How to Use a Garage More Effectively for Holiday Decoration Storage

holiday decoration storage woman moving storage bin

With the holiday season winding down, it’s time to start thinking about your post-holiday season pack-up.

The hustle and bustle of the holiday season can be draining, which makes it easier to take a few shortcuts by packing things away quickly and storing them anywhere.

Sure, that gets the job done quicker now, but it only makes the task of finding and unpacking all of your disorganized holiday decorations more time-consuming later.

Have a smart holiday decoration storage plan

By putting a little extra thought into how and where your holiday decorations will be stored, you can save yourself from some future headaches.

Garages are ideal for a lot of your holiday decoration storage needs, whether you’re storing decorations for Christmas, Halloween, birthday parties, or holidays like the Fourth of July or Canada Day.

The garage has to be used the right way when storing your holiday decorations, however, in order the maintain the functionality of the space.

Use overhead racks for your holiday decoration storage

For the most effective use of your garage as a holiday decoration storage space, add some overhead storage racks.

Ceiling-mounted overhead racks take advantage of the vertical storage space in your garage’s upper reaches that is typically underutilized.

In addition to maximizing your garage’s storage space, overhead racks are also ideal for storing bulky items and things that are infrequently used…which describes unneeded holiday decorations pretty much perfectly!

Everything from storage bins filled with tree ornaments to artificial Christmas trees, wreaths, and garlands to holiday lights to holiday lawn inflatables can be stashed up high.

Your daily routine can even run a little smoother simply by using this out-of-the-way storage space for your holiday decorations. There won’t be bulky storage bins taking up valuable garage floor space, which makes parking more difficult.

And less floor clutter means extra space for keeping tools, sports equipment, and other items you use regularly more efficiently stored and easier to access.

holiday decoration storage empty overhead racks

Overhead racks that use the underutilized storage space in your garage’s ceiling area keep your floor clutter-free.

Use plastic storage bins

Whether you’re storing your holiday decorations in the garage or elsewhere in your home, always use plastic storage bins and containers instead of cardboard boxes.

Plastic storage bins are sturdier, stack easier and more safely, are easier to move around, and provide superior moisture protection compared to cardboard boxes. They’re also not a fire hazard.

Some people prefer using clear plastic storage bins because it helps them to identify stored items quickly. That may sound practical, but it’s probably a better idea to use non-clear, solid color containers with labels.

Holiday ornaments and lights, especially ones you’re keeping for many years, can lose their color faster if they’re exposed to too much light when stored.

Fabric bags specifically made for storing holiday decorations should be stored indoors if possible, due to the higher moisture levels garages commonly have.

Avoid storing these holiday decorations in the garage

While the garage is a perfect spot for many of your holiday decoration storage requirements, it’s not the best storage area for certain items unless it’s climate-controlled.

The extreme temperature fluctuations and excess moisture found in many garage environments makes them less than ideal for storing these holiday decorations:

  • fabric-based festive decorations and adornments (examples: tablecloths, Christmas stockings and hats, tree skirts)
  • candles (store them somewhere cool)
  • very delicate glass, crystal, and antique ornaments
  • food-based decorations

If you absolutely have to keep some fabric-based decorative items stored in the garage for any reason, make sure they’re sealed tight in a plastic container. Wrapping items in acid-free paper or using silica packets to absorb moisture can help preserve the storage bin’s contents.

Another reason to avoid storing fabric-based and food-based decorations in the garage is that they can attract pests.

Label your holiday decoration storage items

Try to keep all your stored holiday decorations together in order to make everything easier to find.

Many organization experts recommend using color-coded storage containers or container lids to simplify things (such as green for Christmas decorations or orange for Halloween decorations).

And even if you’re being diligent and using color-coded containers, always be sure that everything is labelled.

Labelled containers eliminate the time-consuming guesswork that inevitably occurs when it’s time to unpack your decorations and find what you need when decorating your home next holiday season.

Storing an artificial Christmas tree in the garage

Because of its bulkiness, an artificial Christmas tree’s go-to storage spot in most homes will probably be the garage.

