Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Packing For a Trip Abroad

Think minimalistic. Don't pack for the worse case scenario. If you do need to pick something up along the way, that is better than packing ten things you don't need. As Rick Steves says, "You can't travel heavy, happy, and cheap. Pick two." Create a personalized check list from the myriad of lists on line. Then type it out. Pack from it and then put the list in your suitcase to double check when repacking each time along your trip. This will prevent you from leaving that charger behind in a hotel room.


This is one of the most important areas to plan for and to have on your list. Your are not going anywhere without your passport and tickets. Make copies of any document your are carrying. Leave one copy with a relative or good friend and pack the other copy in a different place than the original documents. This way if a document is lost or stolen, you will have the official information to expedite replacement. It is also a good idea to leave your itinerary with someone in case you need to be reached.


Pack all of your prescription drugs and vitamins. Pack at least two day's supply in your carry on. If you tend to have motion sickness, make sure you also carry the Dramamine in your carry on bag. Carrying the name and contact information of your doctor is not a bad idea if you have any medical problems.


Notify your credit card provider and bank of the dates you will be out of the country. Bring currency of the country with you. There are currency exchange booths at the airport. Look for one that represents your personal bank. Use a money belt/bag to hold your financial documents and passport. Having a belt or hidden pocket that is RFID-Safe helps block your documents from being read.


Check online to make sure you have the correct electrical adapters and plug converters. Leave bulky items at home. Check with your phone provider to get the best plan for using your phone while traveling. Call and give the company the dates you are gone.


Pack items that mix and match and can be hand washed. Look for lightweight clothing that dries quickly. Two to three pair of pants, five or six tops, a sweater, a raincoat, two pair of shoes, five sets of underwear should do you. Pack a few accessories to change out your "look." Leave extra room in your suitcase. It might be fun to buy something there to bring home.

Bon Voyage!

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Summer Fun - Throw a Party

I love to throw a party every July for my friends. Summer is a more laid back time of year and a great time to come together and socialize.

The very idea of giving a party can be overwhelming to people. Like any project that seems overwhelming, it's not so daunting if you break it down into smaller, manageable tasks and you don't strive for perfection.

I start with my vision in mind. How do I want this party to look and feel? I usually have a theme but the theme could be as simple as "catch up and have fun." This year, because I just build a new shed house and deck, my theme is "get decked out and shed your cares." I want people to have fun, relax, reconnect, and have dialogue. I want the atmosphere to be comfortable, casual, and connected.

Next I brainstorm what has to happen to make this vision work. I start with my guest list. Then I plan my invitations. I also look at what I want to serve and my party location. My list might look like this:
  • make invitation list
  • send out a save the date email
  • design invites
  • print invites
  • address and mail invites
  • plan the menu
  • prepare the yard
  • clean deck furniture
  • prepare/order food and beverages
  • clean house
  • decorate
  • stray yard for mosquitoes
  • put out food/beverage stations
When looked at all at once, it seems overwhelming, but I break it down and do it over a month's time. I will either hire out some help or ask for some help or usually both. One day I just concentrate on my invitation list, another day I design the invites, another day I print them off, and still another day I mail them. Now my intention is set and the party is on!

The other items on the list are mostly done on weekends and are broken up so that no one day is consumed just by these tasks. By the day of the party there is little to do but finish decorating, some last minute food preparation, preparing the food/beverage stations, and spraying the yard for bugs.

When the guests come, I am ready to party with them. Laissez les bons temps rouler!

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Organizing the Workshop/Garage Zone

The workshop or garage area often ends up as a dumping area. It is not in your main living area and it is sooo easy to walk in and dump something "just for now." After a while it is very difficult to find things you think are there or even to freely move around. I suggest that once a year you schedule a time to really organize and clean out this zone.

Start with deciding the purpose for this area. Do you plan to:
  • park a car
  • store extra household items like water/paper products/oversized cookware
  • store garden tools and accessories
  • work on projects
  • store household tools
  • use as a holding area for recyclables
  • store sports equipment/outdoor games/camping gear
After deciding on how you plan to use this space, determine your zones. Some zone suggestions are:
  • car parking and car related items
  • garden
  • recycling
  • household storage
  • entertainment accessories
  • sports equipment
  • tools
If you have an abundance of tools, you may want to subdivide that zone into plumbing, electrical, wood working, etc.

Decide where to logically place each zone. You will want to place items that you regularly access near entrances. As you are grouping your items  in each zone, look for containers to hold small items that are rattling about. A clear shoebox without the lid can hold gardening gloves. A flat basket can hold gardening hand tools. Utilize shelves, peg boards, hooks, and nails to keep items off the floor. Avoid stacking containers because, for sure, you are going to want something that is in the bottom container. Label containers that are not clear.

Clear out each zone. Determine what you have not used ( that badminton set has not been set up in 3 years or more) or is broken, or expired (seeds, chemicals). These items go away. Knock down the cobwebs and sweep the floor before putting the items away that belong in that zone. You'll be amazed at how much roomier the area is now that all items have been bunched together and stored away.

Now reward yourself. A hot shower and a cool drink  might be just the thing.

For more ideas on how to organize that workshop, view my YouTube video on Organizing Your Workshop.

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer