Simple solutions for smart living

Use these simple tips to give your house a fresh look without any additional expenses-
Group aesthetics It's easy-do, and looks different. Rummage through your ancestral bell metal, copper or silver plates and holders. Arrange pots and jugs on a tray or plate and top up with twigs, berries and leaves, anything that catches your eye - no need for expensive flowers. It is the arrangement of unconventional vases, grouped together, that creates the USP.

Bottled up! Put together an attractive ensemble using bottles in various shapes and sizes, dress each bottle up with bits of lace and place similar blooms inside to lift them out of the ordinary and create a harmonious group. Tip: Don't overcrowd, try small flowers with long stems such as Pride of India or Baby's Breath. Change the water daily for a fresh, clean look.

Communication station Easy organising To keep track of the daily onslaught of slips, bills, and junk mail, set up this station in your study. A wall-mounted magazine rack gives each family member a slot for his or her papers, a look here calendar is for quick reference, along with flyers, invites, and such.
Things to keep and things to toss out-
Give your home a fresh lookKeep - an envelope tacked to the bulletin board to stash coupons, gift certificates, or other money-savers you might need to grab on your way out, saving you cash without costing you that other valuable asset - time.
Toss - one thing for every new item you bring in. When you've got this much coming in and out, it's easy to have everything pile up. So once something goes in your magazine or mail bin, something must go out.
Keep - a trash can or recycling bin for all the mail and papers you've dealt with - or already know are junk. When possible, sign up for online opt-outs such as electronic billing.
1. Sort smart: Stop mail clutter - use a tiered bin with three sections: In for important mail (bills, papers???), Out for outgoing mail, Read for materials to peruse later (magazines, books???). Have children place important paperwork for you in the 'In' box, once handled, move it to their slot (on previous page).
2. Make note: A sticky note on the door is the perfect can't-miss-it reminder. Tuck the notepad and pen in a bin (near your station) meant for holding outgoing items, say those library books that are due tomorrow.
3. Pen it in: A colour-coded calendar (with a different hue for each person) will keep the family on schedule. Just jot down events that involve multiple members (may be activities that require a driver...). Purge your bulletin board of no-longer-needed papers when you change the calendar page.
Reproduced From Good Housekeeping. © 2011. LMIL. All rights reserved.