How to Declutter your Home in 5 Simple Steps

Inside: Learn how to declutter your room with 5 proven steps. These tips will help you know how to start and finish your decluttering project without being overwhelmed.

You might be here because you have a decluttering nightmare that you’ve put off. Or perhaps you’re ready to tackle your home organization project but don’t know where to start. It’s overwhelming and even if you found the time, you’re confused about where to begin.
 
If you’ve felt overwhelmed and unsure of how to start decluttering, this post will provide a step-by-step guide.  I’ll use our basement storage area as a case study for walking through the 5 simple decluttering steps.
 
Text: How to Declutter Any Room In Your Home In 5 Simple steps. With a before and after image of a cluttered basement to an organized basment storage space.
 
This post may contain affiliate links. For more information, please read my Affiliates Disclosure.
 

An Overwhelming Space that Needed Decluttering

Check this out! This was the starting place of our basement. There were things on the floor, stuff piled in front of doors, and boxes up to the ceiling!
 
At one point shelves and boxes were labeled, and there was an assigned home, but then life happened.  We got more Christmas Decorations. Kids outgrew their toys. We redecorated a room and had an extra lamp, artwork that we no longer used, and a spare side table.
 
The bottom line, it got out of control and needed a major overhaul!
Overwhelming room that needs to be decluttered. Storage area shows things piled from the floor to the cceiling.
 
My primary goal was to make this space functional. I was not aiming for Instagram beauty, but family functional. The reality is, our basement storage closet never has visitors.  Thus, it was important to me to use things we already had to organize this space and not go out and buy all new matching bins and baskets.

 

The 5 Step Decluttering Process

The decluttering process involves five simple steps. And it’s the same whether you’re organizing a drawer or a nightmare project like mine.
 
Step 1. Discard – get rid of as much stuff as possible.
Step 2. Sort into categories the things you want to keep
Step 3. Plan your space. Take an assessment of how much space you have. How many shelves, drawers, and even usable floor or wall space do you have, etc.
Step 4. Contain. In this step, you dedicate drawers or shelves to similar items. You use a bin or box to group things. Or you create zones to separate items.
Step 5. Label. Make sure every area is identifiable and labeled.
Image of a home with the 5 step decluttering process including discard, sort, plan, ocntain, and label.
Let’s look more at each step.

 

Decluttering Step 1 – Ruthlessly Discard

Step 1 is the most important step in this whole process. You want to be ruthless and get rid of as much stuff as possible. Having extra things will cost you time and space- and if you never or rarely use them, it’s a big drain on your energy.  We were tired of the “junk” — and ready to get rid of things. Which was helpful for making decisions.  As you discard, you want to consider if each item is something you keep, recycle, donate or trash.
Garbage baggs and declutter items are piled on the lawn to be discarded after organizing your home.
 
At the end of our nightmare project, we had a load of things for the dump…e.g. broken suitcases, toys with missing parts, and outdated car seats. And we had many things to donate to a local charity.
 
I know that not everyone is at the place where we were…the place of being ready to get rid of things.  If you find yourself struggling to make decisions about what to keep and what to discard, ask yourself these questions.
  • Do I currently use this?
  • When was the last time I used it?
  • Does it have sentimental value?
  • Do I have anything like it that I could use in its place?
  • What would I do if I needed it and didn’t have it?

 

Decluttering Step 2 – Sort into Categories

In this step, you want to group like items together. Create categories based on the number of things you have that are similar.  For example, go BROAD when you have a few items. Go specific when you have a lot of items.
 
We have a ton of Christmas decorations ahem 11 boxes! So, I went very specific in how I grouped that one holiday, we also had a good deal of fall decor, so it got a category of its own. But almost all other holidays were grouped into one broad category “seasonal décor.”

 

Decluttering Step 3 – Plan Your Space

Take inventory of how much space you have and how much stuff you have. Eyeball if you have enough space or if you need to further discard. Consider if the space meets your needs. Can you use it as is, or do you need to adjust it somehow?
 
For example, in our space, the wire shelving was not ideal for things that were not in bins. I had some extra boards lying around that I used to make the shelf more functional for my needs.
 
The home goods were placed directly onto the board instead of the caged shelving. This created stability for the items and made it functional.
 
