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9 ways to organize a vacation, enjoy them all

By Julie Stobbe / July 1, 2024 /

Reading Time – 10 minutes

A vacation is a time to step away from all the concerns of your job,  an office,  a home office and tasks in your home.  This break from normal routines and responsibilities lets you rejuvenate and have more energy for the future. Shannon Torberg, PsyD, LP says in The Importance of Taking a Vacation,  “A number of studies have shown that taking time away from the job can have physical and psychological health benefits. People who take vacations have lower stress, less risk of heart disease, a better outlook on life, and more motivation to achieve goals. The bottom line is, that taking time away from the stresses of work and daily life can improve your health, motivation, relationships, job performance, and perspective and give you the break you need to return to your lives and jobs refreshed and better equipped to handle whatever comes. ”

Now you know why you deserve one here are some styles of vacations to plan.

A vacation from your computer. 

laptop and 75" monitor screen

Most of your work is on your computer.  Close it and put it away.  Pretending to be on a vacation by looking at your computer less frequently is a break from work.  Put an autoreply message on your email explaining when you will respond to emails.

A vacation from your normal routines

A woemen wearing white pants and blue shirt holding a blue cleaning cloth and spray bottle

A stay at home vacation might be the perfect solution for you this year.  Take time to plan it. “Research shows the biggest boost in happiness comes from planning the vacation. A person can feel the effects up to eight weeks before the trip!” Don’t miss out on the planning.  Change your normal routines, bedtime, getting up in the morning, meal times, and activities.  Stay up later, get up later, have breakfast in bed, eat out, order in, go for walks, swim, rent a bike, sit in your backyard/balcony, and read.  Think of all the things you enjoy doing and make a plan for each day of your vacation.   Fill it with things you love doing,  things you want to try for the first time and things that are not part of your normal routines. Here is an article that has 100 activities for kids.  

A vacation from your town/city

You may not want to stay overnight in hotels.  You can still plan a vacation outside of your city limits.  There are many communities that surround where you live.  Plan day trips to see local sites and visit markets, parks and walking trails.  Try googling 5 free things to do in ……. to get ideas of activities and sites to see.

A vacation from loneliness

women isting on a chair with her knees up to her chest with a cup of coffee

During Covid19 there were times when you needed to stay home.  You may have gotten used to doing your own thing.  We are social beings and need to interact with others.  Plan on meeting with someone each day of your vacation.  Plan a picnic.  Each of you brings your own food and meet at a lovely spot to talk.  If talking is not your strong suit, meet up with a friend and play a game.  It can be a board game, frisbee, throwing a ball or trying kubb.

A vacation to try new activities 

There is nothing better about a vacation than doing something new.  If you can’t travel somewhere new do something new.  Take a week of lessons and learn how to paddleboard, sew, bike, play an instrument, paint etc.  Treat yourself to a new spa treatment every day. Eat at restaurants you’ve never visited before.  Public golf courses have lovely patios that overlook beautiful green spaces.  Try camping.  Start in your own backyard and then explore other campsites.

A vacation to support your country

The country you live in has a lot to offer.  Too often we don’t appreciate what is right in front of us.  Use your vacation to help local businesses and the tourist industry. Whether you want to travel far or close to home, book a hotel or resort and spend your vacation dollars helping to stimulate the economy.  Over many years I have visited all the provinces and 2 of the 3 territories in Canada.  I am proud to tell people about the lovely places I have seen, the great people I have met, the fun experiences and the delicious food.

A vacation to support your mental wellness. 

We all need a break from the stress of work and the uncertainty of the future.  Take time to focus on what you need. Plan your vacation so you are only in the present.  It may be a stay at home or an away from home location. Enjoy what is around you, interact with people who encourage you, and experience things that refresh you.  You may want to try meditation, yoga or exercise.  Take time to try new healthy foods and recipes.  Experience nature.  Plan each day with activities that will renew you so you can handle what comes next.

A vacation to be with family

man and woman holding hands together with boy and girl looking at green trees during day

You may be feeling like you need a vacation away from family.  That is ok. Communication and interactions with family members may have be strained with more people working from home.  Take a break, laugh together, do new things, go somewhere unexpected.  Together, plan a vacation.  You may decide that each member of the family plans one day and you all do it.  Each member may get to pick one activity they want to do and you combine all the suggestions together.  Take the pressure off the person who usually needs to make all the plans. Use the time to reset relationships, build new respect for each other and have fun.  I have learned when doing family vacations it is really important to plan into each day a time when everyone does their own thing for a while.  Alone time is just as important as together time during a vacation.

Plan a short vacation

Plan a number of shorter vacations.  Here are some tips on how to pack light.

The trick to packing for a short trip is to take items that can be used in more than one way.  Take a large bag or backpack with you for items you want handy while you are in transit. You can use that bag for shopping, hiking or at the beach.  Pack a small handbag in your carry-on suitcase to use after you arrive, in the evening and sightseeing.  Take one neutral coloured skirt or pants to wear each evening and pack tops that can be worn in the evening and then more casually with shorts the next day. This eliminates separate evening and daytime apparel for a short trip. Sports clothing can take up a lot of space.  For running, hiking, biking take clothes that can be hand washed reducing the amount you need to bring.  Although having a wide variety of swimwear may be fun pack 2 outfits you can mix and match to make 4.  Reduce the number of jackets you take by wearing layers, pack a long-sleeved shirt that you can wear alone or over a t-shirt in case it is cool or you need to cover up from the sun. You will need a sweater/lightweight jacket for the evening and a windbreaker for the day.  Combine the 3 layers to help you stay, cool, warm or dry. Having a colour scheme so all of your clothes go together well gives you lots of outfits to mix and match. While you are in transit wear the shoes that take up the most space and pack the ones that need less space in your carry-on suitcase.  The last thing to do is make a list of what you packed so the next time you go on a short trip the packing is even easier.

