttering action steps.
This decluttering step is just like it sounds. Start to pile “like” items together.
Be as specific as you can.
In the pantry, pile spices together. In your closet, pile all your shirts together. And do another pile for your socks.
With your paperwork, pile all 401k paperwork together. Pile phone bills in another ect, ect.
Declutter with purpose.
Now it’s time to sort through your piles. Take each pile and break it down into two piles. One “treasure ” and one “Trash”.
By only having two piles you will start to learn to make those quick and sometimes tough decisions. Don’t detour from these two piles or you will end up with a third “not sure” pile that will just end up as clutter.
This step will get easier the more you declutter. And don’t feel that just because it is in the trash pile it means it’s going to the garbage. Rather it means it will no longer be in your home.
Making money from decluttering.
Now you are going to go through your trash pile and break this down into more manageable piles. Donate, sell, or garbage.
Once you have these piles, make sure you take action steps straight away.
Put your donate pile in the car so you can drop it off nest time you drive somewhere. Take photos of the items you are going to sell and put them up on face book or other great selling website.
The final step is where you get organized.
Last step to decluttering.
T Tidy up
Take your treasure pile and start organizing. You will find that organizing your home is so much easier now you have got down to just those items you really want or need.
Place items where they belong, put new organization systems in place and keep those like items together.
Some other home organization ideas are to make all your storage systems super simple and easy. And to organize items depending on how often you use them. Be sure to have items you use more frequently with in reach.
So now you know the simple steps to have A Pact with your clutter.
A great place to shop for organizational items is the Dollar Tree. They have it all from labels to bins. You may also want to look into Easy closet.com click here to go to their website!
If there’s something I’ve enjoyed doing a lot lately, it is organizing. It seems as though this is my year to get down with my bad self in the organizing department. The kids may think I’m crazy, but, it really is a good thing to get organized! One area that I got tired of looking at in my house is my desk. It’s so full of clutter. So, you can guess that this week, this is what I tackled.
Note: I’ve linked some helpful resources. These links are affiliate links and I can make money if you make a purchase after clicking on one of my links.
Are you like me and need help organizing your desk? Do you work at home? Or maybe your a student and use your desk for studying. What ever your routine, an organized desk will help you stay focused on your to-do list. Stop letting yourself get distracted by the mess! Here’s where you can get started.
How to organize a desk
Ditch the paper stacks. On my desk, you will find tons of paper stacks. Sometimes they aren’t even stacks- they’re just lots and lots of papers that never get thrown away. Between the kids, mail, and my paper work you really never know what you’ll find. For this reason alone, I’ve been trying to make everything as paperless as I can. Makes more sense and its less work for me in the long run.
Invest in a few desk top organizers. One of my favorite things about an organized desk is having room for real desk top organizers. They can be found super cheap. Dollar Tree has an amazing selection, especially right now, with all the back to school items. And… you can even find drawer organizers there as well.
Make your desk functional.Sometimes I put way too much stuff on my desk and it really makes no sense at all. This week I focused on making my desk more functional. I removed anything that I was no longer using and put things away that don’t go on top of my desk. You would be surprised at the amount of stuff I found that didn’t even belong there.
Ditch the junk drawer. I probably have a junk drawer in every room of my home. I ditched my desk junk drawer this week. There were so many random items in there. It’s a really good feeling to get rid of things we don’t use and obviously don’t need. Plus the sooner I get rid of those items, the less likely they will end up back on my desk.
Easy closets.com has amazing ways to help keep your organized! I love the clean look. And its all made the way you want it!
A place for everything. One of my biggest challenges has always been not knowing where to put all of my “things” I collected through the course of a day-week-month. When I don’t know where to put something, it usually ends up in a drawer where it’s forgotten. My greatest long term organizing successes come when I create a place to put each item Note: That “place” is more then often NOT in or on my desk.
While organizing my home hasn’t been the easiest task, I realized that I just need to take it one step at a time… And this week it was to organize the desk. Gone are the days where I let “things” and “stuff” overwhelm me. Are you ready to jump on the organizing train?
I absolutely love to thrift home decor! So often people purge their homes and donate things that are in great condition and thrift stores sell them at a fraction of the cost. This, my friends, makes thrift store decorating one of the cheapest ways to get a stylish home.