As you plan your space, you’ll also want to consider how you use the vertical space. This was a great place for us to hang our wreaths, on another wall, we have rugs scrolled up and hung on the wall. Going vertical keeps things off of the floor and maximizes your space!

 

Decluttering Step 4 – Contain Things

In step 4 you’ll want to contain your items with bins, baskets, shelves, drawers, or by creating zones.
 
Zones are helpful for items you don’t want to store in a bin.
 
In our basement, we have home decor items that are not in baskets or bins and we also have some pantry supplies we have in zones.
Baskets are an easy way to gather like items that you need to easily access. We also have some pantry items in baskets in our storage closet
Plastic bins are helpful to when you need to transport items like seasonal decorations or in our case, ski gear. We can take the entire box and put it in the back of the car without unpacking/repacking it.
Two bins are used to contain like items after decluttering and organiziing a spacce. The image shows bins for canoe gear and ski gear.
 
 
We reused bins we already had, but if you need to buy bins, consider which style you like best. Do you prefer to see what’s in the bin so that it’s easily identifiable or do you prefer to hide what’s inside to give a cleaner design?

 

Decluttering Step 5 – Label

Last but not least, the final step in the decluttering process is to label your zones and bins.
This step helps you maintain the space, recall where you stored things, and allow your family members know where to return used items etc.
I made my labels with the Cricut joy machine, but if you don’t have a label maker there are many other options.
You can order custom labels off of Etsy, order chalk labels off of Amazon, or get plain white labels you write on from an office supply store. Last but not least, the final step in the decluttering process is to label your zones and bins.
Label any place that will help you maintain the space. I labeled both boxes and shelves in our basement storage area.
Close up view of Cricut Joy label maker and labels made to put on bins after decluttering your home.
 


 

The Completed Decluttering Project

 
After going through these 5 steps, you will have transformed your space.
As I shared in the beginning, my goal was to have a family functional storage area. I was not going for a beautifully designed space.
I’m happy to share that I spent less than $25 on this space. Everything was recycled and reused with the exception of the labels.
It was a dramatic transformation for this space. Previously, I couldn’t even access the cabinet on the right side of the area.
We pivoted it 90 degrees and got rid of lots of stuff and now it is a well-lit area that I can easily access.
You walk down the narrow hall now and we even recycled some extra rubber gym flooring to make the area that we walk on the most more presentable and usable.
The image shows shelves in the basment that are neatly organized after compelting the 5 steps to declutter any room.
 

 

Get Started On Your Decluttering Project

Discard, Sort into categories, Plan your space, Contain your things, and label are the five steps you need to take to discard any space. You can do a small space like a drawer and tackle it in one day. Or you can take on a major project like my basement and work on it over the course of several days or weeks. Either way, you’ll walk through the 5 steps outlined here. So, what are you waiting for? Go forth and declutter!
 

Vertical Clothes Organization That Will Change Your Life

clothing folded in the konmari method with text vertical clothing organization that will change your life

I love love love to be organized. I actually get excited about it! Strange…maybe…but for now, let’s let my obsession be a benefit for those who are equally obsessed or even just slightly interested. Recently, I came across a clothes organization system/process that changed my life. Seriously, the way I have been storing clothes in my dresser for MY ENTIRE LIFE has been wrong!!! I love organization and being able to find things. I’m not always good at it, but when I find a hack that works, I’ve got to share it!!! Have you heard of Vertical Filing or of the KonMari Method?

KonMari Method of Filing Clothes

In recent years, Marie Kondo’s bestselling book “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing” has made vertical filing more well know. If you do a search on folding clothes vertically you’ll find a variety of articles and videos on the subject. From my review, all seem to be a subtle twist on the same thing. But the KonMari Method seems to be the most well know.

Close up of a t-shirt that is folded for vertical filing.
 
Vertical Folding Described

So, what is vertical folding? Think about a file cabinet that has manila folders. Instead of being placed one on top of the other, the folders are arranged from front to back. One can easily scan the tabs to see everything that’s in the cabinet. Well, it’s the same approach with clothes. If you’re like me and have always stacked your clothes from top to bottom, you may have encountered the same challenges I faced.

The Problem With Traditional Storage

Typically, I end up wearing (or having my kids wear) the same few t-shirts right on the top and I forget what’s on the bottom. When I go looking for one specific shirt, it totally disorganizes the drawer and I have one hot mess on my hands! To make matters worse, this sort of thing typically happens when I’m short on time so the mess stays and eventually I have to set aside a chunk of time to reorganize.

