Thursday, June 28, 2012

Gifts In A Jar

Do you ever struggle to find the perfect gift for someone?  Ever have a "hard-to-buy-for" person you need to give a gift to?  Or that person who has everything?  It can be overwhelming coming up with new and creative gift ideas.

These gifts in a jar are the perfect solution!  {Check out the link at the end of this post for a Christmas version too!}

I've mentioned previously that we give a lot of gifts. Most of the presents we give are store-bought, but for teachers we usually make jars with cookie mix, so we know we are giving something unique and appreciated.  Teachers get a lot of gifts and, let's face it, many of them are repetitive (how many "#1 Teacher mugs" does a teacher really need?!).   We've also given these to grandparents for Mother's Day or Father's Day or for hostess gifts and Christmas gifts. 

We have a few books with recipes:

I'm sure there are lots on the internet too but we were given these books so we use them (you can find them here and here).  If you're not familiar with the concept, all the dry ingredients for a recipe go in a jar, with a tag telling the recipient what wet ingredients to add and how to bake these yummy treats.  There are books for muffins, squares, and even dinners!  We usually stick with cookies since they are universally loved!

These jar gifts are REALLY easy to make, which is one of the reasons we love doing them.  The kids can help measure, pour, and push ingredients down, as well as decorate the jars afterwards. 

Here are the steps we take:

1.  Choose recipes for each teacher.  This time we made two jars with Wholesome Peanut Butter Cookies, 1 jar with Ginger Rounds, and 1 jar with S'mores Squares.  We have 4 teachers we're making them for this year (my daughter has 3 teachers for kindergarten and my son has one for grade 2).

2.  Buy mason jars (we bought extras when we purchased jars for storing our leftover paint but we also had a few assorted shaped ones so we're using up a few of them this time).

Note:  Make sure you use the right size jars for the recipe you've chosen.  There is a real variety of sizes and shapes of Mason jars out there.  We actually had to change that small one for a larger one because when we started putting ingredients in we realized it wasn't big enough.  Good thing I bought extras!

3.  Gather all the ingredients for the recipe(s) you've chosen.

4.  Measure the ingredients and put them into the mason jars in layers.  Sometimes you need to pack them in tightly (especially brown sugar).  We use an ice cream scoop because it's not as pointy as a spoon when it's inside the jar. 

Here's the Wholesome Peanut Butter Cookies recipe in a jar.  You can see the layers of ingredients.

Note:  Sometimes the recipe says to mix all the dry ingredients together first and then pour them into the jar (it seems to happen mainly when the ingredients aren't very colourful or textured so then it looks nicer to just have them all pre-mixed). 
Here is the S'mores Squares jar.  You can see the layers of graham cracker crumbs, brown sugar, marshmallows, and chocolate chips.  Mmmm...

5.  Screw the lid on top of the jar and decorate it if you'd like.  We sometimes use tissue paper or coloured cello wrap.  This time we used pieces of material.  Aren't these animal prints cute?!

I used an elastic to help hold the fabric in the centre of the lid while I tied the ribbon in place.  Not pretty but it works.  

Once the ribbon was tied tightly I removed the elastic.

6.  Attach a card with the directions so the person who receives this gift in a jar can make the yummy recipe.  The books we bought have several tags for each recipe but whenever we use the last one we make sure we copy it so we can have it available in the future.  You could also copy them on cardstock or print them up yourself.

The backside of the cards is blank so you can write a note to the recipient if you'd like.  We usually wrap these jars in a gift bag and include a card so we don't usually write on the tags.  My daugher put stickers on hers instead :)

7.  Give the gifts in a jar to the teacher and enjoy their appreciation for a thoughtful and unique gift!  We have never had anything but positive comments from our kids' teachers.  Everyone can use these gifts because everyone enjoys homemade cookies or muffins!  And even if the person doesn't enjoy baking very much, these are so simple to make that anyone can make them :)

That's it!  A great gift in a jar.

My hubby has always made these with our kids (my daughter especially looks forward to it - she loves to bake!).  And they love giving them to their teachers and seeing their smiles.

If you're looking for Christmas gift jars, click this picture!

Knowing we always give these gifts in a jar to our kids' teachers takes away the stress of figuring out what to give or make each Christmas and June.  It's simple and organized, just the way I like things!

Have you ever made gifts in a jar?  What gifts do you give to teachers?  If you are a teacher, what's the best (or worst!) gift you ever received?

