Posts by Jen Jones

Jen Jones

Organize This: Crafts!

There are such a large variety of tasks that can fill the crafting category; painting, sewing, embossing, scrap-booking, drawing…  Whether you love one or them all, the crafting hobby typically comes with endless tools and gadgets.  What are your favorite ways to store and organizing all of the special supplies?

Whether you have an entire craft room to dedicate to creative mode, or rely on a single closet, there really are endless ways to make the most of the space given.  Here are a couple of my favorite ways to organize all of the crafty bits and bobs.

Tension Rods:

Tension rods are a really great solution for holding spools of ribbon, washi tapes and gift wrap rolls.  Just insert them in-between two stable surfaces and you have instant storage.

 

Pegboard:

Pegboard is one of the most versatile ways to store your craft supplies, as there are endless ways to mix and match hooks, buckets, dowels and shelves to customize your storage to your specific needs.

 

Over the Door:

Just because many of the over-the-door organizers that are on the market are geared to adding storage in the kitchen, it doesn’t mean that they can’t double as amazing craft supply storage as well.  With a little creative thinking and the addition to some small bins and jars, these organizers can hold everything from gift wrap to ribbon to brads and paper punches.

 

Storage Cabinets:

Depending on the space you have available, different sized cabinets could act as great stand-in craft storage.  Consider checking out bathroom cabinets such as linen towers, étagères and medicine cabinets, as they offer versatility and are often known for their space saving qualities.

 

Drawers:

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With the addition of bins and drawer dividers, a dresser can turn into a great place to conceal craft supplies for both adults and children.  Everything from paints to colored pencils to adhesives can be stored in a one stop spot that is simple to access should the crafting mood strike.

Stand alone drawers systems are also a superb solution for sorting and storing sewing fabrics.

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Kitchen Supplies:

One of my “go-to” places to hunt for craft storage, is either in my own personal kitchen, or within the kitchen department at my favorite shopping spots.  Upcycled food containers covered with decorative papers work wonderfully for corralling smaller objects and desktop accessories.  Spice jars and baby food jars are the perfect match for pins, brads and beads.  Drawer organizers, muffin pans, mason jars, food tins, bowls and mugs and even beverage carts can all be used as resourceful options for a variety of crafting products.

 

Workspace:

To make the most of the time you have to enjoy your creative hobbies, carve out a specific nook or workspace that can accommodate your supplies and give you a place to sit or stand while working.  A small desk, a collapsible table or even a wall to wall counter, are all wonderful options depending on the space available.  By storing your supplies near your work surface, even if that means carving out space within a closet near the dining table, you are keeping things within reach and maximizing the time you have to divulge into your project.

 

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Jen Jones

Month of Storage: Closets and Drawers

Closets and drawers come in all shapes and sizes and can pose a variety of storage challenges.  Many closets must have multiple functions while drawers can quickly become a cluttered playground for rummaging and sifting.

Although some closets may be deemed as “catch-all” closets, most often times each closet is setup to serve a specific purpose.  Here are a few of my favorite tips for each type of closet.

 

Entry Closet:

  1. Outerwear changes based on seasons, so set up a simple rotation system to accommodate the shifts in weather throughout the year.  Place frequently used items within reach and off-season items up on higher shelves.
  2. Never settle for a standard shelf and rod setup, which is typical in most closets.  Pop in a few stackable organizers and hang a double rod to make the most of vertical space and to create a custom setup based on your individual storage needs.
  3. An entry closet does not just have to hold coats and shoes, it is a great place to put in your command station to charge phones, sort mail and hang your keys.
  4. Use an over-the-door pocket organizer to hold smaller everyday necessities such as gloves, small umbrellas, dog leashes and sunscreen.
  5. Add a boot tray to the floor of the closet to protect it from dirt and water tracked in on boots and shoes.