Vertical Clothes Organization Benefits

I sincerely fell in love with this approach and don’t ever see myself going back to my old ways! Not only was it an easy change to make, but also the benefits were huge!

  • You can see everything in the drawer
  • Nothing get’s lost in the shuffle
  • It’s easy to find what you’re looking for
  • It’s easy to maintain
  • You can fit more in the drawer
  • In the case of my kid’s clothes, most of their clothes are in drawers and it’s much easier to match pants with tops by being able to see everything at once

Pants drawer and shirt drawer with neatly folded vertically filied clothes.

Folding steps

Step by step picture of how to fold a tshirt using the vertical filing procecc.

Not Much Time?

When I came across vertical folding, I decided to test it out in only one drawer to see if it really worked, and I was sold! As a busy mama, I rarely have time to tackle a huge project, so I took it one drawer at a time. Each drawer took me about 15 minutes. On some days, I only had time to tackle one drawer and other days I could tackle 2-3. This made it manageable for me and even better, I felt such a sense of accomplishment with each drawer that was conquered.

Bottom line, Vertical Filing of your clothes is a simple yet highly effective change.  It helps you to view a broader selection of clothing at once, give you access to all of your folded items vs. just a few, and enables you to more easily match tops and bottoms.  I’m curious, have you tried this method of clothes organization?  Are you willing to give it a try?  I hope it helps simplify things in your world…I know it has in my families!

 

 

 

 

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Amazing Tools for Getting (and Staying) Organized

Inside: Gift ideas for people who love to organize. Get practical gift ideas for the organizer in your life!

Do you (or someone you know) love to declutter, organize, or find clever storage hacks?  Recently, I read Marie Kondo’s book “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up.”  Marie Kondo is a minimalist and encourages her readers to get rid of anything that doesn’t “bring joy.”  For the things they keep, she recommends everything has a home.  If your things don’t have a home, they quickly become clutter and before you know it, you’ll be right back to where you started. 

I agree that everything needs a home and would add, for a family, it’s important that everyone understands where things belong.  Containers and labeling systems can help you and your family maintain an organized home.  Let’s check out 28 gifts for people obsessed with organizing!

This post contains affiliate links. For more information, please read my Affiliates Disclosure.

bookshelf with organized binders and text amazing tools for getting and staying organized

Tools You Can Use

These are a few of my favorite tools to make things look pretty, keep items straight, and help all family members know where things belong.

Label Maker

A simple and inexpensive label maker can help you indicate the purpose of jars, a shelf, a binder, or even a cord.  They are easy to use and give a professional flare to any home organization project.

Brother P-touch, PTD210, Easy-to-Use Label Maker

Chalkboard Labels

Do you love the trendy chalkboard look?  If so, this option is right up your ally!  These labels are another easy-to-use and inexpensive solution.  You can write on them with paint pens and stick them to plastic bins, jars, and other containers with a smooth surface. They work great in the pantry, office, or bathroom and are an inexpensive DIY option.

96 Premium Chalkboard Labels Bulk – Free Erasable Chalk Pen – Dishwasher Safe

Cricut Joy

Cricut joy is an electronic cutting machine.  You choose your medium e.g. self-adhesive vinyl, the color you desire, and you design the label.  You can go from simple to complicated multi-color designs depending on your preference and capability.  I’ve used it to make labels for bins in the pantry, decals for my kid’s walls, labels for water bottles etc.  The Cricut Joy is more versatile than other label printers.  And it’s a less expensive option than larger cutting machines.  You can cut and write custom labels with this little machine.   Cricut Joy Machine

Laminator

If you have checklists you follow, routines for the kids, or identification cards that are only made out of plastic, then a laminator is a great tool to make the paper more durable.  I’ve used it to cover cardstock health insurance cards so that I could keep them in my wallet.  I also have an annual calendar for important dates like birthdays, anniversaries, etc.  The laminator is also good to use on things you want to write on with a dry erase marker.

AmazonBasics Thermal Laminator

Cable Clips

Are you tired of having loose cables around your house?  These small adhesive cable clips are great to affix to desk or nightstand.  I’ve used them for my phone charging cable so that I don’t have to look for it every night as well as for the cord to our baby monitor.  They help keep cords in order and take out the guesswork when you’re trying to locate them!

