Tag Archives: packing

You Can Use Moving as a Catalyst for Downsizing


Most of us have clutter lying around the house: trinkets we don’t remember how we obtained, broken or worn items we’re never going to use again, things we were gifted but never wanted, the list goes on.

Moving is a great catalyst for getting rid of things you don’t want or need. A new home is a blank slate. You can start anew with only items that benefit your life. Below are some tips for using moving as a catalyst for downsizing your possessions.

womanundermoving boxes

Decide What’s Important to You

The first step to downsizing is to analyze your viewpoint on possessions. What sort of items do you want in your life? Obviously, items you use on a daily basis will stay. These items make your life easier and contribute to your happiness and well-being. When it comes to décor and other items, think about whether you notice them often and if they make you smile. We all want a positive vibe in our living space, but too many trinkets can actually add stress to your life instead of bringing joy.

You’ll also want to think about what you want your new home to look and feel like. This means getting rid of items that are broken, damaged, or just don’t contribute to your space. As you pack, you’ll want to think about every item. Does it add functionality or positivity to your life? If not, strongly consider leaving it behind.


Purge Your Belongings

After you’ve decided your standards for keeping and getting rid of items, it’s time to start the purge. Here is a great article with tips for purging your belongings before a move. 

As the article states, you’ll want to be very intentional in your organization. Designate piles and boxes for items you’re keeping, items you’re donating, and garbage. I suggest creating these groups in piles first, then packing your “keep” pile a few days later. This will give you a second chance to analyze whether each item truly positively contributes to your life.

You should get rid of:

Items you haven’t used in over 6 months

Items you’re only keeping to make someone else happy (gifts you never wanted)

Anything that is broken (if you haven’t fixed it yet, you probably never will

Clothes you haven’t worn in 6 months (with the exception of seasonal wear)


Keep the Momentum Going

Once you’ve moved, you have a chance to keep the momentum from your purge. You can do this in several ways. The first is to resist the urge to fill your new space with clutter. Keep your home organized and only buy things that you actually need. 

The second trick is to pay attention to what items you’re using. My favorite trick for keeping the closet organized is to turn the hangers backwards when hanging all your clothes. Then, after you wear them, re-hang the item the opposite direction. In 3 months, you’ll be able to quickly see which clothes you haven’t worn. If they aren’t seasonal, there’s a strong case for donating them.

Sometimes it’s easy to get in a funk with clothing. You wear the same clothes over and over again because you like them. But then maybe a certain shirt gets really worn. You keep wearing it because you used to love it, but you no longer feel confident in it. Learn to purge clothes as soon as they don’t make you feel good. This includes shirts with un-removable stains, clothing with (un-fashionable) rips and tears, and jeans that no longer fit properly, resulting in the zipper constantly sliding down. Removing these items from your closet will result in a functional wardrobe full of clothes you truly enjoy wearing.

These are just a few ways that moving can help you be more intentional in how you view your belongings. Do you have any downsizing tips? Share in the comments!


* Contributor Jeriann Watkins blogs at dairyairhead.com. As a crafter, she knows the challenge of wanting to keep items for their potential. You can see her organization tips and downsizing successes on her blog.
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Keeping Your Jewelry Organized and Safe While Traveling

Keeping Your Jewelry Organized and Safe While Traveling

I don’t know about you, but when I travel, I need to have accessories or I don’t feel quite dressed. I have an antique jewelry travel bag that I have been using for years and I simply LOVE it!

Because, some of you might not have a great bag like this, I wanted to deliver a few other tips to help you keep you jewelry organized while you travel.

  1. If you don’t have a pre-made jewelry bag, you can use small cloth pouches to keep your jewelry organized while traveling. Store all smaller cloth pouches into one large pouch or ziplock bag.
  2. Separating and storing gold from silver accessories will make it easier to find what you need when you are living out of a suitcase.
  3. Pair necklaces with earrings when packing so they come out together when you unpack.
  4. Use straws to keep dainty chain necklaces from kinking while in your suitcase. Simply run one end through the straw and attach the clasp at the other end. Trim your straw to fit the necklace length. These long straws can be stored within a sock.
  5. Do the same with chunky necklaces and bracelets but use an empty toilet paper rolls instead. It does not matter if they get smashed and you might even want to smash them in advance so they will take up less room in your suitcase.
  6. If you are worried about losing your valuable jewelry when traveling, store your jewelry in a sock and keep it paired with it’s mate in the drawer with your socks and undies.
  7. Want to keep post earrings organized while traveling? Cut a small square of window screen and attach all earrings onto the screen. Place this screen into a ziplock bag.

Let me know if you have any other good tips for jewelry while you travel. Post a comment below or use the Facebook link to tell us your cool tricks!

