Get Prepared for Winter – Car emergency kit essentials

December 14th, 2009

Do you have a “winter car-emergency kit“? Many of these items are good to have in your car year round but now is the time to check your supplies.  This is a must before you hit the roads for the holidays.

Your kit could include

kitty litter or sand – stop spinning your wheels, sprinkle some kitty litter/sand for tire traction on snow and ice

a shovel or at minimum an ice scraper- there are some great fold-up shovels and gloves with scrapers built-in

Warm clothes – they call it a glove box for a reason.  No room in there? Grab a sturdy plastic container and toss in a spare set of gloves, a hat, sturdy boots, and a warm jacket.

Blankets to keep warm inside the vehicle (I keep one in my car year round, comes in handy for a picnic or to watch the kid’s baseball game).

Flashlights and extra batteries – if your battery dies at night, you have no interior or head lights

First aid kit – toss in a few of your necessary medications in case you are stuck on the road

Food – I  keep a few packs of nuts and some Luna bars, vacuum packed ready to eat tuna salad, snack sized apple sauce.  If you get stuck, you don’t know how long you may have to wait for help.

Water- bring enough for each person in your car and any pets

  • AM/FM radio – rechargeable or battery-operated to listen to traffic reports and emergency messages
  • Charged cell phone – charge your cell phone before hitting the road.  Don’t rely on your car charger to charge while you are driving.  If your battery dies, unless you have a charged USB charger, you have no way to charge your cell phone.

Here’s wishing you safe and happy travels!

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Get Prepared for the 2009 Holiday Season – Tip 3

December 6th, 2009

On December 8, 2005 I was fortunate enough to be featured in the Home Section of The Washington Post. The article highlighted my tips for an organized celebration. Four years later as I re-read my tips, I am happy to say that my tips are still relevant. So here are my tips on being prepared for the holidays.

Stock up on the basics the sooner the better, before lines get longer and parking lots fill up.

  • Batteries – Consider what batteries are necessary all of your needs.  Think of which size is needed for everything from the games the children are receiving and the digital camera to the flashlights, mp3 player, remote controls and hearing aids.  Consider using rechargeable batteries whenever possible.  Reminder to charge them before the holidays.  (BTW-  do not store batteries in the fridge.  According to Energizer, To maximize performance and shelf life, store batteries at normal room temperatures with moderate humidity levels.)
  • Food storage – Pick up inexpensive food storage containers (like Rubbermaid TakeAlongs, Ziploc or Gladware) for freezing and sharing leftovers.  By having inexpensive containers on hand you won’t have to worry about someone taking home your good Rubbermaid or Tupperware.  Also – grab zip top bags in multiple sizes while at the store.  They come in very handy when sending home leftovers and take up little space.
    • Decor storage– Get wreath, ornament and artificial tree storage now!  They tend to sell out quickly.  This year especially, stores can’t afford to get stuck with seasonal items so they are keeping a lower than normal inventory.  (Don’t want to spend money on these uni-taskers or trying to preserve the environment?  Stop by the local liquor store and pick-up liquor or wine bottle boxes.  The dividers help protect your ornaments and the stores are happy to share the boxes.  Another option – Did you receive a gift of fruit?  Hang on to the shipping box, they usually come with padding which helps protect your decor.)

    • Last Minute Gifts– Have you ever been in a situation when some unexpected fives you a present?  Be ready to reciprocate with a unisex and consumable gift.  Think scented candles, a bottle of wine, fancy maple syrup, gourmet olive oil or vinegar, or a gift card to Starbucks.  I buy generic wrap in one solid color (white or silver) and have ribbons in many colors.   I customize the gift wrap for specific holidays, gender or individual by using a different color ribbons.  I buy clear cellophane wrap for odd shaped gifts.  Attach a blank tag and keep a pen nearby for quick inscribing.

    I hope this preparation helps you have a more enjoyable holiday season!

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    Get Prepared for the 2009 Holiday Season – Tip 2

    November 30th, 2009

    Still want to give gifts this holiday season but the recession got you down.  Check out Clutterfree Gift Ideas for 2009 from Your Life. Organized author Monica Ricci.  Monica’s list of clutterfree gifts highlights some that are real inexpensive (some are even free).  We don’t need anymore stuff to clutter up our homes, do we?  Why would we give the gift of clutter to others?

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    Get prepared for Holiday Season 2009 – Tip 1

    November 5th, 2009

    Can you believe we have already flipped the calendar to November?  Where did time go?

    I am sure many of you will agree,  it seemed a little pre-mature when the stores and malls had all their Christmas decorations up at least two weeks ago.  So you are thinking, I have a month before I can pull my decorations out of the closet/attic/garage, right?.

    Well – now is the perfect time to pull out your decorations  and go through them.  Yes, now.  Prior to the seasonal rush is the time to make decisions on which items you no longer like, no longer have meaning or is the lousy gift you received in the office Sneaky Santa exchange last year.   Now is the time to donate or resell these decorations or gifts.

    Often we don’t take the time to go through these items and store them year after year. Or we realize that we have just been holding on to something we don’t like, just in case the giver stops over.  You’ve been storing it for six years and the giver hasn’t been over for five.  Before you take it out to display or store it for another year.  Think about who will appreciate it more.  Holiday decorations or ‘seasonal’ gifts  have little value to donation sites and is of no value at a consignment store once the holidays have passed.

    So this weekend-

    1. Schedule some time to pull out your boxes of decorations
    2. Separate the items.  Start thinking now about how you want to decorate this year.
    3. Make sure the decorations you want to display are easily accessible, the ones you want to store are packed well and the others are packed to donate or sell.  You might be surprised to find you have forgotten about some of your favorites or may find that family heirloom that was misplaced years ago.
    4. Take to decorations that you no longer want or are just taking up space to a shelter/charity or consignment shop.

    A little prep time now will make the holiday decorating a whole lot more enjoyable.

    Please let us know what’s the most interesting thing you have found while going through your holiday decorations?  We’d love to hear (we’re just curious).

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