Tag Archives: travel

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

carry-ons

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:

Paperwork

  • 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

Comfort

  • 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

Snacks

  • 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.

Entertainment

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

Clothing

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

Valuables

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

Misc.

  • 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

airplane

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.

luggage

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

How Many Organizers Does It Take to Change a Lightbulb?

NAPO 2015

 

Spring is the time of the year for renewal and growth…and bringing more light into our lives.  Which, for us, means it’s time for the annual National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO) conference! This year we head to Los Angeles to join organizers from across the country – and even across the world – to get educated and to network.

We hope to gain lots of new knowledge and resources to share with you and help our clients. Some of the topics we’ll be learning:

  • Using technologies, such as Evernote, to work more efficiently
  • Techniques for better helping people who are chronically disorganized
  • Building organizing teams to expedite projects
  • How to better help clients who are compulsive buyers
  • Helping efficiently preserve and manage our clients’ ballooning digital photo collections
  • Making household moves easier

At the large expo hall filled with vendors of organizing products and services we’ll be on the lookout for must-have solutions to share with you. Vendors include Smead®, Target®, Fujitsu, Julie Morgenstern, Freedom Filer® and Brother®.

Conference Exhibitors

 

How many organizers does it take to change a lightbulb? We expect over a thousand enthusiastic professionals to join us in LA for this enlightening experience.

Don’t miss out! Follow our live daily tweets from @JunkDrawerNotes for fun tips and products.

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Filed under Decluttering, General Organizing, Perspective, Strategies

Shift Your Perspective To Declutter

perspective shif

Do you see two faces…or a vase?

The graphic above is an optical illusion of perspective. Which image is “real” –  the vase or the faces? Both, of course. The value we place on objects in our lives is changeable depending on your perspective.

Katherine just returned from a trip abroad. Carrying around her needed items in just a couple bags reminded her how important it is to travel light…on a trip and in life. It’s easier to be spontaneous when you have fewer burdens.

  • Need to change hotel rooms? With just a small amount to pack, it can be easy
  • Have to run for a train? It wouldn’t happen if you have 3 cumbersome pieces of luggage to drag along; things can happen faster with a lighter load
  • Can’t find the apartment you rented? Have to trek up and down stairs, looking for the right address? It keeps the stress level down to not be overwhelmed with too much stuff

Dana recently worked with two clients who had to pack up and move on short notice. This is what she learned about perspectives:

  • When we’re on a deadline decisions are easier to make. The time pressure leaves no time for lingering in limbo; decisions have to be made. The ability to make timely, definitive decisions is at the heart of decluttering.
  • There’s a sense of relief with the urgent need to shed stuff. It’s not easy but it feels great to finally clear out stuff you’ve been meaning to but never get around to. The outside push to makes it happen.
  • Both families noticed a perspective shift and were able to see their belongings through a different lens. Our relationships with our things aren’t permanent or fixed. These attachments we have feel fixed, but it doesn’t take much of a shift in circumstances to cause a shift how we see those same objects.

Barring introducing something really unpleasant into your life, how can you generate some urgency to get things done?

  • Host a party! The promise that 10 people will be showing up to your door can create that sense of urgency needed to get stuff cleared off your dining room table or to arrange your living room to be welcoming and conducive to conversation.
  • Set a date and hire a painter to get a room painted and you’ll be sure that at least one room will be cleared out.
  • Schedule a donation pick up, guaranteed you’ll at least have a bag or two on the curb a bit less stuff cluttering up your house.

P.S. – It’s not to late to sign up for the workshop on disaster preparedness this Friday!

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Filed under Decluttering, General Organizing, Perspective, Strategies

Organized Camping

Campfire

Spend more time enjoying your campfire, less time dealing with stuff!

Both of us have just returned from our final summer camping trips. We each had a blast being in nature, seeing a sky full of stars and breathing in fresh air. We’d like to share what we’ve learned about packing to make it easy for you to get away at your next opportunity.

Things to do in advance

Reservations: California State Park system opens up reservations 7 months in advance…plan ahead to get your ideal spot. That means if you’re thinking of camping in June next summer, go online to Reserve America to reserve your sites on the first of December.

Packing:

  • Create a checklist that you can use year after year
  • Toiletries-  it’s helpful even if redundant to have some of these pre-packed so you’re ready to go without too much effort
  • Pre-pack tubs or bins of kitchen supplies, general utility items, and fun activities (games/toys). Keep the bins packed year-round so they’re ready to go

    Any bin will do. One that is pliable can take some bumping around.

    Any bin will do. One that is pliable can take some bumping around.

While you’re there

  • Setting up camp – just like you would organize at home, set up zones so everyone knows where to find their needed items. Designate areas for important things like your flashlight, warm hat, sunscreen, maps
  • Set up a kitchen area where you can concentrate your cooking tools, trash, clothesline
  • Create a dedicated container for important items like keys, glasses, passes, etc.

    Here's a handy pouch for containing important travel items

    Here’s a handy pouch for containing important travel items

When you get home

Even though you’re tired, take the extra effort to:

  • Clean things out, wipe things down
  • Restock your bins
  • Put things back in order so you’re ready to go next time

Preparation paves the way for a relaxing and fun outing you can look forward to and make happen efficiently. The silver lining of pre-preparing for camping is you’ll also have some preparations in place in case of an emergency!

Contact us if you’d like us to send you our camping checklists!

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Filed under Decluttering, General Organizing, Travel