Tag Archives: summer

Five tips for smooth sailing when coming home from a summer holiday

by Maria Connor

The reason people go on vacation is to escape the demands and drudgery of everyday life.  They scrimp and save all year in order to afford a tropical cruise, take the kids to visit Mickey Mouse at Disney World or travel to a foreign country they’ve dreamed about visiting.

People work hard for their break from reality.  They go into work sick so their vacation time isn’t docked.  They forego new clothes or dining out. With all that effort, it’s a shame that coming home can take the bloom off that vacation rose.

Have you been there?  It’s close to midnight and the flight was late/delayed/overbooked.  You have to be in to work by eight the next morning, the kids have school and there isn’t so much as a shriveled apple in the fridge.  In the frantic rush to get back to your routine, the suitcases remain parked in the front hall for a week, and the kids begin recycling their socks.  And you’re already behind on saving for the next vacation because you’ve spent $75 on carry-out this week.

Planning for your homecoming should be given as much consideration as your tour of Yosemite.  With a bit of forethought and a little organization, you can remain relaxed, refreshed and reinvigorated.

Just one more day. Allow at least one day to transition from vacation mode to work mode, recommends Sharon Hayward, owner of The Organized Advantage in La Mesa. Come home a day early or tack an extra day onto your vacation.  This provides time to go through the mail, restock the kitchen, catch up on laundry and read your email.

Thanks, neighbor! Leave a house key with a trusted neighbor.  Ask them to pick up bread and milk the day before you return home so there’s something edible in the house until you can go grocery shopping.

Easy unpacking. Organizational expert Kathi Burns of AddSpace to Your Life! in Leucadia suggests packing a few plastic grocery bags.  When preparing to head home, put the dirty laundry in the plastic sacks so it can be sorted right into the laundry room when you get back.  Burns says it also helps to empty your luggage immediately. Things are more likely to get put away if they aren’t hidden out of sight in the Samsonite.

Leave it like you want to find it. Preparing for vacation requires a lot of energy and effort, but allow time to make sure your house is in order before you leave  Empty the refrigerator of any foods that might spoil.  Take out the trash.  Change the bed linens.  Run the vacuum.  Leaving your house neat and tidy is critical, Burns says.  Coming home can be a letdown after the glamor and regular maid service of most hotels, so make your welcome as comfortable and welcoming as possible.

Odds and ends. Here are a few random tips to consider.

*Freeze a couple of casseroles before you start your vacation.  Dinner will be a cinch until you’re back in the groove.

*Consider traveling Wednesday to Tuesday or returning midweek.  Coming home to a three-day work week is infinitely easier than facing five long days.

*Leave an outfit or two in the closet so you’ll have something clean to wear.  Same goes for underwear, socks and linens.

*Avoid catastrophes.  We live in an area vulnerable to earthquakes, Hayward says, so take a few minutes to shut off the water main and unplug appliances and computers.

Maria Connor is a freelance writer and mother of four in San Diego.  She says there’s no such thing as a vacation for mothers; it’s just doing the same thing is a more exotic location.

Posted in Articles & Advice, Blog, Organizing, Organizing Tips | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Organize backyard garden shed

Garden Shed

As summer arrives and the yard and garden beckon, the problem of the jumbled storage shed becomes apparent. Fortunately, a few easy tips can help you make your shed an asset instead of a hindrance.

The key is organization. Four walls and a roof will protect your tools from the elements, but finding what you want when you want it may be a chore. Often sheds are used as extra storage space for items which, upon reflection, are not really needed at all. Cleaning out your shed and adding some built in organizers can make all the difference.

The first step to a better organized shed is to clear out the rubbish. Items that you really need to keep may be better stored in your house. Anything you haven’t used in over a year may be unnecessary to your life! Consider carefully each item and its use to you. Does it pull its weight in exchange for the space it occupies?

Sentiment often makes us hold on to belongings that would be better off finding new homes. Consider donating items you simply cannot bring yourself to throw away; some-one else may be grateful to have them and you can enjoy the thought that they still have value. Check with your local charities, or see if your community has a trade off recycling program.

Any items that remain to be stored can be put in identically sized bins with lids, and filed away for future reference. Any shelving you install can be easily customized so that the bins will fit neatly. This makes retrieval a snap! Label the visible sides, and post a list inside the door that will help you remember which bin holds what.

Once you have narrowed down the items you need to store, you can begin to plan your new shelving system. Wall to wall and ceiling to floor shelves yield the maximum storage space. Depending on the size and shape of your shed, your best bet may be to install this type of shelving on the back wall as well as along one side.

Long-handled tools such as rakes, spades and shovels should hang on the remaining wall. A pegboard can be installed for smaller tools. A garden caddy can hold miscellaneous items: gloves, seed packets, and even a tube of sunscreen or a hat.

If you do a lot of gardening, you may wish to customize your shed a little. Adding a small potting bench or table can make a corner into a handy workstation. Add shelves above to store pots, and bins below for soil and fertilizer.

If your shed is too small for such project, consider building one on the exterior against one of the walls. Mount a piece of lattice to hang your tools, or add hooks to the sides of the bench itself. A waterproof bin can be utilized for soil and additives.

Once you have organized your shed, every lawn and garden chore will be that much easier. By utilizing your space to its highest potential, you avoid wasted time and frustration. The hours saved by not having to dig through the shed for an elusive tool can be spent on that special gardening project instead!

Posted in Articles & Advice, Blog, Organizing, Organizing Tips | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Dressing for job interview

Interview

A reader asks:

I have a job interview in late August for a marketing position in the healthcare field. I’m not sure how to dress for it in the hot weather. I am confident on how to dress for interviews in the cooler months but summer stumps me. Most of my interview pants and blazers are darker colors and I’m so used to wearing sandals all summer. What colors are good to wear and are dressy sandals acceptable?