 

Linen Closet:

  1. Organize shelves by function.  One shelf for towels, another for linens and another for toiletries.  Give each shelf a proper label to ensure everyone in the house is on the same page.
  2. If you haven’t mastered folding sheets (I know I haven’t), then opt to tuck them inside of bins or baskets instead.  The basket will corral the sheets together and allow your closet to still appear neat and tidy.
  3. The back of the closet door is often times overlooked as a brilliant way to double your closet capacity.  Install hooks, towel bars and over the door organizers to make the most of your linen storage space.
  4. Use shelf dividers to prevent towel piles from tipping.
  5. Medicines should not be stored within the bathroom, making linen closets and ideal location instead.  Invest in a lock box which can be stored on an upper shelf and out of the reach of little fingers.

 

Bedroom Closet:

  1. To maximize your hanging space, use ultra-slim hangers and install a double rod to double your hanging area.
  2. Add a bin or shopping sack to your closet as a quick place to store clothing to be donated.  This will keep it easy to follow the one-in and one-out rule.
  3. Once again, set up your closet to work hard for you and maximize the space available.  Stackable mix and match organizers can provide drawers for sweaters, shelving for shoes and storage cubes for purses and accessories.
  4. Utilize the doors to gain storage for shoes with over the door organizers.  Also, add hooks to hold accessories such as scarves, belts and handbags.
  5. Constantly purge items that are no longer being used, and store away seasonal items in under-bed storage bins.  This will make the most of the closet space and ensure that clothing has room to hang and everything is simple to find and be used.

 

When it comes to drawers, there are some types around the home that function big.  Here are a few ways to ensure they work hard for you, so you don’t have to work hard to find what you are searching for.

 

Kitchen Drawers:

Start by taking some time to assess and pair down your cooking gadgets.  Although there are many fancy tools for cutting, slicing, plucking and pressing, really think about how much you need to be successful in the kitchen (it really is amazing how many functions a simple knife can do).  Once you have determined the amount of utensils and supplies that need to be stored, use labeled dividers and organizers to give everything a specific place.  The dividers will prevent the urge to add more to the drawer without a little extra thought, and will ensure items do not mix together.

 

Junk Drawers:

Junk drawers are typically spaces that catch everything in the home that don’t have anywhere else to go.  They are great for storing batteries, rubber bands, stationary items, etc…  Because they can quickly be the “go to” drawer to stash items temporarily, it is a good idea, to do a quick clean out of the drawer every couple of months.  Use organizers that stack and slide to make the most of all the different categories of belongings being stored in this single place.

 

Dresser Drawers:

When organizing dresser drawers, soft-sided organizers are a great way to corral undergarments and socks.  Line the drawers with scented liners or add a sachet to keep your clothing smelling fresh.  Fold and roll your clothing and place them from front to back vs. stacking them.  This allows you to see all of the clothing and easy grab one without disturbing the remainder of the stack.

 

Check out my fave finds for the clutter catch-alls in your home!

 

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Jen Jones

Month of Storage: Budget-Friendly Storage Solutions

One thing I hear over and over is, “Organizing is expensive!”  And although storage can be costly, the act of organizing is free!

Nothing is more rewarding than taking time to sort down your belongings and donate them to a good cause.  That act does not cost a dime, in fact, you may find that you save money or even find money during the organizing process.  You will spend less money at the grocery store if you are organized in the kitchen with storage and a meal plan, you will save more money in your budget by organizing paper piles and paying your bills on time, and you might even find gift cards and birthday money at the bottom of those junk drawers!  Less truly is more.

So once you have sorted down your items, how do you store them in an inexpensive way?  Here are my five favorite DIY storage solutions, many which are versatile enough to be used in many different areas around the home.

DIY Drawer Dividers:

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Drawer organizers keep your drawers neat and tidy and ensure you don’t add more than you have space to store.  Save a few of those empty cereal boxes, cover them in pretty patterned paper or drawer liner and you have yourself some organizers that will bring a smile to your face every time you open the drawer.

 

DIY Canvas Bins:

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Save your empty boxes, as they can become a very inexpensive way to create canvas bins to store everything from linens to baby gear.  Some pretty fabric paired with spray adhesive and you have yourself a storage bin that looks like it came straight off of the shelves of your favorite home goods store.

