10 Tips For Holiday Hosting

OK, Friends.  You’re hosting a last-minute holiday party with a capital “H,” and your house is in a bit of disarray with a capital “D.”  Where do you even begin?

We’ve.  Been. There.  (40 guests for Thanksgiving and all the entrees… why not?)  And we’re here with our TOP 10 TIPS for preparing your house while still maintaining your sanity. 

It won’t come as any surprise that we’re all about being PRACTICAL.

TIP # 1: Designate + Clear The Main Spaces

You may feel the urge to clean your whole house, but we want hosting to be as reasonable for you as possible. 

Focus on the areas where you guests will gather — generally that’s the kitchen, dining room, and living room.  And of course, don’t forget the bathroom!  

We suggest creating a TEMPORARY holding zone in your home where you can place items that are cluttering the areas where your party guests will be spending time.  Then, set a date and time after the party to manage that collection and relocate those items back to where they belong. Mark your calendar today to hold yourself accountable for this! 

TIP # 2: Restock The Bathroom

Make sure your hand soap is refilled, a fresh roll of toilet paper is on the dispenser and your hand towels are fresh.  A lit candle and/or some fresh greenery are extra credit — but a clean and well-stocked bathroom should take total precedence! 

TIP # 3: Clean The Floors

We’re not talking about floor wax or rug cleaner… we’re talking about grabbing the vacuum and making sure there are no visible crumbs or pet hair.  The goal is to have a floor that’s presentable — but it doesn’t have to be perfect. You’re likely going to want to do a deep floor cleaning after the party, so don’t make yourself crazy (twice!) 

TIP # 4: Ditch The Dishes

Having an empty sink and/or dishwasher is going to make the end-of-night clean up that much easier.  And it creates an open space for guests to drop their dishes, instead of leaving them spread around your house.  

TIP # 5: Create A Guest Drop Zone

A great thing to consider before you host is where your guests will store their coats and belongings.

If you have a coat closet, create some open space and just be sure that nothing will tumble out. 

If you are opening up a guest room for storage, make the bed in that room and turn on a dim light, such as a lamp, to guide folks efficiently into (and out of) the room. 

TIP # 6: Empty The Trash

This one’s pretty self-explanatory, but sometimes it can be overlooked in the last-minute melee. Do this at least 30 minutes before your start time, so even those early guests won’t catch you taking out the trash.

TIP # 7: Add Some Accents

As we noted above, lighting a candle in the bathroom or placing some fresh greenery or flowers on your surfaces can make your house feel extra warm and welcoming.  

Consider any little touches that might make your seasonal party feel special.

TIP # 8: Make Sure You Have Extras

Stock up on anything you might run out of, such as coffee, tea, ice and TP… you don’t want to have to run out to the store at the last minute! 

But if you do encounter that scenario… we’re all about Postmates. 

TIP # 9: Schedule Your Own Prep Time

Sometimes we put off getting ourselves ready because we don’t want to be schlepping trash in our new holiday outfit… but there’s nothing like the panic of hearing a doorbell ring when you’ve just stepped out of the shower.

Try to be ready at least an hour ahead of your party’s start time, so you can be available should any of your guests arrive earlier than expected. 

TIP # 10: Focus On The Big Things

Ultimately, people won’t care about the stack of boxes in the corner or the piles of paperwork on your desk.  Your friends and family just want to have a good time, so if you’re going to focus on anything, focus on the experience — the food, the music and the atmosphere.

And most of all, spend your energy being PRESENT and in the moment.  We promise you won’t regret it!

Wishing you + yours the happiest holiday season yet!

XOXO

POSTS YOU MAY LIKE:

The Gift Guide For Everyone On Your List

Controlling Chaos

5 Unique Ways Organizing Can Help You Stay Calm During The Holidays



Permission To Be Messy

It’s almost 2020… where did the year go?!  

We’ve been finding ourselves counting the days and wondering how we’ll cram everything in.  

As we get closer to the end of the year, we want to offer some tips and reassurance for managing these last few weeks (and here’s hoping that we’ll take our own advice!)

Permission To Be Messy

This can be a hard one, especially if you’re doing any holiday hosting!

We completely understand the urge to keep everything neat and tidy, but we want to reassure you that your guests will be forgiving of a messy home!  Your sanity and patience are so much more important than a sparkling kitchen or a picture-perfect living room. We’ll have more tips on this subject for you next week as well!

If you can cut yourself a little bit of slack any one time of the year, this is the time.  Please — just enjoy the last few weeks of 2019 as much as you can.

And we’re going to be motivating you with an organizing challenge for you that begins on January 1st – so you can just take it easy in the meantime!

