Oh, dear Christmas, we’ve been waiting for you for so long. And now that you’re finally coming, we’re ready to open our homes and welcome you in the warmest atmosphere possible. What’s not to like about Christmas? Its magical power touches everybody. The lights, the Christmas tree and decorations, the stockings on the fireplace, the carols, the milk and cookies for Santa – it’s like the whole world transforms into a winter fairytale.
This holiday has to be met properly with a clean and tidy home full of joy and excitement. As you know, before you reach the good stuff, you have to be prepared to face some challenges, meaning the big cleaning before Christmas, especially if you’ll be the host of a Christmas dinner. Let’s hope that the Christmas spirit will make cleaning easier on you, at least mentally. There’s no need for you to be gloomy when it comes to getting rid of dirt. Put a smile on your face. After all, the holidays are coming! And you’re doing a good deed here.
Clean the Stains in the Living Room with a Smile
Scan the carpeted floor for any kind of stains that have to be removed. You don’t want it too look too worn out and dirty, especially when you’ll be receiving guests. Arm yourself with patience and the right cleaners for the purpose. Carpet and rug cleaning requires some rubbing, but you can handle it with the help of your high spirits influenced by the upcoming holidays. Upholstery is what comes next. Check the sofa and cushions for spills and any spots that are not supposed to be there. Just a quick idea for decorating – you may put some Christmassy decorative pillows on the sofa. They will make a good impression and will contribute to the overall festive atmosphere.
Put Some Christmas-related Songs on when Dusting, Mopping and Vacuuming
This will definitely boost your mood and you’ll be less reluctant to do the otherwise tedious cleaning chores. Remember, you’ll be having visitors for Christmas and everything has to look nice. Move one room at a time with the duster, mop and vacuum cleaner. Wipe the areas under the furniture where possible. While in the rooms, take your time to get rid of the clutter. Tidy up a little, a lot actually. Big cleaning for a big holiday, right? Even if you won’t be expecting guests, you deserve to meet Christmas in a neat atmosphere.
The Guest Room Should Shine Like a Star
This is probably the room that you don’t use much on an everyday basis. It won’t involve exhausting rubbing of stains for hours because practically people don’t live in there, so there’s no one to make a mess. Wipe the dust on and inside dressers and drawers, clean the mirror and windows, vacuum, and you’re done. You can spray some air-freshener and leave scented candles with a typical Christmassy fragrance. Ah, the spirit of Christmas is already here!
There is another option if you’re not willing to clean the house on your own and that is taking advantage of reliable cleaning company services. Whatever you choose though, make sure that everything in your home looks stunning for the holiday. In a typical Christmassy manner, be the cheery host that makes all guests cozy and comfortable.
December 5, 2012
Each year, we have about 150 holiday cards that need to be sent out. That may seem like a huge project, but it actually is fairly quick and painless when done in stages.
Here are the various stages of my process:
1) I ordered holiday cards from an online store. During this stage, I choose photos from this past year to use on the cards, and designed the cards online. I included our signatures and a brief happy holidays sentiment in the cards when I designed them, so that I didn’t have to write each one out by hand.
2) While waiting for the cards to arrive, I purchased holiday newsletter paper from a local store, while I was out shopping for other items.
3) I wrote our holiday newsletter, and had my husband edit it. I then printed them up and my husband and I folded them together.
4) I printed out mailing labels for all of my recipients, using my Christmas Card Excel file and my Word label file that I created about 10 years ago. (This means no need to hand address envelopes, and it’s very easy to edit information as needed throughout the year.)
5) When my cards arrived in the mail, I had my daughter label each envelope, stamp each with our return address label, and affix postage.
6) I then grabbed my cards and envelopes, sat at my girlfriend’s house while she did her cards, and added any finishing touches. I like writing the ‘Dear _____’ at the top of each card by hand, and sometimes I include a short sentence or two to further personalize.
7) As I finished personalizing any one card, I inserted the newsletter into each card, and each card into the appropriate envelope. Then, I continued with the next card, and the next, until they were all done.
Finally, I hand-delivered the cards to my post office to be mailed.
Trying to do everything at once can be both daunting and overwhelming. But when done in stages–each stage on a different day–it’s more doable. I hope these stages help you get your holiday cards completed quickly and easily!
December 3, 2012
Christmas and New Year will soon knock on your door. Are you going to invite them in an impeccably organized home? You better! Christmas brings all the family together and you have to be well-prepared to receive guests in a clutter-free atmosphere. Also, you don’t want to welcome New Year in a home full of disorganized, unusable and unnecessary items, do you? After all, every New Year is related to a new beginning, new resolutions, and it’s better to forget about the old and focus on the new in any aspect. Physically and mentally get rid of everything that disturbs the eye and the mind.