Amy Spindler
Grand Rapids, Michigan

Amy,

Sandals are probably not appropriate attire in the health care industry, especially during a job interview You can, however, wear sling back pumps with a heel. I would also advise against mules for interviews. They can be sloppy and don’t fare well with panty hose.

A dark colored suit is a safe choice for interviews. For the summer, you can punch up a dark suit with a brightly colored blouse and even colored shoes or bag. Shoes and bag do not need to match as long as they coordinate with the rest of your outfit. Make sure that you look like you are ready to get down to business with every clothing item pressed and neat.

Check that your collar is neatly in place especially if you are wearing two, your blouse and your suit coat. Spend a few extra moments on your hair to make it well coifed. Check your nails. Clear gloss or French manicure is the most appropriate, avoid reds and bright nail colors. Keep bright accent colors in your shoes or bag.

Carry a crisp all-purpose bag or briefcase to the interview equipped with a pen, paper and schedule book to write any important details or instructions. Crisp implies that this bag will stand upright without crumpling over when it is placed on the floor beside your interview chair. All-purpose bags are the new women’s alternative to a briefcase. These bags look like purses but are large enough to hold 8.5 x 11 file folders and papers and sometimes even a laptop.

If you know what your interviewer will be wearing or what the other managers in your department wear daily, dress accordingly. You will want to appear to be one of their staff during the interview. Aspire to dress as well as the head of marketing for your interview and they will perceive you as a go-getter with true management potential!

Kathi is a Professional Organizer, image Consultant based in San Diego California.

Please submit your questions to: advice@addspacetoyourlife.com

San Diego Professional Organizer

Posted in Articles & Advice, Blog, Image, Image Tips | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Garage organization

Dear Kathi,

We are really motivated to clean out our garage this summer. We want to play ping-pong during our Labor Day party. To do this, we need to put the garage in order. This is the largest part of the preparation for our party. It is piled high with boxes, tools and old toys.
I’m not even sure where to begin. What guidelines do you advise for this huge task?

Suzi and Kevin, Oceanside

Suzi,

Gather boxes, in all shapes and sizes along with a box of large trash bags. It helps to start this project the day after trash is emptied if possible.

Hire an expert or get a team of people to work on this project. Without a good support system, it could turn into an overwhelming task that will be abandoned part way through. While friends and family may be willing to help, be sure you have a plan in place to direct the process from start to finish.

Consider what categories of items you want to store in your garage. Does luggage really have to live there, or can it live in the attic or an indoor closet? Do you have a shed? Maybe your paints and chemicals could live there instead of the garage. Items that are typically housed in the garage are tools, gardening supplies, recycling bins, bicycles, sports equipment, camping gear, automotive supplies and seasonal décor.

Once you have determined what categories of items will “live” in your garage, begin pulling everything out of your garage, and grouping into these categories in the driveway. Use a lot of boxes during this process. Relegate loose objects to small boxes within each grouping.

Purge any excess, broken, or unnecessary items. Reconsider, donate or trash items that do not fit your categories. If you discover random parts or singular items that you need to keep, group and store them with the closest similar category. If this is too much of a memory stretch, store them in a visible place so you will remember you have them.
Once items have been consolidated like with like, you are ready to begin planning where each category should live within your garage.

Determine where you want each type of item to live by frequency of use and available space. Parking is probably your most frequent garage activity. Make certain that the area around your car is open and easy to get in and out of the car and the garage.

The recycling bin can live near the inside door to your home for quick access. Tools should live near the workbench, shovels by the fertilizers and so on. Shelves at eye level should hold the most frequently used items. A large shelf near the inside door is a great location for the extra rolls of toilet paper from the last warehouse purchase.

Plan for an entire weekend. Set aside enough time to work on your project. Back-to-back days are recommended so items that are being sorted do not have to sit outside in piles for long. Plan for an entire weekend unless you are working with a Professional Organizer. A seasoned professional will usually reduce your time by half because they have been through this drill many times.

After your garage is put back into order, commit to a regular schedule of maintenance. Promptly put things away after using them and schedule a couple of hours of maintenance every season. Follow this strategy and your next Labor Day party will be a breeze!
You can read more specific advice about garage “zones” in an article published in The Coast News by visiting http://www.addspacetoyourlife.com/advice04_01_05.html

Please submit your questions to: advice@addspacetoyourlife.com
.
San Diego Professional Organizer

Posted in Articles & Advice, Blog, Organizing, Organizing Tips | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Great Colors to Wear for Winter and Summer Skin Tones

Winter and Summer complexions are both cool skin tones with a blue base. These ‘seasons’ so to speak are helpful when determining what clothing to buy and what to wear.

Both of these seasons are best served by wearing cooler or more blue based colors.

Summers differ from winter complexions in that they are a bit softer. Winters will have a large contrast between their skin, hair and eyes where summers will bled more gently together. Because summers are themselves of softer tones, they look best in blended colors, not with dramatic variations. Wearing strong contrasted colors will make them appear overpowered and tired.

Winter complexions are usually more dramatic with a strong contrast between skin, hair and eyes. The combination of black hair, pale skin and blue eyes. is a typical indicator of a ‘winter’ complexion. A strong pairing of contrasting colors will enliven and accent the already intense look of a winter.

Taking notice of the colors in nature during each of these seasons also helps you determine which colors correspond with your tonality. Take for instance the stark contrast of crisp white winter snow and the deep red of a poinsettia.

Posted in Articles & Advice, Blog, Image, Image Tips | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment