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Top Five Lists To Make Before A Big Trip

A weekend or a few days away is pretty easy to pack and prepare for, especially if you do it fairly often. If you are going to be away from home for a week or more (lucky you!) then you’ll want to make sure your situation at home is thoroughly set up and taken care of, especially if you are leaving kiddos or pets behind. Here are five major lists to make before you set off:

1. Packing

Write it on a notepad or use an app, but make a list of everything you (and your family) are bringing. Create categories such as clothing, toiletries, swimming stuff, devices, baby stuff, etc. It’s helpful before you go; then when you’re repacking to come home it’s a great way to make sure you don’t forget anything. It also keeps you from bringing multiples of the same thing.

2. Arrangements

From the dog-sitter to the yard company to the U.S. Mail to the Waste Management pick-up, list all the things you need to have done (or not done) while you are away, and confirm the arrangements you make.

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10 Must-Haves for Your Carry-On Bag

There was a time when all one needed for their carry-on bag was an airline ticket, a few toiletries, a good book, and maybe a snack and a drink. How things have changed! With extensive security measures in place, digitized ticketing and check-ins, and a need for multiple devices, air travel has definitely become more complicated. Your carry-on bag basically holds your existence for the next 2 to 20 hours, depending on where you are traveling! Here’s our list of 10 must-haves to make your flight less stressful and more efficient:

1.  Trip Documents

For quick and easy access, items like your wallet, boarding pass, and passport should definitely be kept in the front or top pockets of your carry-on. Other documents to keep in a separate folder: physical tickets, invitations, itineraries, and any other documents with no digital version. Extra: When traveling abroad I always make double-sided photocopies of my family’s passports, TSA-Pre cards, IDs, and credit cards. I take one copy and store it deep inside my carry-on in a zippered pocket, and leave one with my parents.

2.  Technology

Definitely your smartphone and charger! But do think through your other tech—these items are heavy. Do you really need your laptop, iPad, and Kindle? If you plan to work during the flight, then bring your laptop. You can leave your Kindle or e-reader at home and use it’s app on your iPad instead. If you want to bring several devices but know you’ll really only use your smartphone and iPad on the flight, pack the rest safely in your checked luggage. Don’t forget the chargers—keep them tidy and organized.

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Pandemic Habits to Say Goodbye To

As of June 16, 2021, 70% of King County residents 16 years and older have been fully vaccinated—what an achievement! A year ago as we were struggling to cope with prolonged Stay At Home orders, this seemed like a far-off dream, and now here we are. The state will fully reopen by June 30, and although there will still be some health restrictions remaining, it will be the most “normal” life will be in over a year. I still can’t believe it sometimes! It was a challenging year on so many levels, and most of us had to change how we did everything—how we schooled, worked, and exercised, how we cooked and ate, how we kept ourselves entertained, how we kept in touch with the outside world. Now that things are moving forward, it’s time to make some positive changes in our lives. Some of the practices we’ve picked up during the pandemic definitely aren’t sustainable for a healthy, productive life. Let’s go over pandemic habits we can now work on saying Goodbye to!

Screen time overload.

We are all guilty of this. Every human in the world aged 3-103 spent countless hours on screens: smartphones, e-readers, tablets, computers, and TVs. Many parents relaxed (or chucked out completely) any screen limits for their kids. We worked, schooled, went to the movies, saw our friends and family, had happy hours, and played games via screens—it was a link to life outside your household. If only we’d bought stock in Zoom 18 months ago! It’s time to wean ourselves and our families off too much screen time: we like Calendar.com’s strategies on doing so.

Unstructured days.

For some, working and schooling from home created an upside-down world of malleable scheduling and do-it-when-you-can options. Mealtimes were all over the place, weekdays bled right into the weekends and before you knew it, it was already Tuesday again. Get that calendar up and running, whether it’s a cute calendar hung up in your kitchen, or an online shared family calendar like Cozi. Set up a regular waking, working, and bedtime schedule that is reasonable as well as realistic. Then schedule fun stuff: Hike to Mt. Si, dinner with friends (in a restaurant, even!), a local event like Kirkland Summerfest, game night with the grandparents. Sky’s the limit!

