Thursday, 12 December 2013

HOW TO :: Cut the Christmas card clutter

Last month on Facebook I shared a guest post that I wrote for Mamas Group on rethinking our approach to Christmas - rethinking gift-giving, rethinking gift-wrapping, and rethinking preparations (read it here). There is one more thing we can rethink - a big contributor to general Christmas clutter - the ubiquitous Christmas card!

Now that my little man has started school, we have received waaaay more cards this year than previous years, and like most people I know, we do not have infinite surface area to display them all. So using one of my top 5 tips which I shared last week - namely using your vertical surfaces to free up space on horizontal surfaces - today I am sharing a little trick to display all your cards without taking up any space.

Vertical display of Christmas cards

For my display I have used clear fishing line attached to a Christmas decoration, which I have attached to the wall with blu-tack (you can also use the 3M Command picture hanging strips which will be able to hold more weight), and pretty green paper clips to attach the cards. This means I can hang all my cards up without having to stick every one of them on to the wall directly (which helps prevent damage or dirty marks on the wall). We have high ceilings and so I currently just have one vertical line of hanging cards.

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I love the 'invisible' effect of the fishing line, but you can do the same thing using twine or ribbon. If you have a lot of cards you can also get creative with the way you hang them, having one vertical line per family member, or zig-zagging the line into a Christmas tree shape.

I have also experimented with stringing the cards up horizontally as a sort of bunting which can look really lovely above a fireplace or next to the dining table. You can use paper clips or small fold-back clips in festive colours. Pop a little Christmas decoration over each end of the 'bunting' to add a bit of charm and hide the attachment to the wall.

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I am sure there are many more clutter-free ways to display Christmas cards and I would love to hear about them. Please feel free to share your tips in the comments below! Thanks :)

Friday, 6 December 2013

My Top 5 Tips for Effective Storage

So many of my clients have an issue with storage, and more specifically knowing how to use it efficiently, so today I'll be sharing some basic principals for maximising the usefulness and accessibility of storage spaces - whether you have plenty of them or hardly any.
(If your problem is having too much stuff to fit into your storage space - then tune in next month for my top tips on decluttering!)

Top 5 Tips for Effective Storage

1. Don't store what you don't need to. Often it is more a case of having too much stuff than not enough storage space. Time to declutter! (more help on this topic in the new year)

2. Categorise your items in terms of how often you need to access them, then store them accordingly.

  • Primary storage is for items you need easy access to on a regular basis - this is space (shelves, drawers etc) which is ideally between knee and eye level, or within easy arm's reach when sitting.
  • Secondary storage is for items you need to access occasionally - top and bottom shelves, the back of deep cupboards, under-bed storage etc.
  • Tertiary storage is for items which you only need to access infrequently, once a year, or on special occasions (archived tax records, snow gear, or Christmas decorations for example) - in the roof or under-house storage, in the shed or garage, or in an offsite storage unit.

3. Store items vertically to avoid piles and improve accessibility, and use your vertical surfaces to free up space on your horizontal surfaces - use vertical mail sorters, and wall-mounted hooks, rails, hanging shelves or baskets; store baking trays and platters vertically; etc.

4. Use labels for easy reference - a quick glance in the pantry or filing cabinet and you can easily see where to put something away or retrieve something from.

5. "A place for everything and everything it its place" - create designated homes for items and return them there when not in use. Use drawer / shelf dividers to delineate zones with specific functions. This helps avoid things being 'dumped' just anywhere, and helps maintain order.

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This is just the very tip of the storage iceberg, but if you start to implement these tips you will be able to see immediate improvements. Do you have any other tips and tricks for better storage? Feel free to share them in the comments below!