A GOLDEN MOMENT OF CLARITY: How Playing Opened My Heart & Freed My Soul

Mr. & Mrs. Potato HeadAs many of you may remember from my last blog post, I recently had a day filled with Aha! moments while watching Super Soul Sunday and listening to Oprah talk with Brene Brown.  They were discussing the 10 Guideposts to Wholehearted Living from Brene’s most recent book,  Daring Greatly,    specifically  concentrating on the last 5.  I mentioned towards the end of the blog post that there were many other golden moments of clarity that I would share with you as I blogged through the Ultimate Blog Challenge.  This is about one of them and it comes from Ms. Brown’s Guidepost #7.

exhaustion as a status symbol & productivity as self worth.

Brene Brown explained this guidepost with this quote by Stuart Brown, “Play is defined as time spent without purpose” and states that shame often prevents us from playing.

This concept had a huge impact on my psyche this week; I’ve been thinking about it ever since I watched the show.

HERE’S MY SECRET: I DON’T PLAY MUCH; haven’t in a long, long time.

Oh, I played as a child, of course: the typical coloring, Barbie dolls, dressing up and outside with my brothers, all with great abandon. I played as a young girl: crafting, reading and baking, but with less abandon. At first, the abandon diminished; as a young teenager I was needed to help take care of my brother, help with the household chores and even work at a part time job to help with expenses – there wasn’t much time for leisure activities or playtime. Then the abandon stopped altogether; I think I learned during my teens that my time needed a purpose and I lost the idea of play. Could shame have caused that?  After all, teens were supposed to be cool – was playing considered cool?

As a young adult play became different – it was more social oriented and in groups. As a young mother of course I would play with my children, but not with abandon – after all I was a grownup and abandon was for children. (Maybe shame made me feel that way.) 50 years later I have come full circle and once again become reminded of (HERE’S THE AHA MOMENT) the importance of play and its absence in my life. Now, what do I do with this Aha! moment?

Well, on Easter Sunday, I figured it out: PLAY! I sat down to a time honored tradition in our house that had been lost by the wayside: COLORING EGGS. With no purpose in mind and little preplanning, I spent a good 2 hours with my husband pricking holes in eggs, blowing out the white and yolks and picking colors at random to drop the eggs into … JUST PLAYING. Easter EggsSome came out vibrant and bold, others were subtle and unusual and a few were downright ugly; the end result didn’t matter, though.

For the two hours that we played, we also reminisced about what it was like to do this with our kids, what our favorite egg dying kits were and enjoyed the comical memories of the mishaps we shared. We spent a lot of time laughing (much to my oldest son’s total amazement) and enjoying letting our minds and hands just play while our hearts opened for the joy of doing something without purpose. IT WAS AMAZING!

I do not think that this guidepost will quickly leave my mind; it’s too important of a concept to bring back into my life. Hearing Brene Brown’s profound words opened my mind to the importance of it; enjoying the actuality of it on Easter Sunday opened my heart to it. Today I already feel my soul being freed with the contemplation of what I can do this weekend to “play”.

Having shared this golden moment of clarity, I ask you this:

When was the last time you “played”; when you just did something with no purpose or intent other than to realize the joy and beauty of your soul? Share with me what it was, won’t you? Inspire others to play, open their heart and free their soul to experience the amazing feeling PLAYING can bring.

An Aha! Moment of Enlightenment

An Aha! MomentHave you ever seen, heard or read something that was so profound it stopped you in your tracks and made you say “Oh my gosh”?  An “Aha” or “light bulb” moment that just grabbed your attention and even took your breath away?  I had that kind of moment the other day and I was so unprepared for it that I screeched loud enough to jolt my sleeping dog awake!  It came to me when I was watching Super Soul Sunday with Oprah.  Read on to learn more about it.

