Tuesday, January 22 2019
We are about a month into Winter and I'm over it already. I am not a fan of bone chilling temperatures, snow, ice and high winds. This week has put me over the edge. I am counting down until my mini get-away in the later part of February. (Honestly, looking forward to it keeps me going until Spring arrives.) I need a taste of Summer.
Are you planning a trip somewhere warm this Winter to get you through?
Before heading off on your vacation, here are a few things you can do so you don't come home to any unwelcome surprises:
1. Water Heater - Set it to the lowest temperature to save energy. New models may offer a vacation mode or wireless control.
2. Thermostat - Adjust it close to the outside temperature but no lower than 50 degrees. (You don't want your pipes to freeze.) In the Summer, you don't want to let it get too hot in the house. If you have wood floors, they can warp. If you have a wireless system, adjust it to it's normal temperature a few hours before you arrive home so it is comfortable when you return.
3. Electronics - Unplug appliances from the wall outlets (or use surge protectors) in case of any electrical issues. This will prevent the potential for an electrical fire.
4. Water - Turn off valves to your dishwasher, washing machine and sinks to avoid any leaks. After you return, you might find air in the pipes when turning the water back on, so do it slowly.
5. Mail - Arrange to have your mail held at the post office until you return home or have someone come to your home every day to bring it in the house. You want to avoid having your home look like no one is home for a long period of time.
6. Newspapers - If you still get a daily newspaper, contact the carrier to put a hold on your delivery until you come home from vacation or have someone bring your newspapers into the home.
7. Neighbors - Make a trusted neighbor aware that you are going out of town so they can keep an eye on your home and look for any suspicious activity. Give them a key and a code to the alarm system, is necessary. Show them how to reset the alarm upon leaving, if need be.
8. Deliveries - Make sure you do not arrange to have Amazon or any other online store make deliveries to your home while you are out of town. With package theft at an all-time high, you don't want packages being left on your porch or at your front door for an extended period of time. (Not to mention damage caused by inclement weather!)
9. Social Media - Resist sharing on Facebook that you're going away if your home is going to be empty and tell your kids to do the same.
10. Timer - Keep one or more lights on a timer in your home that are visible from the outside. Set them to go on at dusk and then turn off shortly before your normal bedtime. This is another way for it to look as if someone is home when you're not.
Be safe and have a great time on your vacation!
Wednesday, August 03 2016
I just returned from a whirlwind two week adventure on the back of a Harley Davidson motorcycle. Five others along with myself rode three motorcycles about 5800 miles from Pennsylvania to Ohio, Indianapolis, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnasota, North Dakota, Montana, Wyoming, South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, Missouri, Illinois, Indianapolis, Ohio and back to Pennsylvania.
We saw some amazing sites including Glacier National Park, Badlands National Park, Devils Tower, Sturgis, Mt Rushmore and Mark Twain's hometown in Hannibal, MO among others.
The minimalistic part of this trip was a major challenge for me. I am used to having all of my clothing and accessories at my fingertips. However, when you share a piece of luggage strapped onto the back of the Harley and have to life out of it for fourteen days, staying in a different hotel every night, you quickly learn how to be a minimalist.
We each packed for only four days, having to do laundry several times throughout the trip. I packed only 4 sleeveless, 4 shortsleeve, 4 longsleeve and two fleese tops along with 2 pair of pants, 1 pair of shorts, underware and socks for 4 days and 4 night shirts. All accessories were travel size. We relied on hotel shampoo, conditioner and soap for the most part and no blow dryer. I packed one pair of sneaks and one pair of flip flops along with a full set of raingear especially made for the Harley, a wind jacket, denim jacket and leather jacket for those cold and windy days and nights. I lived mostly in my Harley boots. It's amazing what you can fit in half of a suitcase that you share with your significant other. We packed all of our clothing by category and labeled each plastic bag they were stored in (after kneeling on them to squeeze the air out of them) to help quickly identify what we needed when we needed it as we traveled.
Riding on the bike for 14 days gave me a lot of time to reflect.
