,It’s been a long wait but camping season has finally arrived! Whether you like to kick it old-school with a tent, or take the amenities with you in an RV, taking a little time to get prepared can make the weekend much more enjoyable! I want to share a few tips to help get you organized and on your way!
It can take a while to get an RV ready to go, especially the first trip out, so it’s a good idea to start preparing sooner than later. Start by getting it out of storage and bringing it home a few days before your first camping excursion of the season. Stop by the car wash on your way home and give it a nice bath! If you know it needs repairs or new tires and you put it off over the winter, book it in now. If you tent when you camp, be sure to test all the airbeds for leaks, and check to see if your tent needs to be waterproofed again.
Even if you cleaned it before you parked it for the winter, the interior of your RV could probably still use a good wipe down with warm, soapy water and a thorough vacuuming. Don’t forget to check the storage areas where mice may have visited!
After a long winter of storage, it’s important to give the whole thing the once-over. Check to see that the fridge and oven work. Turn on the air conditioner and the furnace. Check the septic system and flush the toilet. Ensure the water heater is working. Replace burnt out light bulbs. Flush the antifreeze out of the water line. Check for working brake lights, flat tires and cracked window vents and seals. Don’t forget to top up the propane tank!
It’s always convenient to have some meals prepped before you go, so now is the time to bake some muffins and make the chili. You can store it all in the freezer or fridge until its time to leave and its one less thing to think about while you are relaxing at the campground.
Although it’s not uncommon to stop for a few forgotten items on your way out of town, its way easier to have the bulk of your food now vs. later. Take time to shop for groceries and pay attention to packaging sizes. You may want to buy items in special sizes that better fit your space, like milk or juice containers, egg cartons and condiments. Some food can be ‘prepped’ at home, to save time later, such as pre-grating cheese or chopping veggies. Not only will this save time while you are camping but will also cut down on the dished to be washed.
I am a big fan of lists. Having a well-thought-out list reduces my stress knowing I don’t have to store all that information in my head. I can just check it off when its been dealt with!
I’ve included my itemized camping list just for you. There’s a column available for you to fill in items specific to your needs. Depending on where you are headed, how long you are staying, and whether you have a tent or an RV, your needs might be different than mine. You can print off the list, place it into a plastic sleeve and tape it to the inside of one of your RV cupboards, or, for the tenters out there, your glovebox. I like to keep the master copy in the RV and have another copy to use as my working document in the house. I use it for everything including my shopping list and then I toss it when we leave. If I find something that should go onto the master I add it so that I will be sure to remember it for next time.
I hope you have lots of fun and sun and great adventures with people you love. Have a great summer!
~Kathryn Lyle, Professional Organizer
Did you know that 94% of households have a 'junk drawer'? I totally made that statistic up, but I'd be willing to wager it's not far off. You might call it a utility drawer or something else creative, but chances are you have one in your house. Although junk drawers tend to be a catch-all for many kinds of things, much of it isn't junk at all. The drawer is sometimes a place to put all the small stuff that you need, but doesn't really have a place to call home.
If you've decided it's time to tackle your junk drawer, here are some steps you can take to get the job done.
STEP ONE - TAKE A PICTURE – Remember to take before and after pictures. We very quickly forget what a space looks like after we change it. You may be surprised how differently it looks when you are done.
STEP TWO - DUMP EVERYTHING OUT - Empty the drawer completely and clean the drawer itself including any trays or baskets in it. Make sure you get into the corners.
STEP THREE - DECLUTTER AND DISCARD - Realistically evaluate what you see and remove those unwanted, broken or expired items. Do you really need those soy sauce packages? How vital are those business adverts? Be ruthless. If you haven’t used it in a year, then its unlikely you will use it the next year either.
STEP FOUR - SORT – It's time to group and arrange items into piles of similar objects (pens/pencils, keys, screws, paper, electronics, toys, etc.). Create a separate pile for items that don’t belong in the drawer and wait until the drawer is finished before returning them to their correct place.
STEP FIVE - THERAPY (FOR YOUR 'JUNK') – Give your items some loving attention. Wash the scissors and anything else that is dirty (a trip through the dishwasher usually does the trick). Take each pen and write with it – if it doesn’t work right away, smudges or you hate the way it feels, discard it. Sharpen the pencils (kids love this job, especially if you have an electric sharpener!). This only takes a moment and you will love having sharp pencils at the ready!
