Welcome to www.OnlineOrganizing.com -- A World Of Organizing Solutions Your Order Your Shopping Cart About Us Contact Us Site Map
Do You Need Help Getting Organized?Shop For Organizing And Business Development ProductsProfessional Organizing ServicesFind A Seminar, Workshop, Or Keynote SpeakerRead Our Two Free Monthly NewslettersFree Organizing Tips And AdviceResources For Professional OrganizersLearn How To Become A Professional OrganizerUseful Organizing Website LinksUseful Organizing Website Links

Search for:


You Are Here: Home - Blogs

NEW! - Keywords For This Page:   Holidays - Vacation

Blog: Paper Doll, Tackling The Stacks And Piles
Paper Doll Sends You Over the River and Through The Woods

Dearest Readers:

Whether you're heading to Grandma's house for a traditional family holiday or jetting off to a hedonistic, sun-filled long weekend, don't be so quick to run out the door. Before you step one foot into a plane, train or automobile, here are a few tips to keep you organized so that next Monday, you won't feel quite as anxious Tom Turkey feels today.

Little Turkey Baby Costume @ Chasing Fireflies
(OK, this little turkey doesn't look anxious, but is just too cute to ignore!)

DiGiorno, Not Delivery

Nothing alerts thieves that a house has been left unattended than a full mailbox and a pile of newspapers and packages on the welcome mat. It's not only disorganized -- it's dangerous.

In the olden days, people had all sorts of things delivered to their homes...newspapers, milk and eggs...and then the process seemed to abate for a while. The sharply uniformed milk man had long since stopped making his appointed rounds. More and more traditional newspapers have folded, and digital versions have usurped the daily paper. And most of the mail seems to be junk.

Nonetheless, stopping deliveries is just as essential as ever. Many of us still subscribe to newspapers, even if only to the weekend (coupon-filled) editions. The popularity of organic foods and community farming means that people are getting milk and eggs, along with all variety of delicious produce, delivered once again. And, at least for now, the Post Office is still delivering mail.

Before heading out of town, call to put deliveries on hold. Are you still lucky enough to have a paper boy or paper girl riding that suburban route to deliver the daily news? Even if you suspend your newspaper delivery by calling the subscription office, consider speaking to your carrier directly (and maybe even your carrier's mom or dad) to make sure the message gets from the subscription office to the actual carrier. Similarly, don't just cancel this week's organic food delivery; make sure your regular delivery person knows to skip you on the route.

Of course, if you have concerns about someone dropping the ball (or, y'know, the eggs), now is the time to ask a neighbor or close friend to keep an eye on your house and take in any wayward deliveries or unexpected packages.

As for mail, skip those yellow "hold mail" cards and take the modern route. Head over to the U.S. Postal Service's Hold Mail link (under the Manage Your Mail menu) and arrange to have your mail held for anywhere from 3 to 30 days. You have the choice of picking up your held mail at the post office or having the backlog delivered on the day your mail service is resumed. If there's any chance that inclement weather or airline travel will cause delays in your return, you might wish to opt for the former or add a buffer day and have mail resumed a day or two after your scheduled return.

Don't Be a Technology Turkey

If you are headed out of town without your laptop -- or even if you're taking it, because a primary rule of technology is that it will eventually fail -- make sure you have the following support systems in place.
  • A complete and recent backup
Paper Doll doesn't care whether you're backed up to the cloud or to a secondary external drive (though both would be preferable). But your backup should be thorough -- make sure every document, preference file and whoziwhatsit is backed up.
  • A flash drive with your most important documents and templates

Folderix Finger Folder Flash Drive by Art Lebedev

You never know when an ideal prospect or an important client will decide to call from a Thanksgiving retreat with a request that you respond by close-of-business on Friday. Sure, you probably want to make Thanksgiving a family-only weekend, but wouldn't you prefer to at least have the option of taking advantage of a really good business opportunity? Wouldn't the holidays be even more fun if you knew you had just what you needed to turn 30 minutes of effort into a money-maker for all of next year?

Sure, if you use cloud-based backup and storage, you might be able to access your essential files from afar, but you never know when your sister-in-law's internet access will be on the fritz or your hometown public library inextricably has blocked access to the cloud support site you need.
  • A cheat sheet (in code, if necessary) of your non-memorized passwords
If you've gotten in the habit of letting your browser remember your usernames and passwords, you may not have typed anything but a high-security bank or brokerage password in quite a while. Perhaps you don't even bother to log out of some of your often-used low-security sites. Indeed, it's the low-priority sites for which you're least likely to recall your login data. Sure, it's no big deal to have your password emailed to you, but when you're on the road or using Grandma Bessie's old computer, wouldn't you like to make things as easy as pumpkin pie?