Shintop Cable Clips (Colorful,6pcs)

Paper Organization

Bills, receipts, and junk mail are just a few of the paper items that can create a lot of clutter each week.  If you’re looking to keep a home office in order or minimize paper clutter, these are a couple of tools you can use.

Paper Shredder

Safely get rid of sensitive documents with personal information by purchasing an inexpensive shredder.  Stay on top of your organization by making a point to shred immediately after you sort through your mail.

AmazonBasics 8-Sheet Cross-Cut Paper and Credit Card Shredder

Document Scanner

Minimize important papers by scanning them and saving them on your computer.  Scanners can help with receipts, warranties, and tax documents.

Epson Perfection V39 Color Photo & Document Scanner

 

Storage Units

Craft bin

This multi-drawer storage unit was the perfect solution to my kid’s craft needs.  It consolidated art supplies throughout our house into one small area.  Each drawer can be used for a specific purpose, and labels help the kids keep it organized.

Seville Classics 10-Drawer Organizer Cart

Containers

Containers come in all shapes and sizes and can be used to define the purpose of a space.  Let’s check out some containers that are perfect for your kitchen, bedroom, bathroom, and travel!

Kitchen
OXO canisters

These canisters are ideal for your pantry.  Their Cereal box is my personal favorite.  It’s clear so you can see what type and how much you have.  They come in all shapes and sizes that work well with baking supplies, oatmeal, kids snacks, or any type of item you’d buy from the bulk section like nuts and seeds.

OXO Good Grips 3-Piece POP Cereal Dispenser Set 

Spice containers

If you want a uniform look and to save money in the long run, glass spice containers are the way to go.  Buying no-name brand spices that come in plastic bags instead of bottles are less expensive.  You can transfer them into the bottles and save money over time.

SimpleHouseware 12 Square Spice Bottles (6oz) w/label Set

Acrylic containers for refrigerator

Refrigerators have a couple of drawers, but often additional boxes can help to keep your food and drinks organized.  They make them to specifically hold eggs, soda cans, yogurt, or vegetables to name a few.

Sorbus Fridge Bins and Freezer Bins

Battery tray

Okay okay, maybe you don’t keep batteries in the kitchen, but we do!  We have them in our organized “junk drawer.”  This is an organizing tool my dad found for us.  They store all different size batteries and have a tester on it so you can check to see if the battery still has a charge.  As a family with young kids and lots of toys that require batteries, this organizer is a must!

The Battery Storage Organizer Case and Battery Tester

Bedroom & Bathroom

Bedside Organizer

If you read at night or like to keep a few items bedside, this nifty organizer helps you to keep it all in reach.  My husband uses it to store his books, a pair of reading glasses, and his tablet.

BeaYou Bedside Caddy

Acrylic bathroom organizer

These nifty containers give you places to store your makeup, toiletries, hair products, and tools.


Hanging Jewelry bag

I love this little gadget for my every-day jewelry.  It helps sort my earrings, rings, and necklaces and the see-through plastic makes it easy to quickly find what I’m looking for.

Hanging Jewelry Organizer

Travel Organizers

If you travel a lot, there are a couple of products you should consider to help you get organized.

Noodle bag for travel

Most of us have a ton of cords these days for all of our electronics.  This organizer neatly stores cords for your phone, tablet, and computer.  It also includes a place for your USBs or extra batteries.

BAGSMART Small Travel Electronics Cable Organizer Bag

Travel toiletry bag

Years ago, my aunt gave me one of these toiletry bags and I use it everywhere I go.  It’s so easy to find things in and big enough to carry all of the products I use when I’m traveling.

WAYFARER SUPPLY Hanging Toiletry Bag

Books

Last but not least, if you’re looking for a little home organization inspiration, here are a few books I’d recommend.


Some of us love the process of getting and staying organized.  Tools that help us in our journey thrill us.  They actually bring us joy.  If you are looking for a gift for anyone that is obsessed with organizing or if you are trying to get organized yourself, any of these 28 tools can help with the process!

 

 

12 Ways to Organize Your Home Before the Holidays

Inside: If you’ve asked yourself, “How do I organize my home before Christmas?” Then this is the post for you. We will cover how to organize your kitchen before the holidays, how to organize your home for holiday guests, and other key areas to get organized before the seasonal busyness hits you!

