Sunday, August 24, 2008

Moving On-Campus: Top 100 Things to Bring

In the next few days, college students will begin their trek back to college campuses across the country in preparation for The Big Move. It's an exciting, nerve-wracking, hectic, and emotional rite of passage for students, staff and parents alike, as boxes, totes and belongings are unloaded curbside and transported to dorm rooms.

Colleges have different ways of handling the move-in process. A friend of mine has a daughter starting her freshman year at DeSales University. She actually has it relatively easy: she was told to simply label her boxes, and upon arrival, the upperclass students would meet her at her car and do all of the unloading and lugging of the boxes directly to her dorm room. Sweet!

I'm not sure how Rutgers University will be handling the move-in process this year, but they've posted a helpful article, prepared by the Rutgers housing staff, listing the Top 100 things to bring when moving on-campus. Here's the list in alphabetical order:

Top 100 items to bring to campus:

* All housing assignment information
* Alarm clock
* Aspirin or other pain reliever
* Backpack
* Baseball cap or other hat for bad hair days
* Bathrobe
* Bathing suit
* Belts
* Bicycle
* Blankets
* Calculator
* Can and bottle opener
* CDs
* Cell phone
* Cleaning items
* Clothing to last until the first trip home
* Comforter or bedspread
* Computer and printer
* Contact lenses and solutions
* Cotton swabs
* Crates for storage
* Cups, plates, utensils, and napkins
* Deck of cards
* Dental floss
* Deodorant
* Desk or other reading lamp
* Dictionary, thesaurus, writers guide
* DVD player and DVDs
* Envelopes
* Extension cords under 6 feet with surge protector and power strips
* Fan
* First-aid kit
* Flip-flops for the shower
* Food
* Fun-Tak to hang posters
* Glasses
* Glue
* Hair care products
* Hairbrush and comb
* Hangers
* Highlighters
* Hygiene items
* Iron/ironing board
* Jeans
* Jackets - light and heavy
* Laundry bag or basket
* Laundry detergent and fabric softener
* Mirror
* Money for books, food, entertainment, school apparel
* Music
* Nail clippers
* Names, addresses, phone numbers and policy numbers of medical, credit card and auto insurance companies
* Open mind
* Pajamas
* Paper clips
* Patience
* PDAs (Palm Pilot, Blackberry, etc.)
* Pens and pencils, pencil sharpener
* Perfume or cologne
* Pictures, posters
* Pillow(s)
* Prescription medications
* Quilt
* Radio and/or stereo
* Razors
* Room decoration
* Rug (although some rooms have carpeting, rugs are a great way to show off your sense of style)
* Ruler
* Scissors
* Sense of humor
* Shampoo and conditioner
* Shaving cream
* Sheets (extra long twin) and pillowcases
* Shoes
* Shorts
* Shower caddy
* Slippers
* Sneakers
* Soap and plastic soap dish
* Socks
* Stamps
* Stapler and staples
* Sweatshirt
* T-shirts
* Tape
* Thermometer
* Thumbtacks
* Tissues
* Tool kit
* Toothbrush and toothpaste
* Touch-tone telephone and answering machine (bring a telephone book, too)
* Towels
* Tupperware
* TV
* Umbrella
* Video games
* Washcloths
* Watch
* Yearbook from high school as a conversation piece
* Zest for learning

You can read the rest of the Rutgers article HERE.

What do you think? Are there any items that you would definitely suggest for the Rutgers housing staff to add to the list or to delete?

Add your comments below or send me your suggestions and I'll post them.

Contact me if I can ever be helpful!

Helping you Sort Things Out, one step at a time!


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Friday, August 22, 2008

Re-Organize Your Marketing for the New Economy

Here's a press release for a new mastermind networking group that I'm forming. Hope you can make it! Thanks ~Eva


A new weekly business mastermind group will meet for lunch every Monday at 12:00 noon, beginning September 8, 2008 at IHOP Restaurant, 1340 Centennial Ave, Piscataway, New Jersey. The fee is $15 in advance (or $20 at the door) and includes lunch, group discussion, and networking.

Open to local business leaders, sales and marketing professionals, and entrepreneurs, the format will be small group discussions during lunch to share collaboration, strategic planning and best practices, with different topics covered each week. The topic for the September 8th meeting will be “Re-Organize Your Marketing for the New Economy” to help business owners re-evaluate their existing methods of marketing and to examine new ways to promote their products and services.

Seating is limited; reservations are required; call 1-877-708-0884 or email me and reference Sept. 8th Mastermind Lunch

Founded by Professional Organizer Eva Abreu, owner of Sort Things Out in Piscataway, NJ, she was inspired to start the mastermind group because of the changing economy and to help guide business owners and professionals in re-organizing the way they think about managing their businesses in order to thrive in the new economy.

