Your Ultimate Road Trip Organization Guide

Road trips can be a lot of fun if you spend just a few minutes preparing in advance, even if you decide to hit the road at the spur of the moment. The smoother your trip goes, the more you, and your traveling companions, whoever they are, will enjoy yourselves. Here is your ultimate road trip organization guide.

  1. Maintain Your Mode of Travel– Keeping your car clean and maintained will not only set you up for a fabulous spur of the moment adventure, but make your every day life easier. Follow your vehicle’s maintenance schedule, including self-maintenance such as checking tire treads and windshield wiper blades. Set aside time once a week to clean out your front and backseat of any unnecessary items.
  2. Be Prepared for Roadside Emergencies – Even if you have a roadside assistance service such as AAA, you want to be prepared for unexpected emergencies. Make sure you have a charger for your smartphone plugged into your vehicle’s electric socket and a spare in your center console. Invest in a roadside emergency kit or create your own using a car organizer and purchasing a heavy-duty flashlight, extra batteries for it, a set of jumper cables and light reflectors/flares. Store these items in your trunk. Keep a case of plain bottled water in your trunk.
  3. Create a Cabin Emergency Kit – You can either purchase a pre-assembled kit at a drug store or create your own in a large kitchen storage bag. The kit should include band aids in different sizes, antiseptic wipes, and antibiotic ointment. You can also include gauze pads, surgical tape, and scissors. 
  4. Dig Out the Map– Look up your route – or the general direction you’re traveling in – on Google Maps. Take note of the major highways and roadways you’ll be taking. It isn’t a bad idea to print out the Google driving directions in case you end up in an area, such as Coastal Route 1 in Northeastern Maine, without cell service. That way you won’t get lost.
  5. Leave Early– Going somewhere popular? Plan to leave as early as possible to avoid getting stuck in traffic. This is another area where Google Maps or a traffic app like Waze comes in handy. On Google Maps you can set your planned departure and/or arrival times and it will tell you how much traffic to expect. Waze will let you set a route and see what time traffic will be at its worst. You can then choose a time when traffic is lighter to set out. 
  6. Fill Up and/or Top Off – Ordinarily I do not advocate topping off a gas tank that is at more than 1/3 of a tank, however, if you are traveling by car on a major highway, this is something you definitely want to do. Gas prices along and just off highways are exorbitant. Fill your tank, or top it off, locally before you go to minimize the number of highway or just off the highway gas stops you have to make.
  7. Pack a CoolerAnd a Thermos– The only things more expensive than gas along a highway are food and beverages. Brew a pot of coffee and pour the entire thing – mixed with milk and sugar the way you like it – into a large thermos. If you are traveling with kids, take them shopping with you and allow them to pick out food and snacks they will want for both mealtimes and while traveling. Having children choose what they will eat makes them part of the trip and ensures they will want what is packed. Pack these items in a cooler and put it in the passenger area of your vehicle before you leave. 
  8. Entertain The Kids– If traveling with kids, make sure you have plenty of activities for them to choose from. Let them pack a backpack with things they would like to read or do. Choose a few select activities for younger children who cannot choose for themselves. Make them easily accessible on the drive. Pack a pillow and blanket for each family member. 
  9. Keep Your Mind Active– Driving can be monotonous. Keep your mind active without diverting your attention from the road by investing in audiobooks, creating a driving playlist with music you can sing along with, or engage in the license plate game. Look for out-of-state license plates and try to guess where they are going (do notattempt to approach other drivers on the road). Traveling with others, keep a box of Trivia Pursuit cards in the car. A passenger reads the questions and the driver tries to guess the answers. 
  10. Go Light on the Luggage– Pack what you need plus a spare set of clothing. Skip the pricey travel-sized toiletries and pack your full-sized versions from home. If you are staying in a hotel, leave your hair dryer, shampoo, and conditioner at home and use the ones the hotel stays in. For multi-night trips, pack a day’s outfit in a large zippered plastic bag or using packing cubes. Rather than dragging all your luggage each night, grab a cube or bag for the next day. Keep a dirty clothes bag in your trunk, vs. carrying it with you into your lodging each night. A heavy-duty garbage bag works great for this purpose. 
  11. Pack a Cabin Travel Bag – Place anything you think you may need while driving, or at rest stops in a large tote bag and put it in the front seat next to you on the drive. This can include bottled water, coffee, family medicines, maps, valuables and electronics such as tablets and laptops. 
  12. Clean as You Go– On your way out the door, grab some plastic bags and stash them under your vehicle’s passenger seat. Collect trash and empty your trash at each rest stop. Using dish towels as either bibs or lap covers will allow crumbs to collect on the towel instead of all over the car. When you are done eating, you can roll up the towel to be shaken out at your next stop.
  13. Travel Safely– Do not put store suitcases in your vehicle’s passenger areas, even if you are traveling alone. Use a GPS with a speed limit app to keep you informed of the speed limit at all times. I love Waze for this purpose. Keep a blanket or extra jacket in your vehicle to cover up valuables you may not want to lug out of the car on a quick rest stop. Don’t tell anyone you meet at a rest stop where you are from or where you are going. Always take your phone and wallet with you when you stop. Do not leave children unattended.