The holidays can be a fantastic time with family and friends, but they can also be a time when you feel disorganized, overly busy, and stressed.  One of the ways to reduce overwhelm is to organize your home BEFORE the holidays.

Between Thanksgiving and Christmas, it’s easy to feel like you’re flying by the seat of your pants.  Your routines get out of whack with Christmas parties, kid activities, and added chores like shopping and cooking. 

By organizing your home ahead of time, you can go from the feeling of disarray to one of a well-oiled machine.

Here are 12 areas to organize your home before the holidays.

Scenic livingroom decoraed for Christmas with a tree and gifts under the tree and text that says 12 Ways to Organize Your Home before the holidays.

Organize Your Kitchen Before The Holidays

The kitchen is a key gathering place for any social event.  That’s why it’s the first on my list for ways to organize your home before the holidays!

1. Organize Your Pantry

Your pantry is already a busy place on a normal week.  When you add Thanksgiving and Christmas cooking, holiday baking, and house guest to the mix the pantry can go from bad to worse. 

Get your pantry organized by removing anything that has an expired date.  Grouping like-items in the same bin or area on the shelf e.g., Baking Items, Spices, Grains.  Lastly, label your bins or shelves so that family members and guests can find AND RETURN things to their respective areas.

2. Clean Out Your Refrigerator

Similar to the pantry, the refrigerator is an area that gets a lot of traffic.  Cleaning it out before the holidays will help you make room for casseroles, ingredients, and extra food for any parties or guests you’re planning on having.

Be sure to take items out and wipe down the refrigerator.  Mix 1 teaspoon dish soap, 1 teaspoon baking soda, and 32 ounces warm water for an easy solution to clean and deodorize your refrigerator. 

3. Declutter Countertops Before the Holidays

This is a great time to do a deep clean of your counters.  Declutter any piles that have accumulated.  Find homes for the “homeless” things that have been collected in recent days/weeks/months.  Wipe down the flat surfaces getting under small appliances and wall surfaces like the backsplash.  Having a counter that is clean and clear will make it easier for you to do your holiday baking and make your home feel more inviting to guests.  Check out this post for more ideas.

A clean and organized kitchen with a few christmas decorations.

Organize Your Space for Holiday guests

Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s are also special times to have friends and family over.  Getting ready for guests is the second area we’ll delve into in order to organize your home before the holidays.

4. Create  a Welcoming Entry Way For Holiday Guests

Another way to organize your home before the holidays is to create a welcoming entryway for your guests.  Add an inviting mat outside your front door and if you’re in a cold climate, make sure you have a mat inside the front door for people to stand on with their messy boots.  It’s also helpful to have a boot tray for people to set their wet boots on when they come in so that the snow and mud don’t drip all over your floors. 

If you want to make your entryway more inviting, add a diffuser with some essential oils to add a welcoming scent.

5. Declutter and Prepare Your Coat Closet

With more visits (announced or unannounced 🙂 ) from neighbors, friends, and your crazy Aunt Mae, it’s nice to have the coat closet ready for any cold-weather gear they might bring along.

As a Texas girl, I was not accustomed to using a coat closet (we rarely had to wear coats!). But now that I live in Canada, it is critical to have a place to hang everyone’s coats as they enter the house.

Make as much room as possible. Clear out any unnecessary clothing that has accumulated e.g., old coats that you no longer wear. When possible, put the families’ coats in a different place in your house. Add sturdy hangers so that you’re prepared to receive your guest’s gear.

6. Prepare Your Guest Room

If you’re planning on having house guests for the holidays, then this room is a must to organize and freshen up.  Ensure it has:

  • fresh linens,
  • spare hangers in the closet
  • a place for folded clothes
  • and/or a space for luggage like a luggage rack or a cabinet

It’s also nice to put out fresh towels, soaps, bottles of water and if you want to be extra, a few packaged snacks. 

For more ideas, check out this post “Easy Ways to Make Your  House Guest Feel at Home.”  

Peaaceful bright guest room with ligght colors to welcome your holiday guests as you get your home ready for the holidaays.

7. Winterize Your Mud Room

Remove any remaining summer gear like flip-flops, sunscreen, and straw hats.  If your family keeps their shoes in this area, declutter any shoes they’ve outgrown.