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Tips for Decluttering Your Life and Your Home

Tips for Decluttering Your Life and Your Home

I recently received a question from an addSpace follower. I am certain that many of you also have a similar concern so I wanted to go into detail and provide practical steps to help you declutter your life. This is what she asked:

What questions can I ask myself as I sort through boxes of “stuff” in order to get rid of most of it?

The answer:

For starters, if these boxes have been packed and loaded for a long period of time (over 3 months), before you open them you need to ask yourself – “what exactly is in there?

If you don’t have a (more…)

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Travel Checklist – What to Keep Packed and Ready for Your Upcoming Travel

Travel Checklist - What to Keep Packed and Ready for Your Upcoming Travel

Looking to get away and take a vacation in the next few months?

Below you will find a link to a list of everything I keep packed and ready to go in my suitcase for quick getaways and business trips.

During my latest trip to Ohio, I minimized my collection into three mini containers. This allowed me to keep my shower/wash toiletries separated from my hair and make up items. As I moved from location to location, I could then pull out the pouches that contained only what I needed at each part of my journey.

Click here for a free downloadable and printable checklist to make packing a breeze!


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Ten Tips for One Suitcase Packing

Ten Tips for One Suitcase Packing

You are faced with many tough decisions when you decide to pack light and travel with only one suitcase. Stuffing everything you need into one suitcase might seem impossible until you learn how to simplify and employ a few tricks and tips from professional travelers.

Once you discover the ease that comes with traveling with only one suitcase, you will probably never look back. You will also discover that amazingly, there are some things that you never wish to pack again! Follow these tips to pack fearlessly and add more space to your single suitcase.

1. Begin your packing process with a list. As you work on your list, consider what activities you will do each day while you are gone. Only choose clothing pieces that will combine well with at least 3 other items. As you pack, check each item off of the list, Always check your list one more time the night before you leave.

2. If you are going to stay at a hotel, plan to use their complimentary soaps and shampoos. As long as you have no allergy challenges, there is no need to pack them. Most of us, end up taking them home for future use, so why not skip that step and instead use them when you find them?

3. Eliminate large and hard case containers. Use large zip-lock bags instead. Zips work well for cosmetics, hair products and other items. They not only keep liquids from draining out onto your clothing, they save a lot of space in the process.

4. If you can find moisturizers that also act as sunscreens or sunscreens that provide bug repellant, pack these, It will save you space.

5. Plan to wear only a few pieces of jewelry. Don’t pack pricey jewelry or other valuables. I have heard many sad stories about missing diamond earrings and other expensive items. For one suitcase packing, they are not really necessary and if they are, wear them on the plane and plan on wearing them most of your tripi.  When not wearing them, make sure to place them in the room safe while you are away from the hotel and buy insurance in advance. If you are not going to wear them while flying, make sure you keep them in your carry on.

6. Choose your guidebooks carefully and carry only one when you depart. Most places now have internet connections. This allows you to plan your trip online and access your information while you are there. My new favorite website is http://www.virtualtourist.com/. If the internet is not going to be readily available, photocopy useful pages from other books and fold them into the one book you have decided to bring with you.

7. Make sure to check into the current local weather at your destination before you pack. Choose your outfits accordingly. Pack one lightweight sweater and long sleeve shirt with rain poncho to layer if temperatures drop unexpectedly during your trip.

8. Choose neutral colors for your extended trips. With proper planning, every item will combine with the others to create many outfits from only a few select pieces. Pack shoes that will combine with most, if not all of the outfits. Remember to pack light and choose wisely, especially when it comes to shoes. Wear the bulkiest shoes when you fly.

9. Magazines or newspapers can be purchased at your destination or at the airport. Once you are done with them, leave them behind for others to read. Many hotels have lending libraries. I always bring a small paperback onto the plane and exchange it for another during my trip.

10. Final tip: You can replace almost everything you might have forgotten at your destination, even in third world countries, so lighten your load and make a pact to pack only what you know you will need for your next trip!

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How to Organize Before a Move

Dog in Moving Box

When preparing to move, many folks don’t know where to start. The key is to establish a plan to stay organized leading up to and during the move.

Many people think of moving day as being a “day event,” otherwise known as “moving day.” When in actuality, effective planning of your move should be looked at more like the planning of a wedding. It is an event that requires planning weeks and sometimes months in advance. The more you are able to chunk what is needed to be done into smaller parts, the less overwhelming it will be.

Organizing a move breaks down into 8 major parts.
1. Changing addresses- You will need to contact 20-100 different places to change addresses depending on your stage of life. Create a spreadsheet and list everyone that you will need to contact to change addresses for. You can do this well in advance of your move.

