Taking The Stress Out Of Fall Travel

fall travelAs we approach the crisp, fresh days of fall and escape the sweltering sweatbox that is summertime, I know that I suddenly find myself looking to capitalize on my personal favorite season.

There are many ways to enjoy the fall – from apple-picking to cheering on my favorite college football team. There is something about the freshness in the air that makes fall the number one season for me. Read more

Summer Clothes Storage – It’s That Time of Year

Fall and summer clothes storageI don’t know about you, but I am so glad that this record-hot summer is has finally winded to a close. Okay, sure the weather is nice and the living’s easy – but honestly, is the weather really that nice? And is the living really that easy? With 100 degree temperatures and kids all over the house, it is nice to see a return to moderate climates and kid’s with backpacks lining up for the bus.

Well now we can finally “chill-out” because summer has ended, the kids are back at school, the MLB pennant race is heating up and our favorite football teams are back in action. And I do mean “chill out” quite literally – better get used to brisk evenings and chilly mornings! It’s time to ditch those board-shorts, maxi-dresses and tank-tops and get ready to stay warm. Read more

3-2-1 Countdown to Fall

fall canningFor some reason, fall always feels like the beginning of a new year to me, even though the real New Year doesn’t happen for several months.

Most likely this is due to the fact that it is the beginning of the school year. But autumn is also signaled by the falling of leaves, cool breezes and the oh-so-subtle yet nevertheless apparent changing of the natural lighting all around us. Read more

The Joys of Fall

fallThis year, for some reason, I’m not quite ready to let go of summer. Maybe it’s the flip-flops and sun dresses, I don’t know. But I do love fall! So, in an effort to say good bye to summer, I’ll tell you why I love fall.

The leaves – The colors! I love how you can see the full range of colors from green to yellow to red all on one tree. My daughter and I like to collect them right from the trees, dry them and use them in arrangements or as fall decorations around the house. Read more

Setting Up Your Dorm for Learning

desk lampsWhat an exciting time it is, moving away from home and starting your new life away at college. But don’t forget that you are there to learn and study, not just play all the time! When you are setting up your desk area or “office” at the dorm or apartment, keep in mind some of the following strategies for learning success!

Quiet – Anyone who has lived in the same house (or room!) with two other people knows that it is virtually impossible to study through a bunch of noise. Roommates should set up a block of time (or two) each day that is reserved for quiet studying only. That means no cell phone chatting, TV watching or loud music.
Read more

Coffee Makers – A Back To School Money Saver

Farberware Stainless 2-4 Cup Percolator“I never drink coffee at lunch. I find it keeps me awake for the afternoon” – Ronald Reagan

Perhaps as the president of the United States, Ronald Reagan was able to find time to take a nice long afternoon nap, but as a returning college student, you know sleeping through Philosophy 322 is just not going to get the job done (or the degree earned!). For many students that are preparing to head back to college for the semester, a piping hot cup of Joe can be the perfect antidote to a monotonous Geology instructor with a penchant for using the scientific name of every mineral. Read more

Fifty Ways To Leave Your Clutter: Part One

Fifty Ways To Leave Your Clutter: Part OneTime to date myself here – Do you remember the 1975 Paul Simon hit, 50 Ways to Leave Your Lover? Well, Rita has come up with a clever de-clutter version: Fifty Ways To Leave Your Clutter!

Here are the first 10 – Check back in the weeks ahead for more!

~~ Take Time To Decide, Clyde ~~
The first step in leaving your clutter, before you even touch one things, is:
1. Decide where you’re stuff is going to, whether you want to donate it or sell it; how and where you will do that. Read more

Grad Life: Part Four – When Your Graduate Moves Back Home…

Magnetic Board - by BlomusThere’s a reason that some refer to them as “The Boomerang Generation”. With a sharp increase in college graduates moving back home because of poor job prospects and rising student loan debt, parents are having to rethink their empty nest plans. All of a sudden, moms and dads are finding themselves in the situation of being roommates to their own children who are now young adults.

Moving back home is a great idea for some recent grads, as it allows them to get their financial footing, paying off some debt while searching for jobs in a tough economy. How can parents and young adults set up the home to make this tricky living situation more palatable? Read more

Grad Life – Part Three: Eco Style

Reversible Bamboo Duvet CoverWhen searching for the right gift for your graduate, it’s important to keep in mind that this generation of students is very tuned into the needs of the environment. Thankfully, there are eco-friendly products available for nearly every area of the home, so you will have no problem finding what you, or your student, needs.

Environmentally friendly homewares usually fall into one of the following categories: Chemical free (cleaners), organic (linens), energy efficient (appliances), or renewable resources (everything else). Choosing a product from one of these categories shows that you care about your grad’s interests and commitment toward a better world. Read more

Grad Life – Part Two: Life on Your Own

end tablesFinding your style as you enter the real world can be exciting for some while overwhelming for others. This is true of both your clothing style, and of your home decor style.

The time after the academic years is one of major growth, and, naturally, a time of nesting. If you are confused about what type of style you would like to incorporate into your home, start by simply searching for different styles on the internet, specifically zeroing in on image results to get a feel for what is out there and what you like. Some terms to get you started are: “Modern Décor”, “Contemporary”, “Transitional”, “Tuscan”, “Classic”, “Country” and so on. Read more

Grad Life – Part One: Closets 101 – A Course for the Recent Graduate

gradCongratulations on your amazing achievement! Now enough with the partying, it’s time to get down to business. Specifically, it’s time to get you started on your way toward a more organized lifestyle. Getting your apartment, studio, parent’s basement…wherever you happen to be living, in order now will give you the fresh start that you need as you begin your oh-so-new grown-up life.