I love Oprah Winfrey’s new Super Soul Sunday (more info),  but haven’t been able to watch any of the aired shows so I’ve been taping them.  (Hoping that during those long nights of insomnia I could do a marathon!)  I was particularly interested in the shows with Brene Brown.  For those of you who haven’t heard of Brene Brown, she is a research professor at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work (as well as a NY Times best-selling author and renowned speaker) and has spent decades studying vulnerability, courage, worthiness and shame.  (About)  All feelings that so many of us struggle understanding and for which I have a keen fascination.

I finally found a day where I could listen to the playbacks.  This wouldn’t be any ordinary day either; this was going to be a day of pampering and I made sure to give it the attention it deserved: I came to the living room in my most comfy pjs, a warm cup of tea and all electronic communication shut off (okay, maybe not shut off, but at least turned down)!  My faithful companion and I curled up on the sofa together and I hit play; wouldn’t you know, Murphy’s Law kicked in immediately – the first part never taped!  Sighing, I thought, oh well at least there’s another part.  Taking a deep breath (and crossing my fingers that Mr. Murphy didn’t show up again), I pushed play one more time.  Oprah and Ms. Brown began discussing a myriad of topics and settled upon the 10 Guideposts to Wholeheartedly Living that was the subject of her latest book, Daring Greatly.  (I had missed the first 5 from part 1, but at least they were going over the last 5.)  And then it happened and only a few minutes into the discussion!

They were talking about the 6th guidepost: Cultivating Creativity: Letting Go of Comparison.  This is what I heard:

Creativity has to be cultivated.  Unused creativity is not benign; it metastasizes and turns into: grief, judgment, sorrow, rage and shame.  It can be very dangerous.  We are divine beings and by nature creative.  But our creativity gets lost along the way and is often shamed out of us.  

I gasped, “Oh my gosh” so loudly that the dog jerked her head up and stared intently at me for several minutes.  THIS WAS MY “Aha” MOMENT. 

You see, as a professional organizer, I surround myself with structure, order and planning, but what many people don’t know is that I am also very creative.  The two sides of my brain are often at war with each other because most of my life has been spent concentrating on using the structure, order and planning side.  The creative side always got pushed to the back waiting for me to take the time to cultivate it.  As a wife and mom of 26 years, I had been solely focused on raising two sons, running a home and working full time; there never seemed to be enough time to cultivate my personal creativity.  In that instant though, I understood that because I had been stifling that need, I had been experiencing many of the feelings that Brene had just described; it was as if she was pointing to me through the screen when she said it.  I realized I was close to a danger zone – I could see that resentment had started creeping in from not using the creativity locked deep within myself.  It was as if Ms. Brown had unlocked a door that I could walk through.  It was clear as day.  I understood it was now time for me to unleash and cultivate my inner creativity; there was nothing to hold me back anymore. YES, A LIGHT BULB MOMENT FOR SURE! 

Once I heard those words, I knew that I couldn’t just sit back and “listen” to this show; I needed to pay attention and make sure I took notes along the way.  I was certain that there would be other golden moments of clarity that I would want to remember.  There was, but I’m not going to let those secrets out just yet….that will be subject of future blog posts of introspection, so you’ll have to tune in again to find out!

TELL ME SOMETHING: Have you ever had a moment like that – a moment of clarity that was so profound it stopped you in your tracks and took your breath away?  If you have, would you share it?  For, I believe that, in sharing we find the greatest gift of our Aha moments: passing them on to someone else who is open to experiencing the profoundness of our enlightenment.



I’m so excited to share with you an amazing challenge that just started! During the month of April, I will be participating in the Ultimate Blog Challenge hosted by Michelle Shaeffer and Michele Scism.  Let me tell you what it is all about!


This is a 30 day challenge of daily blog writing.  It is designed to encourage the daily habit of blogging, motivating the development of creative writing and help spread each participant’s message while connecting with other amazing bloggers.


I chose to participate in this activity because I have always been motivated by  challenge and have been trying to sharpen my writing skills.  Since I missed the last challenge, I made certain to calendar this one early.  It’s certainly going to be interesting trying to keep up with the daily accountability, but I really think the effort will be worth it and may even turn out quite interesting!