Happy organizing!

I link up at these great parties - Check them out!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Organizing Our Hall Closet

These are "after" pictures of our hall closet, taken this week.  I wish I had taken some "before" pictures but I actually organized it before I started blogging.  I'm happy to say that it is still pretty organized 2 months later!  All I did before taking these pictures was tidy up the shoes a bit.

When we first moved in, this closet just had a shelf and a rod.  Actually, it wasn't even a rod.  There was a metal "V" shaped strip that hung from the bottom of the shelf.  It was attached at the front and had an opening at the back to hang our hangers on.  They had to hang backwards though which was always weird.

There was also a lot of wasted space in the closet, especially on the left side where it was not very deep because of a large cold air return vent that goes up from the basement to our bedroom above. 

Shortly after moving in, we put in a regular rod and installed another shelf above the one that was there to maximize the great height of this closet.  We also put these cubes in front of the shallow part of the closet so we could use that space for storage.

When I organized this closet in the spring, I switched from winter coats to spring/summer jackets and I gave away several extras from both seasons that we weren't using very often. I also painted the closet and we put in some new carpet on the floor (the previous carpet was UGLY, dirty, and 30+ years old!).   This was an extra piece of carpet from our basement and is a big improvement!  

The kids' outerwear is on hooks and in cubbyholes near the front door, so this closet it just for my hubby and I. 

On the right side we keep our jackets and coats on the rod, and our shoes, sandals, or boots (depending on the season) on the floor, as well as on a 2-shelf shoe rack. 

Above the rod, I put in baskets for my hubby and I to hold our hats and mitts in the winter and baseball caps in the summer.  The black one is his and the white one is mine. 

It is great to be able to pull something off this shelf and not have several other things fall down at the same time!  These baskets really help contain everything.  I also added a bin to put some extra shoes in. They are easy to access and now I don't have as much of a mess on the floor.

On the very top shelf we store things we don't use very often, such as the chocolate making supplies that we usually only use before Christmas.  Not your typical closet items, but these are accessible and close to the kitchen if we choose to make chocolates for other occasions, rather than being stored in the garage with the other Christmas bins or in the basement with the other seasonal items

Since I purged quite a lot, I had extra space on the shelves, so I decided to store one set of hats and mitts for each family member in a bin up here.   I also added boots for my son and my daughter.  This way, when cold weather hits in the fall, we can quickly grab what we need before running out of the house in the morning, without having to go through everything in the trunk to find hats and mitts. There's always a cold morning that takes us by surprise :)

These bins were $7 at Canadian Tire, which is more than I like to spend on smallish sized bins, but I needed a pretty specific size to be able to get a bin up to the top shelf.  There are even little wheels on the bottom!

Now for the cubes on the left side.  Again, I really wish I had taken a picture of these cubes before I organized them.  They had not been organized in a long time and they were a mess!  Picture stuff crammed in and hanging off these cubes.  Yep, it was as bad as you're imagining... maybe even worse!  More than once we couldn't open the sliding doors because something had fallen down and was jammed between the cubes and the door.

Our kitchen is very small, and because this closet is the only other storage space on the main floor, we use it to hide store things that some people would probably keep in their kitchen.

Typically, we have the following things in this part of the closet:

- lunch bags and small collapsible coolers for day trips (the kids' daily use lunch bags are kept in the kitchen though)
-extra household goods such as paper towels and lightbulbs
-a few cleaning supplies
-BBQ utensils and other BBQ related items
-cords and other electrical doo-dads
-a small tool kit
-our emergency flashlight and a few other emergency items
-a variety of fasteners (hooks, velcro, etc.)
-extra packages of tissues to throw in my purse or the car or the kids' backpacks
-reusable shopping bags so we can grab them on the way out the door
-a few other miscellaneous things that don't really have anywhere else to go in our house

Here are the bottom two cubes:

And the top two cubes:

On top of the cubes we store our BBQ tools, utensils, and other BBQ related items in a basket.

There are a few BBQ things on the shelf behind too.  When I organized the backyard deckbox, I brought in the BBQ items that had been stored in it.  It was so nice knowing I had an organized place now in this closet to keep them all together. 

To make sure all these items stayed organized, I sorted everything into categories and grouped them in various containers. 

