Two-Tip Tuesday: Travel Edition

Ka'anapali, MauiAs I began to pack for my annual family vacation a few weeks ago, I realized the ridiculousness of the multiple lists and stray papers strewn around the house when getting ready. Every year we take the same trip and essentially bring the same things, with a few modifications.

As much as the loving list maker that I am, I figured it was probably time to get a new system.

Are you a seasoned traveler, or do you get pains in your stomach and night sweats the week before a trip at the thought of getting your family packed and shipped off to your destination?

This weeks’ tips are a few simple ways to help the panicky sort bring some semblance of balance and order into your packing regiment.


Packing List Apps packing list app

Packing lists are a given so why reinvent the wheel every time you take an excursion?

Of course certain items change depending on the type of trip you take and the time of year, yet there are basic necessities to always pack, regardless of your destination.

Try managing your lists on an app like Evernote, which allows you to create and store lists, notes and travel documents that can be accessed from all your devices. This solves the challenge of thinking of something while away from your handwritten list, so you can add to it while you’re mobile.

There are some great apps out there designed specifically for packing, as well. Check out Suitcases for $0.99. Another great one, PackPoint, is free (and for both Android and iPhone).

Of course there are many more like these. As always, please let me know your favorites!


Packing Cubes EagleCreek Packing Cubes

I learned my lesson the hard way this time. I usually try to pack my kids in their own suitcase and a separate one just for me. But since one bag didn’t make it onto the plane last year, I decided to try spreading everyone’s clothes between the two bags, just in case.

The result? Utter chaos and clothing mess when we reached our destination. Although we stayed just a few days on the first leg of our trip, I destroyed both bags searching for certain underwear and the “right” beach cover-up.

The solution? These handy-dandy packing cubes! I’m sure you’ve seen them before, and quite frankly, in the past I mocked their over anal-ness.

But now I see the light.

The cubes save you from unpacking and repacking several times—or from making a mess while digging. These particular ones from the Container Store come in different colors. You can find different shapes and sizes, in different brands, anywhere.

Have you tried them before? I’d love to get your opinion!

Two-Tip Tuesday: Summer Organization

Container store storage bins

Although it snowed in my part of the world a few days ago, summer is right around the corner, or so I’m told. Here are a few tips to get your home in order before the onslaught of “bored” kids take over your space, creating chaos and disaster.

Seasonal Gear Swap

This may seem like a no-brainer, and with winter taking it’s sweet time lingering around, but it’s time for the seasonal swap (if you haven’t done so already).

Take stock of those winter hats, scarves, gloves, and boots, etc. and purge what will no longer fit or be worn the next year, before storing. I have finally given into the fact that my kids know their own style and won’t wear something they don’t like. So, before purging, they sit with me to make a keep or donate pile. It clears the clutter and saves aggravation for the next year.

When you bring out the summer gear, try storing it in attractive containers that can close. This will eliminate the feeling of clutter just by containing those towels, water guns and goggles with a closed-off lid.

My favorites are still the Container Store, Target and Bed Bath & Beyond, but there are plenty more out there.

chore chart

Summer Chore List

Once school is out, your kids will have a lot more free time on their hands. Now is the perfect time to sit down as a family and divvy up jobs and chores. If you don’t have kids, there’s no better time like the present to re-evaluate with your partner.

For me, new seasons bring new beginnings and changes. So, regardless of your home situation, it’s always a good time to re-asses. I know summer doesn’t technically begin for another month, but around here, it’s the day the kids get out of school and the pool is open, thus bringing new chaos to the house.

Instead of ordering everyone around and assigning jobs, let the whole family participate and take ownership. This can be a great way to bond and will more than likely help things get done without nagging or 1,000 reminders. Oh wait, guess that’s nagging too.

Click here or on the image above for a free chore chart download.

As always, I love hearing feedback. Please let me know what you think, or feel free to share any ideas of your own

Two-Tip Tuesday

Year of the Horse 2014 (wood) Post Card imageWelcome to the Year of the Wood Horse

Last week marked the Chinese New Year, bringing us into the Year of the Wood Horse. Most people are familiar with the animals of the Chinese zodiac, but each year is associated with an element as well. Last year was the Water Snake. Water is often associated with deep introspection and emotions, whereas wood represents growth and progress. Paired with the fiery horse, this year should feel much faster paced, productive and explosive.

This week’s tips are ideas for how to bring the wood element into your home, as well as to create good feng shui for 2014. Click here for more information about the Year of the Wood Horse. As always, please contact me if you’d like more ideas on how to feng shui your space.

Image credit: maydaze at | See maydaze’s “Year of the Horse (wood) 2014 Post Card” for sale at Zazzle.

Clear entryway imageA Clear Entryway

Can you barely open your front door because of too much clutter? Has your snow gear taken over your entryway, making it a challenge just to squeeze into your house? In feng shui terms, the front door of the home (or office) is referred to as the mouth of the qi (or chi). Think of it as the main entry portal for all energy to flow into your space. So imagine how challenging it would be to have a healthy flow of energy throughout your house or office if this entryway were obstructed in any way. Your front door is kind-of like your home’s first impression. Would you really want to neglect that area or keep it as the main dumping ground?

Sprucing up this space can be easy and simple. First and foremost, you do have to take on the daunting task of removing the clutter (if that is an issue). Find new homes for your shoes, hats, gloves or whatever is piling up. Plants are always excellent for bringing in positive energy, as long as they are positioned well and not in the way. Make sure doorbells are in working order, hinges are well oiled and light bulbs aren’t covered in cobwebs. A nice looking doormat is another way to give your entryway a fresh look. Remember, it is just as important to keep the exterior space in order as it is to keep the interior.

Bamboo forest imageBring in the Wood Element

One way to create good feng shui in 2014 is to bring more of the wood element into your space. You might think this means actual wood or something brown, but in feng shui terms, the wood element is represented by anything on the green color spectrum. Light blues may fall into this category as well. Color can be introduced in a variety of ways, whether it is through art, painting a wall or dish towels. Using small decorative accents can help accomplish this as well, just be careful not to create chachki clutter. (You know who you are, chachki lovers!)

Plants are another excellent way to bring wood into your space. If you have a brown thumb like me, bamboo is the perfect plant for you. Not only is bamboo an auspicious feng shui cure, it’s a very low maintenance plant, it doesn’t need light and it’s difficult to kill (although it can be done). Pictures of plants, vibrant green landscapes or lush forests also work. Just remember to always surround yourself with things you love. Don’t buy an item just because you desperately need something that meets these criteria. Your home should be decorated with items that not only make your space feel good, but make you feel good as well.


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