I went on vacation empty-handed. Here's what I missed (and what I didn't).

Have you ever gone on vacation and left all of your luggage behind? This is precisely what I did last weekend when I took a short getaway with my good friend Lauren Fritsch. Lauren lives in New York City. I drove up last Thursday with plans that we would spend Friday and Saturday night at her cottage upstate. In order to make this happen, we had to do some some pretty intricate juggling with the cars so I could park on the street all weekend.

Long story short, we somehow left the city without any of our bags.

An hour outside of the city we both looked at an empty trunk and then with puzzled faces looked at each other and said "did we not circle back to the apartment to pick up our bags?," followed by, "this is going to make a great blog post."

Evernote Camera Roll 20150812 122715
Evernote Camera Roll 20150812 122715

Sure enough, my toiletry and clothing bag, laptop, iPad, and Lauren's computer we're still sitting outside of her apartment door. (She immediately called a neighbor to safely tuck them away).

We had the essentials though: Lauren's beautiful baby, iPhones, the wine, the fresh chai ingredients, and a yoga mat. This wasn't exactly going to be a backcountry wilderness experience, but the whole point of my going to New York was for Lauren and I to work all weekend on my new website (Lauren's not just a friend but a talented business coach). Could we still pull this off without a suite of Apple products? We sure did. Here's whe I missed and what I didn't:

What I missed:

My kindle and "real" book - Without most of my technology, I had a lot of reading time on my hands. It would have been nice to catch up on the biz books on my Kindle and the first "real" book I've held in a while, "The Journals of Henry David Thoreau." Reading Elle Decor in the grass next to the babbling brook didn't kill me though - only made me stronger.

My flip flops - I was wearing my fancy leather ankle strap sandles. They were a bit fussy.  I also could have used better shoes on our long walk.

The outfit. The only outfit. The yoga/dinner/hiking/lounging outfit.
The outfit. The only outfit. The yoga/dinner/hiking/lounging outfit.

A tank top - You guessed it - I only had the clothes on my back. Honestly, when I'm relaxing at home or on an escape to nature, I dress for comfort and rarely find the need to change. Luckily I was wearing stretchy cozy, but not terribly frompy pieces. 48 hours in exactly the same outfit was bearable, but 50 hours would have grossed me out. One more tank top and I would have been golden for another few days.

What I didn't miss:

My iPad or laptop - Lauren had a desktop PC in the country, so we could do the bare minimum when we needed tech to work on the site. Without having Apple gadgets wherever we turned, we were forced to focus and execute an effective, thorough brainstorm on Lauren's big art pad. Had we had our gadgets, we would have wasted too much precious time on fonts and colors when the real work to be done was the thinking and discussing.

Hairbrush - I have a full head of heavy, thick hair. My hairbrush is my lifeline to public presentability. Why then had my hair never looked better with 2 showers and 2 days without a brush?

Toiletries - I get really into finding and packing just the right itty bitty toiletry bottles for my trips. Thankfully Lauren had more than I needed, but I absolutely could have gotten by with a bar of soap and a jar of coconut oil.

I am absolutely one of the lightest packers I know. Still, the 80/20 rule applies when I travel: I only wear 20% of what I bring. This experience will forever change the way I pack. Sure there were little details that would have been nice, such as tweezers, a nail file, and my Sonicare. Turns out they're just nice, not necessary.

Have you ever suddenly found yourself without a bag on an entire trip? Have you been in a situation where you unexpectedly didn't have something you thought you needed and it was impossible to get? What did you miss? What didn't you miss? Did if change the way you thought about your things? Please share in the comments!

Mantra through the Mess

  “Screw it, let’s do it.”

“Make it beautiful.”

“Live your best life.”

“A computer on every desk.”

Can you pair these mantras with the business empires that were born from them?  They belong to Sir Richard Branson of Virgin, Martha Stewart Living, Oprah Winfrey, and Microsoft, respectively.

I once saw steady breathing return to a frazzled organizing client’s face after unknowingly creating a mantra for her on the spot.  She was readying her house to be sold and could barely stomach the work that has to be done, let alone explain it to me.  We walked room to room and I simply stated, “Well, I see three categories of things: to be boxed, to use for staging, and essentials to keep out.  OK? Box. Staging. Essentials.”  I think she was stunned at how instantly empowering these three words made her feel over her project.

I like to think of myself as not just an organizer, but someone who can inspire people to organize for themselves, using their own guidance coupled with mine.  I’m always looking for ways to connect the dots of sorting and tossing, to more exhilarating and enlightening pursuits.

Many of my clients have received a letterpress note card with my own personal mantra printed on the front: “Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful. – William Morris.” A mantra can work twofold.  You can create your own to hold your integrity to a project or lifestyle, as in the cases above, or in my case, I recognized an existing statement as something that resonated with how I had already been living my life.  If you research the true definition of the word “mantra”, its’ usage here may be slightly out of context, but after all, isn’t any pursuit of order sacred?


7 Day Inspired Office Challenge:

Who do you admire who has offered a few poignant words of wisdom?  A celebrity?  A parent?  A teacher? Take their mantra and apply it to creating peace and order in your office.  Program it into your screensaver.  I’ll even let you put it on a sticky on the computer screen if you promise to take it down at the first sign of a tatter.