I know for alot of people walking into a thrift store can be overwhelming… There’s stuff everywhere, the shelves are packed, and if you don’t have a game plan, it can seem like too much.
That’s why I’m sharing with you what aisles I focus on and what items I always search for. That way, next time you’re doing your thrift store home decor shopping, you’ll know where to go and just what to look for at stores.
Why shop for home decor at thrift stores?
-Buying second hand saves money.
-Used decor can easily be made to match your style.
-Thrift stores often have vintage or unique items.
Yes, it’s true, I’m one of those thrift store decorating blogs. I’ll always be sharing with you fun ways to decorate your home with designer style on a thrifters budget and thrifting home decor is a great way to do that.
8 Best thrift store home decor items.
The basket selection at thrift stores is huge. Be picky about the ones you get. Only get ones that have a purpose in your home- whether that’s simply as decor or as an organizational tool.
My preference is to find ones that have a larger weave and are made of sea grass, but there are definitely some wood ones that catch my eye too.
Also, as a general rule, shy away from things with color or patterns. Natural colors are more versatile.
Flat, tray like baskets that can be used as a tray, propped up on a shelf, or hung in a wall gallery.
Round, two handled baskets that can be placed on the floor or shelf to corral groups of things like shoes, towels, or books.
Baskets with a single large handle (unless you’re making Easter baskets!)
There are always tons of lamps available, but be sure the ones you get are in good condition. Damages to watch for are scratches on the base, missing parts around the bulb insert, and dents and tears in the shade.
Stylish full lamps.
Individual lamp shades in the size you need.
Lamps that are broken or missing pieces.
Lamps that are the wrong style or size for your space.
I always persue the dishes aisle, but the place I typically find what I want is on the end caps. The thrift store staff sets up the end caps to display their “nicest” stock, so be sure to scour each of them.
Even if they’re grouped by color, you maybe surprised to find a great piece of white decor on the purple themed end cap.
Small plates that can be used as trays or propped on shelves as decor.
Groups of small colored dishes that can be displayed on an open shelf or in a hutch.
Unique dish items that match your current dishes style.
Generic dish sets – mugs
Be sure the greenery you purchase looks realistic. You don’t want to fill your home with greenery that’s obviously fake, rather invest in quality faux items.
Also, thrift stores tend to place larger greenery items (like faux trees) with the large furniture, so don’t forget to there too.
Realistic looking floral stems.
Stylish faux potted plants.
Twig or stick arrangements.
unrealistic looking stems.
Gaudy floral arrangements.
A lot of times stores will donate their stock that doesn’t sell to local thrift stores.
Our goodwill actually gets old stock from target, so there are frequently new and unopened curtains, throw blankets, sheet sets, and pillows for sale at thrift store prices.
As with all things, check for damage, and don’t forget to make sure the curtains are the right length for your windows or the sheets are the right size for your bed!
Unopened sheet sets.
Unopened throw blankets.
New throw pillows with original store tags.
Unopened table cloths or cloth napkins.
Used or damaged linnens.
Anything with an unpleasant odor.
The frame aisle generally contains a lot more than just basic picture frames.
You can find excellent art (both framed and even on canvas) and mirrors (that can easily be spruced up with a coat of paint) mixed in with the frames.
Cheap or damaged frames.
Frames or art that doesn’t match the style of your space.
While there are lots of aisles filled with all sorts of decor at thrift stores, I definitely take my time searching the section of wood decor. I typically get 1-2 items from this aisle every time I shop at a thrift store. There’s always great stuff!
You’ll also find that other types of decor might be placed here. So still be on the look out for greenery, baskets and other items while your looking through the wood decor too.
wood bowls or trays.
Decor that doesn’t match the style of your space.
Items that you don’t have a place for in your home.
The crafting aisle definitely one that can seem overwhelming. There is a ton of stuff packed onto those shelves. Don’t be intimidated by that, but rather go this aisle with a purpose. Knowing what kind of crafting supplies you use and are planning projects for and focus in on these things.
Almost anyone can decorate a Christmas tree, but there are a few secrets that designers have learned to make a Christmas tree look like it belongs in a design magazine.
