Home Sweet Home: Clever Christmas storage solutions

December 1st, 2014

ornamentHoliday decorating can go from fun to frustrating in no time flat. Here are some time and money saving holiday storage solutions.  

design2Christmas lights

Cut cardboard a size that fits easily into a storage tub.  Cut a slit at one end of cardboard and slide the end of the light cord in the slit.  Now the lights can be wrapped around the board without getting tangled. The location where the lights are displayed can be written on the board so the next year decorating is simpler. Lights can also be wrapped around a clothes hanger. Secure one end of the light string to the tab that is normally lifted to secure pants and start wrapping around the hanger. Wrapping lights around paper towel tubes or cylindrical cans will prevent tangling of lights and will result in less frustration the following year.

Remembering from year to year

Before taking down the decorations, take pictures of the different arrangements and their locations with your phone or camera so the next year it takes less time to display again.

Ornaments

There is less likelihood that ornaments will get broken if containers with dividers are used.  Ornament storage containers can be purchased or liquor boxes with dividers work well as long as the ornaments are wrapped in tissue or bubble wrap first.  Small ornaments, extra bulbs and fuses and ornament hooks can be stored in egg cartons.  Used wrapping paper can be run through a shredder which will produce a soft protective material in which to pack breakables. Used tissue paper can also be used as filler when packing decorations.

design3Odd Shapes

Wreaths take up too much space in bins. Wreaths can be zip tied or tie wrapped to a hanger, and a dry cleaning bag or zippered garment bag may be used to cover the wreath.  Now the wreath can be hung in attic or closet and will remain dust free.

Storage bins

Storage bins should be labeled on the outside with duct tape or masking tape so decorations can be easily located and placed in the correct area. Separating and storing all mantle garlands from stairwell garlands will help when unpacking the following year. There will be less confusion in determining where each type of garland belongs.  Using clear plastic bins with colored lids aids in visibility – seeing the decorations without opening the containers. Orange lids could designate Halloween décor and red lids Christmas. Write a note and place it in a bin if it is noted that more lights need to be purchased or that worn wreaths / ribbons need to be replaced. This will result in an organized list of the items you need for the next year.

Bows

Bows can get easily mashed.  If they are stored in a hanging position, it will take less time to fluff them the following year. Bows can be attached with clothes pins to wire hangers and then covered with dry cleaning bags.  If bows are stored in a bin, stuff the loops with tissue paper to prevent crushing. Ribbon that has a wired edge makes the bows last longer from year to year because the wire helps retain the shape.
These inexpensive time saving tips can help simplify decorating so that the “happy” can remain in Happy Holidays.

Home Sweet Home: Deck the Halls…and every other room in the house

November 13th, 2014

fireplaceAs winter holidays unfold, here are some ideas to simplify, beautify and bring cheer to one’s holiday home.

By Cathy Osoria

Keep the color palette simple — Sticking to two or three colors makes decorating easy, and the end result looks thought out and put together. Traditional colors such as red, gold and green are Christmas decorating staples, or Christmas can be more whimsical by decorating with teal, pink and silver accents instead.  Adding lime green instead of holly green to the red and gold Christmas colors also adds whimsy.

Holiday lighting — LED pre-lit trees are a popular choice because they last thousands of hours longer than traditional lights and use almost 80 percent less electricity.  LED lights are usually brighter than traditional bulbs so less strands can be used when decorating to get the same visual impact. A Christmas tree should be lit from the top down working in sections rather than wrapping around the tree. Work the lights in towards the trunk of the tree, and then back out to the tip of the next branch.

Spotlights can be placed on top of cabinets and aimed toward focal objects that should be highlighted more than the surrounding decor. A spotlight can draw focus onto a wreath hanging on a fireplace or door or a Santa’s face in a table centerpiece.

Copy of untitledUsing good sense — Scents of pine, eucalyptus, apple cider and freshly baked cookies can all be purchased in scented holiday candles. Place candles near your entry and throughout your home to create an inviting holiday sensation. Boiling cinnamon sticks, cloves and oranges will get guests in the holiday spirit. It’s always good to decorate using lots of candles. Nothing makes a room feel warmer and more inviting than candlelight.

Mix styles — Try juxtaposing natural elements with sparkle. Don’t be afraid to spray paint an old object with metallic paint and possibly add glitter to create a metallic makeover. Natural elements like branches, leaves, feathers, pinecones and berries make good additions to mix with the metallics so they play off each other.

Decor with double duty — Buy ornaments like glass snowflakes and hang them from tree branches either inside or outside when entering the home. Guests will enjoy their beauty during the party and be able to choose an ornament to take with them as a party favor when they leave.

IMG_0260Bigger is better — Group collections and display in one area using different levels create more visual interest than spreading the collection around. Instead of hanging individual ornaments on the tree, save time decorating by wiring the ornaments together and using them in a cluster on the tree or wreath.  Instead of a traditional bow, ornaments can be hung with varying lengths of ribbon from the top of a wreath to create an unexpected modern look. Big oversized ornaments can be placed closer to the tree trunk to make the tree appear to have more depth and create more sparkle.

Time savers — Tree enhancers are simple to make and easy to install and make a Christmas tree look  larger and more plump and professional.  Enhancers combine a long piece of artificial greenery, branches, ribbon, ornaments and maybe a sparkly accent piece. The greenery is layered with a branch, and these pieces are wired together at the top. Then ribbon is tied around the wire and a bow is tied with the tails of the bow hanging to the bottom of the greenery. The ribbon tail is then attached with wire at the bottom and an ornament added, dropping off the end of the enhancer. Sparkly accents can be added and placed in the arrangement. Enhancers made in varying lengths can now be tucked into the Christmas tree. Pre-making enhancers saves time from hanging each of those items individually onto the tree. It’s faster to take the tree down, and they pack really well in a storage tub.