I began to feel that I was so materialistic at home, with choices of so many types of clothing at my fingertips and how I could actually survive and still be comfortable with so little while travelling. It certainly gave me a whole new perspective. (Mind you, I have no intention of personally going more minimalistic at home. I did get tired of wearing the same clothing over and over again!)
The moral to this story is that, it is possible to live a much more simple life, if you so choose. It's all a matter of mindset.
This lesson in life will stay with me for years to come and I will share it will my current and future clients to encourage them when they want to downsize and live a much more minimalistic life - focusing more on the important things in life and less on the material things.
If you need any personal help with downsizing and/or living a more minimalistic life, I can show you, first hand, how to do just that. As they say, "been there, done that"!
Monday, July 27 2015
It's Monday afternoon and I just returned from a four day trip on a Harley-Davidson motorcycle from Bucks County, PA to Canaan Valley, West Virginia last night. The weather was amazing and the sites spectacular.
I am relatively new to the life of a "Biker Babe" and, although the rides and trips are amazing, I am having to adjust my way of thinking. I am learning some lessons in living a minimalistic life - I have no choice.
I have a small SUV which I purchased several years ago to enable me to transport almost anything and everything - for my clients and for myself. When I head out on vacation, I am able to fill the SUV with whatever I need and want. Not so on a Harley!
In order for me to plan for a four day excursion with my boyfriend, I had to pack whatever I needed or wanted in one-half of a suitcase that could be strapped to the back of the bike. Not an easy task.
I openly admit that I like my creature comforts and, because I have the brain of an organizer, I am detail oriented and like to be prepared for anything and everything. You do not have that option when packing for a trip with only the use of 1/2 of a suitcase.
I am aware that some people do not find this a challenge, but I do. Mike was great and very patient with me when I was packing and talked me through the process. For four days, I could pack one pair of jeans, a pair of shorts, a bathing suit and coverup, two night shirts, under garments, six shirts, a denim jacket, one fleese and rain gear along with my toiletries. Layering is a must on a Harley. Although it was in the 80's everyday, [perfect riding weather], the mornings were chilly and required four layers of clothing.
These are the lessons I learned:
One pair of jeans for daytime and one pair for night time;
The shirt you wear in the evening is the shirt you wear the next day;
Only one pair of sneaks and one pair of sandals get packed. [This was particularly difficult for me!]
Layering is critical no matter what time of year.
Toiletries need to be downsized considerably and travel size products are your best friend.
Although Mike teased me throughout the trip about us having the largest suitcase in the group, we managed to pack what I needed and still leave room for his stuff and, most importantly, get the suitcase zippered shut!
This biker babe is still learning the tricks to living a minimalistic life when it comes to traveling on the bike. I have found that it is giving me a different perspective as to what is really important. Only pack what you need, not what you want. It is possible!
I believe the same holds true in our homes. I am not saying get rid of everything you own; but, try to look at your possessions and think about whether you actually need them. This is a good way to reduce the clutter in your home and in your life!
I promise that the next trip I take on the motorcycle will involve even less!
Tuesday, July 08 2014
Even if you are not looking to take on a large organizing project, there are some things you can do on a daily basis to get and stay organized. The good thing is, little effort is involved.
Here are some suggestions:
1. Make Your Bed - This simple task will not only give your room a nicer look, but if you have pets in the home, it is especially helpful. Pets have litter, dirt, fur, dander, dust or other items on them that you don't necessarily want on your sheets. Take five minutes to make your bed first thing in the morning.
2. Determine Your Route - Are you running errands or taking a trip? Plan the best route you will take and know travel conditions before getting into your car. Getting lost or sitting in a traffic jam is not saving you any time.
3. Load The Dishwasher or Hand Wash The Dishes - Dirty dishes left in the sink, on the counter or elsewhere in the house is an invitation for bugs, pests and bacteria. A cluttered sink makes it difficult to prepare meals. Load the dishwasher throughout the day and run it regularly to keep your dirty dishes from building up. Wash your dishes by hand and let them dry in the drainboard as you use them. Put the dishes away on a regular basis to avoid clutter.
4. Open Your Mail - On a daily basis, bring your mail into the house and immediately sort through it, eliminating the junk mail by shredding and recycling. Open up the rest of the mail to decide what you need to do with it. This will avoid the build up of paper clutter in your home.