It’s All about Making Lists
What better way to stay organized than writing everything down? Clarify what has to be done by putting it on paper so that you don’t forget. Grab a notepad and write any idea that occurs to you related to winter holiday organization. You can even make several lists, but make sure that everything is gathered in one place, like the suggested notepad, because if you write on random pieces of paper, there is a huge risk of losing them. Even if you have a strong memory, the organizational stuff you’ll have to remember will be so many around the winter holiday season that you won’t be able to keep track of them all. That’s why making a list everything is the best option. Consider the people you have to buy Christmas presents for, the meals you want to cook for New Year’s Eve and the ingredients for them, the number of guests you expect, the items you have to get rid of – these are all things liable to be put in a list. As for the items you have to part with, you can avail of a moving company storage services, which will provide a safe shelter for the items that you’re not ready to just throw away. At least they will be out of sight, which will contribute to the de-cluttering process you’ve taken up with. Also, each time you put a check-mark next to a certain task, you’ll feel relieved that you’ve been doing things right.
Distribute the Tasks
Don’t carry all the responsibility on your shoulders. Instead, distribute the tasks between all the family members in the household. In the first step you determined what needs to be done; now, you have to say who will do what. Having in mind how much the holiday season requires to be done, such as Christmas shopping, hanging of outdoor lights, decorating the tree, cooking traditional goodies (like gingerbread house – how pretty, and yummy), wrapping presents, posting cards and so on, one person can’t manage alone when a huge number of guests are expected to come and share a Christmas dinner, for example. You all know that this holiday is dedicated to family get-togethers and jolly meetings with friends, so if you are the host, you’ll have a hell of a lot to do. This is why each family member should be assigned something he/she is good at. The mom will obviously take care of the cooking and cleaning; daddy can hang the lights outside and go grocery shopping with a list that mommy gave him. If you have teenage children, they can decorate, post the holiday cards or help clean. All of you have to work together in order to create a warm atmosphere for you and your gusts.
Once you start doing something, don’t distract yourself with anything else. It’s easy to get lost when so much has to be done. That’s why the tasks have to be allocated. This way, you’ll know that there is someone to take care of them. The point of organization is to stay mindful so that you can concentrate on one thing at a time and not get confused by disorder.
By this point, you should have cleared your mind and your home out of the unnecessary, whether by helping yourself or by keeping the items you don’t use in the safe removal company storage facilities. These organization ideas should come in handy when making your personal contribution to the upcoming winter holidays loved by everyone.
November 23, 2012
Today, I’m attending a business seminar…online. It’s called a webinar, and it’s basically a seminar that I get to view and participate in online, at my computer. Webinars are an excellent way to be educated about various subjects, without leaving the comfort of your own home or office.
My schedule is pretty heavy today, and this particular webinar is live, so I have to be at my computer at a specific time for 90 minutes straight. Conveniently, it’s scheduled right over my lunch hour.
To ensure I don’t fall behind on other projects I need to do, I’ve decided to watch the seminar DURING my lunch hour. This way, I can get the information I need, and eat and relax at the same time.
I generally don’t suggest ‘working’ through a lunch hour unless it’s absolutely necessary. We all need time to regroup. That being said, if what you’re working on is not too intense…like reading or watching something…I think it’s a great way to make up time on occasion.
Gotta go get my lunch ready…have a super day!
November 15, 2012
Do you use up your toiletries before you buy more, or do you keep adding to your collection?
In my house, we don’t buy an ounce of shampoo or a bar of soap, for example, until all of the old ones hanging around are nearly done. This includes not only the full-size containers of shampoo, but also the smaller, travel-size containers we pick up along the way when we’re traveling.
The new containers are only opened, when the old containers are completely finished, and recycled.
If you’re trying to be frugal (a necessary part of life for most people these days) AND attempting to be organized, using up what you have before you buy more is key.
November 7, 2012
I’ve been scrapbooking for about 8 years now, and I have tons of supplies. However, when I first started, I had just a few basics, and that was just fine as a beginning scrapbooker.
I love scrapbooking as a hobby because not only am I having fun, but I’m also preserving memories for my family and for generations to come in a pretty, organized manner.
Besides running Get Organized Now!, I also am a Stampin’ Up consultant which I enjoy as a creative outlet. So you can certainly purchase any supplies you need from me, easily and hassle-free.
Here’s what I recommend if you’re brand new to scrapbooking, along with the product numbers on my Stampin Up site:
1) One 12 x 12 album (127685)
2) One Snail Adhesive (104332)
3) Pretty Patterned Scrapbooking Paper. I recommend…
Natural Composition Specialty Designer Series Paper (126917) if you’re looking for something neutral
Birds Of A Feather Designer Series Paper (126899) if you’re looking for something a bit more colorful
4) A tabletop paper cutter (106959)
That’s really all you need to create basic scrapbooking pages that you and your family will cherish.
Of course, later on, you can always embellish your pages with shapes, stamps, ribbon and more to liven things up a bit if you wish–there are lots of options available on my Stampin’Up web site. Visit:
October 26, 2012
I just love fall. This past weekend, I took my daughter to Ebert’s Greenhouse Village in Ixonia, WI. They had many fun kids activities, such as walking through a corn maze, sending pumpkins through the air at the pumpkin launch station, and making scarecrows.
