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You are here: Home > Organizing Advice > Travel > Organize Your Next Vacation
By Barbara Tako, Clutter Clearing Choices, LLC

Life clutter includes vacation clutter. Yes, we really do take it with us when we go on vacation! Your vacation will run more smoothly and you will have more time and energy to enjoy yourself if you take the time to declutter and organize your vacation. Here are some ways to simplify your next vacation and reduce the vacation clutter

Proper tools: This is the good equipment rule and it applies to less stressful vacations too. Choose decent suitcases, bags, or boxes depending on the type of vacation you will have. Don't struggle with broken zippers, torn bags, or flimsy boxes. Who needs stuff to break or collapse while you are trying to relax and enjoy your vacation?

Appropriate wardrobe: Check the internet to find out the weather where you are going and pack accordingly. Look at average highs, lows, and rain for the week you plan to be there. Also, pack clothing that can be worn in layers. Consider wind breakers, sweatshirts, and t-shirts. Some wind breakers are waterproofed, including taped seams. There are also several brands designed so that they compactly store in a built-in pouch that can be attached to a belt.
Packing List: Make a packing list that you can check items off as you go and save this list for next year so you don't have to reinvent it each vacation. If you keep it in a vacation folder on your computer this really saves time, or you can create a paper travel folder that you keep in your family filing system.

To-Do List: Make a vacation preparation list that includes items like: stop paper, hold mail, find pet sitting, call the neighbors to keep an eye on things...If you have someone watching pets or watering plants, create and save a contact information sheet for them too. This sheet would have your contact information while on vacation, the phone number and address for the vet if they are taking care of a pet, contact information for local family members that will be in town while you are gone, and instructions.

Bonus tip: If you can, on your way home from vacation, tweak your packing and vacation to-do list, based on this year's experience, for next year! What did you bring too little of? Or, too much? What did you forget? Make sure things will go even more smoothly next year!

Thank you to Organized A to Z partner Barbara Tako for contributing this article. Barbara, owner of Clutter Clearing Choices LLC, is a motivational clutter clearing speaker who provides tools to help people simplify their lives and free up time and energy for their priorities. She is the author of Clutter Clearing Choices: Clear Clutter, Organize Your Home, & Reclaim Your Life (O Books, 2010), a seasonally organized book that provides a variety of doable clutter clearing tips that readers are encouraged to pick and choose from to fit their personal style and needs. Since 1998, Barbara has entertained and inspired audiences at women’s groups, parenting groups, church organizations, and corporations including 3M, Target, Medtronic, Securian, and Supervalu. Barbara’s passion is to provide people with tools to simplify their lives. Go to www.clutterclearingchoices.com to sign up for her FREE monthly clutter clearing tips newsletter.