5. Lay Out Your Clothes - The night before, decide what you want to wear the next day, even down to accessories and lay them out for the next morning. This will save you time when you are rushing to get somewhere the next day.
There are many other ways you can do some "everyday organizing". Can you think of any?
If you are overwhelmed with the idea of getting organized or have a larger project you want to tackle, don't hesitate to contact me. I am here to help.
In the meantime, I am wishing you an organized day!
Monday, May 19 2014
I don't think there is anyone these days who does not have a cell phone. We eat, sleep and do everything with our cell phone by our side. It has become our life line.
I bet, however, that you never realized some of the things your cell phone can do for you. It can be a mini-survival kit, life saver or emergency tool kit.
These are some things your cell phone can do for you:
1. EMERGENCY - Did you know that there is a worldwide Emergency Number for cell phones? The number is 112. If you find yourself out of the coverage area of your mobile network and there is an Emergency, simply dial 112 and your phone will search any existing network to establish the emergency number for you. Interestingly enough, this number can be dialed even if the keypad is locked!
2. HIDDEN BATTERY POWER - You discover that your cell phone battery is very low. You can access a reserve by pressing the keys *3370#. Your cell phone will restart with this reserve and will show a 50% increase in battery. This reserve will get charged the next time you charge your cell phone. This could definitely be a life saver!
3. DISABLE A STOLEN CELL PHONE - First, check your Mobile phone's serial number, and key in the following digits on your phone. *#06# A 15-digit code will appear on the screen. This number is unique to your handset. Write it down and keep it somewhere safe. If your phone is stolen, you can phone your service provider and give them this code. They will then be able to block your phone so even if a thief changes your SIM card, your phone will be completely useless. You might never get your phone back but at least you know that whoever stole it won't be able to use it or sell it. Just imagine if everyone did this, there would no longer be a reason for people to steal mobile phones!
4. DIRECTORY ASSISTANCE FOR FREE - Cell phone companies these days are charging between $1.00 and $2.00 (or more) for 411 information calls. Most of us don't carry a telephone directory in our vehicle. I don't even keep one in my home anymore! Instead, when you need to use the 411 option, simply dial: (800)FREE411 or (800)373-3411 and you will not incur any charges. Program this number into your phone for safe-keeping.
I found these tips very helpful and simply wanted to share them with you. These are great to implement now before the Summer vacation season begins.
Feel free to share this blog with your family and friends so that they can utilize these tips as well.
If you want more tips on getting and staying organized or find that you are overwhelmed by your clutter, don't hesitate to contact me. I am here to help.
In the meantime, I hope you are having an organized day!
Tuesday, May 06 2014
Have you taken a look around lately? All of us have things scattered around the house that can be re-purposed. There is something in almost every room of the home, in fact.
Today, I want to share with you 10 ideas for items you already have in your home that you can "re-purpose on purpose":
1. A CD tower in the bathroom can be used to hold toilet paper, toiletries or small towels. You can even turn it on its side with the openings upright and hang it on the wall for additional storage.
2. A tennis ball canister or Pringles canister that has been cut on the bottom can be used to hold paper baking liners for cupcakes and muffins or to hold paper cups. Hang it on the wall to save space. It can be used for so many other things too!
3. A hard glass case is useful to store your ear buds or other small items in your luggage or handbag.
4. A muffin pan is a great way to store small items in your drawer in the bathroom or bedroom such as children's hair clips or jewelry.
5. An upright magazine holder can be used for gift bag storage or sheets of wrapping paper.
6. A long towel holder with knobs can be mounted on the back of a door or on a wall to organize your jewelry.
7. Use a business card case to transport your favorite sweetener packets.
8. Re-use a tissue box to store plastic grocery bags.
9. A small shower caddy can be hung on a doorknob in your laundry room to hold detergent, dryer sheets, clothes pins, etc.
10. Use an acrylic napkin holder to organize your bills to be paid, putting them in chronological order to avoid late payment.
Which of these items will you repurpose? What other ideas do you have for re-purposing your items? Take a look around and get creative!
