Decluttering in the New Year

It’s that time of year when stores are advertising storage bins, containers, and all the ways to organize your home. Where do you even start? Well, first off, don’t buy any containers or bins yet! You need to know what you need to organize and how before purchasing anything. Sometimes, you not need to purchase any storage containers depending on how much you declutter!

Step 1 

Start in one room. If you try to declutter and organize multiple rooms at once, you’ll stop even before you’ve fully started. Decluttering can get overwhelming quickly so tackle one room at a time, maybe one weekend at a time.

Step 2

Get rid of anything you do not use anymore (good rule of thumb- if you haven’t used that kitchen appliance or worn that shirt in a year, time to get rid of it). Some items you can donate and some just need to be tossed. It may be helpful to have a friend as he or she can give some real perspective on what you do need and what you do not.

Step 3

Any items that you don’t need, but are in good condition can be donated. Below are list of places that can use donations:

Habitat for Humanity ReStore (call ahead and see specifically what they will take-typically good condition appliances and furniture)

Salvation Army

Goodwill

And if you are looking for more great places to donate to- Apartment Therapy wrote an excellent article on “25 Places to Donate Stuff”

Apartment Therapy “25 Places to Donate Stuff”

 

Step 4

You’ve rid yourself of all the things you do not need or use. Now it’s time to go get some shelving, bins, or containers- if you even need them! You may find that you only need 2 shelves and some fabric containers to hold a few things or maybe a few storage bins.

Step 5

Enjoy your newly organized home and money saved from getting rid of things you don’t need or use anymore!

 

Keeping Your New Year’s Resolutions

The ball has dropped, confetti has been popped, and everyone has gladly exclaimed, “Happy New Year!!” It’s a new year, a new day, and a time that many will make new (and even some old) new year’s resolutions.

It takes about 41 days to create a habit. Once you make it that far, the next day seems a little easier. But how do you even get past day 15? Or by day 30, you are tired, exhausted, and might find being motivated more challenging…

Below are some ideas to help you keep motivated until day 41 and beyond:

  1. Make a list and be specific. Lists. So classic, but they work. Write out what you want to accomplish and be specific on not only what the goal is, but also how you will accomplish that goal.
  2. Think of fun resolutions too. There is the classic- “lose weight” and “eat healthier”-which are great, but in addition to those, think of others you may enjoy more. Such as taking a photography class, reading more, spending more time with your children by playing games and going to fun places together.
  3. For the resolutions, you may have to buy supplies. Be practical with what you need to purchase, but also purchase things you will enjoy using or wearing. Need new workout clothes and really want the way cooler athletic set? Then buy it. If you will want to wear it, you are more likely to stick to your goal.
  4. 10 minutes. Think of all the things you can accomplish in 10 minutes. For example, you are wanting to exercise more- you can do jumping jacks, crunches, lunges, and run in place for 10 minutes. There are 10 minute workout videos which allow you to start small and work your way up to more. Or take the dog on a walk for 5 minutes more than you normally would.
  5. Set up reminders. Use your phone to help create daily reminders for yourself. Share with your family what your goals are and they can help to encourage you, as well as cheer you on. Join a group focused on what you are wanting to achieve. This will help keep you motivated and you may have more fun too!

It’s a new year and a beautiful time to accomplish new (and old) goals! Happy 2016!

New Year’s Eve Events

There are many ways to ring in the New Year- from large-scale parties, family-friendly, a friend’s home, quietly at home, to celebrating early in the day. Below are links to events to choose from so you can plan your day and even your night:

Bay Area New Year’s Eve Events

Tampa Bay Time List of Events

First Night St. Pete – If attending First Night, they now have an app you can upload so you can easily navigate through your evening!

If you are planning on staying home- whether with friends, family, or yourself- here are some ideas to ring in the New year:

  • Board Games and Fondue. Find some cheese and chocolate fondue recipes and break out the old board games and have the Times Square Recorded event on the TV in the background!
  • Grill up some burgers, hot dogs, shish kabobs, and anything else you can think of!
  • Order in some food and watch some movies!
  • Read a good book and enjoy a delightful dessert!

800px-Fireworks4_amkHowever you choose to celebrate, here’s to a beautiful and wonderful New Year!

Happy Holidays!

As the holidays approach, this time of year can become stressful and chaotic. Remember to take a moment to yourself so you can stay refreshed though the week. Take a walk, do some yoga, remember to take deep breaths, listen to music that helps you feel encouraged, and call a friend to chat. Enjoy time with family, friends, special holiday events, and even special holiday meals! You may still have much shopping, volunteering, working, and wrapping of presents to do, but remember to still get a good night’s rest if you can.

