Tag Archives: luggage

Grab-N-Go Kits for Hassle-Free Outings

Be Prepared For a Day at the Beach

Be Prepared For a Day at the Beach … or Anywhere!

Want to head out to the park and find yourself scrambling around the house trying to find where the sunscreen was last left? Or the hats?

Summer, with its many outings and camps is a great time to put together a few “grab & go” bags. If you have certain activities you do often, it is worth duplicating some items in order to always have them on hand when you’re ready to go. The bag contains the staples that always need to be there and things like snacks or reading material can be added as needed.

Beach/Pool Bag: bathing suits, sunscreen, goggles, earplugs, towels & hats

Park/Outing Bag: sunscreen, hats, bug repellant, picnic blanket

Day Camp Bag: sunscreen, sunglasses money, hat, light jacket

The key is having a dedicated home where your specialty bags live and remembering to replenish the bags after your outings. Make sure freshly laundered items make their way back into their bags instead of into a dresser or cabinet.

This model of making specialty bags also applies year-round to other activities and not just for kids:

  • Sports: uniform, water bottle, sunscreen
  • Overnights: toiletries, flashlight,
  • Classes: paper, pen, class materials
  • Gym/Workout: water bottle, toiletries, snack bars
  • Meetings or Committees: notepad, pen, reference materials
  • Charging kit: extra phone & computer chargers

It may seem like a bit of extra work, but when your supplies are ready to go, getting out the door quickly keeps you relaxed and able to be spontaneous. Spend your time on your outing instead of stressing out and wasting time searching the house for the park blanket. As an added benefit your kids learn the benefits of being prepared ahead of time!

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Filed under children, Decluttering, Holidays, homework, Kids, organizing, School, Strategies, Travel

Organized Travel – What To Bring On-Board


Last time we covered how to pack most effectively for a comfortable travel experience. This week we cover the same issue in your carry-on bag. In addition to making you most comfortable for the duration of the flight what you bring in your carry-on matters in case your luggage is lost or delayed. You may not want all these items (some are specific to international travel) but consider this list an open buffet to choose from:


  • Boarding pass
  • Passport and/or ID
  • Copy of complete flight itinerary
  • Copy of any transportation or accommodation plans
  • Physical address of where you are staying: You will need this to complete immigration forms and it may be helpful to share with cab drivers as well so they can easily look up directions.
  • Visa confirmations


  • Hand lotion
  • Chapstick
  • Deodorant
  • Contact solution
  • Toothbrush and mini-toothpaste
  • Bath wipes to help you freshen up
  • Face wipes or mini bottle of face wash and wash cloth
  • Ear plugs
  • Eye mask
  • Long flights: oral sleep aid, your own pillow and blanket

* Make sure any liquids are in a bag meeting carry-on size requirements


  • Nut butter sandwich (unless you’re allergic, of course)
  • Fruit – apple or dried fruit travel well
  • Granola/muesli bars or protein bars.
  • Water bottle: Buy one after passing through security, or if you can wait, bring an empty bottle from home (you can bring this through security) and fill up on the plane.


  • Laptop
  • iPod (or your music player of choice)
  • Kindle (or similar) to read books without weighing down your bag
  • Music, books, movies


  • Underwear
  • 1-2 shirts (change of clothes)
  • Your favorite “I would HATE to lose this” article of clothing


  • Jewelry
  • Wallet with essential credit cards and other important cards (leave extras at home)
  • Money
  • Camera equipment
  • Phone and car keys


  • Travel guides – be careful not to overdo this category. Pick your favorite one and leave the rest at home.
  • Something to write with – in case you have a brainstorm
  • Medication or supplements

What NOT to Bring

…on the plane or in your luggage

  • That stack of books you haven’t gotten to in the past 6 months. Heard of that cool thing called a Kindle?
  • Multiple shoes for every occasion. If planned activities demand a variety (probably not a good idea to wear running shoes to the cocktail party) limit yourself to 1 sport, 1 dress, 1 casual. Wear your bulkiest shoes while in transit.
  • Too tight clothes
  • Too fancy formals
  • Dashing outfits don’t have the courage to wear at home

These are the basics of what to bring on board for a long trip. Again, pick and choose what is important to you. Some experts advise to bring the bare minimum and buy what you need when you arrive. It all depends on how willing you are to experience discomfort. Traveling with children can be approached in the same way; bring only the basics to save yourself from unnecessary physical stress. Just remember that whatever you bring, you’ll have to schlep it and account for it at every juncture.