If you are simply overwhelmed with the thought of getting organized and don't know where to begin, contact me at A Better Space. I will be more than happy to help. Let's "re-purpose on purpose" together!
Thursday, September 05 2013
As the Summer ends and Fall begin, this is a time of transition and renewal. It's also time to evaluate where we are in our lives and what we have.
We can all agree that having multiples of certain items in your home (for example, toilet paper) or in your office (pens) are helpful and make sense to have. Since we use these items often, we need to be sure that we can store them in a way that makes it easy to access them.
However, sometimes, multiple items can accumulate and begin to take up valuable space. We want to be sure not to let those items cause us "double vision". They should not get out of control.
Here are five items that you probably have duplicates of:
1. Paper shopping bags. How many have you accumulated from the grocery store? Although they can be useful for various purposes, if you find that they are accumulating, consider donating them to charities that could benefit from them. Some charities bag up meals, clothes, supplies or purchases and are always looking for bag donations. Check with your local charity to see if they are in need of this item.
2. Hotel toiletries. I have talked about this in a previous blog, but I think it is worth repeating. If you are a frequent traveler, chances are you have come home with travel-size toiletry bottles and packets. If you find that you are just collecting them and not using them, you can offer them to overnight guests in a basket in the bathroom, use shower caps as food container covers or donate them to a local shelter. You can even leave them at the hotel and not bring them home at all. Let others make use of them instead.
3. Pens, pencils and markers. I don't know about you but the pens, pencils and sometimes markers seem to multiply in my house. How often do you come home with a pen that you borrowed and forgot to return? I must admit it happens to me from time to time. When my son was in public school, he "acquired" lots of pens and pencils throughout the school term. Don't ask! If you end up with an abundance of pens, pencils or markers, consider donating them instead of holding onto them. It's impossible to use all of them! Donate them to your local school or community center or the Pencil Project.
4. Bedding. When was the last time you went through your linen closet and eliminated the older sets of sheets or blankets that you no longer use? We tend to hold onto more sets than we need. If you change your sheets once a week, you don't need more than two, maybe three sets per bed. The third set might be a set of flannel sheets. Are they stained, torn, or don't fit the beds you currently own? Consider donating them to a local charity if they are in good shape or a local animal shelter. They are always in dire need of bedding.
5. Mugs. Do you bring home mugs from places that you've traveled or received them as a promotional item at an event? They can accumulate in your kitchen cabinet over time. We tend to have our favorites and don't tend to reach for the others. If you find that you have too many, consider donating them to a local charity in your area or to that college student living in a dorm or apartment.
So, are you seeing double in your home? Take a look around and start putting things together that you can donate. You will gain more space for your important items and help others in the process.
If you need assistance in downsizing your possession, feel free to contact me at A Better Space. I am here to help.
Until next time, HAPPY ORGANIZING!
Sunday, July 07 2013
We are currently in the midst of the Summer season which prompts a lot of people to take vacations. Vacations can come in many forms but one thing tends to be true. When you travel, you stay at a hotel.
Those travel-size shampoos, lotions and soaps found in many hotel rooms can easily accumulate when traveling and even easier to become clutter in your home when you return home.
I am not saying that you should not take them with you when you go home but over time, an overflowing stash of these freebies can outgrow your space or take up room that other important items should be occupying.
So, in order to avoid this conundrum, I recommend that you repurpose them.
Here are six suggestions:
1. Keep them in your purse or handbag. Whether you walk, bike, drive or take public transportation, you tend to have a bag with you. This is a perfect solution for storing your mini-sized toiletries and having them easily accessible.
2. Keep them in your desk at work. For easy access while on the job, keep a stash in your drawer of your desk and simply grab what you need when heading to the rest room to freshen up.
3. Keep them in your car. Do you spend a lot of time traveling in your car? Put some lotions, mouthwash or even a sewing kit in your car's glove compartment.
4. Use them at the gym. If you regularly shower at the gym after a workout, travel-size toiletries can be very useful and don't take up a lot of room in your gym bag.
5. Use them on your next trip. Are you staying at a vacation spot that does not involve a hotel? Keep a bag in your suitcase or backpack for camping with the other items you use most. Use a few of those shower caps to pack your shoes next time to keep them away from your clean clothes.