 

DIY Roll Out Drawers: 

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I always recommend adding drawers and roll out storage whenever possible, as it allows you to easily access items in the back of a pantry or cabinet.  Pairing some inexpensive brackets to DIY wooden boxes and you just put some pennies back into the bank.

DIY Storage Ottoman:

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Storage ottomans work wonders for tucking away toys in the living room or linens in the bedroom.  However, they can also be quite costly, especially for one that is upholstered in decorative fabric and has added details such as nailheads or tufts.  If you are a little handy, an ottoman can be a fairly basic build.  Frame it out with some inexpensive wood, add some batting and fabric along with some casters or furniture legs, and you could build yourselves two ottomans for the price of one at any furniture store.

 

DIY Storage Crate:

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I love adding crates around the home to hold extra blankets and pillows, magazines and even your child’s favorite play things.  Pair them with casters and now they are mobile storage or pull out drawers.  You can either purchase unfinished crates from craft stores or build them with a few simple supplies, and finish them off with wood stain or paint.

 

Here are a few more ways to make the most of your storage:

  • Select items that will be versatile for years to come and can easily be transferred from space to space as your storage needs evolve.
  • Search Craigslist for inexpensive furniture.  Bookcases, dressers and credenzas all work in almost any room in the home, and can look shiny and new with a fresh coat of paint and updated hardware.
  • Search for storage inspiration first, and then check out big box stores for less expensive pieces, which mimic the high-end look.

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  • Use paint or fabric to refinish mismatched storage containers to give them a streamlined, unified appearance.
  • Save packaging from everyday essentials and food products.  Frosting tubs, yogurt cups, soup cans, baby wipe bins, spaghetti sauce jars, cracker boxes and dishwasher tab containers can be washed and reused as up-cycled storage items.
  • Think outside of the storage box.  Just because something was designed to function a specific way, doesn’t mean it can’t rock as storage in a form other than intended.
  • Scour thrift stores for decorative bowls and mugs as they double as beautiful accessory storage around the home.

 

Check out my wallet-friendly product picks now!

 

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Jen Jones

Month of Storage: Room-by-Room Organization Tips

If you are making a resolution to get organized this year, one of the first questions that pops into your mind may be, “Where do I begin?” First, it is important not to be too general about organizing, as it can quickly get overwhelming.  It is a good idea to tackle it with a plan, and in small bits.  Here are a few key areas to focus on as you begin organizing room by room.  Oh, and be sure to blast the tunes and set a timer as you go. Organizing should be fun after all!

 

Entryway:  Your entrance is the first impression of your home, and you want it to shine big for you and any guests.  That means, it is important to mix big function with storage and style.

Drop Zone.  When you walk through the front door, think of all of the things that frequently fill your hands and arms.  A handbag, keys, sunglasses, umbrella and the daily mail pile.  Add wall baskets and hooks to give each of these items a proper home and ensure everything is quickly found the following morning.

Shoe Storage.  Keeping the entryway clear of shoes not only reduces visual clutter, it also ensures the heavy traffic area remains safe.  If space is limited; think about slim shoe storage options such as bookcases, flip out shoe units and narrow benches.

Hanging Storage.  Hooks are a simple and inexpensive storage solution for holding most entryway belongings.  Coats, umbrellas, purses, backpacks, and even briefcases can all be compactly tucked away thanks to a couple of multifunctional hooks.

 

Living Room:  The living room is where family memories are made; movies are watched, games are played and cozy afternoon naps are taken.  To ensure happy memories are created in a clutter free environment, focus on a few of the key essentials often times stored in this space.

Media Storage. Movie cases can quickly take over a room visually, so tuck them inside of decorative boxes and place them on shelves.  Save space by transferring the movies to sleeves or binders.

Storage Ottomans.  Storage ottomans are an extremely versatile way to keep any living space nice and tidy.  They are perfect for discreetly stashing away toys, blankets, games and reading material set aside for a relaxing afternoon.

Build It In.  Living rooms are a perfect place to add custom built in storage.  You can span an entire wall with shelving to hold books, photo albums, media components and board games.  If you live in a rental, you can achieve the same storage impact by piecing together bookcases found at common big box stores.