In addition, they had a hayride. When we arrived at the hayride station, we saw the tractor in the distance, so there was a bit of waiting time involved. However, we didn’t want to leave and do something else because a line was forming.
We decided to make the most of our time together. For every minute we waited, we took turns coming up with various subjects, like leaves, pumpkins, and fall foods. For each 60 seconds, we both conversed about those subjects. For example, on the subject of fall foods, we spoke about which fall foods were our favorites, which fall foods we thought were the sweetest, which ones we liked the least, and so on. Then, when the minute was over, the subject was changed and we’d start again.
We talked about 8 subjects before the hayride arrived, and it hardly felt like the waiting time was any time at all. Plus, we had fun just chit-chatting and enjoying each other’s company.
When you’re in ‘waiting mode’ and you’re with a loved one, that’s the perfect time to catch up with each other and share your feelings, thoughts, ideas, and dreams.
October 12, 2012
With Halloween fast approaching, it seems appropriate to provide tips on cleaning/removing cobwebs from the interior and exterior portions of your house. One of the best tools to use is a simple broom, and make sure to remove all hanging ends of the cobweb.
Another interesting tip is to apply a little bit of lemon juice to the end of the broom–apparently spiders aren’t fond of lemons!
Another great tool to use, especially if you have popcorn or textured walls, is the hose attachment to your vacuum.
For the outside of your home, use a hose to get the hard to reach places, and a shop vac or indoor/outdoor vacuum to get around windows and other areas that you are able to reach. Remember, spiders are one of nature’s creatures, and they generally try to avoid contact with humans!
September 27, 2012
When you have a number of people in your family, the living room can be a place which gets used by everyone but at the same time is a little neglected.
For the children, they don’t always see it as their responsibility to look after and keep tidy – like they might with their bedrooms. And so it’s often down to the parents to tidy it up when it needs it. And as your children grow, the room may feel like it’s no longer big enough for you all to spend time in comfortably.
It may feel this way, but a clever choice of furniture and some creative storage will help you maximise the space in your living room. If you have the time and funds to give it a little makeover, you could really make a big difference to how the space ‘feels’.
The choice of sofa and other seating is really important. Today, there are so many different sofas on the market, in such a variety of shapes and sizes that it’s not difficult to find a new one that you like. Depending on the number of people in your family, you may decide you need two sofas, or one big corner set. Corner sofas are great for using space wisely in a room – you can push them right back against two walls and into a corner of the living room, freeing up plenty of floor space in front.
Lots of leather sofas are also corner sofas, but if you prefer fabric sofas, you can find these as corner or chaise sofas too. A chaise sofa often has a great storage area under the chaise section – perfect for storing those items that you don’t use every day, but like to have handy.
A practical TV cabinet can provide a great deal of storage space, so that you can file all your DVDs, blu-ray discs and video games in the same place under the TV, as well as having shelves for a Skybox and DVD player. Your choice of coffee table can also incorporate further storage in an attractive way, with so many coffee tables that come with drawers included.
Alternatively, you might want to build-in a whole wall of shelving that incorporates space for the TV and other audiovisual equipment, so that the space above the TV is not wasted. The other shelves can be used for a combination of storing books and displaying photographs and ornaments. At the base, it’s a good idea to include some closed cupboard space so that you can stash away things that you don’t want on display like board games. Having wall to wall storage like this will mean that you need fewer other pieces of furniture in the room, giving it a more spacious feel.
Of course, what you need to do when you have the new look living room is to make the effort to put things away after using them in their appointed place. Otherwise your room can still look cluttered.
September 12, 2012
The last time we traveled to visit my family out east, there was an issue with the airlines that ended up in free airfare vouchers for us. We had to use those vouchers prior to September 15th, otherwise we’d lose them.
We decided to visit my family again in NJ, but discovered upon trying to use our vouchers, that our airline no longer flies into NJ.
So, we decided to use our vouchers to fly into Washington DC instead, and then drive to our New Jersey destination.
As it turned out, my dad had to have a surgery done, and it so happened to fall on our vacation week. So, we were there to assist and help out as much as we could.
After that, we had to drive back to DC to return our rental car and decided to stay in Alexandria, VA and tour DC for a day and a half.
We managed to get tickets for a White House tour, and also got to see the Capital, the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial and some other historic sites.
We stayed at the Embassy Suites, which was a nice hotel conveniently located in (Old Town) Alexandria, Virginia…just a quick metro ride away from DC.
We were so happy we decided to stay in Old Town, especially that it was a spur-of-the-moment decision. We loved the quaint, colonial atmosphere, the free trolly that transported us up and down historic King Street, the lovely restaurants, and just being together in this wonderful area. If you’re looking for a relaxing weekend getaway, I highly recommend this town. We plan to return in the future as our time there was too short.
Anyways, even though our vacation was pretty different than what we envisioned or planned, it all worked out well in the end.
September 3, 2012