The best designers think outside the box and use creativity to set their Christmas tree apart from others.
They often follow some rules, but bend the rule a bit to add interest. Here are a few designer secrets that you can use to make your Christmas tree a show stopper this year. But feel free to put your own twist on it.
This site contains affiliate links. I can make money if your make a purchase after clicking on one of my links.
Designers know that the secret to a good looking decorated Christmas tree is to start with a good looking tree.
The Christmas tree should look full and healthy with out any ornaments on it.
Real trees always look best, but are more challenging to decorate than artificial trees.
Taller and wider trees are more dramatic.
Your tree must look full, so make sure to fluff your artificial tree. If you are using a real tree, don’t purchase your tree too soon, it may dry out and look dead by Christmas.
If your tree is not as full as you would like, a designer secret is to add some fillers. You can add a greenery swag that is simple evergreen or something with flowers, berries, or pine cones.
Christmas lights make your tree sparkle, so don’t skimp on the lights. It’s nearly impossible to us too many lights. White or clear lights are used most often, however you can get a designer look with colored lights.
A bare minimum number of lights to use is 1 strand of 100 lights per foot height of tree, so a 10 ft tree would get 10 strands of lights. Feel free to double or triple that amount. Even if you have a pre lit tree, feel free to add more lights. Make sure you put the lights towards the inside and outside of your tree.
One designer secret to make your tree sparkle is to use 1-2 strands of blinking lights that are spread throughout your tree, but don’t make all your lights blink.
Another designer secret is to use a few strands of larger bulbs to add dimension and depth.
There are many ways to put garland on a Christmas tree.
You can use ribbon garland, beaded garland, paper garland, or whatever you like.
In order to get your garland evenly on your tree and not knock off any ornaments, designers put it on after the lights.
Feel free to use more than one type of garland or ribbon with different colors or patterns.
When putting on garland, floral picks, ornaments, or amything to your tree, a designer secret is to stop every 5 min or so and stand back from the tree, evaluate how it looks, and make adjustments. Make sure you leave room for your ornaments when adding garland. Don’t over do it.
In order to add a variety of texture to a Christmas tree (as well as fill in the holes, add color, and help the tree look more cohesive). designers use floral picks on a Christmas tree.
A designer secret is to put the floral picks in the Christmas tree in the same direction as the branches, not sticking up straight, for a more natural look. Spread floral picks through out the tree, but especially in any spots that might not look as full.
Simple round ornaments are great for creating a color story for your tree inexpensively.
A designer secret for decorating your Christmas tree with plain round ornaments is to group them together in clusters of 3. The ornament clusters are more dramatic than 3 standard sized ornaments by themselves.
Put some lesser expensive ornaments towards the inside of your tree to fill in the holes and nicer ornaments towards the outside of your tree to show them off.
Another designer secret is that the larger your tree is, the larger the ornaments you need. A 10′ tree needs bigger ornaments then a 6′ tree that can use standard sized ornaments.
Typically, smaller ornaments are placed towards the top of the tree and larger ornaments towards the bottom of the tree, however some designers have gone away from the rule in recent years i order to add drama.
Many designer Christmas trees have recently started using focal point ornaments that are 6″ to 12″ tall. Designers use about 1 focal point ornament per foot height of the tree. Ornaments over 12″ tall tend to look juvenile.
Yet another designer secret is to use ornaments of different textures. Shiny ornaments are nice, but also consider adding some that have a matte finish, are rough (like burlap), glittery, pearlescent, mirrored, or fluffy.
Typically, more is better when decorating a tree, but make sure to have a little bit of tree showing. Some people have gone overboard and have decorated tree that are comparable to someone wearing all of their jewelry at once- don’t do that!
Designers know that gifts under a tree are part of your decorations. Purchase gift wrap of appropriate style that coordinates with your Christmas tree.
For a vintage style tree, consider using simple craft paper as wrapping paper.
For a more colorful tree, use 3 different wrapping papers and 3 different ribbons (that coordinate with your color scheme) used in different combinations for interest under your tree.
Larger graphic patterns (plaid, stripes, dots, ect) and solids work best.
