We all crave simplicity in our lives. Being surrounded by so much drama at work and within our families we certainly don’t need any more on our plates. One thing is for sure, to keep your home the “soft place to fall” that you need it to be…we need the spaces to be organized, tidy and beautiful
The entryway is a high traffic area that is often over looked. If you think about the ways we use this space, potentially several times a day, it is amazing that it doesn’t have the same focus as the kitchens and bathrooms do. We have to consider seasons in an entryway, putting away the old season and bring out the new… four times a year. We have cel phones and iPod that all need charging; often they are a jumbled mess at the front or back door. Imagine having a space to organize that mess. We have to consider sports, mud, dirt and rain and how to keep it all at bay as much as we can. Many of us have pets that also use the entryway on a regular basis. Maybe there could be a space for them too? We also want the space to be presentable when guests drop by. Like I said, this space works HARD for us.
Lets have a look at some fantastic mudroom and entry way ideas that may inspire you to make a change in your home. What do you think of these mudrooms? Would they work in your home? Do you have ideas of your own to share?
Did you know that there are homes out there with entire rooms dedicated to holiday decorations storage? Some are outfitted with uniform rows of shelving units stacked with color-coded bins for Easter, Halloween, St. Patrick's Day, and countless Christmas bins. Others have basements, garages, and attics full of these same bins. If you are one of these holiday decoration hoarders and you are feeling like it's all too much, here are some thoughts for whittling down the decorations without giving up the same festive look:
Before you purchase the next adorable decoration that gives you pause, ask yourself these questions first:
- Do I have a place to store this after the holiday is over?
- Will this item survive for a few years in storage?
- Will this item be high maintenance, requiring electricity, inflation, a noisy air compressor, or light bulb(s) that might be hard to replace? Will it require daily attention?
- Is this decoration trendy and likely to be out of style next year?
- Can this decoration stay out for the entire autumn season and not just Halloween, giving me longer enjoyment?
- Is this item safe for everyone? (Fire, Choking, or Poison hazards)
Consider as many consumable decorations as possible, like pumpkins, straw and leaves as a greener option…
These can form the base of your décor and they can possibly even be eaten or composted at the end of the season.
Consider the durability of your decorations for another season…
Were they worth all of the work involved? Could you have decorated less and still felt the same same sense of fun?
Consider donating your unwanted decorations to Goodwill, a greener option that diverts items from landfills and also creates jobs in your community. (And don't forget to find costumes at Goodwill and donate them when you're finished!)
For greener decorating, try:
- Buying LED lights to save energy.
- Making your own decorations as a creative project, and recycling what you can.
- Choosing beeswax candles over paraffin, which is petroleum-based.\
The leaves are starting to change. It has been noticeably cooler the last few days. Your ride to work in the morning is peppered with big yellow school buses and red flashing lights.
Fall and winter are creeping up on us quickly. It is time to start planning our closet changeovers. That chore was a lot easier when I was single but these days with three children and a fiance, it is a much larger and more daunting prospect.
Each year I use the same formula for consistency sake especially when it comes to the kids. I make sure to choose a time when everyone is out of the house and I can quietly make a start on the changeover.
There are three basic rules I use when I am weeding out the old and making room for the new. First I "Purge and Let it Go", second I "Sort" and third I "Organize".
Purge and Let Go
Some people find it easier with their own wardrobe to decide what to keep and what goes to good will while others find it easier with the children's wardrobes to make those decisions. Whichever category you fall into, the process is the same.
Make sure you have 2 garbage bags and at least one rubber bin or storage container per family member before you begin.
Empty the closets and dressers of all the clothing, including under garments. Make sure to put everything in a pile that makes sense to you. I make ten or so piles and break it down by type of item. For instance… long sleeve shirts and short sleeve shirts get their own piles, as does Pajamas, pants, hanging clothing etc. When everything is organized, I go through the piles one by one.