Organize your winter gear including any gloves, hats, snow boots, and coats you have in this area.  It’s helpful to have a bin for each family member for their gear.  Hooks for coats or backpacks keep things off of the floor.  Also, shoe racks or boot treys are another great way to keep this space organized.

8. Organize and Clean Your Vehicle

It’s also good to organize your vehicle before the holidays.  Vacuum/wipe down the interior.  Clear out the trunk to make room for luggage, groceries, and Christmas presents.  Add a box of Kleenex for any seasonal colds and if you live in a cold-weather climate, add a blanket or two to your trunk.

Other Holiday Related Organization

Specific holiday-related tools and resources is the final area we’ll consider in order for you to organize your home before the holidays.

9. Declutter Your Holiday Decorations

Decluttering your holiday decorations will also help you organize your home before the holidays. There’s always a huge shuffle in our house of holiday decorations between October and December.  We have pumpkins and fall leaves for October/November and then tons of Christmas decorations (like 11 boxes of all-the-things!).  Sort like items into bins and label them.  Discard old or broken décor that you no longer use.  It’s best to do this before the holidays, but if it’s already too late this year, plan on doing it when you take down and store the holiday décor.

10. Organize Your Holiday Budget

Raise your hand if you overspend during the holidays. Or perhaps it’s a splurge gift or two for your kids or food for an unexpected party with family and friends. Before the holidays hit, make a budget. Include gifts, extra food, charities you support, any out-of-the usual travel, and accommodations you’ve planned. This effort will help you to be prepared and avoid any surprises in January or the following months!

11. Declutter Your Christmas Card Address List

If you send out  Christmas cards, take time to update and declutter your address list.  Flag anyone who has moved in the past year.  Add names of new friends and colleagues.  Contact people via phone, email or Facebook to get their new details.

12. Organize and Declutter Your Kid’s Toys

Last but not least, if you have young kids or grandkids, it’s ideal to declutter and organize the toys before the holidays to make space for anything new that comes into your home.  This is a good opportunity to involve kids.  Have them help you pick out the toys they no longer enjoy or use.  Anything that’s in like-new condition, you can donate to a charity or give to another family.  If you have an abundance of toys, then consider storing some away in bins and implementing a toy rotation.

The Benefit Of Getting Organized for the Holidays

The holidays can be busy and overwhelming, but some preparation and organization can help you be ready to tackle the holidays with ease and make the most of the time with your family.

Check out my FREE Christmas Planner, if you’d like to easily track your holiday details including meals, gifts, and gatherings.  It includes more than 20 pages of templates to plan parties, track gifts, and organize all of your shopping To-Dos. 

Image of sifferent pages from the Busy Girl's christmas Planner

>> Click here to download your FREE Christmas Planner.<<

Wishing you an organized and stress-free holiday season with your family and friends!

 

Quick & Easy DIY Holiday Party Food Bars

It’s almost that time of the year again.  You know, when you crave to have friends and family over and celebrate the holidays.  But, like most years, you have a lot going on.  I mean, do you really have time for a party?

Yes, yes you do!!!  Life is busy…but there are fun ways to entertain that don’t have to drain you, take a lot of time or cost a lot of money!  Are you in?  Let’s do this!

Let’s talk about DIY Food Bars. They’ve been around forever.  A casual get together may have a DIY Sandwich station… picture it, a deli tray, buns, and jars of Mustard and Mayonnaise. You line up and DIY your sandwich just the way you like it.

Ok, now that we’re on the same page, let’s talk about something much more exciting than a sandwich buffet.  We’re going to DIY party food for the holidays.  These food bars are great because they can be really cute and creative, but they can also save you time.  How do they save time, well, you don’t have to fully prepare the food or beverages your guests consume.  You lay out all of the elements, but they put it together. 

close up of a tray of holiday cookies and cupcakes with diy toppings and text quick and easy party food bars your guests will love

This post may contain affiliate links. For more information, please read my Affiliates Disclosure.

I was able to get the majority of the things I needed to buy including containers and food from the dollar store and Walmart!  Woot woot, that meant I didn’t have to put out a lot of cash!

Santa’s Cup of Cheer – Hot Drink Bar

Christmas always calls for hot drinks.  I grew up in Houston and despite the warm weather, I loved my peppermint mochas!  This is an easy DIY to put together and requires almost no prep!!!  All you have to do is make your hot chocolate and coffee in advance, buy a ton of toppings, and create your display.  This hot chocolate and coffee bar will be a favorite of yours and is sure to be a crowd pleaser!

