Manage Your Mess Monday: Travel Kit Edition
I just got back from 5 days in New Mexico at a conference for Photo Organizers. It was so great. I came home to a nice, clean house (thank you, husband & children) but still have to unpack my own stuff and get back to regular life. My unpacking looks mostly like everyone else's unpacking...put my laundry in the dirty hampers, put work stuff on my desk, hand out the little gifts to my kids (chili pepper string lights!!) and settle in on the couch to decompress. But what happens to the toiletry kit? Do you throw it in your closet? In a bathroom drawer? What do I do that may be different from what you're already doing?
I ORGANIZE AND REFILL MY TRAVEL KIT RIGHT WHEN I GET BACK FROM A VACATION!
This means that I'm ready to go for the next one and can grab it and go. Because I am not 18 anymore, I color my hair (I know it's a shock to all). I like to bring my regular color-safe shampoo and conditioner. I love these containers from REI. You can find similar ones all over, for a variety of prices. I like these because they have really wide opening for easy filling. They have a mechanism that locks it so it's not going to accidentally open in your travel bag, and they are SUPER easy to wash out and let dry when they are empty. I never have to throw them away because they are easy to maintain. I love a product like that that eliminates single use plastics.
Ok, back to my story. When I get home, I like to open my travel kit, pull out my list, and see what I need to refill. My list is nothing fancy. It's just an index card I keep in a side pocket of my travel bag. It always lives there so I never have to re-think about what I need. Your travel kit needs will be different than mine, but I invite you to make your own little index card so you don't have to think about it. I have often thought about laminating it, but sometimes the items change so I leave it simple.
On this 5 day trip, I used up my face wash and my moisturizer and I usually leave my toothbrush behind. (Side note, I am thinking of starting to use a bamboo toothbrush like this. Anyone have anything good or bad to say about them?) Because I have large hair, I usually use up a mini bottle of mousse on a week long trip. You get the picture. I use the stuff. I need to re-fill my q-tip container, add a fresh razor, the whole shebang. So I look through my bag and make a little list of the things I need. My first shopping adventure is right in my guest bedroom. I keep a large jar of travel items in there for people who come to visit. I grab anything I may need for myself and make a note to replace the guest room one as well. It's nice to use up the stuff I already have and keep those items fresh for visitors at the same time. Then I keep the other items I need on a list to grab the next time I'm at the store. There is no frantic rush to grab the items before I get on a plane. There is no surprise when I get to a destination (although I was lacking in the toothpaste department when I arrived in New Mexico. Luckily, my friend, Julie, had an extra. Thank you, Julie!)
And there you have it. I may be just getting home from one trip, but I love to get my travel kit ready again while I already have it out and remember what I used up this time around. There is enough stuff going on before a trip to deal with packing up my toiletry items. I might as well get it done now so I can be ready to go for the next adventure. Being organized doesn't mean you are rigid and boring. It means you are will ready to go at a moment's notice, if need be! Happy Traveling!