Don’t leave an artificial Christmas tree uncovered in the garage because it’ll naturally gather a lot of dust over the course of a year. Why add an artificial tree cleaning to your busy holiday to-do list 11 months (or so) from now?

When storing an artificial Christmas tree in the garage, definitely ditch the cardboard box it came in and invest in a proper plastic tree storage bin. Look for a container with wheels so it’s easier to transport.

Tree storage bags are also popular, although they’re less suited for a garage environment. Also note that white artificial trees or trees with those snow dusting treatments are prone to yellowing and shorter lifespans if temperature and humidity storage conditions aren’t optimal.

holiday decoration storage open garage

While this garage is clean and organized, that poor artificial Christmas tree could really use a proper storage container.

Additional holiday decoration storage tips

When preparing your holiday decorations for storage, here are a few final tips you might find useful:

  • use bubble wrap or decoration storage containers (avoid wrapping decorations in newspaper, as the ink rubs off)
  • prevent string light tangles by using string light reels or even wrapping them around discarded wrapping paper tubes
  • declutter holiday decorations you haven’t used for a few years (donate any items that are still in good condition)
  • make a list of what broken holiday decorations need to be replaced for next year

Get organized to start the new year

If you have a New Year’s resolution that includes tidying up your home, start by storing your holiday decorations in an organized manner and somewhere that’s out of your way.

We can help you create more storage space for your holiday decorations and anything else you need to store in the garage, in addition to making the space look much nicer.

Schedule a free in-home design consultation with Garage Living today.

Please share this post if you found it useful.

See also:

The post How to Use a Garage More Effectively for Holiday Decoration Storage appeared first on Garage Living Blog.

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The Best Big Island, Hawaii Travel Guide

Big Island Hawaii

You guys really seem to like these Hawai’i travel posts. More people read and pinned my Maui Musts post and my Kauai Travel post than if I combined every pin from every other post I’ve written in my four years at How Does She. I get it, longing over tropical island and white sandy beaches is slightly more enjoyable than reading tips on how to pottery train your three year old.

Well, since you seem to like reading about Hawai’i it only makes sense that I cover the biggest and arguably the best Hawaiian island, Big Island. Really though, I never understand how anyone can pick a favorite island. It’s like choosing your favorite child. There may be days that one seems better than the others but in the end they all have their own unique strengths that make them equally lovable.

Big Island Hawaii

About the Big Island

Big Island is formally named the island of Hawai’i. And, like it’s nickname suggests, it is big; so big that all the other Hawaiian islands could fit inside of Big Island and still have room to spare.

The first time I came to Big Island was after I had lived on Maui for 18 months. I live in central Maui so even if I drive to the furthest point on the island it’s only a 40 mile trip. I couldn’t believe that a single island could be so big. We spent more time in the car over our few days there than in the six months prior on Maui. Thankfully, the island is saturated in natural beauty so you don’t mind long drives gazing out the window. And with big size comes big selection. There really is something for everyone on Big Island.

Hawaii Island Travel

Why the Big Island?

Big Island is similar to Kauai and Maui in its abundance of adventure, romance, and natural beauty. The two things that really set Big Island apart are the active volcano and the abundance of history. Big Island has done an excellent job of preserving Hawaiian history and it is definitely worth devoting some vacation time to. As for the volcano, Kilauea, it can throw a wrench in to your travel plans. Be sure to stay up to date with the volcanoes activity when making your travel arrangements.

Big Island Hawaii with Kids

Like the Hawai’i travel guides I’ve written in the past, this list is includes the best the island has to offer. Regardless of your travel style you are sure to find just what you are looking for on this best of Big Island list. And like the other posts, there are more destinations included than any visitor can hope to visit in a single trip. I guess that just means you will have to come back!