What will be so different, you may ask?  If you are checking in frequently on the blog here at LS & Co, you will find three things different this month:

  • There will be more posts to read (that’s a plus, isn’t it?)
  • There will be many different types of posts (funny, inspirational or even sad) and not always connected to organizing or business.
  • You will find some interesting things about me personally (personal based posts are welcomed)


By participating in this awesome challenge, I’m hoping to widen the reach of the blog, develop more skill with my own writing (which I love to do), build connections with other like-minded individuals and share the amazing benefits of organizing.

I want this blog to not only be instructional and motivational, but have dimension.  Most importantly, I want the readers to get know the face behind the writing and connect with me to build a relationship.  Lofty goals I agree, but I was always one to shoot for the stars and settle for the moon!

I hope I’ve piqued your interest and you’ll CHECK BACK OFTEN to read what I’ll create for you.  To make it easier, why don’t you SIGN UP to receive our blog posts & newsletter (targeted launch is April) directly into your inbox!  CLICK HERE (to sign up).

I begin this amazing challenge with great excitement and hope you’ll join me on my journey.

P.S. If you’re interested in joining this challenge with me (and so many other wonderful bloggers) CLICK the image below to find out more.




Our thoughts and prayers go out to those who are still suffering the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. Our blog has been quiet during this week and we have not posted a great deal as we’ve been working through our own issues with the storm. However, we have not encountered anything that was not easily solved within a short period of time; it’s quite humbling.

It saddened us to watch the news and see that those in our extended community did not fare as well and we have been thinking all week how we, as a company, can do our part to help those who are in need of what we have in abundance. The answer came when we read on Facebook that members of our local fire department were collecting donations that they would personally deliver to dropoff points in Queens and Staten Island, NY. Our company, along with my family members, quickly decided to take action and contribute to this local effort.

Together, we created 25 personal hygiene bags which were dropped off to the local fire department for delivery tomorrow. What an awesome feeling to think that somewhere someone will be able to brush their teeth and feel clean for the first time in a week or more because of our care package! We truly are proud to be a part of our local community’s relief efforts.

Check out our pictorial below where you can see how we created our donation packages. Several of us worked together to shop, assemble and deliver the packages; with many hands the work was light and the time was short. Our company, family and generous benefactors pooled resources to pay for the products and packaging; a donation was even received from Walmart! Combining all of our efforts eliminated one person/business having to bear the brunt of the expense. We hope the simplicity of how one small act from each of us will inspire you to do the same!

Packages of Travel Sized Products

Purchased travel sized personal hygiene products for the packages.

Gallon & quart sized zippered plastic bags

Used gallon & quart sized, zippered, plastic bags as the “package container”.

Assembly line of products

Organized the products into a production line for quicker assembly of packages.

Final product

Created personalized hygiene care packages customized for men and women.

As a small company, we’ve done what we could afford, but we do not want to stop here.  We would like to continue our efforts to help those in need, especially our canine and feline friends who also may be without life necessities or displaced and separated from their families; they are tired, hungry and alone – THEY NEED OUR HELP!

“Animals are such agreeable friends — they ask no questions, they pass no criticisms.” — George Eliot


Alone we can only climb a small hill, but
TOGETHER we can climb an entire mountain!

5 Simple Steps to Organize Your Shed


What does your shed look like right now?

If you were to open the doors to your shed, what would you find?  Would you be able to find things quickly and easily?  Are all of your tools/equipment in good working order?  Are you ready to put away your outdoor items and get ready for the upcoming season?  Chances are that is not what you can do, but you are not alone!  My shed was once like that, too, and so are many of my clients.  In just one day and 5 SIMPLE STEPS, I was able to organize mine so that now I CAN do the above things, quickly and easily.  You can too!

I’ve created a short (just 8 minutes) slide presentation detailing the 5 Simple Steps that you can take to create the shed of your dreams! So,

STOP jumping over piles to find what you need,


digging deep for what you want

or buying unnecessary items because you can’t remember what you have! 





Organized, Efficient & Easy to Use


 to view the slide presentation.