What items have you found most useful to bring along on trips? Most useless?

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Filed under Decluttering, Holidays, Perspective, Travel

Organized Packing for Travel – Your Suitcase


Traveling over the summer can bring lots of joy and lots of hassle. Who hasn’t experienced that sweat of anxiety as you rush from the parking lot or shuttle drop-off into the terminal with heavy bags dragging behind you, draped coats slipping, and various things with straps hanging off of you at all angles?

You want to have a good time and don’t want to lug around a lot of heavy stuff. The goal of organized travel is to make the stuff you bring efficient & light so you can focus on the experience of your vacation. According to Rick Steves, guide book author and travel TV host, “On your trip you’ll meet two kinds of travelers: those who pack light and those who wish they had.”

Picking the right suitcase for you

Your luggage is going to be the heaviest thing you bring with you.  Choose one that suits your needs.  If your kind of travel calls for HERMËS bags, you can save yourself some time by skipping this post. You probably already have a valet to handle all the details.

For those of us who have to schlep our own bags, get one that is suitable for the location.  Wheeled bags may not be ideal in all cases, dragging a bag on the cobblestone streets of Italy isn’t too much fun.  But, most of the time, you’ll probably be dragging your luggage through an airport and have transportation to your hotel… so get a bag that you can manage.

if you’re planning on hiking or using a train to get to your destinations, here’s an ideal kind of bag; it has shoulder strap, tote handles and backpack straps.


In the suitcase

Within the suitcase, organization is all about saving space and reducing weight. That means both planning strategically to bring less and/or packing in a way that maximizes the space.

Travel-friendly clothes are wrinkle-free, can be worn to different types of events and are made of material that dries quickly so you can rinse out and re-use if needed.

Shoes. If possible, avoid multiple shoes for every occasion. If planned activities demand a variety (probably not a good idea to wear running shoes to the cocktail party) limit yourself to 1 sport, 1 dress, 1 casual. Wear your bulkiest shoes while in transit.

Numerous packing products such are available to keep items sorted within the suitcase and help keep items unwrinkled. Travel Smith and The Container Store are both good sources for packing organizers. Rick Steves’ site also has helpful packing lists.

This Eagle Creek set is handy

Next week…tips for the carry-on and what NOT to pack. Have a favorite travel product you love? Share it here!

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Filed under General Organizing, Holidays, Travel

Organizing Products for Overnight Guests

Guest rooms can be useful for more than the occasional guest

Be prepared to welcome guests without losing your spare room

Is the work to prepare for hosting guests overwhelming? Do you feel like a whole room in your house is dedicated to occasional visitors?

A few simple organizing products can help free up your extra room to be used mostly for your routine needs AND to keep guests comfortable and self-sufficient; making your job as host easier:

  • Clothes
    • Instead of dedicating an empty dresser for guests clothes, a foldable luggage rack creates an instant home for a suitcase or bag and stores away when not in use.
  • guest-luggage rackCreate some instant shelving in a closet by using hanging sweater shelves:

guest hanging shelf

  • Sleeping
    • Consider using an inflatable guest bed instead of a permanent bed. They come in a large variety of sizes and heights: guest-bed
    • A larger investment in a guest room is adding a Murphy Bed. They are sold as cabinets that can be attached to an open wall. A simple google search will yield many different vendors:


  • Toiletries
    • Keep a dedicated container (shoe box size) to store a few extra supplies for guests. Stock it during the year as you do your regular shopping or use extra hotel travel size supplies. When guest arrive pull out the box and use a decorative container on the sink if desired.
  • guest shoe boxActivities
    • Keep an extra supply of maps and a list of places of interest in a binder or oversize plastic envelope that you can pull out when guests arrive. During the year you can add to the envelope or binder – include a section for freebies – extra gift cards, BART tickets, guest passes.

guest doc envel.

  • Food – stock up with some easy snacks such as nuts, crackers, protein bars, cheese sticks so guests can take care of themselves between mealtimes.

Follow our tips on getting the room clear enough to be a welcoming host. A little advance preparation will free up your time to enjoy the company of your guests and making hosting a breeze.

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Filed under Bedroom, General Organizing, Holidays