Big Island Travel Guide

Big Island with Kids

The Sites

  1. South Point
  2. Lapakahi State Park
  3. Pu’u Honua o Honaunau “Place of Refuge”
  4. Crystal Cove
  5. Cloud Forest
  6. Pololu Valley Lookout
  7. Pu’ukohala Heiau
  8. Puako/Malama Petroglyphs
  9. ‘Ahu’ena Heiau
  10. Hulihe’e Palace
  11. St. Peters Catholic Church
  12. Painted Church
  13. Tex Malasadas
  14. Rainbow Falls
  15. Pe’epe’e Falls
  16. Kaumana Cave
  17. Banyan Drive
  18. Hawai’i Tropical Botanical Garden
  19. Tropical Dreams Ice Cream
  20. Manuela Malasada Co.
  21. ‘Akaka Falls
  22. Kolekole Park
  23. Umauma Falls
  24. Laupahoe Point
  25. Waipio Valley
  26. Mauna Kea State Park
  27. Pololu Valley
  28. Captain Cook Monument
  29. Volcano National Park
  30. Kilauea Volcano*
  31. Jagger Museum*
  32. Hawai’i Volcano Observatory*
  33. Thurston Lava Tube*

Big Island Hawaii Beaches

The Beaches

When visiting Hawai’i beaches remember to use proper ocean safety. The ocean is not to be trifled with. Read the warning signs, talk to the lifeguards, check the conditions, & remember, “if in doubt, don’t go out.”

  1. Hapuna Beach
  2. Waipio Beach
  3. ‘Anaeho’omalu Beach
  4. Kealakekua Bay
  5. Punalu’u Black Sand Beach
  6. Green Sand Beach
  7. Old Kona Airport Beach
  8. Honoli’i Beach
  9. Waialea Beach
  10. Kua Bay
  11. Wawaloli Beach
  12. Makalawena Beach

Hawaii Travel with Kids

I know I say this every time, but I feel obligated to remind all visitors to pack their aloha spirit on any Hawaiian vacation. The aloha spirit is strong in Hawai’i, and the biggest island may have the biggest Aloha. Come to Big Island ready to put on your cruise control, talk story with every one you pass, and leave your worries behind. We love to share our piece of paradise with those that want to visit. I hope to see you in Hawai’i soon! Aloha!

We love to travel, and tropical destinations are always a favorite. Here are a few more of our top tropical places to visit!

8 Reasons Why Jamaica May Be Your Ideal Island Getaway

Things to Do in Thailand with Kids | Our Family Trip to Thailand

Reunion Resort Orlando: The Perfect Relaxing Family Vacation Destination

The post The Best Big Island, Hawaii Travel Guide appeared first on How Does She.

6 Gardening Tasks for January

6 Gardening Tasks for January

A magnificent year of gardening lies ahead of us, but if you can’t wait to get started, that’s okay!

Today we might be crying ‘here comes the snow‘ but before you know it we will be singing ‘here comes the sun’! A magnificent year of gardening lies ahead of us, but if you can’t wait to get started, that’s okay! There are actually lots of awesome winter garden tasks that you can add to your to-do list to get you through January.

Take A Walk

Take a walk around your property with a notebook and look for ways to improve your footprint and land usage. Some examples could be recycling more, adding a compost pile, using less water. Some of these you will have to add to that ol’ to-do list for warmer seasons, but some you can try now. Try implementing some of your ideas and see how it goes.

Tidy Up

If you haven’t cleaned out the fall beds yet, now is a good time. If you have, there may still be more to clean. Pull out your tools and give them a solid cleaning. Then sharpen them and rub some vegetable oil on the metal to make sure they’re all in ship shape and ready to go as soon as the ground thaws.

Day Dream

While you’re walking the garden, and once you’re back inside and warm, start dreaming of what you’ll do in the spring. Will it be a beautiful flower bead or an edible bounty? Begin sketching and planning how you might rework your garden design. Head over to Pinterest or pull out those garden magazines and get the ideas flowing.

Feed The Birds

If you’re struggling to get into the gardening groove while the skies are all heavy and grey, this could help. Fill up those bird feeders and attract some wild songbirds into the yard. Nothing chases away the winter blues like bird song. Sit by the window and watch them delight in their winter feast.

Think Small

While you’re working on those big garden plans, think about what plants you want to start from scratch. Organize and make a list of the seeds you have and the seeds you need to purchase still. Create a timeline of when they can be started indoors and begin buying the supplies you need. It might be too early to start them now, but those days will be here soon.