"Many people get depressed when they hear news about the direction of the economy," she explains. "They end up getting stuck in their way of thinking and not able to take a step out of their comfort zone to look at things more objectively."

By participating in mastermind groups, she hopes that new ideas can be generated and implemented through the brainstorming process with other business professionals. According to Ms. Abreu, "Nothing gets accomplished by worrying and complaining about the economy." She offers the following advice: "Start by taking some type of action such as attending a networking event like our mastermind lunch session where you can meet other professionals and exchange ideas."

"Next," she explains, "is to learn how to implement a new idea into your everyday life and business practice so that positive changes can happen." To manage any type of change, Ms. Abreu advises that "instead of staying stuck in the mud and spinning your wheels going nowhere fast, make a plan, then take it one step at a time to move forward. Make sure, though, to keep your thoughts, words and actions in a positive light. That's the key."

Eva Abreu is a NJ Professional Organizer and owner of Sort Things Out in Piscataway, New Jersey. A member of the National Association of Professional Organizers, she conducts corporate Lunch and Learn programs, teaches community education courses, and facilitates support groups to help clients get organized. She is also author of an upcoming book series, Our Stories, Our Stuff: The Special Meaning Behind the Things We Keep. Visit for more information or call toll-free 1-877-708-0884.

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Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Baltimore Inner Harbor - Top Picks

A friend of mine is planning a trip to Baltimore (Maryland) Inner Harbor so I decided to offer up my Top Picks of where to go and what to see while on vacation there. (Note, the info below is just my own personal opinion; I'm not compensated in any way).

Feel free to add your Top Picks in comments as well.


Barnes & Noble, built inside historic Baltimore Power Plant
Very cool place to visit to see the interior brickwork of this former coal-fired steam power plant, while browsing for your favorite book or magazine. Also see the 16-foot, 3,000-gallon freshwater aquarium inside.

ESPN Zone, next to Barnes & Noble, 601 E. Pratt St., Tel. 410-685-3776
A whole new world for sport fanatics. Amazing sports-themed dining & entertainment experience. Food: Great

Tapas Teatro, 1711 N. Charles St. Tel. 410-332-0110
Small plates, good prices, great tastes.

P.F. Chan's China Bistro, 600 E. Pratt St., Tel. 410-649-2750
Every dish, every bite, absolutely delicious. Warning, prepare yourself for the Dessert cart, esp. 7 layer chocolate cake...oh baby!
Elegant dining atmosphere and also kid-friendly. Go early, reservations suggested.

Berger Cookies, A local Baltimore favorite. Available in local grocery stores or call 1-800-398-2236. A cookie, but more than just a cookie. How best to describe? Ummmm, well, a girl's gotta have her chocolate...

The Baltimore Basilica, America's First Cathedral
Cathedral & Mulberry St., Tel. 410-727-3565
Designed by same architect of the U.S. Capitol; recently completed major restoration and renovation, amazing details seen on the free tour, access to the crypt.

Port Discover Children's Museum
35 Market Pl., Tel. 410-727-8120
Rated one of the Top 5 in the country. All ages kid-friendly; parents will enjoy innovative interactive rooms too! Call for discounts on parking.

National Aquarium Baltimore
501 E. Pratt St., Tel. 410-576-3800
Amazing place to visit! Allow several hours for the full experience: explore different levels, attend the shows, stop for something to eat in their awesome cafe. Best to buy tickets in advance; go online to purchase tickets or plan on standing in line at the ticket window early in the day and returning for entrance at a later time* (*note: use that in-between time to explore the rest of Inner Harbor. There is SO much to do around that area and the time will go by quickly)

Also see my previous post on tips for traveling by car with your kids.

Got a favorite place to add in Baltimore Inner Harbor? Add your comments below or drop me a line.

Have fun and enjoy!

Helping you to Sort Things Out, one step at a time!


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Kids & Day Trips: What to Bring

It's August; summer is winding down. Perhaps you're looking forward to taking one last day trip with the kids before heading back to school.

(Photo by: Chance Agrella)

Here are a few tips, from my own mental notes, after spending a Sunday afternoon at the local county fair. I'm sure you'll have a few tips of your own to share as well!

1. Eat a meal before you head out.
Otherwise, you may find yourself spending way too much money on food once you arrive ($4 for one soft pretzel!) Plus, you'll have more time to spend enjoying the attractions, rather than searching for the food stands and finding a place to sit and eat.

2. Bring sunblock
I like the twist stick kind or travel-size; easy to carry in my bag or pocket, can re-apply during the day if needed.

3. Use a waist-pack (also known as fanny-pack)
Go hands-free! No lugging around a pocketbook. I pack a lot into mine: extra tissues, foil packets of hand wipes, band-aids, cell phone, pen & notepaper, ID, insurance cards (stored inside a clear plastic name badge holder), loose change, front pocket to stash the amusement ride tickets, ponytail tiebacks, mints to calm a quesy stomach, etc.