6. Donate them. If you find that you do not have a need for the amount you have collected, donate them to a shelter. Clean The World accepts unopened or unused bars of soap and shampoo for distribution domestically and internationally. The Global Soap Project also collects and reprocesses soaps into new bars.
Of course, you can avoid having to make a decision about what to do with them by leaving them behind during your next hotel stay. However, just in case you need to know what to do with all of those hotel toiletries, I hope this helps.
Thursday, January 19 2012
I don't know about you but I spend a lot of time in my car. I am traveling to and from client consultations, client sessions, networking events, shopping trips for organizing product for my clients, donation drop offs and Clever Container parties for my hostesses. That's just the time I spend in the car for business. I also run errands, attend social events, visit with friends, etc.
I know how important it is to manage your time when you are planning trips and one tip I quickly learned was how to plan out the amount of time I need to get to a new location for the first time. If we have never been there before, how do we know how long it is going to take? I have the solution!
My key to success to insure that I will be on time is to go onto Map Quest. (You can also use Google Maps.) Get directions from your home (or wherever your starting point is) to the location you need to be and determine how many miles the trip is in length. THEN, double that number and it will give you a good idea as to how long it will take you.
For example, if I am visiting a client for the first time and I know that her home is 14 miles away from mine, I double that number and I know it will take approximately 28 minutes (give or take a few minutes) to get there.
Trust me, this works. I have been using this method for more than seven years; from the time I first started my professional organizing business in 2004 to figure out how much time I should allow to get to my appointments. Now I use this method for all trips to places I have not been to before. Keep in mind you might get there just a few minutes early some times depending on traffic but you will not have to worry about being late. You can always cushion it with an extra five minutes if you will be involved in rush hour traffic, but again, this system works well for me. I love it because I have found that my GPS is very inaccurate with judging arrival times because it does not take into account traffic delays. My system does!
We can all use tips to help us with time management and I particularly love this one. Give it a try and let me know how you make out.
In the meantime, have a great week!
Saturday, June 25 2011
It seems impossible, but it can be done. Some time ago, on the final installment of The Early Show "Get Organized" series, professional organizer Peter Walsh shows how to pack for a week's vacation in just one carry-on bag. His secret? Streamline and focus.
It really all comes down to being practical but frugal, and thinking in miniatures, Walsh says. It's nice to have lots of options of things to wear each day, but you're sacrificing a light carry-on bag for a heavy suitcase in order to indulge yourself. Truthfully, a lot of people over pack and then end up only wearing the bare essentials, anyway, so you could have saved yourself from lugging a big bag in the long run.
Technically, in order to have enough clothes for a week, all you need is either 2 pairs of pants or 2 skirts (or one of each), and three tops. That's it. As long as all the tops can go with both of the bottoms, you have given yourself 6 combinations to wear. Then throw in a week's worth of underwear and socks. You can decide if your tops should be short or long-sleeved, depending on your destination. Then, pick two pairs of shoes that go with everything, and you can wear one pair plus your jacket while your travel. It's as easy as that!
As for your toiletries and cosmetics, the key is to have the small plastic bottles instead of regular sizes. Buy travel-size tubes of toothpaste, mouthwash, etc. You can buy small plastic jars and bottles for your favorite lotions and potions and then label them so you don't use body lotion as hair conditioner. Filling bottles with your own products can make you feel more comfortable while you're away, and you're able to save so much room by not bringing all of your full-size bottles.
A few things that are important to remember, too, are bags. You should bring along a light weight bag for your laundry, so you're not throwing any of your dirty clothes back in with your clean clothes. Also bring an assortment of Ziploc bags, because you never know when you may need them. They're great if you have a wet swimsuit or in case anything leaks. You can also use one for your jewelry or accessories to keep them together.
As for luggage, Walsh's tip is to have a very bright, neon luggage tag. Today, so many people have bags that look the same that an easy-to-identify luggage tag is a must.
I think these tips are great and can really help you save you money, especially when it comes to travelling via an airline that wants to charge you per bag!
Try them out and let me know what you think!
In the meantime, have a great week!