My friend, Dorothy Wills-Raftery, recently invited me to join in a writing project called “The Next Big Thing”.  Dorothy is an author, photojournalist and owner of five, adorable Siberian Huskies, one of whom has epilepsy.  She has written the book What’s Wrong with Gibson and her blog at FiveSibes blog is all about the life of her beautiful “children” to help raise awareness for canine epilepsy.  This project is all about finding out what the next big thing writers/bloggers are working on and is passed by torch to others each week.  I was honored that Dorothy “tagged” me and thrilled to participate.  Here is a sneak peak of my next project!    

What is the working title of your book?  A Guide to the Jewish Holidays: Honoring the Special Times at Home with Simplicity & Ease.  Completely a “working” title as the concept is just beginning to evolve.

Where did the idea come from for the book?  During the last Jewish holidays, I was chatting with a group who were lamenting about how much work it was to celebrate holidays at home, specifically the Jewish ones.  Many stopped having home celebrations because their family had scattered, they were alone and it was easier to go to gatherings elsewhere.  I could relate to this lament as my children have grown older and moved out and my extended family is scattered as they spend holidays in their own childrens’ home.  I recognize that this mindset often happens as we grow older and our families disperse.  

Following that conversation, a friend and I were chatting and she complimented me on the wonderful events I had created; she even suggested I get back into event planning because I did such a nice job.  What a nice compliment, but been there, done that!  I worked for a synagogue for 11 years and planned upwards of 35 major events a year and didn’t want to make it my primary focus again.  I have to acknowledge that she was right, though… I do love creating special gatherings and am very good at it. 

I felt there was a hidden message in the fact that these two incidents happened back to back.  Was fate trying to enlighten me about something?  I think so, for after further consideration, the idea to create this book was formed. 

What genre does your book fall under?  It’s definitely a “How To” guide.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?  I don’t foresee this type of book moving towards a movie script as it is a How To guide, but one never knows!

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?  I would sum up this book as “a guide to honoring the Jewish holidays at home with simplicity, style and ease”.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?  The literary world is a foreign territory for me, so I am going to create this in an EBook format and see where it goes.  In the future, maybe it can be turned into an agency published book.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?  My first draft is currently under construction.  I’m looking to collaborate with a few other individuals and I haven’t worked out the details just yet.  My target date for first draft completion is by January 15, 2013.  A good way to start the New Year, don’t you think?

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?  I’m a firm believer in not comparing things as everyone’s own work holds its own merit and is unique in itself.  There is one book, though (which I refer to at every holiday) that I would like mine to be modeled after: Jewish Holiday Style by Rita Milos Brownstein.  It is a visually stimulating book with wonderful ideas for celebrating Jewish Holidays.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?  My love of Judaism, writing and organizing is the fire of the concept; my friend, Colleen is the ignitor.  It was what she said to me after the first incident that prompted me to develop the concept that I think has been inside of me for many years.  It was just waiting for the right opportunity to pop out! 

I consider this project as a way for me to channel all the wonderful things I’ve learned about Judaism over the years, combine it with my talent for organizing and create a meaningful piece of writing that others can enjoy.  I also look at it as an opportunity to help others learn that honoring or celebrating Jewish holidays can be easy and fun at home.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?  I’m sure that with 11 years of planning Jewish lifecycle and religious events, numerous years of teaching young children about Judaism and a lifetime of my own family experiences, there will be some humorous (and maybe not so) escapades sprinkled throughout the book!  The intent in including those embarrassing moments would be to share the human element of entertaining so readers will understand that perfection is not the goal, enjoyment is!

Now that you’ve learned of my next project, here are some others I know who are working on special things to come:

Christina Workman Johnstone: Christina is a wonderful web developer who has started her own company looking to help others develop their websites.  She brings to her clients a wealth of knowledge in a quiet, but intuitive manner (and many times quite funny).  I am always amazed at her ability to think what I’m thinking, sometimes before I even think it!  Visit her website at Amethyst Answers to find out what will be her “Next Big Thing”.

