ACP chairClear Tip of the Week
Create Your Perfect Space - wherever you are in life

christmas clutter "I find myself dreading having to decorate for the holidays because my space is already so cluttered ... there's no more room for anything new!  I do want my space to be festive but I don't want it to stress me out either!  Let me know your thoughts." Yvonne K., PDX

Thanks for writing, Yvonne.   First and foremost - eliminate the words "have to" from your holiday list. As soon as you put that in the equation you add stress. The truth is, you don't "have to" do anything (except breathe and provide the basics). Let yourself off the hook by remembering that the best decoration for any room, at any time, is your smile. Do what brings you joy and let your festive light shine!  And read below for some practical and fun tips.

ornament balls in a rowHere are my six key words for clutter free decorating: Simple, Up and Out of the Way. Bypass precious floor and room space by utilizing space above you and do more with less. Use what you have on hand. If you need a few items, resale stores have TONS of used holiday decorations so don't buy new unless it supports local artisans or a good cause. Here are some decor ideas that I did in under an hour - use your imagination and have fun!

1. Suspend ornaments from beams or ceiling using ribbon, push pins and unbreakable ornaments or cookie cutters. Festive can be anything that's fun to look at - and adds sparkle. Think simple eye catchers that are reusable in multiple ways.
holiday windows
2. Don't forget window space. Use objects that allow the natural light to come in like a row of ornaments or a string of lights. Fabric accents are a good choice if you have curious cats - no worries if something gets knocked to the floor. beads and balls
Get out one of your wine or water goblets and fill it up. With a string of beads that is. This works great for table settings or narrow spaces. A tea light nestled on top adds an extra glow. Or set on top of a mirror.
Put a string of lights in your glass pitcher or vase (colored or clear) and plug it in! If space allows, punch bowls or large glass salad bowls work well, too. Be sure glass is clean and out of the way of little hands.
Work around what's already there. You don't have to change or move the current arrangement unless you have the time and desire to do so. Think accents and light touches vs. major projects. 

mantel candlesAdd a single row of candles to your mantle or dresser - weave in a satin ribbon for extra shine. Never leave candles unattended and use toxic free shelf
6. Use that top shelf space.  It's a perfect spot to perch a stuffed snowman or angel.  Enhance the holiday theme with brightly wrapped packages made from recycled gift or FedEx boxes. Speaking of wrap ... check out the Ways with Wrap section below!  


green box                        Ways with Wrap
As mentioned in last week's Clear Tip, wrapping paper (unless marked otherwise) is NOT recyclable.  Use up what you have on hand and then go with earth friendly options - things that can be used again by you or the receiver.
  • Candles, perfume, jewelry, jams, etc. can be wrapped in large fabric napkins, silk scarves or vintage handkerchiefs tied with fabric ribbon. 
  • T-shirts, socks, caps, belts, gloves can be rolled and tucked into a stocking.
  • CD's, cookies, ornaments go perfectly in a recycled box trimmed with colorful  paper scraps or recycled holiday cards.
  • Teas, coffees and candies look great in a glass or ceramic mug - tie a tea ball or coffee scoop to the handle.
  • Ties, pet toys, cosmetics can be placed into a cardboard paper towel core and wrapped like a fire cracker with any of the papers below. Twist the ends and snip with a scissors to make fringe.  
  • Newsprint, brown mailing paper and maps make great choices for wrapping boxes, books or larger gifts. Let the kids draw or color first for a fun winter project.
  • Gift tags are easily made from old greeting cards, photos or magazine images. Hole punch at the top and slide ribbon or string through and secure to package.
Remember ... precycle is the real solution. There's a reason why in the popular phrase the words come in this order: reduce, reuse and recycle. Give with that in mind and keep it a clear holiday for all!


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