Christmas Decorations

What to do with ALL THAT STUFF?

Decorations do help make this holiday season a beautiful and special time to celebrate and remember. They can also be an expression of creativity that blesses our Creator, the maker, and all the viewers.

But they add up. More boxes are needed to store them. The closet door has trouble closing in January. Sound familiar?

So…back to our question: What can be done with all the decorations?

Consider where they are stored. If you have a place that is out of the way, hidden until opened once a year, and a manageable size, you are helping yourself a great deal. Tripping over the cascade of ornaments in July doesn’t make anyone happy. For many years, all my decorations were stored in an antique chest that served as an end table year-round. I opened it twice a year, once to decorate and once to store again. The rest of the time it was a great table.

Is the size of the storage space reasonable for your purposes? Think about what is important to you when decorating for the holidays. Do you have more than is serving your goal? There is a difference between finding a space to put stuff and deciding how much space you would like to assign for certain things. Look at the purpose and then find the place.

Reflect onĀ what is stored. Again, think about your goal with decorating and pass on what you do not use and doesn’t meet your purpose. Just like clothes, you don’t need to save a wreath for 10 years after you start using one that suits you better — or just in case you ever might want to display it. Be intentional about your stuff, just like you carefully spend your time and energy.

Have a plan for how stuff is stored. Use the closet tips we’ve talked about before. Label, label, label. Know what you have. Contain stuff. Fix it before you pack it up; you won’t want to do repairs when you are ready to decorate. Put it up so it’s easy to take down when you want it.

May you have a merry and beautiful Christmas! And more organized storage for next year…

All Those Photos

You’ve been pretty good about taking photos for special moments (or daily ones) along the way, but that means you have a lot of photos. At times that can be overwhelming. Dread of more photos can even make you not want to take more. How can you keep the balance between remembering all the blessings and not drowning in them?

There are a bunch of ways to store your photo collection, both physical and digital. At different stages in life, one will probably work better than another. Here’s one that has worked well for me for a few years now.

Once we’ve come back from a special time or trip, I make time to pull together a photo album as soon as I can. I use an online site like Shutterfly or Snapfish, where a couple of hours will get me a complete album, clean and shipped to my door.

The layouts are fairly easy to use, and the story can be combined with the photos. This allows the details to be captured along with the photos before the memories fade (as they so quickly do).

Remember, the memories are what are important, so you don’t have to go overboard on embellishments or custom layouts. Capture the joy of the time and carry on with life. Write down what was important and enjoy the photos in a simple group. Pick out the best photos and simply store the rest in digital files. You may want to reference them some day, but they don’t all have to go in one album.

Once you have an account, you can save the book and come back to it later. You don’t have to finish it in one shot. So you can do a few pages at a time of summer activities, but you will finish it up and print it in the fall.

Because you can save the projects, watch for deals before you order. Sales happen on a regular basis, on the sites I’ve used, so take advantage of them.

Keep your effort simple and soon. Enjoy!