Please check back for more torch bearers and find out what will be their “Next Big Thing”!


8 Simple Steps to Organize A Garage

Do you find that your garage has become a dumping ground and you can’t even remember its intended purpose?  Have you thought about organizing it, but quickly gave up the idea because it was too overwhelming?  You’re not alone.  There is a way to tackle the project easily – break it down into manageable steps and work on them one by one.  Read on for some tips on how to accomplish those steps.

 PREPARE FOR THE RIDE: Check out the weather so you can pick a date that works well with your schedule; commit to the project by marking it on the calendar.  Assemble supplies you will need: plastic garbage bags, cleaning solutions, gloves and a dust mask top the list.  Make sure you have easy-to-grab food on hand and lots to drink so you can keep yourself nourished.

 DIVE INTO THE SORT: The easiest way to sort is to bring it all out; utilize your driveway or backyard for the sorting.  Create sorting zones with a pile for Keep, Donate, Move Elsewhere and Toss.    Remove the largest items first, work your way through the rest and tackle small items last. 

 CLEAN IT OUT:  Pull on the gloves, put on the mask, then clean it all out … get in there with some elbow grease to dust, sweep, wipe down walls and prepare your space for its transformation.  Don’t skip this step…think of it like a blank canvas that is being prepared for a beautiful painting.

  TIME TO DISPOSEDispose of the trash, move out the items going to another area, send the give away items to their homes and you are left with only the items to be returned to the garage.  Group like with like and categorize the items left (sports, decorations, gardening, tools, etc).

 PLAN IT OUT: Sit in the cleaned space and evaluate what is to be returned.  Determine how you wish to store it and decide if you will use shelving units, stock storage systems or call in a company to customize the space.  Sketch out a floor plan for your reference and note measurements for any storage systems/containers to be purchased.  (Remember – measure twice to purchase only once!) 

  FINDING A NEW HOME:  Utilize all of your space efficiently.  Shelves are a great way to store large items & local home improvement stores have many storage systems available.  Plastic bins are good for small items, hanging racks are great for sports equipment and bikes can be hung well from the ceiling. 

 DIVIDE & CONQUER: Create zones in the garage for the categories of items you have and clearly define these zones with labels.  Make sure to factor in visibility and access: frequently used items should go in easy to reach places up front; permanent storage items in less accessible places in back of the garage.  Return the sorted items to their zones.

 KEEP UP THE MOMENTUM:  Once you’ve created your ordered space, adopt new habits to keep it orderly: take a few extra minutes each day to put items in their designated spots and schedule weekly cleanups. These will be a breeze now that everything has been organized!

Conquering the clutter in your garage and creating an organized space can be a simple and easy process if you break it into manageable steps.  Check out our Photo Gallery and see how one of our clients tackled her project in 8 hours!  Once you’ve finished the garage, what’s the next space going to be?  Drop us a line and let us know – we’ll be able to give you some tips on organizing that area too!




SUMMER SERIES: Organizing to Travel – Post 3 of 3

 A Handy Checklist for Getting Your Car Ready to Travel

Labor Day, a holiday that typically signals the end of the summer season, is just around the corner for those of us in the United States. There is still a lot of time to enjoy some travel adventures even if the calendar says it’s the end of the summer! This might even be a good time to take a road trip and enjoy the beauty of late summer or the upcoming fall weather. Before you head out on the road, though, it’s important to make sure your car is ready to travel to ensure a safe and smooth journey. Here is a handy checklist to cover all the basics.

√ Check the Pressure: Poor tire pressure can lead to a rough ride or even a blowout! Use a pressure gauge to make sure all five tires (that includes your spare) are at the same level. Maintaining proper pressure can also reduce fuel costs by up to 3% (according to AAA).

√ Check the Fluids: This check should include the oil, wiper fluid, brake fluid and coolant.  The car manual should include how-to instructions if you want to tackle it on your own; if not, take it to your local automotive shop for a check. Having the fluids well filled will reduce the chances of engine failure or overheating during your journey.

