5 Organizing Tips to Help You Thrive This Summer

When I was growing up, summer was great!  I didn’t have any homework, my days were filled with leisurely activities, and everything ran at a slower pace.  Sadly, summers aren’t like that anymore.  It seems like our summer schedules are just as harried and crazy as the school year ~ and that goes for parents and kids alike!

As with any other time of the year, it’s important to have a sense of order for your summer activities.  However, with kids at home 24/7 it can be more difficult.  Try these 5 organizing tips so you can survive thrive the not-so-lazy days of summer:

1. Keep a family calendar – I’m a big advocate of personal planners, but in the summer I think it’s a good idea to have a large family calendar out so everyone can see what’s going on each day. I would suggest color-coding each family member so even the littlest ones can figure out what is on the schedule!

2. Know when your local entertainment is open – Is there a special day the movie theater is offering kids’ special showings? Are there discount hours at the museum? Make a list of all the local entertainment in your area – library, movie theaters, bowling alleys, museums, etc – and mark them on your family calendar so that you will know when to go and get the best deals. There’s nothing worse than hauling a carload of kids to the place, only to discover they are closed or not offering a discounted rate.

3. Set up temporary launch pads by the exit doors – You may already have a system set up to get the kids out the door each morning for school, but what about for summer activities? Set up a basket with swim gear, towels, sunscreen, bug repellant, and flip-flops or keep a bin for library books to be returned. Having these items by the door when you are ready to leave will reduce your stress and keep things in their place.

photo credit: Βethan via photopin cc

4. Schedule time for you and the things you need to get done – When the kids are in school, you can usually do what you want, when you want. With kids at home for 2 months, that freedom is not necessarily there. Don’t neglect to schedule time for you. If you won’t want to take the kids to the grocery store with you, plan a time that will overlap with one of their activities, or arrange for them to stay with a friend for a short time. There may be times when you can’t avoid taking the kids with you to the store, but if you plan for it in advance, you might be able to find some time for yourself, even if it is at the grocery store!

5. Balance play and work – Summer is a great time for taking a back seat to the normal rush and go of daily life, but it’s important to balance the play with the work.  Encourage your kids to help with a few chores around the house that they may not get to do while they’re in school.  Create a simple chore chart and reward them with fun summer activities.  Summer may not be a time for  learning the ABCs, but you can teach your kids a few lessons about helping out around the house.

The dog days of summer may be a thing of the past, but with a little bit of organization and planning, you can enjoy and thrive the summer!

Your Go 2 Gal,



Photo credit: mimitalks, married, under grace via photopin.com, Βethan via photopin cc


Road Trip Wisdom: Tips and Ideas from a Well Traveled Friend

One of the great things about summer is the freedom to pick up and travel away from home, whether it’s 30 minutes down the road or 30 hours across the country. But when you’re traveling that journey by car, the preparations you take need to be a little different.

For today’s post I’ve asked one of my long time friends, Lisa, to share her travel wisdom and organizing skills so that we can benefit from her experience and learn how we, too, can prepare for our upcoming summer road treks.

Lisa and her family recently bought a vacation home in Colorado, a 20 hour journey from her home in Texas, and they make the long haul 2 to 3 times a year.  In order to get them there with the least amount of hassle, Lisa has devised an organizing plan that we can all benefit from and she’s happy to share it here!

Tell us a little about your family and the 20 hour journey you take. My family of five takes a 20 hour road trip to Durango, Colorado 2-3 times a year.  This is quite an adventure when considering how to entertain a 7, 13, and 17 year old for the duration of time in the car together.

The first 2 trips we made were night drives and it was miserable for the adults because the kids were full of energy and we needed a day to sleep, plus we tried to drive straight through. Now we do day driving and stop after 10 hours at a relatives home.  Perfect for resting and visiting family.