Tip: Your fridge isn’t just a closet for food – it’s a high tech device that helps you store all of your favorite snacks, condiments, and meal fixins in optimal conditions. Not only do refrigerators have different compartments that serve different purposes, they also have different temperature zones. This means that if your storing things in the wrong place, your not taking advantage of the modern miracle of refrigeration. And that leads to loss of food, loss of money, and less desire to cook at home. (Who wants to face down a crisper drawer of wilted greens? Talk about a bummer)
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Food needs to be maintained at cold temperatures to prevent the growth of bacteria and other microbes that make food spoil – and can make people sick. Refrigerators should be kept at 40F or lower and freezers should be set at 0 f. But even when the refrigerator is sufficiently cold, the temperature will vary in different parts of the fridge, depending on how close they are to the cooling element. Master the art of the refrigerator, and your food will last longer.
Your game plan:
Lets start with the obvious stuff: Freezers are for storing frozen things (duh!) You’r ice goes in the freezer, as do frozen fruits, veggies, meat, stock and other items. You can also store a surprising number of other foods in the freezer for latter use, such as tortillas, pasta sauce, and even eggs. (note: you can freeze bread for up three months, but don’t store it in the fridge or it will dry out) The trick with freezers is to pack foods tightly in their containers, and keep things well organized, since this optimizes storage space and also saves energy. (And moolah on the energy bill) Rather then using glass jars, which can break, freeze food in stackable plastic storage containers or in plastic freezer bags laid flat.
Doors are the warmest part of the fridge and should be reserved for foods that are most resistant to spoiling. Keep condiments, juices and other foods that can stand up to temperature fluctuations here. (and remember, that even condiments have a shelf life). Since fridge doors can get warm (particularly when they’re opened often), eggs and dairy shouldn’t go here, even if you guzzle milk straight from the carton all the live long day. (although, if that’s how you roll, you have bigger bacteria to worry about)
The upper shelves of the fridge have the most consistent temps, while lower shelves are coldest. One pro strategy from restaurant kitchens is to place foods that don’t need to be cooked near the top of the fridge. This includes left overs, drinks, and ready to eat foods, like tortilla hummus and deli meat. Herbs can be kept fresh by placing them upright in a vase or jar with a plastic bag. You’ll want to keep berries up here for easy access. See crisper section for more berry info.
The lower shelves are your best bet for raw meat, eggs, seafood, and other dairy to be stored at the coldest temps. To prevent raw meats bacteria from spreading to other areas, assign a particular section of the fridge as your meat locker. Keep meat in its original packaging, and place it on a plate or in an improvised bin that is cleaned regularly.
Overall: Don’t over crowd your shelves too much. Unlike the freezer, the fridge shouldn’t be totally packed. Cold air needs to flow here, and if it can’t you’ll get inconsistent temps with pockets of heat and warmth. (Luke warm yogurt anyone?) Leaving a little wiggle room between your left overs will also help keep your energy bill down.
The purpose of crisper drawers is to maintain moist conditions that help preserve fruits and veggies. But don’t make the mistake of jumbling all your produce together in a fruit and veggie free for all. Many fruits, including apples, peaches, plums, pears, and cantaloupes, produce ethylene, a chemical that helps them to ripen. Unfortunately the ethylene produced can also promote ripening in other plants, causing veggies to yellow and go limp or even sprout. So keep veggies in one drawer and fruits in the other.
Fruits and veggies should be washed before eating, but too much moisture can cause foods to flip from ripe to rotten before you can get your antioxidents on. The goal is to was fruits and veggies when its convenient, but not so far in advance that they are likely to spoil before you eat them. When washing fruit, remove extra moisture by draining in a colander, blotting with a paper towel, or using a salad spinner. Berries are particularly fragile so handle with care. Once washed, put greens and herbs in a plastic bag or container with a square of paper towel to soak up extra moisture. Out the containers back in the crisper for longer term storage, or on the top shelf where you more likely to see them.
On top of the fridge.
If you’ve been using the top of your fridge like a food attic, stacking bottles or merlot or loaves of bread up there, stop! Even if you kitchen is tiny and that spaces feels super convenient, its not a smart idea. To regulate cold temps inside, the fridge’s condenser coil pumps warm air out, and heat rises around the appliances cabinet. Results: It gets pretty warm up top. Heat is krytonite to wine. And it will make bread mold faster. The best use of this space? Store appliances or supplies like paper towels or a stack of cook books.
