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Nurturing flowers

Arrangements in pastel shades and the softest yellows, peaches, warm pinks, creamy whites and subtle greens make us feel safe, snug and loved. Consider a nurturing floral arrangement for a new mother, a sick friend or a grieving loved one – anyone who would benefit from a caring, loving embrace. See five emotional color palettes and the flowers that bring them to life.

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In Vitamin F, yellow is the primary color for Wellness energy, as it represents the sun, life force and health. Supplement a big burst of flowers with greens, which induce nature’s healing energy, and white, which reflects serenity.

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Home Decorating Organize & Beautify with Vicki Norris
Organize & Beautify with Vicki Norris

How to Avoid the Dash and Stash When the Doorbell Rings

Ding dong. Gasp! Most people can relate to feelings of angst when a friend or neighbor stops by without warning and your home is not at all company-ready. Embarrassed, you make your way to the door, tidying as you go, and stand in the doorway shielding the disorganization within.

Organizing expert Vicki Norris calls this phenomenon the dash and stash, when we frantically rush around hiding clutter, hanging up coats, or even strategically placing a plant or floral arrangement, before opening the door.

"Many people stuff things in the nearest closet at these moments," says Vicki Norris, organizing expert, author of Restoring Order™ to Your Home, and featured expert on HGTV's Mission: Organization. "But you still have to deal with the closet later. To turn panic into poise at the doorway, I recommend people strive to keep the most visible spaces of their home organized 24/7. It's not nearly as hard as it sounds."

According to Norris, organizing doesn't have to translate into time-consuming, it's just a matter of figuring out what systems work best for you and your lifestyle. It boils down to prioritizing projects, finding purpose for each space and personalizing one's home. Here is Norris' how-to for the top three most important spaces in which to create inviting, hospitable spaces that are always ready for company - even when you aren't.

Welcome your guests with an inviting display of fresh flowers, and the flowers will prevent future clutter from collecting.The Entry Way a.k.a. The Drop Zone

Because the entry way is the easiest place to drop shoes, coats and handbags, and it is the first space that guests see, the focus in this area is clutter control. Implementing a clutter capture system is the key. People must determine what types of items are dropped here, and then consider the ideal way to manage it.

  • First, to help identify your storage solutions, judge the quantity of each item that lands in the foyer or entryway. Look around. Do you see a handful of coats or an entire closet full? Do you spy a few shoes or a shoe mountain?
  • Second, select and install your storage solutions, whether they are hooks, bins, shelving, benches or other furnishings. Think about your aesthetic preferences. If you simply prefer not to see clutter, perhaps you should purchase a narrow armoire to neatly store your belongings.
  • Third and last, personalize your entryway. Make it yours! Welcome your guests with an inviting display of family photos, a favorite collection, or fresh flowers to suit the season. Having these items on tables actually will prevent future clutter from collecting. Also, a strategically placed floor plant can divert attention from less appealing areas.

The kitchen happens to be the most popular place in the home to invite guests.

The Kitchen a.k.a. The Command Center

The kitchen naturally and almost effortlessly has a way of accumulating papers, mail and a variety of misplaced possessions. Yet, it happens to be the most popular place in the home to invite guests. According to Norris, the mission here is search and sort.

  • Incoming! Dedicate real estate for daily drop-offs such as mail and newspapers to be sorted into actionable categories.
  • Create a plan of attack, including a reference binder to create a permanent home for take-out menus, coupons, gift certificates, membership cards, and commonly reached-for retailer numbers such as the dry cleaner, florist, hair stylist and movie theatre.
  • Strategically place a trash, recycle and shred receptacle, essential tools for eliminating junk and keeping the paper from piling up.
  • Create a communication command center by setting aside a place to take and leave messages, and write notes to family. And, use your computer as a tool to manage the household calendar.

Living Room FlowersThe Family Room a.k.a. The Home's Highway

This household superhighway is the most trafficked room in the home, and that can lead to roadway rubbish. Norris recommends determining the rooms' direction, de-littering, and finding homes for nomadic items such as backpacks, toys, magazines and everything in between.

  • Decide upon your family room’s direction. For example, should it be an off-ramp of the kitchen or an entertainment hub where you will gather to play games? Being intentional will help set boundaries for how many uses the room has.
  • Set up a “go-elsewhere” basket, so at the end of each day you can relocate items that don’t belong in the family room to their proper place.
  • Don’t be a litter bug! Keep surfaces such as ottomans and tables clear, so you can put up your feet or pull out a puzzle.
  • Beautify your interior landscape with flowers or a plant to reclaim the space and make it a nice place to spend time in.