Garden Indoors

Start a mini indoor herb garden in your kitchen. Choose the herbs that you most associate with summer flavors. Incorporate them into your meals in the dead of winter and continue dreaming of the gardening season to come.

CALL IN THE PROFESSIONALS FOR YOUR LANDSCAPING NEEDS

EVERGREEN GENE’S OFFERS PROFESSIONAL LANDSCAPING AND MAINTENANCE SERVICES THROUGH THE STATE OF MARYLAND. WE ARE HERE TO MAKE SURE YOUR GARDENS AND GROUNDS LOOK AS BEAUTIFUL AS POSSIBLE YEAR-ROUND. INTERESTED IN HOW WE CAN HELP YOUR GARDEN LOOK ITS BEST? GIVE US A CALL AT (410) 766-6877 OR VISIT US ONLINE. TO SEE EXAMPLES OF OUR WORK AND GET MORE HELPFUL GARDENING TIPS, FOLLOW US ON FACEBOOK, GOOGLE+, PINTEREST, LINKEDIN, HOUZZ, AND TWITTER.

Thai Curry and Coconut Butternut Squash Soup

Thai Curry and Coconut Butternut Squash Soup

What says “autumn” more than a thick, rich, flavorful soup? As soon as the leaves start to fall outside, visions of homemade soups and stews dance in my head. But, seeing as I’m a bit kooky myself, I always like a traditional recipe with a fun and tasty twist! This Thai curry and coconut butternut squash soup fits the bill – you get the rich, nutty flavor from the butternut squash and the aromatic, spicy zip from the Thai curry – and then it’s all topped off with the deliciously creamy and almost sweet flavor of the coconut milk! It’s pretty much heaven in a dish. So, what are we waiting for? Let’s get rolling!

Here’s what you’ll need:

thai-curry-and-coconut-butternut-squash-soup-1

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp coconut oil or olive oil (coconut oil is the best.)
  • 1 medium-large butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into small ½-inch pieces (about 3-4 cups)
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, pressed or chopped
  • 2 to 3 Tbsp Thai red curry paste (depending on taste)
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ⅛ tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 4 cups vegetable or chicken broth
  • ½ cup coconut milk for drizzling on top
  • Cilantro (for garnish)
  • Blue Cheese (optional, but YUMMY!)

Directions

  1. Heat oil in a large heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat for 30 seconds or until the oil is shimmering. Add squash, onion, garlic, curry paste, cumin, salt, and red pepper flakes to the pot. Stir to combine.thai-curry-and-coconut-butternut-squash-soup-2
  2. Cook, stirring occasionally until onion is translucent. This stuff will start smelling AMAZING!!
  3. Add broth. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until squash is soft, about 15 to 20 minutes. You can taste and add more curry paste, salt or cumin to your liking.    thai-curry-and-coconut-butternut-squash-soup-3
  4. Remove the soup from heat and let it cool slightly.
  5. Working in batches, transfer the contents pan to a blender (do not fill your blender past the maximum fill line!). Securely fasten the lid (I like to use a kitchen towel to protect my hand from steam escaping from the top of the blender as I purée the mixture until smooth). thai-curry-and-coconut-butternut-squash-soup-5
  6. Transfer puréed soup to a serving bowl and repeat with remaining batches.
  7. Stir the lime juice into the blended soup. Ladle soup into individual bowls. Use a spoon to drizzle coconut milk over each bowl, then lightly swirl the spoon through the topmost layer for a pretty design. Sprinkle some chopped cilantro on top, add a few crumbles of blue cheese (optional), and serve hot!

But before you eat:

You might need to carve out some time to just sit and stare at the gorgeousness.

thai-curry-and-coconut-butternut-squash-soup-7

thai-curry-and-coconut-butternut-squash-soup-10

I mean…

thai-curry-and-coconut-butternut-squash-soup-9

This stuff comes together in about a half an hour, which is always a nice bonus with any meal. The flavors blend so nicely and everyone will think you should host your own cooking show. And you’ll nod, smile, and bask in your gloriousness.

