Tag Archives: Packing

Life Simplified: 5 Areas to Incorporate Lists

Those of you who have been actively following our blog know that organization is a key commonality for our TK team! We all have our own styles, but we love exchanging tips with each other or sharing new ideas that we come across.

One of the main ways that I stay organized in everything that I do in my busy day is using lists. In today’s age of technology, full of gadget and apps, a good old fashioned “To Do” list seems a bit dated, but for me, it’s a main staple in my personal organizational systems.

Today, I’ll be chatting about five areas you can incorporate organizational lists to help simplify life and decrease stress.

Entertaining: Using a list is a fantastic way to get organized if you’re hosting an event. For those of us that multitask between jobs in both the office and home, our lack of time often leaves us with very little room for error when it comes to pulling off hosting duties. In Hosting My First Thanksgiving Dinner, Meredith shared her method of using a list to plan her event menu, shopping list and event timeline. Whether you’re hosting a few friends for a casual weekday BBQ or the whole family for a holiday dinner, entertaining becomes a little less hectic when you take the time to plan in advance.

5 Ways to Use Lists 1

Traveling: Whether you’re a habitual traveler for work or you’re constantly being bitten by the travel bug, let’s face it, packing isn’t exactly the most fun thing to do. However, creating electronic packing lists is a great way to develop templates of common things that you need for your travels. These templates then serve as a baseline for future trips, which allows you to save precious time by not ‘reinventing the wheel’ every time you travel. In How to Make a Dynamic Packing List, Bri shared her method for creating her packing template and how this method saves her time as she travels for work.

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Additionally, lists are a great way to ensure you get everything done around your home before you head out the door. Nothing is worse than running around trying to remember all the little things you have to do to secure your home before your flight leaves. In Trip Planning Checklist, I talked about my process of putting together a list of common things I have to get done before I leave for a trip. This ranges from confirming a pet sitter to taking out the garbage. Implementing this system has certainly helped minimize departure day stress and allowed me to relax in preparation for my trip.

Cleaning: Creating a list system to track your house chores is a great way to not only ensure that you’re keeping up with general home cleanliness, but also to ensure that your chores are balanced and manageable with a busy schedule. In Cleaning Chart in the Cloud, I shared my cleaning chart (conveniently stored on Google Docs), which allows my husband and I to split up chore duties. Whether you’re a small or large household, a cloud-based cleaning chart is a great way to prioritize the chores that need to be done around your house and “share the love” with your housemates.

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NOTE: Since this post, I have updated my cleaning chart to the Todoist app and have been very happy with the results.

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Dining: While we all fondly remember our college kitchen days of macaroni and cheese and hot dogs, chances are you’re getting to a place in life where you’re starting to think a bit more about what you’re eating. Organizational lists are perfect for helping you achieve a healthier diet, through grocery shopping lists and menu planning. In one of her early posts on Menu Planning, Meredith wrote about her method of taking time on Sunday to put together a menu for the week and the corresponding lists of groceries. While this certainly takes a bit of time, meal planning is a great way to relieve weekday stress. Organizational lists eliminate the need to run to the grocery store for the one ingredient that wasn’t in your pantry and minimize the time wasted in your kitchen wondering “What Should I Make Tonight?” Even more so, it’s a great way to stick to healthy eating habits and reduce the impulse to splurge on less healthy options.

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Working: A major place that we use lists is in our daily organization at the office and at home. Even though we all work in different industries, lists seem to work themselves into our daily routines. In Our 2016 Tips for Home and Work, Meredith shared her process of using a standard notebook and day planner to make lists. I am also a huge fan of standard lists in my planner, and have further developed my lists into categories behind these adorable gold foil tabs (and yes, we’re going to THAT many weddings this year, that “Weddings” has its own list!).

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I have started using Microsoft’s One Note program for my day-to-day tasks at the office. I love the ability to cut and paste items and create a written record of my accomplishments.

As you can tell, we love using lists here at TripleKnots and find them to be an incredibly useful tool to stay organized in a very busy world!

Do you have a creative way that lists help save you time? If so, we’d love to hear!

Signature 3 (Mar 2016)

Trip Planning Checklist

No  matter where you live or what your job is, getting yourself organized to get out of the house for a trip takes a bit of thought and planning—for it to run smoothly, that is. My current life revolves around a demanding Silicon Valley job, lots of time commuting in my car, and newfound responsibilities related to being a new homeowner. As a result, I lack a lot of extracurricular time, which can make it difficult to prepare for a trip.

