Post Christmas Wrap Up: Un-Decorating

Well Christmas is over for another year and although there are still lots of festivities going on as we prepare for New Years it is time to think about putting away all our Christmas and Holiday decor…Boxing Up Day can be anytime from now till early January. You know, the day to box all that decor up for another year! I can tell you from experience that by taking the time now to put away your decorations in an organized way, will save you lots of time and frustration come next year. As a self professed Christmas nut I have 4 trees and loads of decorations that I put up every year and subsequently need to put away. By having lots of Rubbermaid containers and labelling the boxes really well it allows me to be able to easily decorate next year.

The following are a few tips for Un-Decorating this year:

• Take the time this year to put decorations away carefully. A few extra minutes this year can save you hours next year.
• Take pictures before you un-decorate and keep them in your Christmas journal for reference next year.
• Decide on a location to store seasonal decorations, large Rubbermaid containers store lots of decorations and can be stacked to use vertical space.
• Store decorations by room/category- e.g. living room décor, living room tree; Kitchen décor, Christmas baking supplies; Christmas entertaining; Outdoor décor, Outdoor lights.
• LABEL all your boxes, the more detailed the label the better.
• Store individual light sets in plastic bags to keep them from tangling together or wrap them on a reel. This works well for beads and garland as well.
• Store candles in socks or nylons to prevent scratching
• When putting tree ornaments away ensure they are carefully wrapped to prevent breakage. They can be layered in boxes with heavier ones on bottom. If they are very fragile consider storing them in the boxes they came in or invest in Christmas ornament boxes, they are little more money but will safeguard those antique ornaments of your grandmothers that are priceless. Another idea is to use plastic or foam cups to put them in and keep them separate.
• Store Christmas music with your seasonal stuff, I always make sure the music is on top and easy to access as it is the first thing that come out (Kenny and Dolly are always the first CD to be played while decorating).

Happy Un-Decorating and if you have any suggestions or tips that help you stay organized while Un-Deocrating please leave a comment and share with us.


DECLUTTER YOUR SPACE before ChristmasChristmas is a time of giving but it is also a time for getting…the reality is for most people who celebrate Christmas there will be presents under the tree, which means there will be new things come into your house that need to find a new home.

Are you starting to worry about where you are going to put all the new stuff that will be under the tree this Christmas? Does your post Christmas house end up being a total disaster for weeks while you try and figure our where to put all that new stuff?

What if you prepared for the influx and made room BEFORE it all shows up!

I will admit that we have had years that so much came in for my kids that it even overwhelmed me…and I am a professional. Trying to find a home for all that new stuff, meant I was decluttering and organizing a lot after Christmas. Until I starting doing it before, by making room before Christmas I found it much easier to let things go. There were lots of charities that would take my stuff and it would help them out during the holiday season. Paying it forward before the new year feels good!

Here are some tips to help you declutter your space before Christmas:

Think about what may come in - What is on your Christmas list or what kinds of things are you most likely to receive from people. If you know what is on your list then start the declutter by letting go of old worn out things in that area.

Pick main areas – Kitchen, toys, clothing, bath and toiletries. Go to those areas and start the decluttering process.

Quick purge – do not get stuck on the emotions and the tough decisions like great grandmas antique vase. This is about doing a quick purge of the things that you do not use, do not need and do not love. The things you know you can live without or may be replaced at Christmas.

Clear out Christmas décor – This is the perfect time to donate Christmas décor that you are no longer using. Once you have decorated for the season, whatever is left over, pack it up and send it off to a charity or give it to someone you know who will love it!

If it does not ‘fit’ you or your life NOW, let it go - If your kids have outgrown it, you no longer use it, or you don’t like anymore, declutter it now.

Great time for Kids to clear out their stuff – Kids have a much easier time to let go of their stuff knowing that new things will be coming in. Get them to pay it forward and let some of their stuff go to other kids that may not be as lucky as them.

Decluttering does not always have to be emotional, sometimes it’s just the logical thing to do. So don’t overthink it at this time and go do a quick purge of the things that you no longer need, use or love. Make room for the new and save yourself some frustration and overwhelm by decluttering your space before Christmas.

If you want some help with this task, come on over to my Facebook group and join our Clutter Free Christmas Challenge. 24 days of small assignments to get you clutter free before the big day! Click here to join now - www.ClutterSupportGroup.com

Happy Decluttering All



Regifting is okDo you feel guilty for having a pile of unused gifts that people have given you over the years but you have never used, will never use, don’t need and don’t really love them. You love who gave them to you and you love the thought behind the gift but well you just don’t need that stuff.