 

Kitchen:  The kitchen needs to function big, as it is the hub of the home and is used multiple times throughout the day.  The best way to set up your kitchen to be productive and efficient is to empty your cabinets and drawers and start with a blank slate.  Then, take time to put things back where they make the most sense based on how you utilize the space.  Place silverware and dishes near the dishwasher, pots and pans near the stove and Tupperware containers near the fridge.  Here are a few more things you can do to quickly whip your kitchen into organized shape.

Use Drawer Organizers.  Drawer organizers are a great way to ensure you don’t add more items than you have room to store.  When it comes to storing kitchen gadgets, place everything in a box for a month.  As you use it, place it back in the drawer.  At the end of the month, anything left in the box should head of to your local donation center.  It is amazing how many functions simple kitchen utensils can cover.

Use Clear Food Storage.  Clear, airtight storage will keep foods fresher for longer, and will also give you a quick visual of your current stock.  The best part is that there is no need to take the extra step of labeling when you can always quickly see the contents of the containers.

Drawer Storage.  Whenever possible, install drawers or roll out shelving for storing items in your kitchen.  Drawers allow you to easily access the contents whereas cupboards and shelving are a recipe for items getting forgotten and lost in the back corner.

 

Bathroom:  Bathrooms tend to be the smallest room in the home, yet still need to be functional and store daily essentials and toiletries.  When space is tight, it is always best to maximize your vertical storage space; take advantage of walls, the back of doors and stacking storage under the sink.

Narrow Cabinet/Etagere. Most bathrooms are roomy enough to accommodate a narrow storage tower.  These towers can provide ample storage for towels, cosmetics and hair styling tools.

Wall Hooks vs. Towel Bars.  In children’s bathrooms, think about utilizing wall hooks over towel bars as they don’t require folding prior to hanging.  They also save on wall space as they can be installed on the backside of the door.

Spice Racks.  Spice racks are not just great storage for the kitchen.  When installed on the walls in a bathroom, they can hold rolled up washcloths, lotions, perfume bottles and cotton swab canisters.

 

Bedroom:  The bedroom is intended to be the sanctuary of the home.  It is all about soothing colors and keeping things simple and streamlined.

Under the Bed.   Add wheels to drawers or invest in under-bed storage bins to stash away seasonal clothing and linens.

Linen Storage.  Instead of dedicating an entire single closet for all of the linens in your home, consider storing linens for each bedroom within drawers or storage ottomans.

Multifunctional Furniture.  The bedroom doesn’t require a lot of furniture, so keep things simple by selecting pieces that can serve double duty; such as a dresser which can also act as a nightstand, or a bench that contains storage for shoes or linens.

 

Home Office:  You don’t need an entire room dedicated to a home office in order for it to function big.  Even the smallest nook in a kitchen can offer a productive workspace.

Use Paper Trays to Assign Simple Tasks.  Determine the types of papers you touch frequently and use stackable trays to manage those tasks.

Go Digital.  Paper piles create clutter on the counter, on your desk and in the entryway.  Cut back on the amount of paper you touch by unsubscribing from junk mail and catalogs and switching to paperless billing statements.

Set Up Your Desk for Success.  Design your workspace wisely by installing shelves above the desk and adding a file cabinet below.  Keep the desk surface clutter free by utilizing desktop organizers and wall storage.  Finally, add a cozy chair and proper lighting to ensure your work time comfortable and productive.

 

Garage:  The garage is essentially an extension of your home, and also provides a place to store what may be your largest investment; your automobile.  But it also needs to hold storage bins, outdoor toys, gardening supplies and tools.

Think Up.   It is natural to think about storing items on the floor of a space, but in the garage it is the perfect opportunity to utilize the ceiling for storage by installing hanging racks.  Wall to wall shelves and rail systems also utilize vertical space and keep the floor clear for walking around vehicles and storing larger items such as the lawn mower and bikes.

Utility Shelf.  Keep frequently used items, such as cleaning supplies, shopping bags and home maintenance items, stored right outside the door to the garage.  Having to walk to the opposite side of the garage, especially in colder climates, instantly reduces the chances of things being put away where they belong.

