Tag Archives: travel

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The Holiday Afterglow

Imagine this: you are returning from a wonderful time away from home. Whether you have been relaxing on the beach or hiking on some distant mountain, on your own or with family, there are certain things you’ll REALLY need to do before you start enjoying the afterglow. Tilo Flache, founder of Brighton-based professional organising company ClutterMeister, explains…

Your luggage

Whatever type of trip you return from, near or far, you’ll be faced with a luggage which holds a mixed mess of clothing, books, phone chargers, souvenirs, papers, pens and, depending of your holiday destination, a quantity of mud and sand. What you won’t find in there, though, is joy! Even if you are someone who loves packing before a trip, nobody likes to handle the mess you return with.

However, there is something to be said for taking care of the luggage right away! I hear you say “but I want to enjoy that holiday feeling some more! I’ll take care of that later”, and I would answer “I hear you.” Sadly, one of the most annoying things in the world is stuff sitting around for longer than necessary. Sooner rather than later you’ll need something in that luggage. The question is simple: would you rather find your phone charger in its proper spot or dig for it inside your disorganised luggage, creating even more mess in the process?

laundry unpacking organising

It only takes a moment to put all your clothes in the washing basket and you’ll find you are left with just a couple of items that can be quickly returned to their regular spot. Once that’s done, you’ll have one more reason to enjoy that holiday feeling.

Your car

If you’ve spent an extended amount of time in your car, a lot of things may have accumulated: the passenger space alone will now suddenly contain Tupperware, plastic bottles and packaging, rubbish in a bag, stuff that fell to the floor, wayward toys, and stray pieces of clothing. And that is without considering all the dust, mud or sand everyone has dragged in during the trip. Any constricted space we live inevitably fills up with the debris of life.

Do you want to be reminded of that task every time you step into your car? Probably not. There’s something to be said about making enough time to clear the mess before you start using your car again for regular runs.

Here’s a simple recipe to make your car ship-shape again:

  • bring a rubbish bag and a box for items to take into the house
  • extract the surplus contents from car
  • separate into the bag or the box
  • do NOT put the box down until you have returned everything to its rightful place!
  • clean car, if necessary – which it probably will be!

 

On a general note, many cars really should be classified as moving clutter boxes. The next time you go to your car, take a good look around and consider some of the thoughts above. You might just find that there is a lot of clutter in your car that you could easily do without. Give it a go!

Your home

Once you have taken care of everything you brought back with you, maybe it’s time to look after your house as well. Even though leaving it empty for a while does not make it any worse for wear, you may want to give it a quick once-over. Keep your eyes, ears and nose open during this process. You’ll probably find nothing, but it will avoid surprises later. Having someone take care of your home while you are away is good, but they may not have been as thorough in their visits as they intended.

organised entrance hallway decluttered

Another thing you may want to keep in mind when returning home: you are in a unique position to detect things that may have slipped your attention before you left! Remember that feeling when you arrived at your vacation spot, when everything felt airy and open, empty and clutter-free?

Take a moment to become aware of spaces in your home that need attention because you may just see them in a different light now that you have been away. There is no need to get going there and then,  just take note of anything that seems off, and schedule a time to take care of it in the future.

Catching up with everyone

Finally, the most important lesson of all: once you have taken care of these little tasks, make time to arrive properly. Enjoy the fact that – except doing your laundry – there are no residual tasks related to your return home. Sit down, lean back and breathe.

This is the time to meet your friends and family, talk about your adventures, keep the relaxed feeling of being away from the daily routine going for another while. Listen to others’ tales of what has happened during your absence, and leave whatever you do for a living out of the equation for as long as you can. A vacation does not start and end at your front door, you can decide if that is the case.

Or you could decide that your vacation is not quite done yet…

If you have returned from your summer holidays and think you’d like a little help to get your home organised, you can find your local professional organiser here.

APDO organised camping tent

Happy campers!

It’s still festival season, so Catriona Watson, Oxford-based professional organiser and owner of Clear Space for Me has consulted some experienced festival-goers and shares their tips here.

It’s no surprise that the happiest campers are often organised, good planners, skilled at packing lots of stuff into small spaces. From Green Man and Reading, to Glastonbury and even Burning Man, here are some tips for an organised and happy festival experience!

Wheels

Bring cat litter and planks to get out of a muddy patch. Lights can decorate your bike or car (as well as your body and your tent).

Food

We enjoyed buying food out and only bothered to pack snacks.  Personally though I need my cuppa first thing in the morning, so I’m packing coffee-making arrangements even though this will significantly add to my carrying weight. Bringing snacks will help you stick to your budget. But be kind to yourself – you are on holiday!

Money

This leads us to cash. Make sure you have enough money to buy food and drink, and maybe some interesting festie shopping items. It’s easy to spend £40-£50 a day, so budget accordingly.

Drink

Be prepared! Bumps and bruises under the influence of a delicious cider will make plasters and Savlon most welcome. A plastic lid and straw for the top of your pint glass will help keep the wasps and spills under control. A cup is a must anyway. Restrictions on what can be brought onto festival sites, especially in terms of drinks, have led to some fascinating smuggling strategies! (I will limit myself to the observation that it helps if you are a naturally curvy woman!).