Embrace The Chaos (And Carve Out Some Solitude)

Do you have kids home from school?  Family staying at your house? Incoming pets/guests/packages?  There is bound to be some type of pandemonium in your home this time of year – and we’re right there with you!  Plan for it, plan around it and embrace it.

And also plan some solo time for yourself if that’s something you need.  Maybe it’s just a trip to the store when you need to step out, turning on the TV for the kids when you need 20 minutes to yourself or ordering in food when you can’t stand the idea of cooking anything else in your kitchen.

However you do it, gift yourself the breaks that you need. 

Give Everyone A Break

We’re all about giving and spreading kindness to everyone this time of year.

From the driver that cuts you off (Los Angelenos, you hear us loud and clear) to the shopper whose cart blocks the entire aisle to the howling kiddo in your living room… dole out a little extra patience and understanding when you can. 

Do your best not to personalize anyone else’s big feelings (this one is definitely a note-to-self) and focus on the happier parts of the season.  Think family, friends, good food, cheesy movies, more food… 

Take care of yourself!

We’re wishing you a memorable and happy holiday season!

XOXO

Joni + Kitt

Photo by Brooke Lark – Unsplash

5 Things Your Fridge Wants You To Know

This week, we’re all about fridge transformations.  (We love food and we love organization — so this topic is a real win-win for us!)

If you want to see us perform a total fridge transformation, we love you… and please enjoy watching our refrigerator makeover below:

And for our loyal readers, we have some BONUS TIPS, sent from our hearts to your fridge.

1. Overstuffing = OH NO 

Nobody wants an empty fridge, because FOOD — but an overstuffed fridge can actually cause food to spoil more quickly, as the air won’t circulate as efficiently.

Plus, it’s much harder to keep track of what’s fresh and what needs to be used when your fridge is packed to the gills.

Alas, this is where fridge ORGANIZATION comes in…

2. Your Fridge Has A SYSTEM… You Should Use It

We’ve all been tempted to shove food into the fridge wherever we can make it fit, but these awesome appliances were actually designed to fit items in just-right places.  And remember, temperature matters!

Top Shelf: This is a prime destination for leftovers and ready-to-go items.  We also love to store our favorite condiments on a spin tray on this shelf.  Overall, this tends to be a warmer area of the fridge, so items that are less prone to spoiling are perfect to store here.

Middle Shelves: This is a great spot for your eggs, as it has a consistent temperature.  It’s also an ideal area for a snack zone, as it’s easy to see and reach. We’re all about healthy food merchandising, so we encourage you to place healthy items that you and your family can easily grab right here, at this accessible level.  Using bins or spin trays can be beneficial in creating a system here. 

Lower Shelves: If your fridge doesn’t have a designated cheese and meat drawer, placing your dairy and meat items on a lower shelf ensures that they will be kept at the cold temperature they require.  We recommend using bins to contain these as well, to avoid any accidental leakage onto your fresh produce. 

Bottom Drawers: This area is all about fruits and veggies! 

The high-humidity/crisper drawer is ideal for leafy greens, herbs and any veggies that are prone to browning or wilting (think any produce that needs moisture).

The low-humidity drawer is better for most fruits and produce that release ethylene gas. 

Remember to not overstuff these drawers (⅔ full is a good rule).  Utilize produce bins and containers on your lower and middle shelving to create more designated storage space if you’re a produce-heavy household. 

Fridge Door: Butter, condiments and pasteurized juices can live comfortably in this slightly-warmer spot.  Ignore that egg holder, if your fridge has one, and store them on the middle shelf instead. 

3.  Some Items DON’T Belong In The Fridge

If you’re struggling with storage, perhaps you could pull out some items taking up space in your fridge that could actually be stored elsewhere.  

This just in = tomatoes, stone fruits and melons are better off on the counter, stored out of direct sunlight.  Also, fresh basil can be placed in a glass of water and set out on the counter — this will actually keep it fresher, longer (just be sure to change the water). 

4. Fridge Containers Can Serve A BIG Purpose

Spin Trays – These beloved items works well in EVERY fridge.  We love them for organizing condiments, snack stations and even beverages.  Just remember, visibility = accessibility… and we use what we see!

Egg Container – When it comes to egg storage, we want a container that’s as functional as possible.  A lidded bin is always our top choice for eggs, as it allows for stackability, which means that we can take advantage of vertical storage space.  And of course we love a clear bin that allows us to see how many eggs we have left. 

Fridge Bins – We use bins to create zones (think meat, dairy, leftovers, snacks) and to help store extra fruits that don’t necessarily need to take up valuable crisper drawer space (we’re looking at you, citrus fruits!) 