I already had the fabric box, the plastic basket, and the wicker basket.  And I purchased the two kinds of plastic containers from Dollarama.  The battery container was from Walmart (in the hardware section).  I think it was around $5.  It's not full right now, but sometimes we stock up on batteries at Costco or if they are on sale somewhere, so now we have room to put them in this container when we do.

That's it!  It's much less crowded in all parts of this closet now which makes it feel freer.  I like going in and out of it now, which is good because I do it multiple times each day!

This closet went from overwhelming to organized and I'm so relieved!  Both my hubby and I can find things and put them back. 

What items do you keep in your hall closet?  Does your closet get overwhelming?  What strategies do you use to keep it organized? 

Happy organizing!

I link up at these great parties - Check them out!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Organizing Our Summer

This week officially marks the start of summer on the calendar, although my kids are in school for another week and a half.   As summer approches, our family is looking forward to some down time after the school year!  We love summer :)

This is the first time I've been home with my kids in the summer (other than when I was on maternity leave with each of them) so I'm especially looking forward to making lots of great memories.  Financially, we're hoping my hubby gets plenty of calls from Canada Post to go in for work, but we're also hoping for a lot of family time all together (he's a new relief letter carrier without a lot of seniority).

I've struggled writing this post and leading up to this summer because my inclination would be to plan and organize our summer in great detail, but I don't want to be like Danny Tanner in this old clip from Full House:

That clipboard of fun didn't work out very well for Danny and his family and I don't think it would work very well for mine either.   So, I'm trying to come up with a balanced approach.   Keep reading to see what I've come up with!

We all love camping so we will go several times, depending on weather and how much my hubby works :)

Nothing quite like a meal cooked over a fire in the great outdoors...mmmm....

Both kids enjoy going to VBS and there are 2 they will be attending again this year (one in July and one in August). We've also signed my son up for a half-day soccer camp for a week in July.

We've been discussing with my son and daughter about going to a sleep-away camp for 3 nights in July. It would be the first time for my daughter and second time for my son.  They are both excited about the idea, but my daughter is a real "daddy's girl" so I'm not sure if she'll actually go through with it or not :)

We ordered tickets for the Metro Toronto Zoo using our AirMiles so we'll probably go there one day in August.

Polar bears are my favourite animal :)  There's a new polar bear cub this year that I want to see before he grows too much!

We also bought season's passes for Marineland this year for the first time.  It's a 1 1/2 hour drive so we won't go very often but we've already been for 2 days so we've gotten our money's worth and any other trips we take there now are extra value.

The beluga whales were SO cute!  We got splashed many times and loved every minute of it.  The kids enjoyed the belugas every bit as much as all the rides.

We will probably take in a Blue Jays game this summer too.  My son is a BIG fan!

And on a smaller scale, we can beat the heat by running through the sprinkler, having water balloon fights, going to splash pads, and going to the beach. We can enjoy the outdoors doing things like hunting bugs, riding bikes, going to a variety of parks, playing catch, having picnics, feeding ducks, and going for walks along paths we see when we're driving places but that we never actually explore. 

Those are a bunch of fun things that will likely happen this summer.   And that still leaves a lot of  down time at home which will be nice.  My kids enjoy playing together as well as spending time on their own. They are pretty creative at finding things to do (most of the time!). 

But, on those unstructured days at home, I also anticipate some "I'm bored" moments.  When I tell them they can NOT spend the entire summer in front of a screen, I also expect I'll hear comments like "What else is there to do except Wii, TV, computer games, etc.?"  What to do in those times?

I've seen lots of other blogs with GREAT ideas for summer routines, activities, and boredom busters.  Here are a few examples of what I found (feel free to click on the links to check them out - I'll wait!)

I love the idea of limiting media time with media cards to be "spent" or "saved" throughout the day in this post from Organizing Made Fun. 

I like all the ideas and the categories on this summer survival boredom chart from Nellie Bellie.

Here's one that's a creative checklist of ideas from Fingerprints On The Fridge:

There are a TON of other examples like these, and, as I look at them all to write this post, they sound great but I'm getting totally overwhelmed with all the possibilities!  I'm a list person.  I love my "to do" lists.  But having a list of fun activities that we can do this summer makes it feel like they are chores that I need to check off, rather than opportunities to make memories.  (And I won't even bother mentioning that the organizing projects I want to work on will be a little more challenging with extra bodies around!)   I really want to keep our summer simple.