Being a ‘planner’ by nature, I immediately began to brainstorm ways that I could maximize my trip planning effectiveness and minimize stress. What organically came together was a custom checklist that keeps me on track in various intervals leading up to my trip. I find that whenever I’m preparing for a trip, I pull out a copy of my checklist and use it as a base model to outline what I need to do.

Recently, I was chatting with my fellow TK blogger Bri about all the travel that my husband and I have planned, and she mentioned “You should do a blog post about how you use your checklist to get yourself organized for an upcoming trip.”

The checklist is a huge life-saver for me and creating one is really quite simple. Here are a few steps to help you get started on  your own.

The most time-consuming step of developing a checklist is creating a base template. I recommend walking yourself through the steps you’ve taken in previous trips and come up with some high-level categories. For me personally, this tends to include:

Travel Checklist 1

From there I focus on what specific things I need to do for each category. To get a better sense of the specifics, I’ve listed a few suggestions below:

Travel Checklist 5

Next, I take my specific tasks and organize them into time intervals, which form the final version of my Trip Planning Checklist template.

Travel Checklist 3

Once the template is built, I save this on my computer and create a custom version before I travel. Having the template as a base saves me time from ‘recreating the wheel’ each trip. It also allows me add custom items that are specific to my particular destination.

I’ve experienced numerous benefits from using a checklist. First, it allows me to take a bit of personal time (typically on the weekend) to think about my trip. How long will I be gone? Who will be looking after the house? What items do I need to pack? It’s amazing how much less you forget when you have this planning time and are not up against the clock.

Second, the checklist allows me to partition the tasks out amongst a timeline, which avoids a lot of last-minute running around trying to get everything done.  I focus on thinking about what I can do in the week leading up and knocking those tasks out early.

Lastly, my checklist guides me through the final things that I need to do on my departure day, which gives me the confidence that I haven’t forgotten anything.  True story, over the past holidays my husband and I overslept our early morning flight and woke up with little time to spare. Even though I was somewhat panicked, I went right to my list and was able to check off the last remaining things that I need to do to get out of the house. (And yes, we made our flight!)

As previously mentioned, it does take some time to come up with your personalized template, but it’s well worth it, which will become more evident when time is saved in future trips.

Also, consider putting together a packing checklist (something we’ve written about before on Triple Knots). Similar to the Trip Planning Checklist concept, you can develop templates to meet your lifestyle, which again provides you with a good foundation to build out what you need to bring as you travel.

Happy traveling, TK readers! Also, let us know if you have a special way you get yourself organized before you travel.

How to Make a Dynamic Packing List

In a previous post I mentioned that I’ve been traveling quite a bit for business and pleasure. The adventures continue. I’m currently in Chicago for a conference and expo. For years I dreaded packing for a trip. It was a struggle because I didn’t have a standard packing list. My messed-up method consisted of creating a new list on a fresh sheet of paper before every flight. With this broken system, I was prone to forgetting something. Finally, I have pushed my way out of the darkness. I have found a packing list system that works very well for me.

You might already be aware that I heart electronic documents. (If not, you can check out how I organize my to-do list here.) I have also taken to storing my packing list in an online spreadsheet as well. I just love it. I have used this system for perhaps a dozen trips now. Since I started this format, I have yet to forget to pack something and the process overall is faster and a lot less stressful!

The first column tracks my packing progress.

  • “P” means I already packed it in my suitcase.
  • “~” means I don’t need to pack it this time.
  • If a cell is blank, it means I still need to pack it.

Here is a snapshot of part of my current spreadsheet. It has 73 items at the moment, so not all of the items are pictured here; if you want to see the full list, just let me know by leaving a comment below and I’ll make a public document.

2015-05-03 18_00_26-Packing List - Google Sheets

It’s so simple. I just go down the list, pack and place the P in the column. Sometimes, I take mid-morning flights that require me to pack items that I needed to use earlier in the morning. My checklist system keeps me on track to drop those last-minute items into my bag before I head out the door.

The next time I need to fly, I just clear the tracker column. I know this sounds obvious and simple. It is. And… it’ is SO much better than rewriting a packing list each time I need to fly. I also enjoy that I can easily add or delete items as needed. For example, a while ago I packed for a wedding party that required a cowboy hat for part of a choreographed dance. The hat is not something I need to keep on my standard packing list, but for that trip, I was able to add it and check it off.

If you’re more of a pen/paper person, you could just keep the list in a Word document, modify it as needed and print off every time you’re going to pack.

So that’s my not-so-revolutionary but oh-so-useful method for packing. What’s yours?

PS – here are two of my favorite snaps from the trip so far… hope you enjoy!

2015-05-03 18_22_17-Camera Uploads - Dropbox

2015-05-03 18_24_46-Camera Uploads - Dropbox