Friday, May 27 2011
I am about to go away and take a "well deserved" mini vacation this Memorial Day weekend. I have been working almost every day this month and decided to take advantage of the three day weekend and head to the Pocono Mountains of PA.
Even though it is only a "mini vacation", I began several weeks ago compiling a list of things I needed to purchase, things I needed to pack and things I needed to do around the house to prepare.
I cannot imagine getting ready for a trip, large or small, without the use of a list. I have always done this and assumed that everyone else does so too. Not the case.
I am surprised to learn that many people, especially men, do not pack for a trip with a list in hand of what to take. I can only imagine how many times they get to their destination and say to themselves "Oh, I forgot to pack the...."!
When I go away, I like to make sure I have everything I need when I need it. I try my best not to overpack and end up removing about a 1/3 of the items on my list (especially clothing) when it comes to getting it into a suitcase.
By creating a list, you can take some time to think about the items that you need, even down to a pair of scissors and be ready to go when the day arrives.
Do yourself a favor. The next time you take that trip, whether it be a day trip with the family or an extended vacation, make a list and check it twice and you can rest assured that you have what it is you need, when you need it.
Have a great Memorial Day weekend!
Wednesday, May 04 2011
Okay, Easter is behind us, but perhaps those plastic Easter eggs are still hanging around. I have found some great ways to re-use those eggs for organization and want to share them with you!
Besides, just putting them away til next year, there are other ideas for their use.
1. Having a party with balloons. Keep them from floating away by filling the egg with small rocks and close the end of the ribbon from the balloon in the egg. Instant balloon weight!
2. Keep your jewelry free from tangles while traveling by coiling your necklace in the egg and snapping it shut. You can use this idea in your drawer to organize your jewelry as well. Why not keep all of your earring backs in one place in an egg?
3. Use the eggs as packing material. When shipping a box, toss a bunch of lightweight, colorful eggs inside.
4. Tote a healthy snack with you. Use a clean egg to stash a handful of your favorite snack, nuts or trail mix.
5. Carry your MP3 ear buds in an egg to keep them from knotting up.
6. (This is my favorite). Why not store your pantyhose or knee highs in the eggs and use an egg carton to keep them in place in your drawer? I remember when my pantyhose used to come in an egg. Do you?
What ideas do you have for making use of your plastic Easter eggs? I would love to hear them and share them with others. Reusing the eggs is a way to be "green".
In the meantime, if you have any issues with clutter, let me hear from you. I would love to help.
Have a great week and a wonderful Mother's Day!
Wednesday, December 23 2009
I am so excited about my upcoming coaching program for busy moms. This past year I have been focusing my business on helping busy moms and women entrepreneurs learn how to get and stay organized.
Not ony have I been busy writing newsletters, blogs and articles on the subject of getting organized, I have produced a line of products called U Can Do It which were specially created to help busy moms.
Now, I am pleased to announce that I have put together an exciting, new coaching program called "Living A More Organized Life".
With this quarterly group coaching program which meets by phone, busy moms will learn how to follow a proven step-by-step method to tackle and accomplish any project, be prepared for every special event, plan vacations and family time, make back to school a breeze and learn how to relax and enjoy the holiday season by having step-by-step ways to do gift-giving, decorating, large family dinners/parties and having overnight guests feel right at home.
This program begins on January 12, 2010 and then continues in April, July and October.
I am highly suggesting that busy moms not miss out on this opportunity to learn how to live a more organized life. If you or someone you know is a busy mom, don't pass this up. I only have 40 slots available and it will be filling up quickly.
For more information about this program, visit my special information page at www.4abetterspace.com/coaching.
In the meantime, have a very Merry Christmas!
Saturday, September 05 2009
Now that summer is ending and the kids are going back to school, it's time to prepare your vehicle for the Fall and Winter months. While you are emptying out the trash from the summer, put together an emergency kit for your vehicle for emergency situations on the road. I found this helpful information in the AAA Magazine, a very reliable source:
In Case of Emergency Card
Hands-free cell phone adapter
Local and state maps
Spare tire (fully inflated)
Tire changing tools and jack
Emergency gas container
Triangular folding reflector
Waterproof bag to store items
I hope you find this information helpful and it helps you have A Better Space in your vehicle!