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It’s Dad’s Turn: Our Garage Power Day Promotion Is For You!

It’s been a challenging year, and that special dad in your life deserves something more than new grilling tongs or a gift card for Father’s Day. What dad wouldn’t love to have his garage or shed pared down and superbly organized? Imagine having your home and garden tools, sports equipment, camping gear, storage bins, miscellaneous boxes, and car supplies ergonomically and efficiently organized, categorized, and labeled—he can find anything in a snap! Could he actually start parking the car in the garage again? We can help make this a possibility.

We want to honor Dads with our Garage Power Day promotion: Two organizers for 4 hours—8 hours of total organizing—at a 20% discount. We’ve never done a promo like this before…and it won’t last long…so don’t delay!

When you buy 8 hours of Hands-On Professional Organizing
We will gift you 20% off

The value of this package is $720
Purchase today for only $575

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The Ultimate Guide for First Time Renovators

From YourCalvert.com
by Clif Bridegum

Finally buying your own property is one of the most exciting life milestones. But renovating it to make it entirely your own is even more special.

Your Instagram feed might be filled with before and after pictures that appear to have been taken only a week apart. But renovating even a small room can be a big project. And you’re going to need to do a lot of preparation beforehand.

So, to make sure you turn your home into your own perfect paradise, here is the ultimate guide for first time renovators.

Making a Schedule for Renovation Work

Making a schedule is one of the most important things to do before you start on a project. Finding pictures you love on Pinterest and Instagram are fun. But it’s important to know what is realistically achievable.

One of the best ways to make your plans a reality is to make a schedule. It’s so important to do as much research as possible. And know exactly how long certain projects will take.

Renovating a whole house can be overwhelming. But so can renovating just one room. Breaking the project down into small steps can make it much more manageable.

Making a schedule will also help you with creating a budget. Making a budget isn’t always the most exciting aspect of renovating a house. Especially if you’re trying to keep costs down. But it is the most important.

Read the rest on Your Calvert.
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Clever Tips for Finding More Space at Home

Whether you’ve got a large home or a small apartment, it may always seem like you’re searching for more storage space. Too bad you can’t just magically expand your home’s existing areas with a wiggle of your nose! Check out these clever tips for finding and creating storage spaces in your home.

 

Go behind closed doors.

Over-the-door hooks have 4 to 6 hooks for hanging lightweight, non-bulky items such as belts, scarves, and hats. In the bathroom they are super for hanging towels and bathrobes. Use that extra space behind your doors for storage space, and it may give some things a better “home” than the floor: in my kids’ rooms they’re for hanging PJs! Just don’t use them for hanging heavy items such as school backpacks, or items so bulky, like a puffy coat, that the door can’t stay open. For behind the laundry room, pantry, or bathroom door, this white mesh shelf rack is wonderful—helps clear off your counter space!

Check under the bed…

…and you may see more than just dust bunnies. It’s an excellent space for storing your seasonal clothing and accessories! There are so many styles and types of under-bed storage to choose from. We like the ones with wheels and handles to make pulling them out easier. Pop in a dryer sheet before you put the lid on and keep it fresh-smelling.

Not everything needs to be bought in bulk.

If you’re a big Costco shopper, you know you can really save by buying in bulk. But do you really need to get everything in large amounts? Take stock of the items you buy in bulk and decide if you’re better off buying regular sizes. For instance, if you use very little oil when cooking, does it really make sense to buy a gallon of cooking oil? Or will it go rancid before you get to the “Use by” date? If you have a couple of large dogs, though, buying their food in bulk will definitely save you money. Check your pantry and freezer, as well as the extra freezer and shelves in the garage. Check your other storage areas, too. List the items you buy in bulk—toilet paper, detergent, canned goods, butter, rice, etc.—and make those determinations based on your usage and this detailed food storage chart.