Peg it.  Pegboard is an extremely versatile storage solution in the garage as it not only takes advantage of the massive wall area, but it can store a variety of items.  Everything from gardening supplies to home improvement tools can live harmoniously in one organized space.

 

Laundry Room:  Laundry is one of those ongoing chores that comes back day after day.  A few simple organizing tips will ensure that you will be whistling while you work.

Be Selective About Sorting.  The less you have to sort, the less laundry piles up.  Sort items such as delicate pieces and whites, and toss the remainder directly into the washing machine and run as soon as it is full.  Sorting less also takes up less hamper space in the laundry room.

Know Your Stains.  Keep a stain chart framed in the laundry room to ensure you are able to treat your stains effectively before putting them through the wash.

Decant Detergents and Powders.  Bulky detergent boxes and jugs are visually distracting.  By storing your daily laundering supplies in pretty decanters and containers, your laundry area will instantly feel streamlined and organized and give you a more pleasant environment for laundering your daily wears.

 

Check out my room-by-room product picks now!

 

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Jen Jones

Month of Storage: Resolving to Get Organized with the New Year

Something about the New Year rolling in gets individuals excited to start things off on the right foot.  It is as though our slate has been wiped clean and we are offered the opportunity to reflect on the past and resolve to make some updates for the future.

Although resolutions come in all shapes and sizes, one that I am all too familiar with is the resolution to be more organized.  Sure, our intentions are good, however, it is smart to be a bit more specific from the start.  We should really take the time to determine which specific areas of our lives we hope to focus on, instead of making a general blanket statement, as it can instantly become overwhelming and easy to lose focus.  Here are a few ways to break down and “organize” the top three most common resolutions people make each year.

 

The Resolution to Eat Better

This resolution comes down to getting organized in the kitchen.  Sure, you can resolve to eat healthier foods, but it goes a little deeper than that.  Ensure it is easier to eat healthier by being organized.  A little organization will also save you money, which is a definite win as well.

  • Clean out your fridge. Use stickers to label foods and leftovers and store items in clear containers so they don’t get missed or forgotten.  Organize your fridge by categories; a shelf for dairy, a shelf for spreads and condiments, a basket for lunch making items and a bin for breakfast foods.  Avoid storing items in plastic containers and bags, which can leach chemicals into your foods.  Store your fruits and veggies in separate bins/drawers.
  • Clean out your pantry.  Use clear containers to give you a quick visual inventory of the foods you have, and to help you with your meal planning process.  It will also extend the life of those expensive preservative free items.  Hang a shopping list inside the door so that you can jot down items as soon as they run low.  Only purchase what you have room to store.  Big box warehouse items may seem to give you the biggest bang for your buck, but can be challenging to store and food can go bad before getting eaten.
  • Make snacks ahead of time.  By taking a little bit of time each weekend to prepare your snacks for the week, you will be more inclined to eat healthier because now it will be just as easy to grab a bag of cut up veggies as it is to grab a bag of chips.
  • Meal Plan.  Meal planning always saves time and money in the end.  And you will cook more at home, which means less eating out at unhealthy and expensive restaurants.  Use a calendar or chalkboard to plan out simple dishes for each night of the week, and create your grocery list based on those items only.  Your meal planned grocery list will reduce over purchasing at the store and prevent filling your car with snacky foods.

 

The Resolution to Workout/Exercise

It is important to make time in our daily schedules, for a little bit of exercises, whether a full workout at the gym or building in small activities throughout our day.