What are your biggest organizing challenges when packing or keeping order over the long trip?  How have you managed to deal with those issues? sturdy storage bin

Our biggest organizing challenge is fitting everything we need into the back of a van and leaving space for everyone and their in-car entertainment. I bring many of our dried goods and place them in a plastic storage tub. I use large plastic tubs that I keep on hand just for camping/travel/hurricane evacuation.  They stay empty at all times except when used for one of the above mentioned. These fit nicely in the back of my car and are secure and sturdy enough that nothing will get crushed.

Each family member packs all their clothes in one 20-inch suitcase (enough for 4 days-we have a washer/dryer at the condo), and a back pack with activities for the car. I also pack a mid-sized rolling cooler in the passenger area of the car for cool drinks (mostly water and gatorade), fruits and sandwich items.

For sleeping I have a bag I carry in the car regularly with 4 throw blanks and 4 neck pillows. I have one open top container that I keep a roll of paper towels, wipes, chips, goldfish, bread, and cups in for lunch on the road; this container sits on top of all the suitcases. We usually bring 3 laptops and cameras and those are packed in individual back packs to be placed with the kids in their seating area.

What are your 3 top tips for packing, loading or preparing the car?

travel toiletriesTop picks:

1.) Food access must be easy so stopping is minimized.

2.)  Pre-stock toiletry bags. I keep travel size bottles of tooth paste, deodorant, saline solution on hand, in a small tub for re-stocking bags. I have taught my kids to save smaller bottles that are specific to a product to fill for trips and I keep some generic empty ones.  For example my daughter has a travel sized eye make- up remover bottle she the refills for trips.  Remember, everyone gets a 20 inch suitcase, so space is at a premium.

C.) Always load the car with the least needed items at the bottom of the pile (for example, don’t pack the contact solution in the 20-inch suitcase for the overnight stay).

What is one of your favorite organizing tools for travel?  31 bag for overnight stays

After we discovered the 10 hour drive break and family visit portion of our trip, I quickly realized we needed a better way to stay over than taking all five 20″ suitcases and 5 backpacks out of the car for a one night stay, only to reload everything again at 5 am in cold weather.  So I got the idea to use a utility bag I had purchased from 31 Bags (photo left).

Before we leave for our trip I ask everyone for a toiletry bag, pjs, and clothes for the next day. These are all placed in the 31 bag and set on top of all luggage next to the open container of food.  This has revolutionized our overnight stays.  We all have what we need, no one is hunting for something left in the car or outside freezing trying to find needed items. Plus loading up is quick and simple. I also pack a clean trash bag for the dirty clothes.

What travel games, activities, entertainment can you recommend to help others out?

Activities: Movies, Ipads/computers, coloring supplies (a few crayons and markers in a Ziploc), music, road games (like license plate states), Madlibs, and make up a story or take a trip to the moon. During the Thanksgiving drive we all write 20 things we are thankful for and ask each person to share their list with the family. At Christmas we like to bring special books and sing-a-long Christmas carols.

It is important to have individual time and family activities and make sure you balance them.  For us the age spread makes this essential.  The teens would like nothing more than to put in the headphones and not interact, so they get some of that and then fun family activities also.


Traveling by car may not be your idea of a dream vacation, but with the right planning and tools you can make it a more enjoyable trip.  Hopefully you found Lisa’s tips and ideas beneficial and can implement them soon!

No matter where you travel this summer or how you get there, I hope you have a safe and wonderful journey!

Do you have any organizing tips or ideas for road trips?  Please leave a comment and share them with us!

Your Go 2 Gal,


Getting Organized: Do Something Different

“If you want to see something new in your life, you cannot keep doing the same old thing.  You have to do something different.” – Mark Batterson

In the book I’m currently reading, I came across the quote above and was really challenged by it.  The truth is, nothing will ever change in our lives unless we make the choice to do something, anything, differently.  And I wondered if you, my blogging friends, have chosen to do something differently in your efforts to get organized? I know that reading this blog may be the first step of your organizing journey, which I applaud, but I hope that you are doing more than just reading!  Are you applying what you are reading?  What have you learned here that is making a difference, and lasting change, in your life?