If you're in business for yourself, make sure you have the login and FTP information for your web site's control panel if there's any chance you'll need to make an update or correction while traveling. Even if your web designer is willing to make a quick fix over the holidays, you can't expect that he or she will have your login information handy.

In lieu of an actual cheat sheet, I'm still a huge fan of the Internet Password Organizer™,


which I reviewed at length over three years ago. Stripped of the paper wrapper, it appears to be a traditional address book. Just tuck it in your carry-on or your inside jacket pocket -- don't tempt fate by storing it in your laptop bag.
  • Instructions and codes to call your home, office and cell voicemail
Don't laugh. Most of us check our cell phone voicemail from our cells and our home or office voicemail in person when we get back, and many of us have all of the codes programmed into our oh-so-smart phones such that we haven't had to remember them in years, if ever. Assuming wherever you're visiting isn't so far over the river and into the woods that it hasn't upgraded from rotary dial phones, you will be able to call in to your home, office and cell voicemail from any touch-tone phone, even if you can't get service on your cell (or if it dropped to the cabin floor and got run over by the beverage cart).

Again, even if you've chosen to have a work-free holiday, you'll stress less if you prepare for all eventualities.
  • A list of essential phone numbers
The more we become dependent upon the web, the less we rely on our memories. Create a few emergency contact lists on your computer (so they'll be easy to update in the future) and take the precaution of printing a few copies. Make sure you have:

--Travel-related numbers, including the priority/loyalty/miles contact numbers and your account numbers for the airline, the front desk at your hotel, the rental car agency and anyone who helped you make your travel plans.

--Emergency family contacts for your child's school and any parents who count on you to drive carpool. If your Sunday morning flight runs into some delays and doesn't get your family home until late Monday evening, you'll want to be able to update anyone expecting you or your children.

--Client/Customer contact numbers. It never fails; whenever I go on vacation, I get a (staticky) voicemail from a client, begging for a return call, with no return phone number. In the age of Caller ID, many people assume it isn't necessary to leave a phone number, and not everyone realizes that a crystal clear connection on their end of the line doesn't mean their message can be understood.

Don't Just Prepare For Takeoff -- Prepare for (a Soft) Landing

It's no joke that most people feel like they need a vacation when they return from vacation. Re-entry after a day of return travel and multiple days of unusual eating and sleeping patterns can cause stress. Consider taking the following steps to ensure a smooth return, for you, your family and for the people in your work/life who depend on you.

Set a reminder in your computer or task system or post a note on your calendar for Monday morning to revise your voicemail when you get back. If you're setting a "Happy Thanksgiving" voicemail message or something that otherwise tells people you'll be away and won't return to the office until Monday, make sure the first thing you do on Monday is change back to your standard message. Otherwise, you return from lunch on Wednesday to find, "Um, I don't know if you're back yet or if you missed some flights, 'cos your message says you'll be back two days ago…and I really need someone this week, and maybe I should call somebody else..." Grrrr.

Similarly, make sure your autoresponder ends when it's supposed to. Sometimes, missing one check box can mean you're sending out "Gobble, Gobble" messages well into December. Send yourself a quick test email when you get back, just to make sure everything is working properly.

If you still have a landline, don't be tempted to change your outgoing message to a jolly one letting everyone know you're headed away for the holiday. Although most people calling you are friends and family, random callers and scallywags employed by companies with which you do business don't need to know your house has been abandoned for the week.

Prepare your desk for your return. Before heading out the door, clear your desk of clutter. File away your reference files and put any papers reflecting tasks to do upon your return in your tickler file, or pile them in order of when they need to be accomplished (with the deadline date in the upper corner or on a sticky note). Make a list of your top three priorities for Monday and put it square in the middle of your desk. When you return, focus on those tasks for a few hours before being tempted by email.

Check your calendar for the week after the holiday. December sneaks up awfully quickly after Thanksgiving, so make sure you know what's on your schedule for the next few weeks. Let your brain do some back-burner brainstorming while you're playing front-yard, Kennedy-style touch football.

Finally, while flying or riding or just couch-surfing after too many carbohydrates, flip through your calendar pages of the past year to recall the people and events in your life and business worthy of gratitude. You may value some people because of the warmth they've brought into your life or the revenue or referrals they bring your way, but also take note of those whom you've helped the most. Hasn't your hard (or inspired) work for them given you a particular sense of esteem and value for which you are thankful?