Supplies:

  • 2 Carafes, 1 for Coffee and 1 for Hot Chocolate
  • Whipped Cream
  • Half & Half Cream or the fun seasonal flavored creams
  • Sweeteners (Sugar and/or the fake stuff)
  • Toppings and mix-ins- I used mint flavored marshmallows, Hershey’s kisses, Pirouette Cookies (like chocolate straws) Candy canes, and sprinkles
  • Coffee cups
  • Stir Spoons – you can go advanced here and get (or make) the chocolate dipped spoons…they are de-lic-ious!

Santa coffee cups on a platter with sprinkles as a topping in a jar.

These fun Santa Coffee Cups are a collection that my mom passed on to me.  She collected them over the years and passed them along to me last year.  Now, I add a cup here and there when I’m holiday shopping. 

You don’t have to buy something just like this.  Look and see what you already have and see if there’s a fun collection you can pull together.  Maybe you have mismatched china or a variety of coffee cups.  Feel free to go traditional with matching cups or create an eclectic collection with whatever you have available!  You can’t go wrong!

Toppings like sprinkles displayed for a DIY Coffee and Hot Chocolate bar

Reindeer Party Mix – DIY Food Bar

This Party Food Bar is a spin on Texas Trash or Chex Party Mix.  This is great party food for all ages kid and adults will love it!  When deciding on your ingredients, make sure you have a variety of salty and sweet items.  You can make this a zero-cooking party food bar or, you can make your own check mix.

top view of mixins for a diy party mix including popcorn, pretzals, chex cereal, carmel popcorn, and M&Ms

Supplies:

  • Cereal- I went with a variety of Chex, but you could add Cheerios as well
  • Pretzels
  • Butter Popcorn
  • Caramel Popcorn
  • M&M’s
  • Nuts, sesame sticks, and other candy like mini-Reese’s are also great options to include
  • Paper bags or bowls for guests to create their custom mix

View of differnt bowls and jars for DIY party mix mixins

As far as décor, mini-twinkle lights and a garland are nice to weave between the bowls.  You can use paper bags for your guests to create their mix! 

Elf’s Sweet Shoppe – Custom Cookie Bar

A party is not complete without some sweets!  This DIY Party Food Bar may require a little more preparation time, but I have a few hacks for you to help out in this area.  Let’s talk first about the food.

diy christmas cookie bar with topings and icing for guests to decorate

The Food

This buffet has typical holiday sweets including Sugar Cookies, Gingerbread cookies, and Cupcakes with buttercream icing.  You can include any variety of cookies at a station like this, but I wanted to stick with a grouping that allowed party guests to decorate their own sweet. 

For the cupcakes they can add sprinkles, marshmallows, chocolate chips, even shredded coconut.

For the cookies, I made this Royal Icing and put it in piping bags.

The Hacks

Here are the hacks I mentioned.  If you’re short on time, you can buy cupcakes and cookies from a bakery.  During the holidays, many stores also have sugar cookie and gingerbread cookie kits available.  If you go these routes, this bar can be another zero-bake party food bar!

Tiered cookie tray with cupcakes and sugar cookies for holiday party guests to decorateThe Supplies

  • Cupcakes with icing
  • Gingerbread cookies
  • Sugar cookies
  • Royal Icing in piping bags for guests to decorate their cookies
  • Toppings: chocolate chips, sprinkles, shredded coconut, marshmallows, and gumdrops.

This is another great party food for almost all ages.  It’s fun to do with kids and can count as an activity to keep them entertained along with something to fill their tummies.  A word of caution, if you are doing this for kids, I’ encourage you to use something other than the piping bags.  You may be able to find small icing tubes like the ones below.  I got mine in a gingerbread kit.  Alternatively, you can also get bottles like this for kids to use to decorate their cookies.  The thicker you make the Royal Icing the less messy it will be.  The thinner it is, the more it will ooze all over the cookie.

view of alterntive tools for decorating christmas cookies

 


 

What are You Waiting For?

So, what’s holding you back?  Isn’t it time to have a Christmas Party?  These fun and easy party foods will look great, save you time, and be enjoyed by your guests!!!

 

 

 

 

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