We hope you have a week that is restful, full of peace, love, and laughter. 8307578548_a4f4a16898

Preparing for Holiday Guests!

It’s the Season of giving, joy, and guests arriving! Whether you have multiple guests or just one coming to stay, below are some items to consider as you prepare for your guests.

  • Make sure comfortable arrangements are made for where your guests will be sleeping. Have an extra blanket or two available, as well as a pillow so the guest can grab it without needing to ask.
  • Make sure closet and drawer space is cleared so your guests can unpack.
  • Place some books and magazines near the bed so there is light reading available.
  • Have cotton balls, cotton swabs, toilet paper, and towels out where your guest can grab them without needing to ask.
  • When the guests arrive, let them know where they will be sleeping and give them a chance to settle in.
  • Have snacks available and let them know what they can help themselves to in the kitchen.
  • If sharing a bathroom, let them know when the bathroom is available to get ready and when breakfast will be ready the next day.
  • Have a schedule of things to do, but not too many things so you can also enjoy some simple time together!
  • Arrange your living room for conversation and time together.
  • Make sure to communicate with your guests about schedules, meals, and anything else that will be helpful.

Preparing ahead of time for guests will allow the visit to add to the joyful season!

Holiday Lights in the Tampa Bay Area

As the holiday season is here, it’s time to go for a nice drive at night and see holiday lights! There are well-known neighborhoods, homes, and downtown areas that offer wonderful lights to view. Below are a list of some of the great light events around the Tampa Bay Area:

Holiday Lights in the GardensLocated at Botanical Gardens in Largo- take a stroll through the beautiful garden while viewing thousands of lights, lasers, and animated figures.

Symphony in Lights: Located at the shops at Wiregrass-this feature offers snow, a light show, and music!

Downtown St. Petersburg: Located all along Beach Drive-you and your family can enjoy dinner at one of the fine restaurants and then take a stroll around the park.

And if you are looking for specific neighborhoods, Tampa Bay Times has created a wonderful map with the locations of lights: Help Find the Best Christmas Lights in Tampa Bay

Holiday Events in the Tampa Bay Area

11237698006_538345bda7_mThis weekend was busy with Thanksgiving leftovers and holiday shopping! If you are worried about how you will fill up the rest of your weekends this month, below are links to numerous events happening in the Tampa Bay Area, as well as some weekday events:

Tampa Bay Times “Things To Do”

TBO “Ho-Ho-Ho Holiday Events”

There is so much to choose from-boat shows, Santa parade, “Snow Fest”, improv shows, and so much more! Happy December event planning!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving is this week! That means family time, lots of delicious food, and cooler weather. If you will not be helping out in the kitchen this year, below are some ideas on what to do while you wait for the turkey:

  • Watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade
  • Play football
  • Play a board game
  • Play charades or Pictionary
  • If you have little ones visiting, have them pick 2 or 3 leaves from the yard and trace them on paper. They can then color and write what they are thankful for (and have them pick more so the rest of the family can join!).
  • Relax and enjoy the warmth of family and celebrating together.

thanksgiving website

Preparing for Thanksgiving

Whether you are hosting family or doing a Friendsgiving this year, it’s always helpful to stay organized and plan ahead. Below are some tips to help you prepare for Thanksgiving:

  • Clean out your cabinets, fridge, and freezer to make room for all the extra food you will be preparing and have leftover.
  • If there is anything you can cook ahead and freeze- do that now. Most soups, pie crusts, bread, and turkey stock can be made ahead.
  • If guests are staying with you, wash all the sheets, blankets and pillow cases and plan out where everyone will be sleeping.
  • Count how many plates you have and figure out if you need to purchase or borrow more.
  • If you are planning on creating a centerpiece, make it now so you will not have to worry about it next week.
  • Look for any items on sale the next two weeks that you need and purchase them now.
  • Buy your turkey at least the weekend before Thanksgiving.
  • If you are doing a potluck, contact those who are bringing items and finalize the meal list.
  • And if you need help, remember to ask!

Happy planning!

What to do With all That Halloween Candy?

It’s been over a week and you still have bags of Halloween candy. Below are a few ideas on what to do with all that Halloween candy:

  • Freeze some. Place some goodies in a freezer bag and throughout the year, you can add some to ice cream to create milkshakes.
  • Bake it! There are countless recipes on candy brownies and cakes. Bake a couple and share with some friends!
  • Place some chocolates (depending on the kind) into your coffee and you have created a tasty mocha for the morning!
  • Bring some to work for a quick mid-day pick me up!
  • Save it for Holiday decor. Get creative and use some for the next gingerbread house!
  • Bring it to work again, but this time leave it in the break room to share with all.
  • Send a care package to a friend or drop it off at a local hospital for the nursing staff!