√ Check the System: Make sure there are no warning indicator lights displayed on the dashboard. Refer to your manual for definition of each one and take to your local repair shop to clear before setting out on the road.  Making sure your system is in order will lessen any worries about car performance while on the road.

√ Check Windshield Wipers: Blades that are worn, cracked or aged will not remove rain, dirt or other debris and can hinder a driver’s vision. Ensure that wipers are new or in good condition and replace frequently to maintain the best visual space for the driver.

√ Check Maintenance: Regular maintenance should include a tune up, changing the oil, checking the cooling system, testing and/or recharging the air conditioning and replacing the air filter. Schedule a maintenance at least 1-2 times a year with your local automotive shop if you are not comfortable completing these tasks on your own.

√ Check the Glove Compartment: A glove compartment should always include up to date registration & insurance information, contact information, map, owners’ manual, batteries/chargers for electronic devices, tire pressure gauge, and a pen & pad.  These items could be essential when traveling.

It’s always a good idea to have at least a basic emergency kit on hand to help you through an unexpected emergency. Check out our Resources tab for suggested kits or a list of items for assembling one of your own.

Now that you’ve gone through this simple checklist, you should feel confident that you’ve greatly reduced the chance of having any issue while on the road.  You are now ready to pack up your car, hop on the highway and get on out there to your destination!   Happy traveling!


PEARLS OF WISDOM to First Time Students Moving to a Dorm Room


Heading off to college and staying in a dorm room for the first time can be very challenging, stressful and even a little bit scary.  Students experience such a variety of challenges during this time:  lack of space, storage issues, living without amenities, keeping things organized and clean, lack of privacy – the list can go on and on.  I’ve put together a few tips to this make this process easier, less stressful and even fun!  I call them my Pearls of Wisdom….

PEARL #1 – LESS IS MORE: Resist the urge to bring “everything but the kitchen sink” from home!   The best thing to do is bring only the absolute necessities needed to live for the next few weeks (as if you were going on a trip).  This premise should also apply to sports equipment; only bring what is needed for the current season, not the next.  Keep in mind there will be a break in a few weeks and out of season items can always exchange things when students visit home during the break.

PEARL #2 – A LITTLE TIME NOW SAVES MORE LATER:  Plan on spending at least some of the first day setting up the room and putting away what was brought; factor in an additional period at a later time in the week, also.  Take advantage of having help during move-in weekend, too, by setting up the most difficult items and organizing the most important spaces.  Let those who came with you help; that’s what they came for.  If the student doesn’t have assistance, connect with another student and help each other move in.

PEARL #3 – USE YOUR SPACE WISELY: Take advantage of listening to tips from those who came before the student. Returning students have usually tested out all the room configurations and found what works best and RAs (resident assistants) are happy to share their wealth of experience (since it’s usually the third year they’ve been rooming in a dorm).  Some colleges even post suggested room layouts on their website.  Most importantly keep the layout simple and be prepared to make changes later in the semester.

PEARL #4 – MAXIMIZE STORAGE AREAS: Use bed risers to raise the bed and create storage underneath; the height of risers used will determine how much storage you’ll gain and what storage containers to use.  One set allows for a 7” container with wheels, two sets allows for a 12” (26 gallon) container and loft kits will open up space for a desk and chair.  Don’t forget to maximize the closet space: double hangers or closet rod extenders create more than one area to place hangers and are a great organizing tool. 

PEARL #5 – THE STURDIER THE BETTER:   Be careful of purchasing too many inexpensive products; instead opt to purchase items that will withstand the rigors of college living.  These could include Huggable Hangers®, 4 tier swing arm hangers, rolling wooden drawers or a closet dresser (both available from a home improvement store).  Investing in products for the long term will be more cost effective and save a lot of time and aggravation with the need for less replacement.

PEARL #6 – IT’S NOT CAST IN STONE: Don’t think that organizing a dorm room is a one shot deal; it will take some time to customize the room and to make it comfortable for the student.  Keep expectations realistic and stay flexible; be prepared to make changes as time goes on.  The first year of dorm living always involves a huge learning curve as students find out what works best for them.