For more holiday-related organizing tips, please check out Simplify the Season & Save Your Sanity.

Happy Thanksgiving, dear readers. As always, I'm thankful for you. (And for Paper Mommy, without whom there would never be a Paper Doll.)

posted on: 11/22/2011 10:30:00 AM by Julie Bestry
category: Paper

Paper Doll, Tackling The Stacks And Piles: < Previous Post - Next Post >
Blog Central: < Previous Post - Next Post >

Discuss This Post

by S. Spencer on 11/22/2011 3:40:02 PM:

Thanks for the reminder. Even though I don't travel, I've been in homebound chaos for way too long and got terribly lax on doing regular, frequent backups, and haven't been diligent at recording my changed log in info. That will be my pre-new-years resolution!

by Julie Bestry (Paper Doll) on 11/22/2011 7:13:32 PM:

My suspicion is that the best way to achieve thorough backups is to automate the process. Set it and forget it!

Add a comment about this post:
(Note: To reduce blogspam, HTML tags are not permitted in blog comments and will be removed)
Please Enter The Following Code:
In order to cut down on SPAM, we ask that you enter the code exactly as shown in image below. If you can't read the code, simply select "Load New Code" and a different graphic will appear. Cookies must be enabled on your web browser.
Code Image - Please contact webmaster if you have problems seeing this image code Load New Code
Powered by Web Wiz CAPTCHA version 2.01
Copyright ©2005-2006 Web Wiz


Paper Doll, Tackling The Stacks And Piles

by Julie Bestry

View This Blog

   Subscribe To This Blog

About Julie:

Julie Bestry, President of Best Results Organizing in Chattanooga, TN, is a Certified Professional Organizer®, speaker and author. Julie helps overwhelmed individuals and businesses save time and money, reduce stress and increase productivity through new organizational skills and systems.

For information on how Julie can turn your chaos into serenity and learn how you can Tickle Yourself Organized visit Best Results Organizing.

Sign up for Julie's newsletter, Best Results For Busy People: Organizing Your Modern World -- and get a BONUS GIFT, Organize Your Way With A Pretend Career Day!

Follow Me on Pinterest



Julie's Website:


Web Wonderland

  • MetaFilter
  • Einstein's Theory of Relativity (Using Tiny Words)
  • Net Manners
  • Amazon
  • Pearls Before Swine
    Is it wrong to root for the zebras?
  • Snopes
  • Out of the Box
    Commentary on the post-digital device market by famed writer and Mac expert Ross Scott Rubin

Doing Well By Doing Good

  • Curing Malnutrition--Plumpy'Nut
  • Heifer International
  • Challah For Hunger
  • Kiva
  • Feeding America
  • The Pencil Project
  • Free Rice
  • Camel Book Drive
  • Habitat For Humanity

Organizing Blogs

  • Your life. Organized.
  • Organizing LA Blog
  • Unclutterer
  • Jeri's Organizing & Decluttering News
  • Neat & Simple Living
  • 43 Folders
  • The Clutter Diet Blog
  • The Home Office Organizer

Running An Organized, Profitable Business

  • Internet Marketing For Solopreneurs
    Everything I learned about marketing online, I learned from Biana Babinksy at Avocado Consulting at her amazing MarketingSalad.com
  • Website Survival Guide
    My pal Krista Garren helps you discover how to create and organize a profit-generating website without the hassles of doing it all yourself. As Krista says, just "plug in and profit!"
  • Tickle Yourself Organized

Affiliate Disclosure Policy

  • Links to books
    ...and other products mentioned in this blog may be affiliate links, for which I will get a small remuneration if you choose to purchase them. If you would prefer that I do not receive an affiliate payment, I encourage you to Google the title of the book or name of the product.


  • Professional Organizers Blog Carnival Star Blogger
    Star Blogger Status

Add this page to your Bookmarks!

E-mail this page to a friend!

www.OnlineOrganizing.com is a service mark of Bradford, LLC.
Content on this site is © Bradford, LLC, All rights reserved.

If you notice any problems with this site, please contact our webmaster.
And if you don't see what you need you are welcome to "ask the organizer" any question!

To see what people are saying about www.OnlineOrganizing.com, check out our visitor comments.

Click here to view our privacy policy.

Calendar Of Organizing Holidays And Events Blog Central Sign Up For Our Free Online Newsletters Join The Conversation At Our Organizing Discussion Board Advertise Your Company On Our Website Be An Affiliate Of www.OnlineOrganizing.com
Check Us Out On FaceBook