I think it's OK for them to be "bored" sometimes because it's important for them to develop their creativity, imagination, and self-initiative, so they don't rely on adult-directed activities or media stimulation as much.  Summer is the perfect time for building these important life skills because it's not as structured as the rest of the year is. 

So here's what I'm thinking:  I'm going to organize a few areas in our house that will encourage my kids to do things they like, so they will enjoy their summer (and I'll enjoy mine!).  But, I won't overly structure what we will actually do.  That's a stretch for me (I'm all about being organized!!) but I think it will be good for all of us.

Here's my "simple" plan:

1.  I am going to create a craft / activity area in the basement with lots of things the kids can work on.  They each have a number of craft projects and activities they received as gifts but haven't necessarily had time to work on, so those will be included in this area.  I may even keep a stash so I can replenish it throughout the summer.  (Post to come soon)
2. I will help them organize their toys (in their rooms, in the basement, and on the main floor) so they can find what they want and be inspired to play with their things.

3. I will organize their puzzles and games so they will be used more and set up a challenge to complete each puzzle and play each game at least once this summer. My son is getting to an age where he can start playing older games so my hubby and I will start playing some of those with him too.

4.  I will register them in the summer reading challenge at the library (they are both motivated by challenges and rewards so I think this will be up their alley).
5.  I am going to give each of them a summer journal.  They can write in it or draw pictures in it from time to time to show what they did this summer.  Maybe for their first entry I'll suggest they brainstorm some of the things they would like to do this summer, so we can do those.

By providing these spaces and tools, my kids can unleash their creativity, which feels much more freeing to me than using a calendar or chart or list with ideas.

Now, I know my kids aren't perfect and when my preventative "boredom busting plan" fails, I'll have to rely on my own creative ideas.  And if I get stuck...I know there are all those great suggestions online :)

Between the things we already have planned for summer and the creative things that will happen in our unstructured time, I think this is going to be a great summer!  Hopefully the balance of structureu and freedom works for all four of us.  I'll let you know how this goes!  

Are you feeling overwhelmed with all the summer possibilities and activities?  Or do you have a secret for keeping things organized and simple?

Happy summer and happy organizing!

I link up at these great parties - Check them out!

Check out all my summer posts here!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Organizing Gifts (Free Printable!)

We buy a lot of gifts.  A lot.  Parents, grandparents, siblings, nieces, nephews, cousins, our kids, our friends' kids, our kids' friends, and on and on.  It can be overwhelming to stay on top of buying all those gifts.  Not to mention the cost. 

A few years after we got married, my husband and I started buying gifts in advance and we continue to do this now.  It saves us time, stress, and money.  And it helps spread the costs of gifts throughout the year.   Both our families also do this to varying degrees, so we come by it naturally I guess.

As an example of how we save money by buying gifts in advance, here's a great deal we found on a whole set of Little House on the Prairie books that we bought for my daughter. Here's her bin of gifts for when she's a bit older:

See that price tag?  Yep!   $20.00 for the whole set of 9 books, in a cute little chest. Individually, these books are close to $10. Big savings!  I loved those books when I was younger (still do!) and can't wait until my daughter is old enough to enjoy them too.

So, here's how and why our gift purchasing works:
1.  Whenever we see something that we know a particular person would like, we buy it.  Saves having to find that "perfect" gift when a birthday comes around.  

2.  When we see a great deal on something that we want to give to someone, we buy it.  Saves money, which is important when we're giving so many gifts. 

3.  We watch flyers for sales and specials and we shop at a lot of warehouse sales so we often find great deals. 

But, while buying gifts in advance has its advantages, it means needing to store these gifts.  Here's my current system:

Yes, there are 10 bins with gifts... I told you we buy a lot of gifts! 

My system for organizing our gifts has changed a bit over the years but that's the beautiful thing about organizing:  as your needs change you can revise your organizational system to accomodate the changes! 

Initially I kept our pre-purchased gifts in one large bin in our closet.  But as the number of people we were buying for grew, I had to expand to more bins.  It was getting overwhelming to keep track of what I had though.  So, I began grouping the gifts in the bins to make it easier.  I had a bin for my family, a bin for my in-laws, and a bin for friends.  Better. 

But then our families and friends' families expanded again.  We had kids, our siblings had kids, and our friends had kids.  As the number of gifts we were giving (and buying in advance) increased, so did my number of bins.  Again.   It became overwhelming if the bins were too full, because it was hard to see what I had, so I found having more bins with less in them was easier.