Thai Curry and Coconut Butternut Squash Soup

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Heat oil in a large heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat for 30 seconds or until the oil is shimmering. Add squash, onion, garlic, curry paste, cumin, salt, and red pepper flakes to the pot. Stir to combine.

  2. Cook, stirring occasionally until onion is translucent. This stuff will start smelling AMAZING!!

  3. Add broth. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until squash is soft, about 15 to 20 minutes. You can taste and add more curry paste, salt or cumin to your liking.

  4. Remove the soup from heat and let it cool slightly.

  5. Working in batches, transfer the contents pan to a blender (do not fill your blender past the maximum fill line!). Securely fasten the lid (I like to use a kitchen towel to protect my hand from steam escaping from the top of the blender as I purée the mixture until smooth).

  6. Transfer puréed soup to a serving bowl and repeat with remaining batches.

  7. Stir the lime juice into the blended soup. Ladle soup into individual bowls. Use a spoon to drizzle coconut milk over each bowl, then lightly swirl the spoon through the topmost layer for a pretty design. Sprinkle some chopped cilantro on top, add a few crumbles of blue cheese (optional), and serve hot!

bobbi

Looking for more hearty soup ideas for fall? Check out a few more of our favorites:

Scandi -Spiced French Onion Soup

Scandi -Spiced French Onion Soup

Crazy Easy Italian Sausage & Basil Soup

Crazy Easy Italian Sausage & Basil Soup

Tomato Soup So Good, You’ll Never Go Back…

Tomato Soup So Good, You'll Never Go Back…

The post Thai Curry and Coconut Butternut Squash Soup appeared first on How Does She.

Payroll Numbers, Wage Gains Much Stronger Than Expected: Higher Rates Ahead?

Payroll Numbers, Wage Gains Much Stronger Than Expected: Higher Rates Ahead?

Well, this was certainly a surprise. The first business Friday of each month is when the Labor Department releases data on the jobs sector. The actual unemployment rate, which compares the number of people actively looking for work with the number of people working. This rate rose from November to January from 3.7 percent to 3.9 percent. At first glance that seems to show the jobs market is actually getting worse because the unemployment rate inched up 0.2 percentage points. However, the way the rate is calculated also considers the number of people who got back into the job-hunting game.

The more important number from the Labor Department report is how many new jobs were created in December. Analysts were expecting a solid number but something closer to 177,000 new jobs. Instead, the number of new jobs hit 312,000. That’s a lot. Further, wage gains increased by 3.2 percent which is the fastest pace in nearly nine years. With more money in consumer’s pockets that can help keep an economy rolling as consumers feel more confident about their jobs and their financial position.

Okay, so does all this tell us about the future of mortgage rates? The Federal Reserve hiked the Federal Funds rate by 0.25 percent in December. In November, Fed Chair Powell reaffirmed there could be two more such hikes in 2019 but didn’t make as strong of a commitment to the move as with previous comments. And on January 4 of this year, Powell said the Fed ‘will be patient’ with monetary policy as it sits back and watches how the overall economy performs.

While the Federal Reserve doesn’t affect your standard 30 year fixed rate it does provide investors with guidance on what the economy may do in the future. That standard 30 year fixed rate is tied to a specific bond and just like any other bond, when there is a greater demand for a bond, the yield falls. Investors don’t buy bonds for a large return but instead is a safety channel from uncertain equity markets. When the economy is buzzing right along, investors will tend to sell bonds and allocate more money into stocks.

This tells us that if this trend continues, we will in fact see higher mortgage rates ahead. There are those that are pointing out this strong jobs report is unsustainable and there are other recent economic reports that show some weakness in the economy and the stock boom will be short lived. If that’s the case, while rates might be higher soon, they won’t be as high as the December jobs numbers would indicate.

An Open Letter to Kim Kardashian

Dear Kim,

I need your help. I am impressed that a reality television star, like you, with star status as big as the President’s (I mean HUGE), can walk into the White House and bend the President’s ear. Thomas Rainer cannot. And that’s a shame. 