If an item of clothing is in bad shape- they go in the "rags bag". If they are in fine shape but haven't been worn more than once or twice all season they go in the goodwill bag, as does anything that will not conceivably fit the person the next season. If an item is in good shape, will likely fit next season and isn't an item that spans seasons (and will be added back into rotation) it goes in the rubber bin for storage. I typically also start a pile for items that I want to have tried on. My oldest daughter also likes to have a nostalgia pile, which I indulge her with but make sure it stays VERY small. I have a nostalgia bin for her and the rule is if it gets too full, she has to purge to make space. One small bin is all she gets.
My second step in the process is to Sort through all of the clothing to see what I will need to purchase to get us all through the next season. Firstly I add all of the new season clothing to the piles of items that span the seasons. For example, everyone needs a few short-sleeved shirts throughout the winter season. Children need them for gym class or after school activities; we may need them to wear underneath a sweater or just to lounge around the house.
As I take the clothing from the bins from last year I make sure they are still in good shape, will still fit and are still reasonably fashionable. If I am unsure of the fit I add it to the "try it on" pile. Once everything is sorted into piles I make a list of what I will need to purchase, then start putting them back into the closets and dressers.
My children are 8 years old and under. Those of you who have been through this phase know that the kids think they know what is best when it comes to what to wear in the morning. I try very hard to let them choose their own clothing. The one hard and fast rule I have is... it needs to be weather appropriate and school appropriate.
To facilitate the ease of school mornings I have a few tricks I use. The items of clothing that I estimate will be worn most often are put at or near eye level with easy access. I make sure they are as colour coded as possible... arranging for the girls that the reds do not sit next to the pinks or else you end up with one clashing girl who does NOT want to change before the bus arrives. This does not guarantee you will not end up with red and pink girl walking up the bus steps but it helps to make sure it happens a lot less.
I also make sure that the good dressy clothes go on correctly sized hangers at the top of the closet hanging system. This makes it a lot more difficult for them to put on the Christmas dress from last year for gym day at school. Yes, they can (and have) pull over a chair and defiantly pull down their best clothing for an average day at school but again; it keeps it to a minimum. I also make sure the undergarments and Pajamas get their own drawer where possible so the kids remember they have pajamas instead of sleeping in the shirt and underwear they wore to school that day.
By the time I am finished, the closets and dressers are organized and fresh. All that is left to do when the brood gets home is to try on anything in the “try on” pile, decide what to do with them from there, put the storage and nostalgia bin under the stairs and lay down the law when it comes to “keeping your clothing neat, organized and logical”. Ya, that’s going to happen! I love my kids, I love my kids, I love my kids!
I know it has been a couple of months since we have had to worry about hectic school mornings. Maybe you have blocked it from your mind like a bad movie… but let’s face facts… the sequel is right around the corner.
Many of our clients tell the same story… school mornings that involve screaming, begging, pleading, crying and ultimately “missed the bus” or “late for work”.
Kids need 3 basic areas in their rooms besides sleeping space. They need a space for clothes and shoes; homework and/or computer space; and a space for toys and books. So how do you make that happen? Well- the logical choice for homework and computer space is a desk. Most people think closets and dressers for clothing and standing storage or shelving for toys and books.
The average children’s bedroom is lined wall to wall with furniture and storage in an effort to get organized. That doesn’t need to be the case anymore. Custom storage can be much more than simply a pretty place to hang your dresses. How about a desk space with shelving and cubbies, drawers and cupboards? It offers enough space to store homework and books as well as toys and a computer. This would be the place where library books are kept so you are not hunting all over the house the day they are due. This space would be home to schoolbooks so the kids are not hunting for that math book as the bus pulls up to the driveway.
How about the kid’s wardrobes? Imagine a custom closet space that allows for easy access to clothing and shoes. No more “where are my favourite jeans” only to head upstairs and find them at the bottom of the pyjama drawer. These closet systems are designed around your kid’s habits… their strengths and weaknesses; and taking time and effort into consideration… things kids these days have typically in short supply.
So- what do we end up with at the end of the day? Two pieces of furniture – one of which is in the closet. Can you imagine the floor space? Can you imagine leaving the toy storage unit at the curb? How about never having to hold your daughter’s hand through clothing selection again?
It almost makes school mornings seem easy… doesn’t it?