STEP SIX - MAKE A PLAN AND PUT THINGS BACK – Plan a storage solution. Decide how many categories of items you have that need to go back into the drawer and then make sure you enough trays/baskets for these items. Arrange items in their designated spaces. Remember that the key to a functional junk drawer is to be able to see and access what’s in there quickly. Items that you use often should be placed at the front of the drawer. Items that are seldom used should go in the back.
Tips to help you pick containers for your drawer:
STEP SEVEN - MAINTENANCE – Now that your drawer is so nicely organized it will need maintenance to keep it that way. I go through mine every few months to give it a quick tidy and send items back to where they belong.
You're done! It's a great feeling isn't it? Does it make you want to tackle a larger space in your home that needs attention? If you want to keep the momentum going but need a little (or a lot) extra help, contact us today to book your FREE consultation.
If you tackled your junk drawer, we'd love you to share your before and after pictures in the comments!
Asking for help can be hard, but sometimes the greatest gift we can give ourselves is to ask for help when we need it!
SPECIALISTS ARE SPECIAL FOR A REASON
We can’t all be specialists in every area, even though we want to be. It’s likely that there will be some areas in our lives that we need help with. For some, it might be hiring someone to shingle your house or fix your car or seeking legal advice when creating a will. For others, help and insight might be needed with space management, organizational systems, and clutter. We are fortunate that this world is filled with amazing people with different skills, abilities, and interests who can help us with the task that we can’t, or would rather not, do. Finding out your strengths can be enlightening, however, it’s just as important to be aware of what skills you lack. Personally, I know that navigating technology is not my skillset. This awareness allowed me to ask for help from someone else when I needed it.
DON’T FEAR JUDGEMENT
Asking for help when it involves our personal spaces can be especially difficult. We might fear judgment or may view our need as a sign of personal failure. We might even feel that we will lose control of our situation if someone else is involved. But sharing your vulnerability is empowering, and it’s how we allow others to help us.
HELP IS AVAILABLE
I am a Professional Organizer because I recognize that I am skilled at organizing. I find joy in using my talents to help people gain freedom from disorganization in their lives. Hearing how clients are able to go on a trip after finding their documents, or get a job, or entertain people in their newly reclaimed spaces brings me satisfaction. I’m grateful that people have trusted me to help in their journey to a place of success.
Your situation is not impossible. You don’t need to struggle. Help is available, all you have to do is ask.
Do you need help?
Sometimes Christmas doesn't turn out the way we hope. Maybe the kids aren’t coming home. Maybe you just had a breakup. Maybe someone you care about is ill. Maybe you don’t have a place to go. Despite that, there's one thing about Christmas that we often forget among all the crazy busyness.
We all have choices. You have choices. Perhaps they are not the choices you prefer, but choices nonetheless.
It's up to you to be proactive this holiday season. Set yourself up on purpose to have successes where you think you may have failures these coming weeks.
Even though you may not like your situation this Christmas, there are always opportunities within it. It only takes a decision by you to choose to look at it this way and see those opportunities. Choose to focus on the positives and use this Christmas season for reflection and growth instead of just trying to survive it. You are worth it.
Choose to find the joy. It’s waiting for you. All you need to do... is unwrap it.
Recently, my father moved from the family farm to a retirement community near the city. A house full of memories made over the span of decades was disassembled and pieces were given away.
This process vividly highlighted how individuals value possessions differently.
Understanding that items are significant for different reasons and being aware of why you value something will make it easier to make decisions about that item going forward. Some items have sentimental value. Some have monetary value and some are simply functional, but important none the less (think toilet paper!). The trick is to only compare apples with apples. Comparing Grandma’s tea cup (which you love) with an expensive piece of artwork isn’t a fair comparison and can become emotionally complicated. The more you practice the easier it will be!
The monetary value is what someone else might be willing to pay for your item, not its original purchase price. The couch you bought 15 years ago is not worth much, regardless of what you paid for it, and its likely worn out too! If you are unsure of what something is worth call a friend, look on ebay or in the case of antiques, collectables and jewellery get it professionally appraised.
Finally, it doesn’t matter what category of item you prefer, if sentimental value is not your cup of tea and functionality trumps expensive that’s just fine. What we enjoy is personal. Keep only what brings you joy and discard the rest!
Sometimes it can be hard to part with the 'stuff' we accumulate. Following these tips can help you make the decisions that are right for you. At the end of the day though (if you need to) remember that there is help out there, in the form of a professional organizer, who can come in and help you make those tough choices.