5. Your Fridge Has A PERFECT Temperature

The ideal fridge temperature is 35 to 38 degrees Fahrenheit… but really, just be sure to keep your food items items safely stored at a temperature below the 40 degree mark!

We hope that you’re able to use some or all of these tips to make your fridge feel and look Practically Perfect.

Happy (Fridge) Organizing!


Getting Your Gift Wrap Organized

We love to get ahead of the holiday craze — whether that means food prepping, early gift shopping or refreshing one of our most utilized holiday storage areas.  Anything that makes this season feel even A LITTLE bit easier is something that we’re A LOT into!  

There are numerous ways to organize gift wrapping supplies and many great products to choose from (remember our gift wrap tote bag?)  Thanks to our friends from The Container Store, we recently had the pleasure of tackling a gift wrapping organizational project with a new favorite, the Elfa Gift Wrap Cart.

We love it for so many reasons: it’s sleek, simple, easy to assemble, provides easy access to all of the things and as a totally added bonus — it’s mobile!  (No more lugging rolls of paper and ribbon around the house!)  

If your gift wrap could use a little love just in time for the holiday season, read on for some tips and an exciting transformation below… 

And if you want to WATCH some gift wrapping magic, be sure to watch our tutorial here!  We’re showing you how to wrap the (practically) perfect gift. And what’s more? We’re sharing some game-changing methods for using those just-too-small paper scraps and hacks for wrapping even the most awkwardly-shaped gifts. 

1. EDIT EVERYTHING

When you’re organizing absolutely anything, the very first step is always to edit your belongings. 

In the case of your gift wrap collection, you may ask yourself: are there any gift bags or rolls of wrapping paper that you’ve been holding onto but never choosing?  Are you storing pieces of tissue paper that’s been used and reused (and then used yet again?)

We happily re-homed some of the items from our collection to a place where we knew they’d get more love and appreciation — our kids’ craft station!

2. SORT + CATEGORIZE

Next it’s time to sort like items together. 

Creating categories before placing items will help determine WHERE they should be stored and HOW MUCH space you’ll need for them.

Do you need a space for gift tags and pens?  Do have so much tissue paper that you’ll require two drawers to store it?

After our editing, it was easy to break our gift wrap collection down into the following categories:

  • Tools
  • Gift Tags
  • Bows + Ribbons
  • Tissue Paper
  • Gift Bags

3. PLACE + STORE VERTICALLY

We use this tip all over the house, because we know that we all tend to USE what we can SEE — and also because it’s such a great space-saving technique!

We chose to store our tissue paper vertically because (a) we want to see all of those beautiful colors, and (b) because this storage method helps us get a sense of how much of each color we have on hand, avoiding a tendency to dig through a stack (and make a mess!)

Ditto for the gift bags!  Unfortunately, a few of our bags were too large to store vertically, but the majority of the smaller bags could be stored in a tidy row for optimal VISIBILITY and ACCESSIBILITY.

We especially love how this gift wrap cart has deep drawers, allowing for the division of these various items. And the side of cart is set up to perfectly store gift wrap rolls vertically — be still our hearts!

Whether you’re dividing items by color, size or type (the options are endless), this cart can work for you!

4. LABEL

We always love to label! 

Not only are labels visually appealing to us — they also hold us ACCOUNTABLE.  We’re much more likely to maintain our categories if we have a visual reminder of where items belong and how much space we have, should we be in the market for some additional supplies (because sometimes we do run low; and other times, we simply can’t resist!) 

And VOILA… a  little gift wrap transformation, just in time for the most wonderful time of the year!

If you’re loving this gift wrap cart as much we are are, snag one here:

And if you need to fill your new cart with some sweet wrapping supplies, some of our favorites of the season are just below…




How To Organize A Bathroom With Zones

Bathrooms can be challenging spaces to organize, or to even consider organizing. 

We want to help you RETHINK the way you look at your bathroom and hopefully inspire you to tackle any of the areas in it that need some reconsidering.

To watch us perform a full bathroom transformation, watch below!

REASONS WE NEGLECT OUR BATHROOMS

The Cabinets + Drawers Are Overstuffed

We know how easy it can be to collect items for your hair, skin, beauty, bathing… the list goes on.  Even looking at all of those collections can make the thought of diving into them just unbearable.

Some Areas Are Just Awkward

Tiny drawers, shallow shelves, under-the-sink in general… they can all make maintaining a tidy bathroom space a big challenge. 

There’s Not Enough Storage Space

Oh yes… we’ve seen this in our own homes, our friends’ homes and in our clients’ homes — from the bathroom to the bedroom to every room, storage is a big need.