There’s a good chance that if you have just graduated from college, you are in the process of moving. The fact of the matter is that many grads fall into one of the three categories: Ready to move out (on their own, sans roommates), ready to move up (better apartment), or ready to move back home (for a while). No matter which category you fall into, this is a great time to organize your closet.

Here are detailed steps on how to organize a closet of any size: Read more

Tuesday Tip: 10 Household Uses For Lemon!

lemonIn my quest to find natural solutions to all my everyday cleaning chores, I stumbled upon this list. I never realized something so inexpensive and readily available could do so much – and best of all, with no chemicals!

1. Sanitize your wooded cutting boards. Run a slice of lemon over the surface to disinfect.
2. Keep foods from browning from air exposure. Mix equal parts lemon juice and water and dunk apple or pear slices before serving, or squeeze a bit into guacamole and give it a stir. Read more

Downsizing: 2 Reasons to Downsize

downsizingWhen I’m asked where to begin downsizing, I’m tempted to say “At the beginning, of course.” But that’s not always the right answer. For each of us, the beginning is different.

Why are you downsizing? Is it because you’ve realized your living space is being taken over with “stuff” and you want to liberate that space? Or are you moving to a smaller home?

Let’s begin with the first option. You’re being squeezed out of your home by the accumulation of things you used to love but don’t any more. This is fairly simple. Read more

Favorite Cleaning Tools of 2012

wooden step stoolCall me crazy, but I do love to clean house. But only some areas. For example, I really don’t like to clean the dishes or the kitchen in general, but odd jobs like dusting or cleaning the bathrooms are very gratifying jobs in my opinion. So I thought to kick off the new year, I’d share some of my favorite cleaning tools, products and must-have accessories that are guaranteed to make life easier when it comes to chores. Read more

Moms Need Desks, Too!

computer desksI don’t know why, but it surprises me every time.

I get a call from a prospective client—usually a woman with a few children, telling me her papers are all over the place. I go to her home for a Needs Assessment and she shows me piles of papers on the counter, on the dining room table, in bins under her bed. I ask her one simple question: “Where is your desk?” The answer I get more often than not is, “I don’t have one.”

I have seen a home with two play areas for the kids but no area for Mom. I have been to a home with a home office for Dad but no space for Mom. I have been shown Dad’s fancy home office and then shown Mom’s counter space in the kitchen that she shares with the mail and a stack of recipes. Read more

Holiday Planning Overlooked

coffee cup storage chestWhen it’s time for holiday planning, we tend to think only about preparation. Planning menus, sending parting invitations, shopping for gifts, and digging out the decorations. I find myself so overworked getting ready for holiday gatherings, I forget about the aftermath. Particularly when it comes to my extra dishes. I’ve never had a proper way of storing them, so they tend to just get thrown in a box that gets stacked with other boxes in the garage.

Bad planning like this leads inevitably to the catastrophe I encountered last week. Read more

Spice Up Your Holiday Table

DinnerwareMixing up dinnerware is a great and easy way to create an interesting table top. Try using dinner plates from one set of china paired with salad bowls from another to create layers of pattern or color. Have a set of basic white dishes? Switch out a few pieces with dinnerware in a bold pattern and instantly create a one of a kind look!

From fine china that has been passed down through the family for years to a flea market find with a fun pattern to brand new plates with a modern shape, by pulling different elements onto your table top you can create a look that suits your style. Read more

How To Leave Work Earlier

outlookI have recently moved my office into my home. I’m actually enjoying the integration of “home” and “work” life. It’s not the distraction that I thought it would be. As a matter of fact, my biggest problem is working too long and late into the evening.

Today I received an email from Marcia Francois – to my rescue again!

Try these suggestions for organizing your day and not over-working yourself: Read more

A Legacy of “Stuff” (Part 4)

rusty screwsIn the previous 3 blog posts (Part 1, Part 2 & Part 3), I wrote about what to do with the stuff of loved ones who have passed away, and how important it is to communicate with your friends and family about the stuff that YOU might leave behind.

So the questions to start with is: what you are leaving behind and why the heck are you hanging on to that? Read more

Start Your School Year Off Right!

White Dry Erase Monthly CalendarMany of you who read this blog have children or teens going back to school this time of year. Now is the perfect time to put together a Family Command Center.

Some time back, I gave some helpful Tips for a Family Command Center. Stacks and Stacks has a new product that is a great first step in creating your own command center.

It’s the  White Dry Erase Monthly Calendar – by Brewster Home Fashions. This is truly a gem! Read more

A Legacy of “Stuff” (Part 3)

bowlIn A Legacy of “Stuff” (part 1) and A Legacy of “Stuff” (part 2), we discussed what to do with the “stuff” left behind by someone who passed away. It was hard to write and hard for you to read. Now let’s move into an even MORE difficult area — the stuff that WE will leave behind. (By the way, I can’t find any material already written on this subject. Apparently, everyone else also thinks it’s hard to write about.)If you plan to leave something to the next generation or to your friends, do some very good communicating with them now to see if they would want it. If not, realize that your cherished items might be more burden than bounty to people you love. Most of all, let them know what is important or valuable, so they don’t decide everything you own is clutter, and toss it out. Read more

A Legacy of “Stuff” (Part 2)

A Legacy of This week we continue with the difficult subject of being overwhelmed with the “stuff” left behind by a loved one who has passed away.

(You can read Part 1 here.)

The struggle is that we are trying to find practical ways to survive having someone’s lifetime-of-stuff joining our own lifetime-of-stuff, while also trying to survive all the emotions that come with this deep painful loss.

Based on the huge number of emails I received after Part 1, last weeks post resonated with many of you. One woman told the story of how for seven years, all of her parents’ belongings were stacked to the ceiling in her basement – furniture, clothes, stuff. So much so that they could not even make a path through it all. Read more