These pearls of wisdom should provide the student some simple and straightforward strategies to meet the challenge of living in a dorm residence for the first time.  The student should now be able to reduce the stress that the challenges might create and alleviate the anxiety of a new environment.  He/she will now be able to enjoy creating a new home, learning all about school life and experiencing this new adventure; by the end of the school year, they won’t even remember that they once thought it was even difficult!

Be sure to step over to our Recommended Product Section for a list of organizing products suggested by area local post-graduate students.  Let us know if there’s any suggested products that you have found helpful … we’ll be happy to add it to our list.  Here’s to a successful school year!

SUMMER SERIES: Organizing to Travel – Post 2 of 3


The summer is the quintessential time to travel and get away from home. A lot of things need to happen before you set out to travel, though.  Preparing your home for your absence should be incorporated into your preparation plans for the trip to ensure a smooth departure.  The best way to accomplish this is to create a checklist to follow; having a checklist will make the preparations so much easier and keep you on track to completing all that needs to be done.  Here are some great tips to quickly and easily prepare your home for you to leave. Let the preparation begin!

  1. LET IT BREATHE: Make sure to ventilate your home while you are away.  If your space is centrally air conditioned, turn the thermostat to 78° F/29° C to save energy, keep the space at a comfortable temperature and avoid the ill effects of a hot, sticky home.  If you have window unit air conditioning or none at all, open a few windows on each level about 2” to let air circulate throughout the space; make sure to block the windows from the sill or close the locks to keep anyone from entering.
  2. KEEP IT SECURE: Stage the house to look like someone is still there if you are going away for more than a few days: arrange for the mail/newspaper to be held, picked up or temporarily stopped, the garbage cans to be brought in and hook up lights and tv to a timer set to randomly turn on and off.  Most importantly, make sure you store any valuables in a locked, safe place or move them to a secure location.
  3. GIVE OTHERS ACCESS: It’s always a good idea to give your house key, itinerary and emergency contact information to a trusted neighbor, friend or family member so they can access your home in case of emergency (flood, fire etc.).
  4. POOL SITTER: If you have a pool, it’s always a good idea to keep the filter running during your absence so that there aren’t any water problems when you return.  If you don’t have someone to come in and turn the filter on each day, attach the pump to a timer to ensure it runs regularly and doesn’t turn the water that icky color green!
  5. KEEP THAT GARDEN ALIVE: If you have a garden, it’s best to hire someone to keep it watered during your absence.  If you don’t have anyone to do this, try snaking a hose with holes throughout the beds and turn it on very low so the flowers can be kept moist.   Water-filled globes are also great to leave in your flower boxes or planters so they can stay watered too.
  6. CLEAN OUT THE FRIG: Try to eat most of the food in the refrigerator during the days before you depart.  Clear out the leftovers, wipe the frig clean and empty the indoor trash can so that food does not perish in your absence.
  7. DON’T LEAVE IT TO BURN: Remove potential fire hazards: unplug televisions, computers and small appliances if you don’t have them attached to a power surge strip.  Summer is notorious for flash storms and you wouldn’t to want to lose your electronics to a freak lightening strike.  Also, check to make sure the stove/oven knobs and your gas valves are turned off just before leaving your home.
  8. HANDLE THE MONEY: Make sure you check your bill schedule and plan to pay any bills due during your absence ahead of time by pre-scheduling online payments or leaving the mailing with someone you trust.  Most importantly, don’t leave any banking information easily accessible in your home. You’ll be able to enjoy your time away if your financial responsibilities are well taken care of during your absence.

Now that you’ve got a better idea of what needs to be done to leave your home and how quickly and easily you can accomplish the preparation, it’s time to go!  Pack your bag, complete your checklist and get ready for take-off.  You will soon be on your way to a relaxing and enjoyable time away once you have prepared yourself AND your home for your departure!

Make sure you drop us a line and let us know how your adventure went….happy traveling!