In order to combat these three challenges, we encourage you to start thinking about creating ZONES.  We use this rule all over the house, and the bathroom is no different! 

HOW TO CREATE ZONES + CATEGORIES

A ZONE is the area of where items will be stored — and CATEGORIES are the types of items you’ll store in the zones, i.e. a “Beauty Zone” might be a bathroom cabinet that contains your skincare, makeup and hair care items. 

Start first by considering your morning and evening routines in the bathroom and what you generally want and need to have accessible.  Whatever you use most often should be stored in the most prime real estate, meaning the areas that are most ACCESSIBLE + VISIBLE.  

Then, group these items by category.  For instance, if you have beauty products in 5 different parts of your bathroom, consider storing them all together.

When you choose your storage zones (these can be drawers, cabinets, shelves), start thinking about your daily flow.  Do you like to brush your teeth first or last? Are you willing to open cabinets to retrieve items, or do you prefer them right on the countertop where you can see + quickly grab them?  

Also think about why you’re NOT using certain areas.  Is your drawer too shallow for the items you want to store there?  Is your cabinet so deep that the items you’re storing there are lost or forgotten? 

(This is where we, as organizers, start thinking about products that might make that space more useful…)

FINDING THE RIGHT PRODUCTS FOR YOUR ZONES

We’ll never stop reminding you that you can always use and repurpose whatever you already have in your space.  With that said, we also know that the PERFECT organizational products can make a world of difference in utilizing a space more efficiently. 

If you do decide to uplevel your space by adding new organizing products, make sure you really think about what really be PRACTICAL and impactful.  

Does opening lids sound daunting?  If so, consider lidless solutions.

Do tend to lose items in a deep cabinets?  Consider a spin tray (one of our favorite products in any bathroom) to keep items visible + accessible. 

Below are a few of our favorite bathroom organizing products and some of the ways we like to use them. 

Spin Tray – We love these for any under-the-sink storage and to hold first aid items in deeper cabinets.

Makeup Organizer – This creates a single home for your most-grabbed beauty products and categorizes them for seamless efficiency.  

Medicine Cabinet Organizer – This can contain so many categories of items: nail care, beauty products and everyday essentials.  We often opt for these when we’re systemizing so that our clients can be sure to SEE and USE everything that they have.  


Bins – These are especially great in deep cabinets as well as under the sink.  Really, anywhere you’d want to store items that you’re likely to want to pull out all at once, such as first aid or cleaning supplies.

Lidded Bins – Same reasons as above, but with a secure top!

Drawer Inserts – These can maximize the space in your drawers and allow you to easily categorize and store your items.

If your bathroom feels overwhelming, remember… just take it one zone at a time! 

Happy Organizing! 


How To Prepare For An Emergency

Some links in this post may contain affiliates.  For more information, please read our disclosure agreement.

In honor of National Preparedness Month, we teamed up with our friend Cari Butler from Emergency Cafe to pull together some tips and tasks help you get prepared.  

If you’re a beginner to emergency preparation, have no fear!  We have 5 actionable steps you can take TODAY to get started (and an entire shop of items if you need to create or add to your emergency kit). 

And if you’re already an emergency pro, we salute you (and we may still have a tip or two for you to use).  Read on… or watch below!


5 THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS


Always Have At Least Half A Tank Of Gas In Your Car

This is a no-brainer as an idea, but it’s sometimes hard to put in practice.  

Some of us at Practically Perfect (OK, it’s Kitt) still struggle to make sure this happens!

We know it can be the last thing you want to do at the end of a long day or in between all the daily to-dos, but having at least ½ tank of gas means that if an evacuation or emergency does happen, you’ll be able to go at least 100 miles without heading to a gas station.

Joni’s trick?  Shift your thinking, and make the ½ tank of gas your new empty line.  This will ensure that you’re never too low on gas!

Keep Cash Securely Stored In Your Home

As our friend Cari says, in the case of an emergency, “cash is king.”  If the electricity goes down, you’ll want enough cash to get you through it.  And small bills are the way to go!

We can’t say how much you should keep, but consider what you’ll need to get you and your family through at least a few weeks.

Keep Paper Copies Of Your Documents In One Place

We’re all about a paperless filing system — but paper is the way to go for emergencies.  

You’ll want to store important documents in a fireproof safe or box in your home, in an easily-accessible spot.  Think passports, birth certificates, home and life insurance policy statements, car titles… any items you may need, should a disaster strike.

Have A One-Month Backup Supply Of Daily Medication

If you take any medications daily, you’ll want to have a supply of them on-hand.  If you’re already thinking “that’s not going to be possible with my insurance plan,” Cari’s got you covered!

