Category Archives: Organization

Christmas in July: Tips on Getting a Head Start

Do you wish there was less hustle and bustle around the holidays?  What if you could have more time to relax and enjoy the Christmas season?  We’re here to help with a few “Christmas in July” ideas.   Consider doing just a few things in July to get a head start on Christmas and make your season more enjoyable.

Christmas in July Tip #1: Update Your Christmas Card List

Several family members and friends have moved in the last few months.  Take a few minutes to update their new addresses.

Have you made a few new friends this year?  Jot down their names and addresses.  When it’s time to send Christmas cards, you’ll be ready to go.  You will also have a good estimate for the number of cards you plan to send this year.

If you need a good system for tracking addresses, use our printable address tracker which keeps track of names, addresses, and cards received and sent.

Address TrackerAddress Tracker

Christmas in July Tip #2:  Organize Your Gift Wrapping Paper and Bows

July is a great time to organize wrapping paper and bows.  These are great projects to work on when it’s raining, or just too hot to go outside.  Take inventory of the supplies you have on hand.  Make a note of what you need for the upcoming season.

Be sure to group like items together.  If you have gift wrapping paper in the cellar, in a bedroom closet and maybe even some with your Christmas decorations, pull it all together, and find one location.

We actually have a gift wrapping drawer.  It is located in a hutch in our dining room.  We keep birthday and Christmas wrapping paper here, along with all of the necessary supplies:

Curling Ribbon
Gift Tags
Colored Pens and Markers
Gift bags
Gift tissue for bags

This system has worked really well for us.  When it’s time to wrap a quick gift, we grab our supplies from the drawer and use the dining room table to wrap the gifts.  Easy, right?


Disclaimer: Some of the links below are referral links, which means that if you make a purchase, there is no extra cost to you, but Running A Household will receive a commission.

Christmas in July Tip #3:  Make Your Own Gift Tags

Use scrapbook paper like this one from American Crafts to make gift tags for your presents.

Step 1:  Simply cut a circle, or use a scrapbook tool to punch out the circles, like the Fiskars Circle Lever Punch. We love this one because it allows you to make consistent circles and it’s easy to use.  Just insert the paper and press down to make a perfect circle.

Step 2:  Use a Hole Punch Tool to make a smaller hole.

Step 3:  Attach a short piece of Curling Ribbon which can be attached to a present or gift bag.

Then when it’s time to wrap gifts, just grab a Sharpie Markerand add the “To and From” details.

Christmas in July Tip #4:  Make a 2018 Calendar

A calendar filled with personal pictures is a great Christmas gift for grandparents and relatives.  Since it requires gathering pictures for each month, start this project in the summer.

  1. Create a computer folder for all of the 2018 calendar pictures.
  2. Select a store online to create your calendar.  We love Walgreens because their calendars are reasonably priced, good quality, and we can pick them up at our local store.
  3. Upload your photos to the store website.
  4. Start creating the calendar.

Over the summer, we will pull together the 2018 calendar for January – August.  We also use pictures from last Christmas to get the December page set.  Then, we just need to do September, October and November.  We keep our eyes peeled for the 50-60% off sale day, and order in November.  By following these steps, we save a lot of time and money, and can enjoy the holiday season instead of pulling pictures together on December 15th.

Christmas in July Tip #5:  Listen Carefully and Start Your List

Keep your ears peeled for hints dropped by family members and friends.  Maybe they will point out an item they like.  Or, sometimes people will tell you that they wish they had a certain item.  Take note, and start a holiday shopping list.  This way, you’ll have a few ideas once the holiday season arrives.

Christmas in July Tip #6:  Buy a Few Gifts While on Vacation

The holidays will be here before you know it.  To make this holiday season a little less stressful, consider buying a gift or two while you are on vacation.

Gift Ideas

Whether it’s a gardening basket from your local farmer’s market, or a piece of jewelry from a place by the shore, these unique gifts will be sure to please your friends and relatives.  Other ideas include:

Art work
Handmade soaps
Picture frames
Specialty coasters

If you have someone who has everything, or who is difficult to shop for, try shopping for them in the summer.  You’ll be more relaxed and have a different selection to choose from.  Plus, you will avoid last-minute shopping in December.


Christmas in July Tip #7:  Shop for Gifts On-line During July Sales

We saved the best for last.  So much of our time around the holidays is spent shopping.  For years, I never started Christmas shopping until the day after Thanksgiving because of the great deals.

Now, retailers offer great prices in July. Be sure to check out this one on July 11, 2017:

Prime Day 2017 – 30 Hours of Deals

If there’s an expensive gift you know you want to buy for someone, check out the price during this sale.  You may be pleasantly surprised to find a great deal in the middle of July!