If you haven’t taken any steps to do something different, can I kindly ask why not?  What’s holding you back ~ doubt? fear? lack of confidence? I pray that whatever it is that is keeping you from making a change to get organized will be minimized and you will have the courage and the boldness to overcome it.  How?  By choosing to do ONE thing differently.  Today.

As I’ve said many times before, getting organized is a journey, a process, that will take time.  You will get there, but you will have to be patient and work at it.  Like the Chinese proverb says, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step.”  Have you taken that first step?  How about the second and the third?

If nothing else, I hope this post challenges you to DO something different in order to get organized.  Maybe it’s planning out your day for tomorrow, or setting up a landing spot for your mail.  It doesn’t have to be expensive, time-consuming, or in-depth.  It just needs to be one small thing that will impact your efforts to get organized and gain the life you long to have.

“Change comes only with willful movement.  Impact follows on the heels of action.” – Bill Hybels

What are you waiting for? I know you can do it!

Your organizing friend,

Go 2 Gal

Packing Made Easy: 3 Luggage Organizers You Gotta Have

packing made easyGoing on a trip can be grand; packing for a trip, not so much.

That is until I found 3 great luggage organizers that made packing for a trip easy.  Whether you’re packing a child for summer camp, heading out on a family road trip, or just taking a trek over to Grandma’s house, you’ll want to make sure you include these organizers in your luggage.

Favorite luggage organizer #1

My favorite travel organizer is one I discovered at the Container Store when I was preparing to send my daughter off to summer camp.  Since she was going away for two weeks and could only take one trunk full of clothes, shoes, bathing suits, and other necessities, I needed something that really maximized her luggage space.  That’s when I came upon these travel cubes from the Eagle Creek Pack-It System:

Source: The Container Store
Source: The Container Store

These cubes are a great way to store t-shirts, shorts, socks and undergarments.  With 4 different sizes to choose from, you can easily organize and maximize luggage space.  I purchased 3 and managed to pack 2 weeks worth of undergarments and t-shirts with no problem.

If you don’t have a Container Store near you, Amazon sells a similar product called TravelWise Packing Cubes that you can order too.

Favorite luggage organizer #2

My next travel organizing find was actually for my wonderful hubby.  He travels 2 to 3 times a week and likes to go carry-on only.  This means I have to creatively pack his nice dress shirts, t-shirts, pants/jeans, undergarments, and toiletries into one small suitcase.

Even though I manage to get everything he needs into the suitcase, I have trouble keeping his ironed shirts from getting wrinkled in the small space.  The answer to my problem was the Eagle Creek Pack-It Folder:

Source: The Container Store
Source: The Container Store

The small folder (pictured above) holds 6 to 8 shirts, blouses, pants or shorts and includes a folding board.  They also offer a medium folder and a large folder that hold more clothes.  The beauty of this folder is that in 3 simple steps I can pack away my husband’s work shirts and when he takes them out at his destination, he doesn’t have to do any ironing; the folder keeps the clothes wrinkle-free!

This is such a great item, my husband never travels without it.

You can also find a similar item on Amazon – the Eagle Creek Pack It Garment Folder.

Favorite luggage organizer #3

My final travel organizer is one that I haven’t personally used, but learned about at a recent  professional organizer conference.  It’s the Ziploc Space Bag To Go:

Source: Academy
Source: Academy

You may be familiar with Ziploc Space Bags already ~ you know, the bags that allow you to triple your storage space by suctioning out the air with a vacuum cleaner?  Well, the Space Bags To Go work on the same principle, but rather than using a vacuum cleaner to suction the air, you open a valve and then roll the bag to remove any excess air and shrink your stuff down. An added benefit is that these bags are airtight and watertight, meaning your clothes are protected from any toiletry spills you might have during transit.


So there you have it, my 3 favorite luggage organizers to help you with your travels.  I know that with busy traveling schedules everyone can use a little help in the luggage department sometimes.  Happy packing and safe travels!


Do you have any favorite travel organizing products or tips? Leave a comment and let me know!