She recommends storing 3-4 pills toward the end of each month, as that’s likely when you’ll be able to refill your prescription.  Eventually, you’ll have a large enough supply for your emergency kit.

Water, Water, Water!

We probably don’t need to say it, but we will — have a backup stock of water!  Of all the items to have in your kit, this one is the most important.

The recommendation is 1 gallon of water, per person, per day.  Cari let us know that disaster experts are now recommending that you have 2-3 WEEKS worth of water stored.  

There are tons of great options, from water storage barrels to pre-packaged water pouches or even bottled water, although you’ll need to keep swapping it out to ensure that the plastic doesn’t leach into your drinking supply.  

However you choose to store it is up to you — just make sure that you have it!

Now, if you’re feeling antsy, this next part is for you!  Here are a few things that you can do today to get prepared… 


5 THINGS TO DO TODAY FOR EMERGENCY PREPARATION


Learn Where Your Gas Shut Off Valve Is

No matter where you live, this is an important one.  These will be outside of your home, in the area where the gas company usually checks your meter. 

If you have an automatic gas shut-off (which is fantastic!) you’ll see a little red dome on your meter.  That ensures that the gas line will be blocked if it’s disrupted by movement, i.e. an earthquake. There’s also an emergency lever that you can move just to be sure!

If you don’t have the auto-shut off feature, make sure you have this handy tool.  You can keep it attached to your gas meter with a rope or chain. 

Pick A Family Meeting Place

If there are multiple people in your household, sit down tonight and decide on a location where you can all meet if something should happen.  

As Cari told us, “keep it simple but specific.”  Choose a particular bench, sign, tree, what-have-you at the location so that everyone knows precisely where to meet.  

Make Grab-And-Go Bags

Not to be confused with emergency kits, these bags contain the clothes and items you would take if you had 30 seconds to get out of your house.  Add a few shirts, a few pants, a jacket, sturdy shoes, and at least SEVEN DAYS worth of underwear (it’s the one item you really don’t want to have to rewear).  

For kiddos, always size up for the clothing that you pack to ensure a comfortable fit! 

Strap Your Furniture Down

Okay, maybe you won’t be able to do this one completely today, but you can add straps to your shopping cart right now and also pop this task onto your to-do list for the very near future.  

The rules for what to strap down are: anything that has a gas line, anything that’s taller than it is wide, anything near a bed and anything that would block an exit or entrance.  Think about your dryers, bookshelves, dressers, etc.  

If you have a lot of items hanging in your home, consider using some museum putty to keep those safely on your walls! 

Have Adequate Fire Extinguishers

Cari’s recommendation is to have at least TWO fire extinguishers, possibly even three or more, depending on the size of your home.  And the areas to store them are:

  • Under The Sink – for any cooking fires that may occur
  • In The Laundry Room – for any dryer/gas related fires
  • In The Garage – for any workshop/tool fire occurrences

FIVE ESSENTIAL ITEMS TO HAVE ON HAND


Emergency Food

This one may seem quite obvious, but the amount of options can sometimes make it more challenging to decide which food route to take!  From dehydrated to canned to food bars… how do you decide? 

Consider the way your family functions… do you have food allergies or picky eaters?  Maybe you want to consider stocking up on your favorite canned goods. Pick items that are high in protein + fat, plus some fruits and veggies to round it out. 

Or, if you’re a one and done kind of person, prepackaged meal kits may be the way to go.  The options with these are also endless, but this is one of our favorites.  

Whichever route you choose, be sure to note expiration dates and set reminders to swap it out at least a month in advance so that you can either use or donate the products and eliminate any waste! 

Water

We said it earlier but we’ll say it again — water is vital!  Whether you choose water barrels or pre-packaged pouches, make sure to store your supply in a cool, dry place.  And remember that more is better!

Don’t forget to eye these expiration dates, as well.  

Light Sources

Never underestimate the power of a good flashlight/lantern.  There are a lot of different options out there — and again, what’s practical for you is perfect for you.  Would you prefer to have a flashlight in every room?  Or power failure lights in your outlets?  Want a wearable headlamp for hands-free access?  You do you!  

Go for LED if you can, to get the longest-lasting light.  If you opt for battery-operated light sources, be sure you check on those periodically for any leakage.  Whatever you choose, be sure to keep them in an accessible location!

First Aid

Your first aid kit should have all your medical necessities — bandages, antibiotic ointment, pain relievers… whatever you’d like to have on hand for minor medical emergencies.  

Remember, in the case of a disaster, hospitals and emergency services may not be readily available for non-life threatening issues.  So make sure your home is well-stocked!