Happy Shopping! 🙂


Here are a few articles on our website you may enjoy:

Simple ways to organize gift wrap paper and bows

Christmas Shopping Lists


Ideas for Organizing Ball Caps

Are you looking for ideas for organizing ball caps or hats?  We’ve looked into several ways to keep ball caps organized. Check out these three systems to see which one works best for you.

Disclaimer: Some of the links below are referral links, which means that if you make a purchase, there is no extra cost to you, but Running A Household will receive a commission.  Thank you for supporting our website.

Organize Ball Caps with an Over the Door Cap Rack Organizer

Organize Ball Caps Over the Door

This one is simple.  Just open the box and hang the Cap Rack Organizer over a closet door.  This one holds up to 36 hats!

Organize Baseball Hats with Hooks

Ideas for Organizing Ball Caps: Hats on hooks

This Coat and Hat Rack has six hooks, and keeps everything nice and tidy.  It also comes in a black or wood finish. Installation is fairly simple, but you’ll need a few tools like a ruler to measure, and a screwdriver to hang it securely.

Store Ball Caps in Bins

Hats in bin

While spring cleaning, I added this feature to our mudroom.  It’s a simple over-sized bin which sits on top of our ClosetMaid Stackable Shoe Organizer.  This system really works for us.  When we come home, the boys can simply take off their hats, and leave them in the bin.  When we are ready to leave, the hats are right there by the door. We love the deep size of this bin, and it comes in many colors which you can see here: ClosetMaid Bin

Closetmaid Bin

Right now, we have about 8 or 10 hats in the bin, but we could fit many more.  It’s spring, so many of them are baseball caps.  In the fall, I’ll take out the caps with football teams on them.  The baseball themed caps will go in a box stored in the coat closet.  Pretty simple, right?

Happy organizing!

Other articles you may find helpful:

How to Organize the Shoes in Your Entryway

Solutions for a Small Dining Room

Christmas Shopping List 14 people

Christmas Shopping Lists

Are you looking for a way to keep track of all the Christmas gifts you need to buy this year?  Check out our printable Christmas Shopping Lists.  They are easy to use, and simple to fill out.

Christmas Shopping List – Children

If you are planning to buy multiple gifts for one person, you may want to try our Christmas Shopping List for 4 people.

Christmas Shopping List

Christmas Shopping List – 4 people

You can enter up to 10 gift ideas per person.  This one is great if you are shopping for children.

Christmas Shopping List – Adults

If you have to buy a Christmas gift for a lot of people, try our Shopping List for 14 people.

Christmas Shopping List 14 people

Christmas Shopping List – 14 people

You can enter up to 5 gift ideas for 4 people.  At the bottom, there is space to enter one gift idea for up to 10 people.

It may also be helpful to print both Christmas Shopping Lists, so you can keep everything organized. 🙂

Happy Shopping!

Do you need more holiday tips?  You may enjoy the following articles:

Christmas Shopping list by store

Tips for Shopping and Tracking Your Holiday Purchases

Address Tracker

Toolbox: Printable Address List Tracker

Christmas Checklist December

Preparing for the Holidays – December Checklist

Bows - Red Green Gold Silver

Simple ways to organize gift wrap paper and bows

Need more ideas?

Need more ideas?  Check out our Toolbox tab above, along with our tab dedicated toward planning and organizing for Christmas:  Click here for more Christmas articles and free printables.

Simple Ways to Display Christmas Cards

Christmas cards can start to arrive anytime after Thanksgiving.  You’ll want to have a system in place so that you can easily display your cards.   Check out these ideas.

Christmas Card Holder

One of the easiest ways to display your Christmas cards is in a Christmas card holder.  This one is in the shape of a Christmas tree.  The cards slide into various metal holders, and can be adjusted and turned easily.

Christmas Cards - Tree to Display

This one even has a basket at the bottom to hold all of the extra cards and envelopes.

Christmas Cards - Basket

Twine and Clothes Pins

Another simple way to hang your Christmas cards is with twine and clothes pins.  This has a more rustic feeling, but is very easy to set up:

  • Simply hang two hooks.  Be sure to measure so that they are straight.  For this project we used the Command brand hooks so that they could be removed easily.
  • Cut the twine and tie a loose knot at each end.  Attach the twine to each hook, and you’re finished.

Hook for Christmas cards

  • Hang horizontal cards over the twine.  Use a clothes pin to attach the vertical cards.  We went for a natural look, but you can certainly decorate your clothes pins for a more festive look.

Hanging Christmas Cards

Scotch Tape

One of the most common ways to hang Christmas cards is with Scotch tape.  Simply attach Scotch tape to each card and hang on a door or wall.

If you’re concerned about taking the finish off of your doors or walls, consider using removable scotch tape.

Scotch tape - removable

This is a great product for hanging items temporarily.  Just be sure to use a piece in each corner of the card, so that it sticks to your wall or door.