 

APDO organised festival camping lights

Self-care

Consider indigestion tablets, a plan for how you will pee at night, tissues for clean-ups of all sorts, and some idea of how delicious you are to midges – and prepare accordingly. Also, if you are offered a VIP pass to a nice loo, take it.

Bedding

A foil blanket on the ground beneath your sleeping area is surprisingly helpful, keeping out damp and chill. And it sound obvious, but make sure you have a big enough tent for your body and all of your stuff.

Silly ideas!

“A feather headdress and sequins, and a credit card” was suggested to me! Depending on where you are going, that is actually not so dumb an idea! It will be easier for your mates to find you in a crowd, at least!

 

Experiences add to our memory banks, bringing meaning to our lives, and building our resilience to stress. What’s not to love? Have a fantastic time!

If you need help getting organised this summer, you can find your local professional organiser here.

 

organised travel holiday organising seashell APDO

How to make the most of your holiday

The days are getting longer, the sun is shining and our thoughts will soon be turning to summer holidays. Tilo Flache, The ClutterMeister, shares his thoughts on getting the most out of your travels… and being organised, of course!

Travelling is all about experiencing things differently

Living life quietly in your home is a lovely state of affairs, but there is a danger of getting stuck in routines. This is not necessarily a bad thing, of course, but getting into the habit of always having things your way can prevent you from moving forward and applying changes when it becomes obvious that your way no longer works to your best advantage.

This holds true as much for your physical environment at home or at work, as it does for your mental agility. Doing the same thing, the same way, at the same time gets engrained into your being and occasionally needs shaking up to see things from another angle. That’s what a vacation is for!

Being exposed to new influences, be they different ways of living, meeting different people, staying in a different space for a while, will ideally show you things and spawn ideas that you never knew you had in you. It may take a moment to unchain your mind from your daily routine, but it is worth it.

One good way to ensure that you make the most of your trip is to disconnect your mind from home BEFORE you even leave. It is a good idea to leave as much of your regular life behind as you can: after all, you are on a vacation! That not only means that you want to take a day or two to transition from a busy work life to a more relaxed state of being before you leave, but also to separate the necessary from the normal and pack your bags accordingly.

APDO blog - organised travel

It’s not so much what you take with you, but what you pick up on the way

What does that mean? For one thing, don’t start from the assumption that you will need the same things on your trip that you would have at arm’s length when you are at home. Make room in your mind to quickly adapt to the circumstances you find at your destination, or during your journey.

Part of that process is to define what you expect from your holiday: is it interaction with others, peace and quiet, exposure to culture, a fortnight of partying? This knowledge will impact what you really need to pack. Of course, you’ll need to pack the basics, but does it really matter if you have a coordinated wardrobe for a beach holiday? Is it important to have a pretty shirt to wear just in case you enter a high-class establishment while hiking through the backwater jungles of Ecuador?

Give yourself the freedom to be different from the person you are at home and don’t get too upset over the thought that you might have wanted another piece of clothing you left at home. Work with what you have, and if all fails, add something local to your wardrobe; a small accessory may just make all the difference. Any such thing can even serve as a practical souvenir in the long run (hint!).

Similar consideration should be given to anything else you take with you besides your clothes: is it really necessary to take all those electronic devices? How many books are you really likely to read? How many toys does your child really need on the road? How much stuff can you leave behind rather than take just in case it might turn out to be useful? Make your choices before you leave and do not leave them for later.

Taking less luggage with you and adjusting your mind to stick with ‘what I’ve got’ rather than ‘what I want/need’ is ultimately the most wonderful start of a holiday. It’s an instant switch from daily routine to the exceptional state of holiday spirit. You’ll be more prepared to experience properly what’s going on around you, to relax and to enjoy your time away from it all. You’ll also be more receptive to noticing things around you and considering incorporating them into your life, perhaps bringing a positive change to your daily routine.

organised travel beach holiday organising APDO

Post-travel check-in with yourself

Many of us pack for all eventualities, and return with a suitcase half full of unused clothes, while at the same time having worn the hell out of that one pair of shorts because they were comfy. What does that tell you? You didn’t pack for the occasion after all!

It may feel strange, and you may not think you want to do this, but maybe you can spend 10 minutes looking at the items in your luggage after you return. That could simply take the form of you laying out all the items in your luggage to two sides: ‘used’ and ‘unused’, and taking a picture of the arrangement for future reference and as a reminder of where you may have gone wrong. Take note of what you used and what you didn’t. Maybe even ask yourself why you didn’t.

If anything, packing for a holiday is an exercise in avoiding any thought of ‘just in case’: ‘Maybe I’ll need this’ is the worst advisor for holiday packing, and even worse a notion for keeping things in your home. Learning how to overcome this urge on a vacation might just be the highway to happiness when it comes to stop cluttering up your attic, your garage, your cupboards…

Returning home also gives you a fresh perspective on what you have got used to, and you may end up wanting to make some changes to your home. By all means: go ahead!

If Tilo’s post has inspired you to get organised before your holidays, you can find your local professional organiser here.