While it’s certainly not a requirement to have First Aid + CPR training, Cari does recommend it… and hands-on is the best!

Shelter + Warmth

We do recommend being prepared for cold weather and the possibility of leaving your home behind.  This means blankets + tents!

You can certainly stock up on blankets you may already own; but as Cari says, a mylar blanket can help hold in up to 90% of your body heat! 

And don’t forget about a tent — shelter is a necessary item for that emergency kit.  These don’t need to be camping supply quality, as this should be for emergency use only.  Think utility. (But if you want to splurge on some cozy, comfy options, go for it!)

We hope these tips are helping you feel a bit more comfortable with your own emergency preparation.  We’re deeply grateful to Cari for her knowledge, and we highly encourage you to check out Emergency Cafe and all her services! 

And just remember — YOU CAN NEVER BE TOO PREPARED!


Packing Tips For Every Trip

Some links in this post may contain affiliates.  For more information, please read our disclosure agreement.

Kitt and I just wrapped up our Summer Packing Series, and now we’re breaking down our top tips for packing and preparing for a trip. 

Click below to watch the first video in our series!

We know it can be both thrilling and exhausting to plan for travel, especially when there are multiple family members involved.  So, here’s hoping that this will help to reduce some of the stress and simplify the process for you.  

Without further ado, tip number one is… 

PACK AHEAD OF TIME

And by ahead of time, we don’t just mean the night before.

Kitt and I are early packers.  For bigger trips, our packing process can begin as much as a week prior to our departure.  

While it might sound crazy to pack your suitcase a week early, just remember that the last thing you want to do before rushing to catch a plane or jump in the car is to haphazardly pack a bag and forget the essentials that will make your trip comfortable. 

If a week just isn’t feasible, try to give yourself at least two days… but the more, the better!  Sometimes you need an extra day to mull over what you’ve packed. Maybe you don’t need that third party dress?  

And on that note…

USE LISTS

We can’t emphasize this enough — use a list when you pack!  It’s so much easier for me to pack when I’m not having to reinvent the wheel each time around.

We don’t have a specific list of items that we think you must bring, since packing is such a personal process.  Instead, we recommend that you create your own custom list for your next upcoming trip that you can continue to revise and reuse for future traveling.  

When you’re making your list, think about what you’ll actually wear… are you likely to just throw on leggings and t-shirt each day, or do you prefer to feel more dressed up while you travel?  

Be sure to consider elements like the material and weight of your items… will you have access to an iron for clothing that wrinkles easily… will you really want to iron?  Cold weather clothing takes up more space.. can you re-wear those items more than once while you’re away?

Thinking about these things while you are creating your list will help you curate it to perfection.  

And if you need a little assistance, check out our customizable packing lists here!

Pro Tip = Edit your packing list BEFORE and AFTER you travel!  Maybe you didn’t have enough tops but too many pants — or perhaps you wish you’d had a neck pillow?   Record these notes and make edits to your packing list as soon as you get back home so that you’ll be more prepared the next time around.

UTILIZE  PACKING CUBES 

Packing cubes are favorites of mine and Kitt’s because we always feel strongly that every item needs a home — and the inside of a suitcase is no different! 

Regardless of how you like to pack — by day, by item, by activity — packing cubes help you keep your items separated.  And the bonus? This method also compresses clothing to give you just a bit more space, which no one ever doesn’t want!

File folding and rolling are both great ways of storing your clothing in the cubes, as items will take up the least amount of space and wrinkles will be reduced as much as possible. 

Pro Tip = Consider layering clothing pieces made of extra delicate fabrics with tissue paper and placing them on the very top of your bag.   Watch me demonstrate this in our Packing Cube Video above!

PLAN OUT YOUR PERSONAL BAG

Sometimes our personal item can be an afterthought.  The trip is booked, the suitcase is packed, the house is clean… what else is left? 

Don’t underestimate that planning out what to bring in that small bag can really pay off.  Whether you’re traveling by plane or car, this is the bag that you’ll have the quickest access to.  If you devote just a little time to thoughtfully packing it, we really think that you’ll be happier in the long run!

Our top tips for this item are:

  • Bring A Change Of Clothes – You never know what can happen, and having an extra set of clean clothes can be a game changer in a number of scenarios (oh, the stories we could tell you!)  Store these extras in a packing cube or reusable bag of some kind… just make sure they’re easy to access. 
  • Wrangle Your Cords – Use cable ties and zippered pouches to contain your cords and electronic accessories.  You’ll thank us later!
  • Bags Within Your Bags – Utilize smaller bags or zippered pouches to contain and separate items so that it’s easy to find what you need.  Think of these the same way that you would packing cubes, giving every item a home.
  • Always Have Snacks Do you have special dietary restrictions?  Would a bar of chocolate feel like salvation during a long day of travel?  Pack whatever snack will delight you and get you through those rougher travel moment.