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Goodwill Doesn’t Want Your Broken Toaster

from NPR.org
May 6, 2021
by Todd Bookman

Cars begin lining up outside the Goodwill donation center in Seabrook, N.H., around 10 a.m. most mornings.

Well-intended patrons are here with truckloads full of treasures.

“We hope everyone brings great things that help our programs, but we know some people make some questionable judgments about what is good to donate,” explains Heather Steeves, spokesperson for the 30 Goodwill locations in New Hampshire, Maine and Vermont.

She holds up “a lampshade, which is stained and disgusting and literally falling apart.”

There’s a small table missing a leg, cracked purple food-storage containers and a used sponge. They’re just a representative sample of the useless stuff dropped off the day before.

Along with simply being gross, these items cost Goodwill money.

“All this trash adds up to more than $1 million a year in a trash bill, and it’s been growing every year for the past five years,” says Steeves. And that’s just for the 30 stores she oversees.

Read the rest on NPR.org.

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An Invitation to Weary Moms

Moms, we see you. We see you carrying the load of house manager, businesswoman, cook, cleaner, parent, motivator, and teacher. We see and feel the fatigue and toll this last 13 months of COVID has taken. We also feel the ray of hope that the vaccine has created. (Woohoo, the Simplify Experts team is now fully vaccinated!)

We want to honor Moms by gifting two hours of professional organizing for Mom’s Day. We have never offered anything like this before…and it won’t last long—so don’t delay!

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Mother’s Day Gift Ideas for Every Mom

If you have a mom or mom-figure in your life, celebrate her on this day (and really, any day) with something unique and different. Flowers and chocolates are always a hit, but this year is a good one to take it up a notch. Moms have been quarantining, social-distancing, working from home, schooling from home, cooking umpteen meals, and basically…momming more than usual. Show her how special she is and gift her with something that gives her something fun to try out, elevates her chillaxation time, and won’t add clutter.

1. For the Mom who can’t get a good night’s sleep

Weighted blankets are a thing now—and for good reason. That extra heft is therapeutic and calming, and has been shown to help people sleep through the night by relieving both stress and anxiety. Cnet rates the Layla Blanket highly, and we like the price tag and 120-night money-back guarantee.

2. For the Mom who’s really into puzzles and mysteries

These murder mystery jigsaw puzzles are the bomb! “Each puzzle includes a short mystery, and all a puzzler has to do is READ the story, ASSEMBLE the puzzle, and then SOLVE the mystery. Each 1,000 piece puzzle creates a 23” x 29” clue-filled image—that does not match the image on the box!” We’re totally sold.

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Why Hire A Professional Organizer to Help With a Move or Remodel?

We are truly proud that Simplify Experts has helped thousands of clients across the Puget Sound with their home decluttering and organizing needs over the past 14 years. Many don’t realize, however, the large number of clients we have also helped with their moving and remodeling needs. It’s true! Professional organizers can help make this major life event less stressful, more streamlined, and yes, more cost-effective! A recent survey showed moving as the top stressor in life events, with 43% saying they’d never do it again. Still not sure why you should hire a professional organizer with your move or remodel? Read on, and you may have a change of tune.

Declutter and downsize before you pack…and save money.

Moving companies generally charge by weight. They give a cost estimate using formulas to calculate the total volume of your furnishings and household items, including everything in your closets, shelves, and cabinets. If you pack it all up, have the movers take it, and then unpack, declutter, and downsize at your new home, you will have paid the movers to move things you ended up getting rid of. With one client, our organizers took about 40 black garbage bags and a dozen large boxes to the donation center, and left a good-sized mountain of random junk on the porch for a hauler to take away. Imagine if they had had the movers take all that to their new home!

We help you get rid of the big things, too.

We help you declutter and downsize much more than just books, clothing, kids’ stuff, and household items. If you are moving to a bigger or smaller home, chances are your furniture and decor needs will be changing, too. That old disassembled antique crib in the garage? Your Chippendale mahogany dining set that doesn’t go with your new, modern condo? Several pieces from your original art collection that need a new home? We can help you consign or donate these items so you have several less things to worry about.

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