Vacation Success Depends on the Planning

Diana Eastty, Well Ordered Spaces

A vacation only really begins after the work of planning for the vacation is done.

As I reflect on the many family vacations we’ve taken over the years, I realize that the best ones resulted from some serious upfront planning. Here are some examples.

Ever since our youngest daughter could read road signs she was intrigued by the number of towns named after distant countries, and at this young age she expressed her desire to “travel the world in Maine.” For those of you who are not familiar with Maine, there many towns who have adopted the name of foreign countries sprinkled all over the state.

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Too many tutus

I was shopping for baby presents and came across a cute book aimed at 1st graders, Fancy Nancy: Too Many Tutus, by Jane O’Connor. It caught my attention because it focused on tackling the overabundance of a particular favorite item.

Nancy is a young dancer who can’t fit new dance outfits into her stuffed closet. Over the course of the book, she learns to let go of some beloved, but outgrown, worn out and duplicate tutus in order to make room for the new ones. The book also includes a gentle lesson about sharing with friends and a younger sibling.

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Everyday Orgnaizing

Janine Cavanaugh, CPO®Upon returning home from getting my hair cut, I realized how many little things I organized. I can name 10 steps I took:

1. Hung up my keys
2. Hung up my coat
3. Put my gloves and hat away
4. Took of my boots and put them on the mat
5. Put my pocketbook away
6. Took my check book out of my pocketbook and put it back where it belongs
7. Put my book away (I brought a book to read at the hairdressers.)
8. Wrote my next hair appointment in my datebook
9. Tossed the hair appointment notice
10. Collected the mail and put it in it’s “to sort” location (I won’t go into the steps I took to process the mail. That’s a whole other blog entry.)

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Why not to clean up?

At a recent networking event I was talking to an acquaintance about the work I do. I mentioned that I encourage my clients not to clean up their spaces before I arrive. She gave me a horrified look.

It brought back childhood memories of my mother telling me to clean my bedroom before the cleaning lady came. I never understood the point of cleaning my room so it would get cleaned by someone else. There is a family disagreement about why. My mother told me it was so I would have an easier time finding my favorite things later, but my sister remembers being told that it was so that the cleaner would have more time to do deep cleaning. I assume that part of the reason was to lessen the embarrassment of the mess before the cleaning person could see it.

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Value of Labeling

by Janine Cavanaugh, CPO®
Janine Cavanaugh, CPO®
While on vacation I read an article on the plane about David Beckham.  Did you know he’s really into Legos?  While reading, I was reminded of a client of mine.  I helped her organize her son’s room and his large Lego collection.  He liked them sorted by theme, so we put different themes into different containers.  That action would have been futile unless we labeled them.  We labeled the containers in two ways, with words and stickers that related to the themes.  Labeling is an important part of organizing, because it clearly indicates where an item belongs, and reinforces where an item needs to be returned. Do you think David Beckham had his Lego containers labeled?

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3 Simple Ways to Make Your House Guest Friendly

With Thanksgiving and Christmas around the corner now is a great time to scrutinize your home with the eyes of a guest. I have listed three rooms that are focal points while entertaining and can play a large role in hospitality:

1) The entry– Make sure it is clear and easy for people to move through. You do not want your guests to feel as though clutter is leaning in over them as they enter your house. Create a home for all your jackets and shoes, and set up an area where you can quickly hang visitors’ jackets.

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The Simpler the Better

Receiving a thank you note in the mail is pleasant. It’s even more pleasant when you’re being thanked for something you didn’t realize would make an impact on the other person. This happened to me when I offered a simple organizing solution to a Realtor I had met at a networking event. She asked me if I had any ideas how she could keep all her real estate forms portable and organized. I suggested a portable accordion file. The next thing I know, I’m reading a very sincere thank you note that makes me smile. It just goes to show you, sometimes the simplest organizing solutions are the best solutions. In this case, find a good home for paper and things.

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Gift cards, love ‘em or hate ‘em

Ahhhh, summer in the air brings high school graduations, college graduations, birthdays, weddings, even times to appreciate your staff – and that means gifts. Sometimes all those presents come in extremely small packages… gift cards.

Gift cards, in my opinion, are both a blessing and a curse. The reason I say this is because it is a fabulous gift to allow people to choose what they want. In addition, the cards are easy to mail and don’t require tons of boxes or wrapping paper to make them look like presents. They are a curse because people forget about them or lose them in piles somewhere in their homes. I’ve encountered this a number of times, not just with clients but also among friends and family.

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Greeting Cards Organized in Hanging File Folders

A client of mine loves to give gifts and send greeting cards to friends and family.  She had been keeping her cards in several baskets but they were not in any order.  After sorting the cards into similar categories: birthday, holiday, sympathy and so on, and purging some cards that she no longer cared for (especially the free cards sent by charitable organizations as a thank you for your donation) we needed a way to organize the cards.

card drawer

The volume of cards was considerable so the card storage boxes that can be purchased at Hallmark would not cut it.  My client already had a two-drawer filing cabinet in her bedroom that was not being utilized.  After emptying the filing cabinet, we madefile tabs with her categories and put the cards in the hanging files.  This makes it much easier for her to see the collection she has and choose a card to send.

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Yard Sales

Selling what you no longer want or need is one way of bringing in a bit of extra cash, so long as you know what you’re in for. Yard Sales are a lot of work. If you want to give it a try here are my top 5 tips:

1. Spread the Word – if no one comes, you won’t be selling a thing. List your sale locally, both on line and in print. Share the date with friends, family, neighbors, and coworkers.
2. Price to sell – remember people are looking for bargains. Group things together by price and have a colored sticker code. This beats having to print up or write up price tickets.
3. Get a permit – some towns require a yard sale permit. You don’t want to have to pay a fine, if your town requires a permit, and you don’t have one. Check with your town hall before you plan a yard sale.
4. Donate after the sale – establish the rule that nothing from the sale goes back into the house or garage. Instead pick a donation location before the sale and set up a pick up date or drop off date.
5. Have cash on hand – make a trip to the bank before your sale so you’re prepared. Only accept cash as payment, and have plenty of change and singles to make for smoother transactions.

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