I started a bin for baby gifts since we were giving so many baby gifts.  And I started a general bin for gifts that were not for anyone specific but could be used for anyone.   I also started a bin for gifts for kids under 3 and a bin for kids over 3.  This is what's currently in the 3+ bin:

And I started bins for each of our kids.  

I can't show you the contents of all the bins because some of the intended recipients read this blog, but I guess the secret's out now on how much we save by buying gifts in advance :)

With all these gift bins, I needed an inventory system. I started a list of the contents of each bin and kept it just inside each lid. That really helped me to know what we had and identify people that I still needed to buy things for. As time went on though, I wanted a more portable version so I typed up a master list that I could keep with me when I was shopping.   Keep reading - I've got a free printable inventory list you can use!

The biggest issue with all these bins was finding space to store them.  I used to just stack them but it was such a pain having to move bins to get at others and of course every time I needed a bin it was on the bottom!  The best solution I found was to store the bins on shelves.  The large Rubbermaid bins I was using didn't fit on the storage shelves so I switched to flip-lid bins. 

The location of those shelves has moved over the years.  When we bought a closet organizer for our closet, the storage shelves no longer fit so we moved them to the basement.  It wasn't pretty having them in our closet anyway!  They've moved since then to a few different places in our basement, but I think I have them in the best spot now.  It's easy to access the bins where I have them now, which is good because we go into them several times a month.  And my gift wrap bins and greeting card bin are on the shelves right beside these so everything I need is handy. 

I recently switched all the gifts into medium sized coloured Rubbermaid bins because the flip-lid bins I was using were clear and you could see the gifts inside.  That was fine in our closet, but not in the basement where people could see what they were going to get!  (You can see the flip-lid bins in use on the shelves beside these for seasonal storage and books.)   I had the medium sized coloured bins for storing other things under the basement stairs but we recently purged and reorganized all our bins in an effort to organize our cluttered basement so I did not need to buy any (which is why the colours don't match but I think it adds character!)

So, here's what I currently have for bins:  2 for each of our kids (one is for things to give them soon and the other is for items when they get a little older).  We have lots of occasions throughout the year for them, plus we also keep little activities in here that we can pull out on long road trips or on a rainy day.

I also have 1 general bin and 3 bins for our families (I blacked out their names for privacy).

And, I have a bin for kids 0-2 (including baby items - less of those to buy for these days) and a bin for kids age 3 and up.

I also have a small bin on the storage shelves in the furnace room that contains Christmas gifts (specifically Christmasy things that we will only give people for Christmas). 

So, here's the printable I promised you. 

Click on the link and then you can download it from Scribd.  If you have lots of gifts and are looking for an organized way to keep track of what you have, this list will help you. You can label each bin with a category that identifies what's inside and then list the items. I hope you find it useful! It's been a lifesaver for me.

So, that's how my pre-purchased gifts went from overwhelming to organized.  If you don't already do so, I highly recommend pre-purchasing gifts to save you time and money.  I never have to stress out about buying a gift when one of our kids gets invited at the last minute to a birthday party because usually I will find something in our gift bins. 

How about you?  Do you buy gifts in advance or as needed?  If you buy them in advance, how do you store them?  Do you use an inventory list to keep track of what you have?  Or do you have an example of an organizational system that has evolved over the years?  I'd love to hear your ideas!

Happy organizing!

I link up at these great parties - Check them out!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Tips For Organizing Seasonal Items

{I apologize to those of you who saw an "in-progress" version of this post earlier. I mistakenly hit "Publish" and didn't realize it. Oops! Here's the real version of the post.}

A reader asked me for advice on storing seasonal dishes so I thought I'd write a post with some tips, while showing you how I recently reorganized my seasonal decorations and other special occasion items to keep them from becoming overwhelming.

Tips on organizing and storing seasonal items

1. If you only use things once a year (or for a little while each year), it's best to pack them away somewhere for the rest of the year where they aren't taking up space that you can use for frequently used things. It depends on your space of course but boxes or bins in a storage area (basement, garage, attic, closet, etc.) are good options if you have them. Ideally all your seasonal things are stored in one location so you can find them easily.

2. Choose a place for storing seasonal things that is not too hard to get at when you need to. Let's face it, we're all busy people and, while it's nice to have seasonal items, if it's too much effort to get them out each year, it becomes a chore rather than something to look forward to. 

3. Group items by season/occasion so you can easily find what you need when you want it. Depending on how many items you have for each season and what size they are, you may store each season/occasion in a separate box or bin or drawer, or you may be able to group things in bags or smaller boxes within a larger container.

4. Label each container so you can easily find what you you are looking for.

5. Purge after each season or occasion.  If you didn't use an item this year, what are the chances you will use it next year?   Or if you bought or received new items, purge older ones (a great motto to prevent clutter is "one item in, one item out").

OK, so now let's head back to my cluttered basement to see how I apply these tips! 

Our basement is where we store all our items that we only bring out during the various seasons (spring, fall, and winter) or holidays (Valentine's Day, Easter, and Halloween) throughout the year. In our case, these include things like decorations, activities, dishes, and clothing that all relate to the occasion.  You may have other types of seasonal items like linens, china, or glassware.

We don't really have summer decorations but I store our outdoor toys and sports equipment in the deckbox or garage. And I have so many Christmas items that they are stored up high on a big shelf in our garage (that stack of 7 green bins in the middle, the big clear ornament bin on the top, and the big red tree bag).

I thought about storing all of my other seasonal items in the garage too, especially now that I purged so much in there, but it's a bit of a pain to get things off that shelf. We have to move the van out (which also means moving the car out of the driveway) to be able to make room for the step ladder. That's fine for Christmas because we have a lot of bins that we simply can't store in the basement, so we make the effort to bring them all in before Christmas and bring them all back out after Christmas. It's a step we take only twice a year so the effort is proportionate to the reward (see step 2 above!). And when I say "we" here I really mean "my husband" :)

I was storing the winter and Halloween items in Rubbermaid bins under our basement stairs with lots of other stacks of bins (not attractive but it makes use of space that would otherwise be wasted). 

The good thing about storing these bins here was that they were out of the way all year, but the problem was that I always had to move several bins to get at them (the bins are 3 rows deep ranging from 1 bin to 4 bins high so there are a lot of bins under those steps!).  It's not a lot of work, but enough to make it feel like a chore instead of something I eagerly anticipated so I wanted to find a better solution.

I had been keeping the Valentine's items and the Easter/Spring items in large zippered bags in a cupboard in our laundry room (the Halloween and winter items were originally there too but over the years we accumulated more things for those two occasions so I moved them to the storage bins instead).

Not pretty at all! But, aside from appearance, this system worked fine for awhile because we weren't using the space for much else (just a few outdoor things that we didn't want to store in the deckbox or garage). Since I'm reorganizing my whole basement now though, I want to keep all the seasonal things together in one place (and I'd like to keep the laundry room for laundry related things once I get around to organizing it!).

So, here's my new system:

I'm storing all my seasonal items in bins on large shelves.  I had other things stored on these shelves but found better places for them and put these bins on them instead. I put all of them at or near the top because I don't need to access them very often and they are not very heavy.

The Rubbermaid bins that I had been using for the Halloween and winter items didn't fit on these shelves so I switched them to these clear bins that fit perfectly side by side on the top shelf (I purged a bit to make everything fit).

My bin with winter items primarily contains decorations with snowflakes or snowmen (I find it so empty in the house after all the Christmas decorations get put away that it's really nice to put out a few general winter things!).

The Halloween bin includes decorations, pumpkin carving items, candy collecting & distributing things, bake ware, and some Halloween themed activities. 

Here is the next shelf: 

I grouped the Valentine's Day, Easter, and Spring items all in one bin since there were not enough things to justify separate bins and these seasons are all pretty close to each other.

I also have a bin of costumes on this shelf. Some of these are Halloween costumes and some of the items are things the kids wear for special events at school like wacky hair days or crazy glasses days or just for dressing up for fun.

Next I made pretty labels for the bins:

It's just a little extra touch that makes me smile when I see these bins. And since we have nearly a whole wall of our basement covered with storage shelves every little bit helps!  {You'll see more in future posts but trust me it's not pretty!}

See those bottom bins? Those are my gift wrap bins and my greeting card bins. The rest of the flip-top bins you see in the above picture are full of books that we want to have access to but that don't need to be out on shelves.

So, that's my system for storing seasonal items.  Now they are all together and easier to access. It's so much less overwhelming and I look forward to using these items each season or holiday!

What seasonal items do you store? How do you organize and store your seasonal things? Which of the tips I suggested have you tried? I'd love to hear your ideas!

Happy organizing!

I link up at these great parties - Check them out!