Holiday Decorations Cheat Sheet

Holiday Decorations Cheat Sheet

It’s time to deck the halls again!

I used to think decorating for Christmas was daunting – where does THAT item go… Was it on the mantle or on top of the piano?  Or was it in the guest room?… I used to overthink it too much and decorating took forever.

The came a simple (but time-saving idea) – a “cheat sheet”!  Since I started it a few years ago, the pressure to remember all the ins and outs of the decorations has been lifted (aahhhhhhhh).  It’s simple, really. Each year, I take photos of my holiday decoration  details, the layout of my Snow Village, the mantle, the kitchen, etc.  Then, before I pack everything up once Christmas is over, I print out the photos (wallet size) and store them in page protectors WITH my decorations.  That way, when it’s time to drag it all out again, I have a reminder of how it was done the year before.  It’s a basic idea, but it saves me SO much time (and stress over deciding where everything will go).  The beauty of it is that I still leave room for change – moving things around – and I do, that keeps it interesting.  I just make sure to document the change with a photo so I can recreate it the following year.   Holiday decorations will always be a work in progress, but having a guide makes delving into the talk a lot faster and easier!holiday-cheat-sheet

If you like this idea, you might also like this Holiday Tip for packing away garland.

Holiday Garland Tip

Holiday Garland Tip

As you start to think about packing up your Christmas decorations, try this little tip I use for organizing garland.  It’s simple one, but if you’re like me (multiple strands of garland, all in different lengths and with designated “homes” around the house), it’s a time-saver!

Label your garland with painter’s masking tape.  See?  Easy.


Once you know where each garland fits best (on the tv cabinet, in the dining room, on the mantle, etc.), it only makes sense to not have to solve that puzzle again!  Before you pack it away, fold a piece of painter’s tape over the end of the wire and label its location with a Sharpie.  Painter’s tape is removable (without leaving a sticky residue), so it’s perfect for this task.

Once labeled, you can store all of the garlands in one box instead of several, but they’ll still be easy to sort out next year.  Just remove the tape and you’re done – quick and easy!

I started doing this a few years ago because no matter how much I *thought* I’d remember where each garland went (after 11 months of not thinking about it), I didn’t.  This trick is a huge time saver now!

Happy Holiday Decoration packing!

Milk Jar Collection Storage

Over the past few years, I’ve become a collector of vintage milk jars (as if I  need more quirky items to collect).  I started my collection when I went to Steamboat Springs, Colorado for MusicFest several years ago.  I just wanted a little souvenir from the local antique store.  Since then, I’ve picked up a few here and there at antique stores.  I love using them placed around the house with fresh flowers!  They’ve just got so much more character than a regular glass vase…

This weekend, I purged my kitchen and reorganized some of the cabinets, so I decided to put all of my milk jars in the same place (instead of six).  My grandmother had given me this wooden crate, and I decided that it would fit perfectly in a lower cabinet and serve as a “drawer” for my collection. DSC_1009

This DIY project was a real doozy – I attached felt pads to the bottom corners of the crate.  The End.


DSC_1013DSC_1016DSC_1018Now I have easy access to all of my milk jar options!

Medicine Cabinet Cleanout

DSC_0109I’ve been on a bit of a cleaning kick lately, so when I decided to tackle the medicine cabinet, I had to seek assistance for the “appropriate way” of disposing of medication was these days.  When I was kid, mom used to flush them down the toilet, but I think that’s frowned upon now (preserving the world’s water and keeping fish from drug additions and whatnot).  My pharmacist friend filled me in on the Drug Disposal (v. 2013).DSC_0110

1.  Remove old prescription drugs, expired over the counter meds and vitamins.

2.  Place them in a Ziploc plastic bag with a enough warm water to cover the pills inside.

3.  Let the medication dissolve, then dispose in the trash.


4. Optional:  Pray that you don’t have a druggie neighbor that digs through your trash looking for a monster drug overdose?  (kidding)

I didn’t take a before photo of my medicine cabinet (it was SUCH disaster), but doesn’t it look nice and organized AFTER?  Take my word for it, it’s a lot better.  Cleaned?  Done!


Hidden Bar Cabinet

Hidden Bar Cabinet

barcabinet- barqueandbite.comA few years after college, my grandmother gave me a small clothing wardrobe (that she actually found it on the side of the road) . I’ve always loved the cabinet’s little frame, adorable skeleton key lock (but of course the key is missing), and its built-in shelving (on the right side). For me, it wasn’t much use as a wardrobe… so eventually I decided it would be the perfect bar cabinet! It’s beautiful, sentimental AND functional.insidecabinet -

Originally, the cabinet was for clothes, hence the shelving. To create even more storage, I purchased an inexpensive wooden wine rack from World Market, screwed it into the back of the cabinet to make it secure, and then stained it to match. Then, I installed wine glass “runners” in the top of the cabinet. I use those to hold champagne glasses, with wine and martini glass storage on the built-in side shelves. The top of the wine rack also creates an instant shelf, so it’s perfect for more oddly-shaped bottles. I love how much storage this little cabinet has- with everything tucked away so neatly, it’s just perfect!

bardetail -

Do you have a “hidden” bar? Share your creative ideas, I’d love to hear!

Lunchbox to Mail Organizer

Lunchbox to Mail Organizer

DSC_0529I found this “mailbox” lunch box at an antique store in town and instantly snapped it up…  I especially love the “Mr. Zip” on the side (hehe).  While I don’t take my lunch to work much these days, I did think that this could be the perfect vessel for housing outgoing mail…  DSC_0504We often write “thank you” notes at work to customers, and having a way to organize them seems pretty perfect.  I’m just excited that now I have a cute way to do it!

This adorable little mailbox only cost me $14 (but honestly I would have paid more).  I completely love the graphics on it, as well as the overall design.  With the “mailbox” look on both sides (including the flag), I think it’s a pretty special piece.

To act as a divider for the outgoing mail, I cut some kraft cardstock and added Avery tabs with the name of each month.  I love that these tabs are self-adhesive and the title can be changed easily too!  To keep with the colors of the box, I only used the red, white and blue options from the package, and I think it works well.

Here’s a shot of the inside, showing the monthly tabs and a few cards already filed in place.DSC_0539

My grandmother, who sent a birthday card to EVERYONE she knew (maybe that’s where a love of paper), taught me a pretty cool trick when I was in college.  She used to label each envelope (in the top right corner) with the date that it should be mailed to get to the recipient ON their birthday.  If all of the cards are filed away nicely, all you have to do is pull out the card to be mailed (on the date listed), place a stamp over the written date, and drop it in the mail!  DSC_0543Such a simple (but totally genius) idea that has stuck with me for YEARS…  It’s been really helpful!

I’m so excited to have this little treasure as my “mail organizer”.  It’s WAY better than a boring office filing system, don’t you think?  🙂  Happy mailings, all!