Take time for a vacation and let me know what you did to refresh so you will be better able to handle what comes next. 

If you want to talk over your vacation plans,  book a 30 minute complimentary virtual organizing appointment. It allows me to support you by providing planning and coaching while both remaining at home.

Julie Stobbe, professional organizer

Julie Stobbe is a Trained Professional Organizer and Lifestyle Organizing Coach who brings happiness to homes and organization to offices, in person and virtually. She has been working with clients since 2006 to provide customized organizing solutions to suit their individual needs and situations. She uses her love of physical activity to reduce clutter, in your home and office. She guides and supports you to manage your time. If you’re in a difficult transition Julie can coach you to break-free of emotional clutter constraining you from living life on your terms. Online courses are available to help instruct, coach and support your organizing projects. Get started by downloading Tips for Reorganizing 9 Rooms.

Contact her at

 TwitterFacebook Facebook group Organizing Mind and Space

Click here to learn more about working with a Professional Organizer

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10 Tips to help keep your home organized when kids are out of school

By Julie Stobbe / June 18, 2024 /

Reading Time – 5 minutes

Summer fun with 5 children swimming at a lake.

Putting some planning into the time when your children are out of school will make life at home easier.  Don’t over plan activities for the children. Give them time to appreciate being at home and then going back to school. Share the planning and the fun.  Make it a special time together full of joy, learning and excitement, not stress, tension and arguments.

10. Make a list of things that need to be done around the house.  For example, sweep out the garage/shed, break down boxes and put them in recycling, etc.  When the children start fighting or complain about being bored, tell them to pick a task from the list.  You get small jobs done and they are separated and not fighting.  I used this one summer.  It worked so well that they only fought once.  They found things to do so they were not bored.  Three things were completed from the list.

9. Pack the backpack with the necessary items for the next day the night before and place it near the door. Make your morning going off to day camps, activities or childcare easy to get out the door quickly.

8. Have a routine for wet swimming towels and bathing suits. They might hang them up, give them to you or place them in a specific spot. It is an easy way to help them learn about responsibility. No one wants to get into a wet bathing suit or reuse a damp towel.

7. Have an agreement about snacks and dirty dishes.  Make a list and post it with snack choices.  Set a timer for snack time if you have young children.  Are dirty dishes put in a dishwasher, placed in the sink, washed or left on a table?  If the agreement is not kept then have them decide on a consequence.  Children are very good at deciding on consequences you might never have considered.

6. Determine a schedule for their activities, whether they are in programs or at home. Include screen time, outdoor time, reading time, and creative time. Also included in that schedule, is a time when you will be “unavailable to them” when you are all at home.  Use this “unavailable time” to get necessary tasks done around the house so things don’t get disorganized.  It is easy to always put off household tasks to help, to play, or be constantly interrupted by your children so things don’t get completed.

5. Have a routine for getting meals on the table and food and dishes put away. There are a number of tasks involved at mealtime: setting the table, food preparation, cleaning up leftovers, clearing dishes from the table and washing dishes.  Give everyone a task to do.  Record the tasks on a calendar and assign a person to each task.  The task assigned each day will depend on who is home before supper and who may have an activity after supper and have to quickly get ready to leave.

2 girls washing dishes

Teach your children that cleaning and organizing can be fun from an early age.

4. Have a morning routine. Getting things done in the morning before the day gets busy is the best way to keep things organized.  Set a time for the latest children can sleep in.  Waiting for people to get up can be very frustrating if people are on very different schedules.  This agreed upon time may be different for each day of the week.   Tasks may include making their beds, making, eating and cleaning up their breakfast, tidying up things that were left out from the previous day, and completing a household chore.  Pick tasks that will help to make the day easier and keep the living space neat and tidy.

3. Declutter as you go.  If children aren’t interested in some toys (inside or outdoors) collect them and donate them.  If their clothing is too small or they won’t wear it, start a bag or box so they know where to put things they no longer need. They may have books or craft supplies that they have outgrown, collect them too.  You may decide to give them a challenge, find 5 things each day that you no longer need, use or love.

Donation box

2. Try new ways of getting things done at home that are fun, simple and easy.  Summer is the perfect time to change the way things are done.  There is a little more time to teach children new skills and routines because there isn’t the pressure of getting homework done and getting to bed.

1. Sit down and have a family conversation about the expectations for the summer. Include when bedtime will be, responsibilities, consequences, special trips, activities and events everyone would like to do.  Let the children help with the summer plan and take ownership in developing it.  When everyone is happy, things go a lot smoother.  Enjoy the time together.

Add tip number 11 in the comments. What do you do to stay organized with the kids around the home? 

A family walking in the trees enjoying time together in the summer.

A blue and white striped tunnel in the background with Julie Stobbe in the foreground wearing a white blouse.Julie Stobbe is a Trained Professional Organizer and Lifestyle Organizing Coach who brings happiness to homes and organization to offices, in person and virtually. She enjoys working with her clients to provide customized organizing solutions to suit their individual needs and situation. She reduces clutter, streamlines processes and manages time to help her clients be more effective in reaching their goals. Julie can coach you to break-free of the physical or emotional clutter constraining you from living life on your terms. 

Contact her at

 TwitterFacebook Facebook group Organizing Mind and Space

Click here to learn more about working with a Professional Organizer?

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