Author: Annie Amoon RichardClothing Organizing Seasonal Storage

The Organized Way to Pack for a Trip

Here are simple ways to put the sanity back into the process of packing for a trip:

  1. Keep it simple; what do you really need to bring that won’t be available where you are going?  With all of the new rules and fees for traveling these days, it is wise to take only what is absolutely necessary.  Think of the stuff that you pack as paying to take it by its weight.  You are paying for everything you pack.  Choose wisely.  Is it worth its weight?
  2. Pack a “bathroom bag” with the toiletries that you use every day in your bathroom routines.  This is a great time to make use of those travel size toiletries you have saved.  Keep this bag packed and stocked at all times.  Then when you are packing for a trip, the bathroom bag just goes right into the suitcase.  No more unpacking and repacking for every trip.  This also comes in handy if you run out of your regular supply and forget to replenish right away.  I’ve done this for years and it really works.  An added benefit of this is that you can be all packed before you take your last shower before you go.  You don’t have to wait to pack your last minute toiletries.
  3. Invest in a few classic pieces of clothing that can be dressed up or down, depending on the situation.  Dress in layers for variations in weather/temperature can be unpredictable.  One good sweater or light jacket that goes with everything is a handy piece to have.  Assemble a wardrobe that can easily be mixed or matched to create several different outfits from a few basic pieces.
  4. Stick to the basics of neutral colors and dress up your outfits with accessories.  It takes up far less room in the suitcase to pack an accent scarf or tie, than it does to pack an additional outfit.
  5. Once you have packed, consider eliminating half of what you packed.  Don’t pack based on the “just in case” thinking.  Pack based on what you know you need.  If a situation arises, and you have packed based on the above tips, you will have what you need to be flexible.  And it is a lot easier to simply say, “I didn’t know I would need to bring that.”, than to pack for every contingency and be cranky because you had to pay a lot in baggage fees and drag around a heavy suitcase of stuff that you didn’t even end up using at all.
  6. Pack like things together.  Put all of your electronic gadgets and chargers, etc in one place.  Pack the snacks together, as well as the reading materials or work to do as you travel.   There are few things more frustrating than searching through multiple pockets or compartments to find what you need.  The “assign a home” concept of organizing applies to travel too.  If you use the same travel bags or suitcases, put the same things in the same places each time you pack, and you will find what you are looking for with a lot less stress.
  7. Be comfortable.  Bring what feels good to wear or what you feel confident wearing.

Stay true to yourself and you will always look fabulous!  It doesn’t make sense to go on       vacation to reduce stress and then pack in such a way as to cause you more stress.  Pack well and enjoy your trip.

Author: Ellen TozziChallenging Disorganization General Productivity

Riddle: Who Am I?

Riddle: Who Am I?

I am your constant companion.

I am your greatest helper or your heaviest burden.

I will push you onward or drag you down to failure.

I am completely at your command.

Half the things you do might just as well be turned over to me

and I will be able to do them quickly and correctly.

I am easily managed – you must merely be firm with me.

Show me exactly how you want something done;

and after a few lessons I will do it automatically.

I am the servant of all great individuals and, alas, of all failures as well.

Those who are great, I have made great.

Those who are failures, I have made failures.

I am not a machine, though I work with all the precision

of a machine, plus the intelligence of a human.

You may run me for profit or run me for ruin – it makes no difference to me.

Take me, train me, be firm with me, and I will place the world at your feet.

Be easy with me and I will destroy you.

Who am I?

I am called Habit.


Habits, once created, can be one’s best friend. Some people believe they weren’t “born organized” and therefore will never be organized.  The good news is that being organized is a LEARNED skill and gets easier when practiced.  It becomes even easier when the skills become HABITS.

What kind of habits?

– PUTTING THINGS AWAY instead of putting them down

– Keeping “LIKE” THINGS TOGETHER near where you use them

– ASSIGNING HOMES FOR EVERYTHING in order to find them easily

– Assessing WHAT’S IMPORTANT, rather than what’s urgent or feels good

Carve out a bit of time each day to work on making a desired process a habit.  Yes, it requires self discipline in the beginning, but before long it will become, as the riddles states, your constant companion and greatest helper!

Author: Carole WeinstockCloset Family General Home Organizing

Char & HaL…… A story of blessings & transition.

What a blessing when 2 people converge their lives together. What a blessing, when the desire to share in someones life and contribute to each others well-being is present. What a blessing, that these 2 people in their 80th decade have taken on this transition!

I am called into action to assist in this joyous affair.

It requires putting together the logistics of moving Hal to Char’s place.  At this point, Hal, with only his clothes & toiletries.  All other possessions in his apartment are being sold and given away.

Char, now needs to make space for him after living alone for many years. Of course this requires purging, reorganizing closets, and her giving up space for his comfort.

So, there I am inspiring her. Then checking to see what needs to be done. Opening her mind to redoing a closet professionally and adding an extra closet designed for Hal to use.
I am surprised when they approach me and tell me they are re-painting the walls, possibly putting in new wood floors and buying new furniture to suit their new life ~ together.  I am asked to go see the furniture they have picked out to give my feedback. And we end up leaving the store with more than what was on the shopping list!

I am in awe, with their mind set, energy, and action they are taking. They are living the possibility of love, being in the moment, openness, and courage. The courage to change! How many people at this age do you know who would do this??? An amazing situation of what living your dream is at any age!
Mazel Tov to you both!   (in other words-Good Luck)

P.S…Organizing always comes into the picture when a transition occurs.

Author: Annie Amoon RichardEmergencies Family General

Staying Sane When Life Takes A Detour

Life happens to everyone and that tagline, “Life comes at you fast” sure is true.

So how does one stay organized and sane during a season of diverted focus?

Some examples are planning for a wedding, birth, trip, or other big occasion, upcoming surgery, caretaking of a family member dealing with an illness or recovery process, or any host of other major life events.

Here are some things that I learned while preparing for my husband’s back surgery that may be helpful to others:

Be kind to yourself.

Everything will NOT get done during this time.  Accept it and do the best you can.

I often rely on the wise words of Art Williams, “All you can do is all you can do, but all you can do is enough.”

Prioritize each day.

Or even each hour.  What absolutely HAS to get done?

Focus on those action items.

Make sure that critical bills get paid.

Set up automatic payments, pay ahead, or make special arrangements.

Make routine payments as easy as possible so you don’t have to worry about them.

You are dealing with enough; you certainly don’t need the added stress of a sudden episode of unexpected chaos or service interruption.

Enlist help.

Family and friends DO want to help; let them.

When people ask if they can help, say yes.

Give them a specific task you need to get done that you know they can handle.

Let them stock your freezer and pantry.  Maybe they can mow your yard.

Allow them to bless you with their help, and anything that they do frees up

your time and energy.

Get plenty of rest.

It is amazing what a 20 minute nap can do.

Just resting your eyes from all of the visual stimuli in our world helps.

Embrace moments of quiet.

Make time for fun and laughter.

Get away from the situation at hand, even if it is only for a short while.

Allow yourself to get your mind off of it and have some fun.

It will not be wasted time; it will work wonders for your mood and energy level.

When all else fails, have a good cry and a bowl of ice cream.

Author: Danielle OBrienFamily General Holidays Seasonal

Holiday Entertaining – Happy 4th of July!

When I was a child, my parents used to have these huge picnics on 4th of July. Everyone was invited. My parents spent weeks prior to the party cleaning, shopping and preparing enough food to fill our two refrigerators. My father worked the grill all day and my mother worked in the kitchen sending food out to the backyard and cleaning the platters that were coming in. It took a least a week to clean up the house and put it back to normal.

Now- a- days my sisters and I don’t seem to have the time for a huge BBQ nor do we wish to work that hard, but I missed those holiday picnics, so I decided to start my own holiday tradition for the 4th of July. Equipped with some organizing skills and a good imagination, I have planned a party that takes a lot less hard work. Here’s how:

I’m lucky. I live on a public park and every year on the 3rd of July our borough plans a wonderful fireworks display. So we invite everyone over for our “Ice Cream & Fireworks Party” which starts at 7pm. The invitations go out one month prior to the party. The preparations begin by defrosting and eating all the contents from the freezer. This is also a good time to scrub the freezer. Shopping is done over the course of the next few weeks by watching for coupons on popsicles, ice cream sandwiches, water ice as well as other ice cream novelties. Every week I check for sales on the five gallons of ice cream I will need. The week prior to the party my family and I form an assembly line in the kitchen. We collect all of our drinking glasses, the juice glasses are the perfect size. We create delicious ice cream sundaes such as traditional, caramel, cookie crumbles and blondie sundaes. We cover them with plastic wrap and label them. They are then layered with small pieces of cardboard in the freezer.

On the day of the party I set up the drink station with iced tea, lemonade, soda, an ice bucket and cups. I put a cute red bucket of spoons and a cute red bucket of napkins on the dining room table. Helpful hint: buy all your paper products in red. Red can be used for your New Year’s party, birthdays, Valentine ’s Day, Christmas, memorial day, labor day and of course 4th of July. I put a huge teak bowl on the table for the ice cream novelties, the toys go outside, the pets go in the garage, the music gets turned on and we are ready!

Around 8:30 my helpers and I huddle in the kitchen. We top each sundae off with whipped cream, cherries, jimmies and a mint leaf. I carry them into the dining room on trays and place them around the big bowl of novelties. Now is the time to try not to get run over by the mad rush to the ice cream. After ice cream our guests are adorned with the neon jewelry that my husband loves to purchase for our guest, and we take our places on the deck with blankets and chairs that our guests know to bring.

After the fireworks the children usually raid the freezer for one more sundae.  While I say goodbye to our fifty guests and direct traffic off our tiny street, my friends help me out by tossing the trash for me. A quick wipe down on the table and a wet swift of the floors and this party is over until next year.

Don’t think of the holidays as being so daunting with all the shopping, cooking and cleaning. Keep it simple. Start early, create your own traditions. You too can entertain without wearing yourself out or putting a big dent in your budget.

Happy summer!

Author: Carla ShipmanFamily General Organizing Organizing Products Seasonal

OMG! My Car Is A Mess

Wow! Summer vacation is right around the corner.  I’m sure we all can become overwhelmed with the hustle and bustle of chauffeuring our children back and forth and to all the end of school events.  Let alone commuting to your own appointments; the last thing most of us are thinking about is keeping our car clean and organized.  After all, being that high profile chauffer to those daily and extracurricular activities can be very tasking.  It isn’t until a friend you haven’t seen in ages comes up to your car you feel embarrassed. Then you get a frightful look on your face when you realize it looks like you’ve lived in the car for the past 6 months.  You say to yourself I’ve got to clean this car.

Don’t fret you still have time to get your car ready for the summer.  Keeping your car organized can make your travel time less stressful.  Here are some helpful tips below:

  1. Sort and clean out your car: Get rid of anything that doesn’t belong.  Keep a small trash bag in the car. If you have children assign duties.  One child can take out trash and another can take out toys, groceries etc…make it a family affair.  Let anyone who comes in your know about your “trash in, trash out” policy.  Get a small car vacuum and vacuum once a week.   It will make a big difference.
  2. Make sure you have all important papers in your glove compartment like car manual, registration and insurance forms.  Check every six months to make sure those documents are up to date. Keep a small change purse so you will always have money for those parking meters.  Keep your GPS handy.
  3. Remember to keep your car smelling fresh with air fresheners. It adds a nice touch of clean. Look in your local coupon circular for car wash specials.
  4. Keep reading material, cds and dvds to a minimum.  Too many of these items can cause clutter and end up on the car floor.  Remember to establish an in and out policy.  About 10 minutes before we make it home I ask my son, “is my car clean back there?”  Then he knows it’s time to gather up his stuff.
  5. There are some really cool car storage organizers you can get at Organized A to Z that can help you save time and money to keep the car organized.
  6. Here are some items that should be in your car at all times:  You can get one of those trunk organizers and place Velcro at the bottom.  Place items like first aid kit, flashlight, blanket, umbrella, neck pillow, paper towels, canvas tote bag, cleaning rag, ice scraper, empty water bottle, and jumper cables.  In addition, keep a pre-packed beach bag; don’t forget sunscreen and chairs for summer activities.
  7. Lastly, we spend so much time in our car why not makes it as comfortable as possible. Once you establish a system to declutter and organize your life in your car you will feel a better.

Enjoy your summer!  Happy Organizing.