To fridge or not to fridge…
One of the tougher questions is figuring out if something goes in the fridge in the first place. Certain foods don’t belong in the fridge. Tomatoes will turn mealy and odorless in the fridge – keep the comfy at room temp. Onions, squash, and potaotes do best in a cooler environment with low moisture, so store them in a dark cupboard or other place outside the fridge. Avacado’s and many fruits are just fine being left on the counter to ripen, but can also go in the fridge to slow the process down if needed. Herbs can be kept in the fridge in a vase or the counter top. If they’ll be used in a few days.
Then there’s the gray zone: Foods that can be refrigerated to maintain maximum freshness and quality but don’t have to be refrigerated, if you use them quickly. For example, nuts, nut flours, nut butters, are just fine to store in the cupboard, but refrigeration will help maintain the natural oils. So refrigerate if your house is warm or you wont be using with in a few weeks.
Like wise whole grain flours and oils such as canola, safflowers and olive oil will last longer if stored in the fridge away from warm temps. Bottom line: if these products are laying around your home for a long time. Putting them in the center or upper shelves of your fridge (or freezer) will help prevent off flavors that can develop over time.
If your going to host Thanksgiving this year, you may be concerned that this will be an expensive experience. This can leave you too stressed to enjoy the Holiday for what it really is. A lovely time to get together with your family and appreciate your blessings.
Would you be surprised to hear that it is entirely possible to host an amazing, delicious Thanksgiving dinner, even when your on a budget? These tips can help you have a wonderful celebration and save money.
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How to host Thanksgiving on a budget.
Pot luck time.
I’ll be honest. I am not always a potluck fan. When I invite people over for dinner, I want them to be able to just show up and relax. I don’t want them stressing over having to bring something.
But, if you are normally the Holiday hero, taking care of every item on the menu, you might consider taking a step back. A big Holiday meal might just be a time to set aside any pot luck missgivings you might have. After all, its a great way to ensure that everything is taken care of without having to break the bank or over doing it in the kitchen. The good news is, everyone will get something they love.
Make a list.
Write out a budget and a menu and stick to it. This is a great way to ensure that you stay on track with your spending and you don’t go overboard with the menu. If you create your lists far enough in advance you can even make sure that you pick up certain non-perishable or freezable items on sale, saving even more.
Cook from scratch
When you buy pre-packaged items, you are usually going to pay more for lower quality products. Instead of those instant mashed potatoes or boxed stuffing make it all by hand using ingredients you most likely have in your pantry.
Give high priority to must haves.
Its entirely unnecessary to have 20 different side dishes at Thanksgiving. Pick a few you fell you must have and forget the rest. There is no need to go overboard and it will save you money and food waste. And, if you are serving less you will be more like;y to opt for the “from scratch” option, saving you even more money.
Consider varying your main dish from the traditional. Isn’t it really the experience of gathering the family around the table to break bread together that really matters? If you can’t afford the spiral sliced ham you usually serve, opt for something less expensive this year.
Use decor you already have.
Going overboard on decor and table settings can quickly destroy your budget. Instead of heading out to buy trendy new items each year, use what you have on hand. In fact, there’s something special about bring out the familiar year after year.
Don’t be afraid to mix and match too! This may include versatile plates and serving dishes, plain napkins and glasses. By not going for a matchy match look, you can use a variety of items and add some extra color and texture to your table setting.
When creating a center piece, you can easily use what you find outdoors. Freshly fallen leaves, decorative squash and pine cones can go a long way to making your Thanksgiving table beautiful. You could even task the kids with going outside to gather up the items for this.
Hosting Thanksgiving dinner doesn’t have to break the bank to be fun and delicious. One year, my daughter and I were unable to cope with a big feast. So we opted for a Charlie Brown Thanksgiving. We had a mish mash of simple foods and treats we enjoy and and it while watching movies. It was one of out favorite holidays ever. If you just keep your eye on whats important and simplify as needed you might even create a new tradition.