"Perfection is unattainable and should never be the goal," says Norris. "I want people to feel good in their surroundings and when it comes to organizing, one size does not fit all. By clearing out the clutter and reclaiming your space, you create more time for the things that are truly important in your life."

And how can we maintain our newfound order? There is a simple way for people to inspire themselves to keep public spaces organized says Norris: "Personalize and beautify your space. Placing flowers or a favorite accessory where clutter typically congregates does two things: it brightens the room and prevents future messes from settling there."

Once the public spaces of your home are sorted out, Norris suggests taking the next step toward a guest-ready home - beautifying.

"Organizing is the first critical step to increasing the functionality and enjoyment of your home. After you've put in the effort to make better use of your space and establish systems, beautifying your home can be an incentive to maintain your newfound order."

The following are Norris' four favorite finishes, along with her organizing advice.

Fab Finish #1: Flowers and Plants

According to Norris, flowers and plants are two elements of décor that do not actually create new clutter. Not only do they uplift and warm a room, they also prevent clutter from building up, when they are placed on surfaces and tables to avoid accumulation. Finally, Norris suggests sending flower arrangements or potted plants as gifts to help brighten others' moods and spaces.

Fab Finish #2: Family Photos

Not only are photos of loved ones cherished, but they can be neatly displayed in just about any public area of the home. You can declutter surfaces by arranging frames on the wall instead of propped on tables. Photos give a sense of history, belonging, and fellowship and can brighten any hallway or room.

Fab Finish #3: Marvelous Memories

Nothing personalizes a room better than a collection of family heirlooms. Items such as antique vases, musical instruments, or teacups that have been passed down make great conversation pieces and add personality to any room. The key is to display your collection artfully and with simplicity.

Fab Finish #4: Everyday Extraordinary

Even ordinary items like purses can be organized in a way that maximize access and add beauty to the home. Norris herself displays her own handbag collection on vintage hooks in her closet. Her daily purse contents can then be easily transferred to any purse of her choice to complement the outfit of the day! Norris recommends that as you organize your everyday belongings, you think about those interesting items (like handbags) that you could display for enhanced enjoyment and ease of use.

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1 Ready Your Home For Holiday Guests Jenny Stromann 18164
2 About Vicki Norris Jenny Stromann 27219
3 Attention Media Jenny Stromann 10137
4 Spring Cleaning: Avoid the Dash and Stash When the Doorbell Rings Jenny Stromann 14130

Flower Meanings

Aster = Contentment

Aster Flowers

See more Flower Meanings.

Aboutflowers.com is the information resource on flowers, florists, plants and gifts.

Aboutflowers.com features photos and images of flowers, floral arrangements, bouquets, floral designs and plants, as well as tips on flower and plant care, a comprehensive list of flower meanings, the latest flower holiday statistics and numbers, flower design trends, sample card messages, flower gift-buying advice and a directory of local florists.

Aboutflowers.com offers flower gift and decorating and entertaining ideas for all occasions, including Christmas, Hanukkah, Mother's Day, Valentine's Day, Thanksgiving, Easter, Secretaries Week and Administrative Professionals Week. Brides-to-be will find tips for wedding flowers, including bridal bouquets, ceremony and reception flowers and advice for working with a wedding florist. Sympathy flowers help comfort a relative, friend or associate who has lost a loved one. Aboutflowers.com also features get-well flowers, prom flowers, and tips for ordering flowers and sending flowers to a man, and ideas for flowers for every room of your home.

Florists have always known that flowers make people happy, and now scientific research proves flower power. Aboutflowers.com highlights university research proving the emotional and behavioral benefits of flowers and plants. Rutgers research shows that the presence of flowers triggers happy emotions, heightens feelings of life satisfaction and affects social behavior in a positive manner far beyond what is normally believed. Another Rutgers study demonstrates that flowers ease depression, inspire social networking and refresh memory as we age. A Harvard study reveals that people feel more compassionate toward others, have less worry and anxiety, and feel less depressed when fresh cut flowers are present in the home. And a Texas A&M study demonstrates that workers' idea generation, creative performance and problem-solving skills improve substantially in workplace environments that include flowers and plants.

Aboutflowers.com is hosted by the Society of American Florists, the U.S. floral industry trade association.

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