Rainer, a landscape architect, author and teacher, lives and breathes reality. He loves gardens, nature and clean air, but he doesn’t have a television show or a cosmetics line.

Phyto partners Claudia West, Melissa and Thomas Rainer.

I applaud you for making a successful argument for prison and sentencing reform.

Congratulations!

I don’t want you to lose momentum because I’ve got another big idea for you and the President.

If you read Garden Rant, and we hope you do, you will know our readers are crazy about gardens, nature and a healthy planet. 

We may argue details, but we do not dispute the main point: We all want clean air and water. 

The President’s EPA administrator, Scott Pruitt, and Secretary of the Interior, Ryan Zinke, each left office due to a blind eye toward ethics that complicated their efforts to cozy up to oil, gas and developers who wanted to horn in on public land. Their departure hasn’t slowed the unwinding of environmental regulations. The president has recently doubled down on fossil fuels and poisonous toxins.

Baltimore Orioles Park. Claudia West, lead designer.

It goes on.

There was worrisome news, yesterday, about a 3.4% uptick in U.S. carbon emissions, the largest increase in eight years.

I worry about environmental insolence.

Rainer does, too, whether the government is shut down or open.

Rainer quoted environmentalist Aldo Leopold on Twitter a few weeks ago. I have included here a bit more of Leopold’s piece from Round River:

“One of the penalties of an ecological education is that one lives alone in a world of wounds. Much of the damage inflicted on land is quite invisible to laymen… We shall never achieve harmony with land, any more than we shall achieve absolute justice or liberty for people. In these higher aspirations the important thing is not to achieve but to strive.”

We are not striving enough.

We are living and gardening on God’s green earth, so why do we ignore what others have warned us about for years?

In late December, the President rolled back more environmental regulations. 

The utility companies scratched their heads. They had already invested heavily in Obama-era EPA mandates. The utility companies would have preferred that Obama had not been proactive on these regulations, but now that the cleaner-energy infrastructure is in place, they don’t seem interested in going backwards. 

Evolve IP Corporate Center, Wayne, PA. Claudia West, lead designer.

Lawyers are lining up to argue the cost-benefit ratio of clean air and water.  It’s déjà vu-René Descartes-style-all over again. 

“I think therefore I am.”

 I think?

Why do we need to continue arguing whether clean air and water are good for you?

We are stuck in the winter mud with remorseless greedheads. 

Kim, next time you’re invited to the White House, please insist that Thomas Rainer come with you. You’ve got the president’s attention. He’ll listen to Rainer if you tell him. 

Rainer is the principal partner for Phyto, the design firm, in Arlington, Virginia. So not that far from the White House! 

Rainer is compelling. On his blog he wrote “More than ever, we need planting solutions that are resilient, ecologically functional and beautiful. Our goal is not merely to create more functional landscapes, but to make people see again, to make them remember.”

Evolve IP Corporate Center

In Planting in a Post-Wild World, the book Rainer co-authored with his colleague Claudia West, he lays out a new way of thinking, and an “optimism for the future of design” that “…does not seek nature in remote mountaintops, but finds it instead in the middle of our cities and suburbs. It looks at our degraded built landscapes with unjaded eyes, seeing the archipelago of leftover land-suburban yards, utility easements, parking lots, road right of ways and municipal drainage channels-not as useless remnants, but as territories of vast potential.”

Kim, before you return to the White House with Rainer, I am willing to solicit nursery and greenhouse sponsors for seed and plant giveaways for Rainer’s presentation. (I know people in high places.) The White House staff will love the free goodies.

Don’t worry if the giveaway idea smells like influence peddling. The President’s Press Secretary Sarah Sanders can take care of anyone who gets testy.

Rainer might even give the President a signed copy of Planting In A Post-Wild World. No, I take that back. The President doesn’t read books. You can have the signed copy. I haven’t read a more instructive gardening and design book in years. 

One more favor: I’m sure Rainer wouldn’t mind if you plugged his book to your 124 million Instagram followers.

Yours truly,

Allen Bush

An Open Letter to Kim Kardashian originally appeared on GardenRant on January 9, 2019.