  • DMV
  • Social Security
  • Post office for a forwarding address
  • Friends/family
  • Schools/churches/day cares
  • Bills (Phone, cable, Internet, trash, electric, cell phones)
  • Speciality delivery services like Netflix
  • Doctors
  • Magazines/newspapers
  • Credit cards/banks/estate papers/wills

2. Donating or Recycling Items You No Longer Want
Before you even start to pack, it is advisable to go through your entire home and select which items you want to keep, and which ones you want to donate, throw out or give away. A good rule of thumb, if you have not used it in the last year, you should get rid of it. There is no point to moving items that you no longer want.

In San Diego you can donate to many wonderful charities, one of my favorites being the following:

  • Father Joes Village will come to your house and pick up belongings and donate to several different causes of your choice.


3. Selecting your moving vendors
It is good idea to select and find your moving company 1 month in advance if you have the time. Many moving companies, particularly in the summer, get full booked. Schedule in advance, and then change the date if you need to.

  • Check with your local BBB for the ratings of your moving company. Only go with a moving company that has an A rating and is fully licensed and insured.
  • If you are moving locally, you will save money going with a local company that charges by the hour and who is fast and efficient. When you are paying by the hour, efficiency and experience matters.

4. Start packing early
Order moving boxes on-line to save time and start packing early. Most people create a lot of stress simply by waiting too long to get moving boxes and start packing. Areas that can be packed weeks ahead of time are the following:

  • The garage
  • The bathroom and laundry room (you can not move open cleaning products though)
  • Winters clothes if it is the summer, or summer clothes if it is the winter.
  • Fine silverware
  • holiday decorations
  • anything you will not use for a few weeks

5. Don’t change your routine during the moving process
A big part of organizing effectively during a move is keeping a level head. Make sure that you continue to keep your normal routine of exercise, reading, or soaking in the bath. These moments of relaxation will help you organize in a calm and effective fashion. Many people stop engaging in these activities the month they are moving, which helps increase the stress level.

6. Make Sure to Have Everything packed in moving boxes BEFORE your movers arrive.
Local movers charge by the hour. Therefore, if you are fully packed and ready to be moved, the total cost of your move will be less than if the movers have to wait for you to seal moving boxes or collect loose items off the floor. Time is money when you are moving and you are totally in control.

Happy moving!

Note: My colleague Jerry Berzanski, President of Discount Movers has graciously provided these professional moving tips.

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Finding a reputable mover


As fall approaches many of us, including myself are in transition and moving into new homes.

Moving is stressful. Packing and unpacking is sometimes the least of your worries.

Finding a reputable mover is always the biggest challenge.

I have heard more horror stories than fairy tale endings from my clients after their moves. My last move was a disaster, with timelines changing and many boxes missing after the fact.

The best way to find a mover who you can rely upon is to ask around. If you have the benefit of a ‘NextDoor’ Network in your area, this is the perfect place to begin. Next Door is a free bulletin board system that broadcasts things for sale, things for free and a provides a general chat line within your neighborhood. It is an amazing resource and even helped me find my missing cat a few weeks back.if you don’t have a Next Door system in your neighborhood, you can start one yourself with little effort. Check it out – I love this free resource! As a disclaimer, the links include an affiliate link back to me.

After you get a few recommendations and a few mover quotes, go one step further and check out their insurance coverage.

If you live in California, follow this procedure to see if they are insured and reputable.

1. Go to PUC website : https://delaps1.cpuc.ca.gov/pls/public_cpuc/f?p=203:35:14893983128020::NO:RP::
2. Choose: moving company (MTR).
3. Enter Carrier ID (0190802) or Carrier Name/ DBA (Vector Moving.
4. Press submit.
You will then see all the license and insurance information for the vendors you are considering hiring.

If you live outside of California, google search your government website for similar systems. The best way to protect yourself is to double check each mover before you hire them so make sure to do your due diligence in advance!

Professional Organizers like myself are ready to assist you during your move. I pack, unpack and create zones within your new home that will serve you well for years.

If you are moving and need help downsizing your possessions and not paying to move your excess unwanted, unnecessary stuff, contact addSpace and my team can help.

It pays to get started with great systems in your new home using the help of trained professionals to help you downsize prior to your move and helping you settle in after your move. addSpace has relocated hundreds of clients over the years and are currently downsizing and unpacking two clients as this article is written!

If you have nay questions about how addSpace can help, click on this link or call 760.436.4266 and we are happy to answer your questions and explain how the process works. If you don’t live in Southern California, you can visit the National Association of Professional Organizers, NAPO.net to find a Professional Organizer in your area. If you prefer to work with Board Certified Professional Organizer including addSpace To Your Life! Visit the certified Professional Organizer website.

In the meantime, have a fantastic fall. I will be moving mid September and am looking forward to an easy, joyful move!

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Ten Hacks For Efficient Packing

Overpacked Suitcase

Packing everything that you need is not always easy. If you don’t know the tips and tricks related to packing well, you can end up running out of space quickly. Believe it or not, there are some things that you don’t need to pack! Check out the following tips that can help you add space to your suitcase.

  1. Make a list of what you will need to pack. Check these items off once (more…)
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Extreme Organizing For Travel – one carry-on bag and a satchel

Carry On Luggage

The key to packing lightly is to choose one main color palette, black, brown or navy and you are already halfway there! Include classic wardrobe elements and you will be able to mix and match most of the items that you pack.

Choose a dark hue for your basic slacks, jeans, jacket, and skirt. They will look fresher longer during your tour with less frequent washing. Use shirts and accessories to splash color into your wardrobe.

Leave your expensive jewelry home; you don’t need the ongoing liability and concern as you travel. Consider leaving all of your earrings at home and wearing only your favorite pair of stud earrings the entire trip. Pack a few bangles, necklaces and scarves to add variety to your clothing combinations.

Pack 2 pairs of basic slacks, 1 pair of jeans, 1 lightweight jacket, 2 lightweight sweaters that can be layered together, 1 skirt, 1-2 Pashima wraps, three casual shirts (2 short sleeve, one long sleeve or vice versa if you tend to run cold), 11 pairs of underwear, 1 bra, 1 sleeveless shell, a dressy blouse and a sheath dress that doesn’t hold wrinkles. Also include a swimsuit and wrap if you will have pool/spa facilities. Plan on doing a load of laundry half way through your tour.

Pack a pair of sandals and pumps with kitten heels. The secret to sexy kitten-heel pumps is that you can wear them comfortably all day and they dress up elegantly for formal dinners with your sheath dress and wrap.
Wear jeans, walking shoes and your heavy sweater during the flight. Carry or wear your coat on board to save space within your suitcase.

If you decide to check your suitcase, make sure to pack enough clothes and toiletries for an entire day and night in your carry-on. Avoid feeling miserable if your luggage takes longer to arrive than you do. An extra blouse, underwear, pajamas, makeup and toiletries are essential elements for your carry-on bag. This habit also helps you pack a few more clothes without breaking the ‘one suitcase rule’. Pack a lightweight collapsible shopping bag to use on side expeditions throughout your trip.

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Organizing RV packing list

Dear Kathi,

We are getting ready to go on another adventure in our RV. We only use the beast 2 to 3 times a year and always leave taking too much stuff with us. With the price of gas these days and one more kid this year, we need to streamline our packing list.

What can you recommend to keep our load light and still ensure that we have what we need?

Tom, Cardiff by the Sea


I have a lot of ideas for you!

It is always helpful to work from a master list each time you get ready to take an adventure. If you haven’t compiled an RV adventure list before, use this outing as a platform for creating your master list. As you remember items that you need to pack, add them to the list. Don’t worry about organizing your list at this point, simply add items as you think of them.

Keep this list handy and add items to it as you load them into the RV. Once you are underway and using your inventory, you might remember things you have forgotten to pack. Add these additional items to your list. During one of your leisure evenings, take the time to sort your list into categories: food, clothing, accessories, gear… whatever is applicable to your RV lifestyle.

Once you return home, type the info into a list format on your computer. Leave space for checkmarks beside each item and print several copies. Store a few in the glove box or cabinet in the RV and refer to it for future expeditions. If you store your RV, keep your list at home instead so you can begin preparing for your trip prior to accessing your RV.

One of the secrets of successful RV packing is minimizing the things you have to pack. Before you pack an item, ask yourself, “Is it absolutely necessary? Can I do without it? How often will I use it? Will some other item do the job? Will this item do double duty?”

Pack things according to their priority- the absolute necessities first, then the things you think you need, and so on.

To lighten your load and conserve gasoline, use as much plastic as you can. Choose plastic instead of glass bottles for condiments and other items. Buy plastic dishes and tumblers to replace Corning dishes. Rely on plastic bags and containers to keep items separated and organized in the bathroom, bedroom and cabinets.

Another way to lighten your load is to pack only one week’s worth of clothes per family member and do laundry once a week while you are on the road.

If you take bicycles and other sports gear, consider taking only two of each. Let family members take turns using bikes and surfboards during the trip.

Open up each cabinet to see what has been stored within from the last trip. Consider whether or not you used these items the last time around, or ever. If not, perhaps they don’t need to stay onboard for this trip. We often stash a lot of stuff into our new RVs because we are excited, then never reference it again. It remains forgotten and lives in the cabinets for years, never seeing the light of day.

You can always stop en route to pick up anything that you have forgotten. Keep this in mind so that your trip preparation and departure will be less stressful.

Remember the first aid kit, have fun and please let me know how these ideas worked for you.

Thanks for writing and don’t hesitate to write with any other specific questions.

Please submit your questions to: advice@addspacetoyourlife.com

San Diego Professional Organizer

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