Happy decorating!

Do you need more holiday tips?  You may enjoy the following articles:

Christmas Decoration Ideas for Your Entrance Way

Tips for Shopping and Tracking Your Holiday Purchases

Simple ways to organize gift wrap paper and bows

Preparing for the holidays – November Checklist



Science Fair Project Tornadoes

Science Fair Project: Tornadoes

Part of running a household involves helping the children with school assignments.  We recently pulled together a project for a science fair.  Here are the details on how we gathered the information and organized our science fair project: tornadoes.

Science Fair Project: Tornadoes

Disclaimer: Some of the links below are referral links, which means that if you make a purchase, there is no extra cost, but Running A Household will receive a commission.

Finding a topic for a science fair

We really thought it was important to let our child take the lead on the topic.  It needed to be something he was interested in, and wanted to learn more about.

Our son has always been interested in the weather.  In June 2011, a tornado came through Western Massachusetts.  It brought down trees in Westfield, damaged houses in West Springfield, and made a destructive path through the cities of Springfield, Wilbraham and Monson.  Our son saw some of the tornado aftermath, since the areas were bare for years.  He was very involved, since we made a gift basket to help a family who lost everything, including their toys.

Researching a topic for a science fair

There were several resources which we found helpful when researching tornadoes:

Books – We read several books and each one gave us interesting information:

Websites: The following websites were very helpful for researching tornadoes.

Videos: We actually found several videos on YouTube which showed the different strengths of tornadoes.

Documenting information for science fair

Did you know there is a specific format to document your research and findings for a science fair?  We followed the steps outlined on

The most complicated part was deciding on the question to research.  Our son knew he wanted to make a tornado demonstration, and use legos to show the damage tornadoes can cause.  Therefore, we decided to research the question:

“How does a tornado move things?”

Since our son was only in second grade, we simplified some of the sections.  We followed the general format for reporting.  We drafted the information by talking with our son, and writing down what he said.  Then we put the information into a Powerpoint presentation with pictures.

To see our presentation slides, click on the link below:

Tornado Science Fair Slides

Science Fair – Tornadoes


Organizing a display for a science fair

We opted to use the following materials to explain our research:

  1. Powerpoint Slides
  2. Display Board: We printed the slides, and glued them to the Elmer’s Tri-Fold Premium Foam Display Board, Black, 36×48 Inch. We opted for this size because it could display all of our information. It was also manageable to carry in to school on the day of the project.
  3. Tape Runner: The extra sticky glue stick did not seem to hold our paper to the display board.  Since we do a lot of scrapbooking, we opted to use our Fiscar’s Tape Runner.  It is a small orange tool that holds double-sided tape.  It worked like a charm, and held the paper in place. Unfortunately, the Fiscar’s brand is no longer for sale, however, 3L makes a similar product called an E-Z runner. You can check out the details here: E-Z Runner Adhesive Dispenser
    Fiskars paper trimmer
  4. Legos: We demonstrated the different strengths of a tornado based on the Fujita scale.  Our son was fascinated by this scale, and used his legos to show the destruction from an EF-0.  We took a picture of it, and then he increased the damage by using his legos to create the devastation from an EF-1.  Again we took a picture.  He continued to model each level from EF-0 to EF-5.
  5. Tornado in a jar:  To show the circular motion of a tornado, and how the force picks up objects, we created a tornado in a jar.

Pictures from our Science Fair Project: Tornadoes

The final display board was set up on a table at the science fair.

Science Fair Display

Here’s a close up of our tornado in a jar, which was on display at the science fair.

Science Fair Tornado in a Jar

We started by placing three small beads and some water in a mason jar.  When we swirled the water, the tornado was hard to see.  We added some green food coloring, and it was much easier to see the tornado in the jar.  So we moved the jar counter-clock-wise, and soon the power of the water picked up the small beads.

Here’s one of the lego displays.  This one is an EF-3 on the Fujita Scale.  Our son even added some of his Thomas trains boxcars to show the tornado damage.

Tornado science fair EF-5 Fujita Scale with legos

There was a special slide on the presentation board.  It showed all of the levels of the Fujita Scale, from EF-0 to EF-5, along with a picture of his lego displays.  Click on the link below to see a larger view of our slide.

Tornado Enhanced Fujita Scale with Legos

Enhanced Fujita Scale with Legos

Next Steps

For more ideas about science fairs, as well as Running A Household, be sure to follow us on Pinterest:  Click here

You may also enjoy the following articles from our website:

How to Organize and Display Your Science Fair Project

How to Organize and Display Your Science Fair Project

how to organize crayons

How to organize crayons

how to organize markers

How to organize markers

how to organize child's desk

Organizing A Child’s Desk

Need more organizing ideas?  Check out: Toolbox: Organization

Happy Organizing!

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