‘Down’ to business

In the market for a warm puffer coat minus the Michelin Man look? The Style pages of the January issue of Better Homes and Gardens suggest choosing a coat with one of the following features:

• A furry hood to draw attention to your face.

• A belt to accentuate your waist.

• Or, diagonal stitching to “whittle your middle.”

Organizing tip No. 1

Clearing the clutter is a hot topic come cold January, and sometimes it’s the kids’ stuff that needs the most attention. Here is one tip from HGTV that might help: Look for colorful boxes (photo storage boxes, etc.) from craft stores or other retailers. The boxes are easy to stack and handy for storing small toys, hair accessories, craft supplies and more.

Let the kids pick out colors that appeal to them. Then label each box with its contents – and hope for the best!

Organizing tip No. 2

Dreams of a neater January remind us of this timeless approach to day-to-day living by cleaning expert/author Don Aslett, in an excerpt:

“If you open it, close it. If you turn it on, turn it off. If you unlock it, lock it. If you borrow it, return it. If you’re done with it, put it back. If you make a mess, clean it up. If you don’t know where it goes, ask!”

Trend watch

Honey-tone woods are a home trend Elle Decor highlights for 2014. “Maybe as a reaction to all the dark wenge and other woods we’ve been seeing in furniture for so long, lighter, honey-color woods such as walnut, oak, and cherry are looking fresh,” notes Michael Boodro, on

And finally …

“I have a thing for Lorna Doone cookies, a kind of love affair going on with them. Even if I’m full, I need to have at least five Lorna Doone cookies, which is not cool, but I’ve got to have them.”

Mary J. Blige, singer- songwriter, on the topic of indulgence in WSJ, the Wall Street Journal magazine.