Girl’s College Packing Essentials

College ChecklistI can’t believe it’s been 4 years since I sent my eldest off to school in Ohio & even though she has graduated I remember how much some of the “College Packing Lists” helped me. I reached out to some current college students to ask them what items they couldn’t live without & this College Checklist is a great start to the process & it should hopefully make the task a little easier (maybe even a little fun), enjoy!

As you can see it is packed full of goodies from Lilly Pulitzer & kate spade new york in addition to items you can find at Bed Bath & Beyond, Walmart, Kmart, HomeGoods, etc. I love the “move in day essentials” which include a rubber mallet for pounding your bed together (or the futon you bought for your common room) as well as the tape measure & screw driver. I know that a few of the girls I spoke to couldn’t have done it without their collapsible hand truck… who knew!

We arrived equipped with my Pink Tomboy Toolkit & had my power drill charged & ready to go. The other items listed that our family would suggest as a must have would definitely be:

  • Just when you think you have enough command strips, buy more!
  • Extra dry erase pens with erasers on the cap (separate erasers always disappear)
  • Vacuum: we brought the Electrolux Chargeable with detachable dust buster attachment & Jordan loved it (along with most everyone on her floor)
  • Clear storage bins – we love our Lilly collapsible bins but as always with organizing anything I always suggest CLEAR bins so that you can easily see what is in them and they can be swapped out for other things when you purge, etc. without feeling like you need to re-label anything.

I hope you find this helpful, we survived & I know you will too.

Who is sending theirs off to school in the next few weeks? I’d LOVE to hear from you & what you might add to our super fun list!

College Checklist so you can take it with you while you are shopping!


One of my favorite ways to save space INSTANTLY!

ImageI didn’t jump on the bandwagon of ditching my CD/DVD cases right away but when I did, I was so happy! CD/DVD cases take up SO much room and can actually take over a large amount of space in your family/TV room. I went to Staple’s and purchased a really simple CD case such as this one and began pulling the DVD’s that we wanted to keep out of their cases and moved them into the new “book”. At first as a family we debated putting them in alphabetical order but that became nightmareish from the start so we simply put them in there randomly. We kept our Holiday videos in the back and some of the “sports” movies back there too. It’s not exactly stayed that way but the Holiday ones are back there and not mixed in with the others and that works out pretty well for us.

Now, you might think that ditching the DVD cases is irresponsible. It is, unless your recycle them properly. In our town we recently switched to “single stream” recycling which is awesome because it takes a much wider variety of household items than they used too but if your town doesn’t participate in a liberal recycling program than you can login to Earth911 and find out how to recycle near you or maybe even ship your empty DVD/CD cases to a place that will recycle them for you.

Either way, it feels really good to make all that space in your house and another bonus is that you’ve got them all in one place. We travel by car at least once a year for a pretty good distance and putting the DVD case in the truck and hitting the road is a great feeling for my kids as they don’t have to decide what movies to bring, they can bring them all!

Are your CD/DVD’s taking over your family room?!

My efficiency rate goes up 110% when I use the United States Postal Service

USPSlogoHow many of you have something that you need to return to a friend, check to send in to school or maybe something that you wanted to give someone that you have in your car (or maybe sitting by that back door) that you keep forgetting to take care of?  I used to chronically forget to drop things off or send into school with the kids so a few years ago I started to rely on the good old USPS to help me get things done.  For the cost of a stamp I can get so many things off of my “to do” list, it’s scary (and wildly efficient).  Think about it – you need to send a check to a friend to reimburse them for something… you write the check out at home and then put it into an envelope anyway – why not just address it and put it in the mailbox – poof, it’s off your list!  The alternative is that you put it in the envelope which goes into your handbag or briefcase or your car where it gets lost – you can see where I’m going with this… your “to do” list never gets anything crossed off… So, the moral of the story goes: just put a stamp on it and get it done!

Are you a stamp & send kind of person like me or is your car full of things that are in need of being returned or dropped off?!