  • Create a Schedule.  Use your calendar/planner to carve out time to exercise.  Schedule it in during your favorite TV show so you can multi-task and be realistic about how much time you have to devote to exercise.  Even a few minutes is better than not at all.
  • Carve a space for products.  That old saying, “Out of sight, out of mind” rings true when it comes exercise equipment.  Unfortunately, storing your equipment under your bed or away in a closet may be a recipe for forgetting to use it at all.  By carving out a small nook or corner to store your supplies in an easy-to-access way, you will be more likely to see it and use it.  If you are against the visual clutter, just be sure to store it in a way that makes it quick and simple to access.  Think about storing water bottles, workout clothing, shoes and earbuds, all in one simple spot vs. spread-out throughout the home.  Wall hooks, stacking baskets and storage benches are all great products for storing toning gear.
  • Create an exercise log/journal.  This can be as simple as using a blank notebook to write down the dates, times and details of your workouts.  In the front or the notebook, add a list of activities that can be done without equipment for the days you don’t have time for a full workout, but want to integrate some activity into your schedule.
  • Use a timer.  It can be simple to lose track of time while working out, so snag a small timer to ensure to stay on schedule with the remainder of your day.

 

The Resolution to Organize Paperwork/Create a Budget

Paper piles and bills will continue to be a process to manage as long as we own homes, have retirement plans and use utilities.  Year after year, individuals are making resolutions to spend less, save more and get rid of paper clutter.

  • Create a drop station.  As soon as you bring in your mail, place items that need attention into your drop station and recycle the rest.  Once per week, go through your pile and file away papers, input important dates into your calendar and pay any billing statements.
  • Go digital.  Part of the paper problem is the paper itself.  You have to touch it, file it and store it.  Use trusted online services to unsubscribe from catalogs and solicitations and update your billing statements to be sent digitally.  Look at inexpensive paper scanners and update your system to be a paperless one, just be sure to have a back-up storage method.
  • Create a system.  Use a calendar or planner to schedule your bill paying process and create a checklist to ensure nothing is being missed each month; late payments can be quite costly.  Utilize your online banking system to set up automatic bill payments and take advantage of online budgeting systems which help you track your spending, reduce your debt and tuck away savings.

 

Want more? Check out my product picks to kick-start these resolutions now!

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Jen Jones

Organize This: Holiday Party!

It’s the holiday season!  To many, that means gathering, celebrating and spending time with friends and family.  Organizing a festive party can quickly add to stress to the already busy season, however, with a few simple tips and planning you can plan and throw a soiree with a smile.

 

Make a List, Check it Twice

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Just like many other organizing tasks, you can’t go wrong with a checklist when it comes to party planning.  In fact, multiple checklists can prove beneficial.  Neatly corralled in a binder, keep a list of your guests and their RSVP status, a cleaning checklist for your home, a beverage and meal idea list, a shopping list and a general “to do” list.

 

Prep the Bathroom

During the party, the bathroom will most likely be one of the busiest rooms in the home.  Give it a little extra attention by giving it a good scrub, adding a small vase of flowers, setting out fresh towels and ensuring that paper products are fully stocked.

 

Be Ready Year Round

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Set up a small cabinet, drawer or closet in your home to house your party supplies year round.  This could include serving dishes, linens, trays, linens and decor.  Having everything in one place will prove to be beneficial when party day rolls around.

 

Hang It Up

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When your guests begin arriving, they will need a place to hang their coats and totes.  Bring in a hanging valet or clear a spot within your entry closet, to easily store away your guest’s personal belongings.

 

Keep It Simple

Serving bite sized appetizers reduces the amount of dishes that will have to be washed once the festivities come to an end.  It will also allow you to do less cooking before hand.  Prepare one or two special or unique food items, and be OK shopping for or catering in the rest.  Gain extra credit points for adding decorative labels to your tasty treats.

 

Set Up Stations

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Prevent over crowding at the food and beverage table by spreading things out.  A buffet with food options, a side table set up with desserts and a bar cart stashed with beverages.  To prevent from being hired on as the bartender for the evening, set out a drink recipe menu with your mixers so your guests can keep their glasses ready to give a cheer.

 

Help Your Guests, Help You

You won’t want to spend your evening cleaning up after your friends and family, the point of a party is to relax and enjoy your company.  You can set yourself and your home up for success by adding labeled trash and recycle bins in an easy to access area.  Dirty dishes can wait until after the party, however, keep your counters free of the aftermath by placing an empty bin for the dishes near the sink.  Be ready for spills and stains by keeping a few stain removal and cleaning supplies nearby in a portable cleaning caddy.

 

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