If you need further assistance with this or any other organizational issue, please contact me at A BETTER SPACE. I will be more than happy to help.
Wishing you an organized week!
Wednesday, May 14 2008
Since Memorial Day weekend is right around the corner, I thought I would provide those of you who intend to travel either that weekend or any other time during the summer months with One Dozen Travel Smart Quick Tips from A BETTER SPACE.
1. Start early. Once you determine where you're going to be going, begin gathering everything you need to make your trip a pleasant one. Need a passport? Apply at least 3 months ahead of time or you'll pay extra for express delivery. Secure airline reservations at least 8 weeks prior if possible, especially if traveling abroad. The closer it gets to the date you want to leave, the more the tickets will cost. Reserve hotel and car rentals well ahead of time to ensure your reservation is accepted. Get maps, surf the Net and speak with others to get specific travel tips for the areas you're visiting. Get maps. They can be lifesavers along the way. Better yet, invest in a GPS system!
2. Call ahead. Contact your hotel ahead of time to find out what their amenities are. If they have a hair dryer in each room for instance, you won't have to bring yours along. If they have laundry facilities, you can pack even less since you'll be able to wash while you're there. If they have exercise facilities, you may want to bring some sneakers along. Better to know ahead, so you're prepared.
3. Apply the 50% rule. When packing clothing for a trip, lay out everything you think you'll need on your bed--then, put 50% of it back in your closet. Most people take way more than is necessary and end up carrying unnecessary weight along the way. Chances are, you'll be able to wear each outfit at least twice, especially if you mix and match different tops with different bottoms.
4. Use a packing list. Come up with a list of everything you need to take with you when traveling. Organize each item by genre: clothing, toiletries, financial, etc. Make copies of this list, so you can reference it for each trip you take. As you're packing, check off each item on your list as you put it in your suitcase. Finally, pack your list, and use it on your last day of vacation or business trip, so you remember to take everything back home with you.
5. Take an empty suitcase. If you're the type of person who shops when you travel, be sure you bring along an extra suitcase. You'll have the perfect place to pack your souvenirs and gifts purchased during your trip.
6. Make a schedule. Find out what you wish to do at your destination BEFORE you get there. Then, make yourself a schedule for each day based on criteria, such as the days and times a particular store or museum is open. If you wish to switch some events around when you get there, that's OK. But, at least you'll have something to reference so you're not wasting time wondering what you should do or what's open on what days.
7. Carry one on. If you're taking an airline or other mass transit to your destination, always carry on a small carry-on bag that contains your prescription medications, some of your cosmetics, a toothbrush/toothpaste duo, your cell phone, a change of underwear and a good book. Just in case your luggage doesn't make it when you do, you'll have your important items with you. (Check with your airlines to determine what you can bring on the plane, and what you can't.)
8. Bag it. If you don't plan on washing your clothes while you're away, be sure to pack an empty plastic bag so your dirty items can be kept separate from your clean clothes.
9. Bring games for the kids. It's definitely worth it to stop by your local travel store to find some travel games for the kids, such as Travel Bingo, magnetic checkers or coloring books. Also, don't forget some snacks and boxed juices as the little ones are bound to get hungry at one point or another. In fact, you might want to bring a few snacks along for yourself while you're at it!
10. Safety first. Make two copies of your itinerary--one for yourself and one for family members who are not traveling with you. Those at home will be able to contact you in case of an emergency.
11. Play catch up. As long as you're not driving, travel time could easily be used for catching up on some business work, reading or letter writing. Laptops have made it easy to bring your work along with you if you choose. Magazines or a good book can be tucked into your carry-on for reading while you're on the road, in a plane, or later while you're in bed at a hotel or a relative's home.
12. There's no place like home. Before you leave for vacation, clean your house, wash all of your laundry and make your bed. When you arrive back home after your vacation, your home will be a welcome haven.
Hope you find these tips helpful. Send me feedback if you make use of them and let me know how you made out.
For more information and assistance on any organizing issue you might have, feel free to contact me. I will be more than happy to help you reach your goals for organization and create A Better Space for you.
Have a great week!