Imagine letting go of the guilt…and all that excess stuff by paying it forward to someone else who would use it, need it or love it! Imagine regifting!

I heard a story years ago about the Dalai Lama – He was given a gift during a ceremony he was participating in and a reported who was working with him at the time asked him what happens to all the gifts that he gets. His reply was that they give them away. Taken aback by this response the reporter asked him if he thought this was an insult to the gift giver. The reply will forever be burned in my brain when I read it…he said no, the gift giving ceremony is just that, a ceremony. The gift symbolizes that the giver honours the receiver, the receiver thanks them and honours them back, then the ceremony is over. It  is never about the object, it is all about the ceremony. The acknowledgement that one persons honours another and that person thanks them.  this left a lasting impression for me and totally made sense of the whole gift giving 'ceremony'

A Lot of us are taught at a young age that it is the thought that counts not the gift but we forget this lesson and make the object more important than the thought. Keep this in mind when thinking about the excess gifts you have. It is time to detach from the object and just be thankful to the giver in the first place…without having to keep all that stuff! The ceremony is over!

So I am giving you permission to regift. If anyone has a problem with you doing this then blame me, I can take it. Regifting is OK!

There are however a few simple rules to follow to keep yourself from getting into trouble doing this:

Rule #1 Don’t gift it back to the one who gave it to you - Unless you have a very open and good relationship with them in which case you can ask them if they want it back- but don’t gift it to them .

Rule #2 Remove gift tags- Make sure that the to and from is not still on the gift, check inside to make sure there is no other names or notes that are personal on the item.

Rule #3 Regift outside your circle of friends or family- Make sure that you are regifting an item outside the circle of friends or family who may know each other. People do talk and you don’t want to get into an awkward situation where someone knows they gave you an item that you just gave to someone else.

Rule #4 When in doubt regift to a charity – if you have any hesitation that it may get awkward with the original giver, you have not idea who gave it to you or that the circle may be smaller than you think, then regift your items to a charitable organization who will get it to a needy person or family. No only does this save you from potential embarrassment, it can feel great too!

Rule #5 Only regift brand new items – I don’t need to say more about this, unless something is an antique don’t regift items that have been used!

Rule #6 Be respectful of the original giver – if you are asked straight up if you have regifted it then tell the truth…the truth will set you free (hopefully)

You may still think that regifting is an insult to the ones who gave you the gift in the first place but I will argue that point, I believe it is a much bigger insult to have something wasting away in a closet or basement, never used, cluttering up your space and not living up to it’s own potential…you are holding that stuff back from being useful and fulfilling its destiny!

Regifting is OK if done with respect! 

Wishing you all peace & calm!

PS If you want to keep up to date on what’s happening at Kaos Solutions and to be the first to hear about my new book launch in the new year go join my Newsletter at www.KaosSolutions.com/newsletter. I promise I will not clutter up your inbox, we send out weekly newsletters and the occasional special announcement!

Easy Entertaining stepsHave you ever dreamed of having family and friends over for a party but ended up not going through with it because you just find it too overwhelming to plan and do all the work, then got disappointed with yourself for not doing it? Or you have thrown parties but you were so stressed and exhausted at the preparing it was hard to enjoy your own party?

Imagine having fun inviting friends and family over without all that stress. You can throw a party without all the fuss and work…it can be done!

I use to stress a lot about throwing the perfect party, making sure everything was perfectly organized and spending weeks planning and preparing food. We throw a big Christmas party every year and the time to prepare was getting out of hand. I got the point where I thought it was all too much and I spend one party observing what people really cared about and what they did not…the answer was simple, people wanted to come to our parties to chat, visit, laugh and relax.  They were not there to inspect and judge my décor, my cooking abilities or my perfectly clean spaces.  They just wanted to have fun with us!

I can now throw a party with minimum amount of time and effort, and maximum amount of fun!

Here are my 6 Steps To Easy Entertainment:

Step 1 What is the goal of the party?

The main thing I want everyone to think about is their reason for entertaining.  I find this often gets lost in the preparations and stress of running around worrying if everything is perfect.