4. Pack a spare set of clothes for the kids (and yourself if you'd like).
Leave in the car. Also, depending on the weather, you might want to add a lightweight jacket for the kids, in case there's a chill in the air later.

5. Pack a small insulated lunch bag with ice pack, juice boxes, bottled water, and some small snacks. Good for the ride home.

6. Pre-program GPS, or bring map/directions, phone number of location (if applicable).
Sometimes, I'll also look up the address & phone number of a favorite restaurant chain that might be close by to our destination; call in advance to confirm address, hours, menu selection, make reservations.

I usually keep on hand the following items, at all times, in the car:
- Box of tissues
- Roll of paper towels
- Small pack of wipes
- Small supply of plastic bags for trash
- Old sheet or picnic blanket
- A gallon jug of water in the trunk
(not for drinking though!). Use for washing hands if there's no running water nearby, rinsing sand off from the beach, splashing on face and arms to cool off, etc.

How about you? What do you keep on hand in your car?

Did you see my previous post on Kids & Vacations: Traveling by Car? The tips above are in addition to what we previously mentioned in that post.

Feel free to add your comments below, or contact me if you have any questions or need further assistance.

Enjoy the rest of the summer!

Helping you to Sort Things Out, one step at a time.


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Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Kids & Vacation: Traveling by Car

Here are some quick tips for traveling by car with your kids on vacation:

1. Pack a nightlight.

2. Bring a kiddie port-a-potty (believe me, it's worth the extra investment to have one just dedicated for the car).

3. Pack a full box of tissues, paper towels, napkins, and baby wipes.

4. Stock up before you go: bottled water & juice boxes (freeze a few hours before you leave so it stays cold), granola bars, individual zip snack bags of cereal, chips, etc.

5. Bring dollar bills and quarters (for tipping bellmen, vending machines, etc.)

6. Hotel: Get the direct dial phone number and call the front desk before you leave to ask if you can rent a mini-refrigerator.

7. Ask hotel if they have a washer/dryer and where it's located, in case you need to do a quick load of clothes during the trip. Pack a small amount of laundry detergent to bring with you (double bag it to prevent leaks).

8. Ask the front desk in advance where the closest supermarket is to the hotel. Try to make a stop upon arriving to stock up on milk & cereal, fresh fruit, bottle water, etc. for quick breakfasts and to calm the midnight munchies.

9. Allow time after breakfast for bathroom break, brushing teeth; also, schedule downtime in the middle of the afternoon (after lunch or before dinner) to refresh, relax, recharge.

10. Near another hotel? Try their restaurant for breakfast or dinner; it
may turn out to have better food, better pricing or a better view.

There are a ton of tips out there if you do a search on the Internet; I'm just posting some of my favorites here.

What are your favorite tips on traveling with kids? Post a comment or send me an email.

Helping you to Sort Things Out, one step at a time!


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Blogging: Organizing Your Thoughts

I have a couple of blogs that I write, including this one you're reading right now and another blog featuring stories about the things we keep.

Here are some reasons why I like blogging as a tool to help me stay organized:

1. Too many ideas swimming in my head and I need to have a place to do a brain drain, where it might also benefit someone who happens to be reading it.

2. My typing is much neater and faster than trying to handwrite all the stuff that's floating in my head.

3. I can go to one place (on my computer to a specific site,, versus possibly anywhere in my house) and be able to review or re-edit past entries or add new entries very quickly and easily. Much, much simpler than trying to seek and find my writing journal or notebook where it's anyone's guess where I left it the last time I wrote in it.

4. It's a place to store my story ideas and reader submissions for my upcoming book series, Our Stories, Our Stuff: The Special Meaning Behind The Things We Keep.

5. Having an active blog with followers is a motivator and reminder that I have to keep writing on a regular basis to keep things fresh and updated. Otherwise, I probably wouldn't make the effort to write. Great way to push through the procrastination, as you've heard me say in my workshops.

An added plus: the more I write, the easier it becomes. It's an example of developing a habit or a routine, as we've talked about in our De-cluttering and Organizing support group sessions.

Blogs are also a great way to get the message out to many people at one time, in those cases where you don't want to send emails back and forth and/or you need to make edits and changes on the fly. I created a blog for our school PTA board members to update on our inventory lists; I've seen examples of other schools updating their blogs with events and school cancellation notices. It's much easier and quicker to update a blog versus maintaining a website.

Are you a woman who blogs or is thinking of starting a blog? Here's a great resource for you: BlogHer 2009, which is THE place to meet up with other women blogging experts, to find advice, articles and info.

If you'd like help in getting started in the wide wonderful world of blogging, drop me a line or contact me anytime.

Helping you to Sort Things Out, one step at a time!


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