JERI DANSKY professionalorganizer

August 2008 Newsletter

Tip of the Month: Organizing for Travel


While I'm an experienced traveler, I got to revisit my organize-for-travel approach again last week when I went to visit family in Florida. Here are some thoughts based on my experiences.


1. A packing checklist is your friend.

I like to travel lightly, although you might not know that looking quickly at my long list. But many of the things on that list won't make it into my bags, since the list reminds me of things I've found useful on all sorts of trips. (I didn't need gloves or my international certificate of vacination on that trip to Florida.) Yes, you can buy almost anything you forget, and that's fine if what you forgot was toothpaste. But some things aren't as easy to replace, like the little cable that connects my camera to my laptop. (I forgot that once, the first time I traveled with my laptop; it's on my list now.)


2. A "before I leave home" checklist is also your friend.

Mine reminds me to cancel my newspaper delivery, to notify my credit card company if I'm going abroad and will be charging from there, to unsubscribe from some mailing lists to minimize my incoming e-mail, to set up an e-mail autoresponder, etc. Again, not every item will apply to every trip, but glancing at the list will ensure I don't forget something.


3. You can be organized with or without checked baggage.

Going with just carryon luggage means no worries about lost bags, no luggage problems if flights are changed, and no delays when you arrive - and now it might save you money. But checking a bag, even for those of us who travel lightly, can sometimes be useful. There are no worries about getting onto the plane early to be sure you snag a space in those ever-more-crowded overhead bins, no cumbersome bags to drag into too-small stalls in the airport bathrooms - and you can pack things that aren't allowed in carryon luggage.


4. Prioritize.

On the road, I had less computer access than I would at home. So I let some things slide - including getting this newsletter out to you. I figured I could drive myself crazy trying to get it done while I was gone, or I could just write the newsletter when I got home. I decided there was no real reason this newsletter couldn't go out on August 6 instead of August 1 - and making that decision kept me from getting unnecessarily stressed. (And I'm sure it's a better newsletter than you would have gotten on August 1.)


5. Develop a when-I'm-away support network, and thank the people in that network!

I'm lucky to have a neighbor who looks after my house and takes care of my cats. There's not much to do house-wise, but caring for three and a half cats takes some time. (And if something does go wrong with the house, I have a wonderful handyman who can take care of whatever needs doing.) I'm also fortunate to have someone who stepped in to fill my vice president role in my weekly networking group. And then I have a dear friend who insists on picking me up at the airport when I get home - a wonderful luxury that saves me a taxi ride. Find the people you need, and be sure to thank them.



Organizing Quote of the Month


Here are some things that don’t work in my apartment right now: a video camera, a smoke alarm (this is actually dangerous), an alarm clock (well, it works but I can’t figure out how to reset the time), a cabinet drawer, the electric socket in the master bathroom, the lightbulbs in the hallway light-fixture, and one of the phones. ...


Look around your home, your office, your car, etc. What isn’t working? Throw it away, give it away, or fix it. Throwing away, of course, is easiest – once you’ve made up your mind that something should be tossed (which can be surprisingly difficult). For anything more complex, just tackle one restoration per day. At the end of the month, the elimination of these nagging tasks will make you feel more energized and free.


-- Gretchen Rubin, The Happiness Project



Organizing Product of the Month


to do list on green paper; includes call cat psychic


Sometimes a simple classic product is just the thing. This Shaker pegrack is "made from the highest quality (solid and heavy) Redwood pine cultivated from a managed forest that adheres to FSC standards."


Furthermore, it is "hand painted using the finest organically made milk paint. ... It is completely safe for the environment and contains no artificial chemicals. Milk paint has a lovely lime-chalk appearance and the colouring is stunning. A finish you just don't get with any other paint." It's available in various lengths (4 to 8 pegs) and many different colors.



Reuse/Recycling Suggestion of the Month


Once Upon a Child stores buy and sell "kids stuff with previous experience" - gently used furniture, clothes, toys, and equipment such as strollers. There are stores in many states in the U.S. and also some in Canada (four in Alberta).


Donating toys to good causes is always a nice idea, too. French children donated toys that were sent to Liberia; they'll be given to children forced from their homes by the civil war. For suggestions on places to donate toys in the U.S., see Charity Guide.



Organizing Statistic of the Month


A poll of 1,057 women by the Consumer Reports National Research Center for shopping magazine ShopSmart found U.S. women on average own 19 pairs of shoes although they only wear four pairs regularly while 15 percent have over 30 pairs.

-- Belinda Goldsmith, Reuters, September 2007



Highlights From My Blog in July


There were 28 entries in my organizing and de-cluttering blog in July. Some of the most popular entries were:


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