These are just a few of our suggestions.  Your personal bag is just that… personal. Only you know what you’ll need in those moments.  

Finally, I know we keep emphasizing pre-planning, but at the same time…

DON’T GET TOO SERIOUS

Ultimately, we always want you to do what works best for you.  Packing doesn’t have to be stressful.  It can even be fun! 

Pack in stages, revise as you go along and stay excited about your travels.  

If you’re feeling inspired to uplevel your own packing systems and are looking for some product recommendations, we’ve got you covered right here.

Wishing you safe + happy travels!

XOXO

Joni


Our Favorite Packing List Downloadables

We’ve been having so much fun putting together our packing + travel series this summer! 

Our latest video “How To Pack With Packing Cubes” is now live (check it out on YouTube!) and as a bonus, we’ve added a few of our favorite packing lists below.

If you’re looking for even more packing tips, watch our full Travel Series, complete with all our favorite packing tips + hacks. 

Wishing you Safe Travels + Happy Packing!

XOXO

Joni + Kitt


A Practically Perfect Pantry Makeover

This post was created in partnership with The Container Store and may contain affiliate links.  For more information, please read our disclosure agreement.

We absolutely love to organize pantry spaces, and we’re thrilled to have teamed up with The Container Store to share our top five pantry organization tips + favorite containers!  Here’s to keeping your pantry well-organized and Practically Perfect this holiday season!

TIP # 1 – CONTAIN, CONTAIN, CONTAIN

This might seem fairly obvious, but we’ve encountered many a pantry that simply needed a few extra jars and baskets to go from disorganized to dapper.  The more items you can decant into containers, the more contained your pantry will be… and the fresher your products will stay!  So say “goodbye” to excess packaging!

We’re big fans of clear jars and containers for dried goods — and matching ones look especially lovely — but be sure to utilize any products that you already have in your home before you run out to spend money on anything new.  Add a printed or handwritten label to a repurposed jar or bin can give it a whole new purpose… see what we did there?

We almost always add a spin tray/lazy susan (or more than one) to any Practically Perfect pantry.  Storing condiments and other smaller items in a way that makes them both visible and accessible ensures that they’ll actually be used before they expire.  

Photo by Practically Perfect

And speaking of repurposing containers, any extras from your pantry overhaul can be used in practically any area of your home.  There were two beautiful anchor hocking jars that didn’t fit perfectly into this client’s pantry, but they were just what her laundry room was missing!  Baking soda and dryer balls = contained!

Photo by Practically Perfect

TIP # 2 – CREATE PANTRY ZONES

Keeping like items together in designated areas means your pantry will be as functional as it is beautiful.

Perhaps this means that you’ll have a breakfast shelf, a canned goods corner, a sweets section… create the areas that are specific to your own needs.  

It’s also helpful to do a full shopping trip before you organize, so that you’re sure to have space for all of the staples.  

Photo by Practically Perfect

TIP # 3 – USE WHAT YOU HAVE

We’ve all found mystery items — sometimes expired ones — in the back of our cabinets that we fully intended to use for an exotic recipe but never did.  We’re looking at you, lemon curd…

Be realistic about whether or not you’ll actually use that (insert literally any pantry item here) and consider gifting it or passing it along to friends or family who will.  Take a weekly inventory of what’s in your pantry, and plan your meals around what you have already purchased before it expires.  Commit to only buying what your family will truly eat.

TIP # 4 – LEAVE ROOM FOR GROWTH

We always advise leaving a little room for growth when you layout the organization of a pantry space.  It’s totally tempting to fill up every free inch of pantry space, but the end result can be an overstuffed pantry which may impact the visibility and accessibility of your staple items.  

Leaving some space (i.e. an extra basket for snacks) helps tremendously with the organizational maintenance of any pantry over time, as different treats and ingredients tend to enter our homes and pantries throughout the seasons.

TIP # 5 – COMMIT TO CLEANING

Start with a clean slate!  When we organize a pantry, we start by pulling everything out and wiping down all of the surfaces.  It’s important to look through all of the contents of your pantry to ensure that you discard expired foods and donate anything that’s still good but that you don’t plan to consume.  

And once your pantry is in order, make sure to check in on it periodically and give it a little tidying up.  Your pantry will thank you!

Photo by Practically Perfect

Below are all the organizational products that we used to organize this pantry. We genuinely love and use all of these items for our clients’ spaces, as well as in our own homes!

Prokeeper Coffee Container

Prokeeper Pasta Container

Prokeeper Cereal Dispenser

Prokeeper Baker’s Storage Set of 6

Tosca Basket With Wooden Handles

Bamboo Spin Tray

Anchor Hocking Glass Canister

Large 64 oz Mason Jar

Wide Mouth Mason Jar Lid

We absolutely love to organize pantry spaces, and we’re thrilled to have teamed up with The Container Store to share our top five pantry organization tips + favorite containers!  Here’s to keeping your pantry well-organized and Practically Perfect this holiday season!

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Out Of The Box Playroom Storage

Photo by Practically Perfect

This post was created in partnership with The Laundress.  For more information, please read our disclosure agreement.

At Practically Perfect – with six kiddos among the co-founders’ families alone! – we love a good playroom project.  From fort building and book nooks to craft corners and costumery, we’ve seen and organized it all. This month we had fun re-working a playroom with The Laundress’ newly-released line of home organization products.

We decided to tackle just a few areas of the playroom that needed the most love.  If you’re looking for a short and sweet makeover, we recommend picking just one or two spots at a time — perhaps just the toy bins or the craft supplies, or simply an overstuffed shelf.  This will you allow you the time to really dig in without becoming overwhelming.

Photo by Practically Perfect

This bookshelf is a true-to-life example of what a playroom looks like after kids actually play in it.  As both professional organizers and moms, we wholeheartedly believe that creating a home for everything is essential to involving kids in clean up time — and we quickly recognized that The Laundress’ Storage Cubes would be a practical solution for these playroom shelves.

Photo by Practically Perfect

The storage cubes are the perfect size for storing collections of toys.  We love how crisp and clean they look. And as lovers of all things labeling, we especially appreciate the built-in label pocket!

When labeling a play space, it’s important to take into account the ages and stages of the kiddos.  We recommend including text and photos for pre-readers so that they can still be independent at play time as well as clean-up time.  It’s also important to choose a labeling system that can is flexible and can be changed over time, as needed.  As always, consider what would work best for your own kids!

Not only are these storage cubes super functional — they also look beautiful on the shelves!

When choosing containers for your spaces, be sure to consider both your household functionality and aesthetic preferences.  Are your kids likely to put lids back onto bins, or is that not realistic? Would you prefer to see what’s in each container or keep everything tucked away?  Follow your instincts! Whatever you decide, make sure that you’re selecting items that offer both function and fashion.  

Photo by Practically Perfect

This photo was taken post-playdate, when the teepee and surrounding area had enjoyed some intense imagination time and soft materials and stuffed toys were strewn all about.

Photo by Practically Perfect

We always recommend playroom containers that are easy to empty and fill, to ensure a quick clean-up and happy kiddos.  We found the Collapsible Hamper to be the ideal home for the oversized parachute and stuffed animal collection.  It’s attractive enough that it doesn’t need to be stored out of sight when it’s in use, and the collapsibility is also a huge plus — we appreciate anything that takes up less space when it’s not in use.

We also love to find new uses for products, so we chose the Large Zip Laundry Bag to store pillows in.  This bag felt like an easy way to transport fort building supplies from one space to the next.  While traditionally used in a laundry room or linen closet, it’s versatile and neutral enough to use in this playroom, too!  

Don’t be afraid to use products in out-of-the-box spaces or to repurpose them in creative ways.  Consider a toolbox as an art supply organizer, food storage containers for beads or loose toys, a mail sorter as a homework station… the list goes on!

Photo by Practically Perfect

Dressing up is one of our kids’ favorite pastimes, and displaying adorable items is one of ours… so it made sense to also utilize a Collapsible Hamper to organize this collection of costumes. 

We decided to display a few of the kids’ favorites on hooks for easy access — and also to up the cuteness factor!  We often opt for hooks or bins when it comes to setting up organizing systems for costumes and dress-up clothing, as hangers tend to deter the little ones from tidying up.  Dropping something onto a hook or into a bin can feel a lot less intimidating and time-consuming than wiggling it back onto a hanger.

And with that, three of our playroom spaces got a beautiful new refresh!

Remember to start small and be targeted in your organizing.  What works for another home may not be best for yours. Your system just needs to be PRACTICAL and PERFECT for you!

We had a great time incorporating some pieces from this new line of products into this playroom.  If you’re in the market for some quality cotton canvas products to help keep your playroom and home in order, head over to The Laundress for even more inspiration.  And don’t forget to check out their eco-friendly laundry and cleaning products while you’re at it — you won’t be sorry!

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