Easiest disaster plan you can make: Fire Proof Safe

Sentry - Fire Proof Safe.jpgWhen it comes to documentation the best suggestion that I have is a fire resistant safe.  These are available at your local office supply store and are really worth the investment.  I’m not suggesting that you keep all bank statements, investment statements, etc. in the fire proof safe but it would be a great idea to keep your account numbers as well as photo copies of the front & back of your credit cards in here in case you lose your wallet.  At the very least your fireproof safe should contain the following items:

  • A folder for each member of your household that holds passports, birth certificates, medical information & anything else that is of importance that you might need.  I would include one for pets as well.
  • Titles to all vehicles that you own
  • House/Mortgage paperwork
  • Photos that have been backed up onto CD’s or thumb drives – have recent photos of your house (inside & out) in case you need to show or remember what might be lost for insurance purposes
  • Appraisals from any artwork or jewelry
  • Anything else of importance to you – genealogy information, photos that are irreplaceable, precious letters from loved ones, etc.

The purpose of the fire proof safe is to hold documentation that can help make you “whole again” should disaster happen in your life.  Think of the things that you would need to get a new driver’s license, credit cards, etc. and use that as a gauge.  Depending on the size of your safe you can put more personal items in there as well.

These are heavy so bear in mind that worst case is that you open it up, grab these items and go but either way, you’re out the door in a hurry and are able to get you and your family to safety which is the most important thing.

Do you have a disaster plan?

LNM Signature

Adapt to your space, rather than changing the habit

When living with your family (especially those with small children) I have found that it is best to adapt to the space rather than “training” your family to use an area in a way that they are not presently doing so.  A classic example is the front hall of your home.

Our family gets together in northern Michigan for a week or two in August every summer.  The Grandkids all kick off their flip-flops the minute they walk in the door. Now, we could implement a strategy to have them take their shoes to their rooms but that isn’t likely to work. Our solution was to put a big, attractive basket by the door so they can kick their “flippies” into it. Everything is contained.

This could also work for gloves & mittens in the winter or umbrellas in the spring. You could have a small piece of furniture with drawers for mittens and then for spring, purchase an umbrella stand or container so that the umbrellas have a place to be stored near the door.

Small adaptations such as these will make a big difference in how you use an area of your home. It should also hopefully cut down on some of the inevitable arguments that go along with stuff being left in an area where it doesn’t belong.

Do you have an area of your house that could use an adaptation makeover or am I the only one?!

More Isn’t Always Better…

We all get overwhelmed with our own “stuff” so don’t think you are the only one that is over their head. Today’s society is based on how much we can acquire and truth be told, after recently downsizing my family to a smaller home I was amazed at how much “stuff” we had (and I’m the one preaching that less is more…).

After significant soul searching I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s definitely okay to have stuff but just not too much of it. I like to change décor seasonally within my home and found that I’ve got a TON of varying items for all four seasons. Is this necessary? Probably not but I’ve weeded out the items that I haven’t displayed in a year or two and have kept the ones that we like most.

Getting overwhelmed is easy this day and age with stores like Marshall’s and HomeGoods encouraging us to buy more, more, more. The problem lies with where we are going to store it once it’s season has passed… so the next time you’re faced with a purchasing decision remember to ask yourself where will this live when it’s not on display and see if that encourages you to leave it behind rather than take it home.

When are you scheduled for another shopping trip to Marshall’s, HomeGoods or Target?

Rewrite your lists frequently

I love re-writing my task list, it always gives me such a sense of accomplishment to cross off some of the items and then look forward to crossing some of the “new” things off someday too. It also helps to prioritize (or re-prioritize) some of the items on your list too. I’ve mentioned that if you re-write a certain task more than 5 times on a new list that you can probably just delete it altogether since it hadn’t gotten done thus far, how important can it be?

A fresh start always feels good too. Writing out a fresh list on a clean sheet of paper always feels like I’m starting over in some ways. I also encourage you to use cute paper and maybe a clipboard or fun notepad that you like to record your tasks. It makes the mundane a little more fun (and as I always say, just because it’s practical doesn’t mean it can’t be cute)!