As you prepare for the big party (or parties) please keep in mind what your overall goal of entertaining is. If it is to impress people with your cooking abilities, you will plan a different party and menu then someone who just wants spend time with friends and not fuss with difficult recipes. There is no right and wrong here just different goals so plan accordingly.  My personal goal is always to just have a great time with friends and family - these steps are all about easy entertaining because that is what I preach...easy and simple!

Step 2 Have a master list and plan

Keep all your plans in one spot.  List what you need to prepare, what needs done, who will help, what’s on the menu.  Anything to do with the party keep in this one place.  It will help you keep it organized and it makes it easier to get others to help you. It also can serve as a template for the next party so you are not reinventing the process each time.

Step 3 Keep the invites simple

It is okay in todays digital age to use digital invites.  Facebook events are my favorite as it makes it easy to post, share and invite people.  If there are people on your list that are not on Facebook then text or email them.  You can also call them if they are not digitally inclined.  You do not have to have fancy paper invites, unless of course that is your thing and that is what makes the party planning fun for you!  This is all about having fun!

Step 4 FOOD does not have to be complicated or homemade

If you are not a gourmet chef and do not have the time to make all the food from scratch…that is OKAY!  Your friends and family will not hold it against you if you buy premade trays and food.  If you want to get fancy take the premade trays and transfer them to your own platters…I won’t tell!  For easy entertainment keep it simple.

ALLOW others to help you out.  I am not a gourmet chef; I am not even a non gourmet cook so I do not try to impress anyone with my lack of skills.  However, I have friend who LOVE to cook and love to show off their abilities, so who am I do deny them that pleasure.  When your friends or family ask if they can bring something…say YES!  By having the master plan, you can direct their offerings to compliment what you want at your party.  When they ask what can they bring give them an idea of what you need.   

It’s okay to buy food and it is okay to get others to help!

Step 5 Have a drink center

I find it important to have a serve yourself drink center so you do not have to be running around serving everyone.  Have simple offerings like pop, beer, wine and maybe a specialty drink for the night.  Make sure you have lots of water available, I find that having water readily available slows people down from over indulging. 

On a side note if you are serving alcohol please make sure you have a plan to get everyone home safe.  I normally stay sober at my parties in case I need to drive someone home (I’m not a big drinker anyway so it’s not a big deal for me) or I will have someone else like my son or daughter enlisted to be available if needed.  Cabs are also a great option!

Step 6 Prepare your space

My mom taught me years ago that I did not have to have a spotless house to have a party as things will get dirty when everyone is there…but you must have a clean bathroom. Do some surface cleaning but save the deep clean for after the party.

Move your furniture around to ensure easy flow of traffic when you have a crowd. You do not want people tripping over furniture and each other.

Hope these tips help you to throw a fun easy party and that you have a fantastic holiday season! If you have any tips of your own please share, we would love to hear them.

Happy Entertaining!


Organizing Your Wrapping Center 1I had a client this weekend ask me what I do with gift bags and bows and all that fun wrapping stuff that can clutters up spaces. So I thought I would share with you what I do.

I keep all my bags and tissue paper in a clear plastic container so I have easy access to it when I need it. This is the box I use the most as I prefer the easy use of bags and some tissue paper over having to wrap things with paper.  I also like the fact that bags & tissue are reusable so there is less waste.

ribbon box 600Bows and ribbons are kept in another box...although looking at this I now feel I have way too many. Full disclosure- I use to have a side business where I made and sold gift baskets. Most of these ribbons are leftovers from that business as I just don't use them that much anymore. After taking this picture I realize I have not bought ribbon in over 10 years and it is time to reduce it a bit as obviously I won't use it that fast. Yes even I have more stuff than I need sometimes.  Understand that most clutter is unmade decisions...I have just not taken the time to make the decision to let some of this go, I just realized it will seriously take me another 10 years or more to use all this ribbon. I do not need it or use it!  So I am letting some of it go!

wrapping paperI have another container for wrapping paper, bubble wrap and a brown packing paper roll as we do have family who live on the other side of the country so we do ship things that way occasionally.  Again I do not have a lot of paper and if I did not have a big house I really would not have this large of a container for paper.  Right now it works.  One idea I have used for clients in small spaces is hanging garment bags with all the wrapping stuff in it so it fits nicely in a closet and does not take up much space.  

How do you store your wrapping paper?  Share with us any cool ideas that work for you, we love to see new ideas!

Come over and join us in our Facebook Group as well for more support and ideas.