There’s nothing like the feeling of the open highway, even with the kids in the back seat complaining about who has more room (ah! Childhood memories!). By maintaining your car and some advanced planning you will set yourself up for a great time, either on your own or with your family. 

Happy travels!

Photo: Steve Buissinne

How to Organize Your Holiday Décor

The holidays are over, but the cleanup has just begun. Here’s how to quickly organize your holiday décor and store it for easy access next year.

  1. Capture It– If you like the way you decorated your home this year, take a smartphone photo of each area of your home you decorated, inside and out, and save them in a file called “Holiday Photos” on your computer. You can add other holiday photos to this folder as well. You can pull these photos up next year and know exactly how to decorate your house for the new holiday season. 
  2. Protect It –If you decorate a tree, you have ornaments that need to be stored. The easiest way to put away ornaments is to have a storage container that has dividers for the ornaments. This way you don’t have to individually wrap each ornament. All of the big box stores put these boxes on sale the week after New Years. For smaller ornaments, wrap each one individually in newspaper or used wrapping paper and store them two to a compartment. This will prevent scratching or breaking. 
  3. Wrap It Up –Locate a sturdy piece of cardboard, cut it to 12” wide by 18” long, and wrap your holiday lights around the 18” section. Place all of your lights in a separate holiday container. An Amazon shipping box works or empty liquor box works great for this purpose. Next year you won’t have to untangle the lights when you put them out. You can also use this trick for garlands.
  4. Box It –Place holiday figurines, candle holders, village houses, and other collectibles in boxes appropriate for their size and shape. If you have the original boxes for these items, use those.  If not, here is a great way to reuse all of those empty boxes that seem to be generated during the holidays, including clothes boxes, kitchen appliances boxes, shoeboxes, and even jewelry boxes. Be sure to wrap everything in a protective cover before putting it into the box first. 
  5. Sort It All Out– There are 2 different ways to store room décor. The first is to put like items with like items. All your Santa’s would get gathered and put into a storage bin. The second way to store room décor is by the room they were in (if you want to easily repeat how you decorated your home). Each storage bin is labeled by room and you can list the items in the bin for easy retrieval. 
  6. Label Everything! –Label your storage boxes with a black sharpie magic marker in big letters. Note the contents and the room it goes into. Put this information on the storage container lid and at least 1 side of the box so you can easily find identify the contents if the box is stacked in storage. I like to use 2 labels. One for the short side and the other for the long side of the container.
  7. Make a List –As you are putting away your holiday decorations, make a list of what you need for next year. Was your tree short of hanging ornaments? Did the lightbulbs burn out on your electric or battery-operated candles? Better to know now what you will need next year so you are sure to buy them early in the season before the pickings are scarce.
  8. Wreaths –If your wreaths aren’t too oversized, you may find it easier to store them in round containers designed specifically for wreaths. If you can’t find them this time of year, put that on your list for next year before they are sold out.

Putting the holiday decorations away isn’t nearly as fun as getting ready for the holiday, but, if you do it in an organized fashion, it shouldn’t be so awful. You can always hire a professional organizer to help you if you are so inclined.

Photo Purchased from Adobe Stock

Consolidate Large Credit Card Debt

Credit card debt is the white elephant in everyone’s checkbook. No one wants to talk about how much debt they have or have accidentally walked into. All of those store card application offers you accept to get your percentage off at the register and the sheer access to credit that most people have these days means that credit card debt can quickly spiral out of control without you even realizing it. This can happen even if you’re staying on top of your credit card bills and paying them off or on time. A large number of credit cards can reduce your credit score because you have that much credit out and available to you. Here’s how to quickly consolidate large credit card debt when you see that you’ve got one or more large outstanding balances.

  • Who do you owe?– Sounds like a silly question but unless you have a list in front of you showing you the creditor, the amount owed, and the interest rate, it’s hard to know the big picture of your debt. Sit down and list each creditor, the status of the credit card, and the amount you owe. Update this list every month.
  • Pay the at least the minimum each month– It’s not the most ideal situation by only paying the minimum due each month but if you don’t you will incur late fees and more interest charges. Either put the credit cards on autopay to pay the minimum every month or develop a system for paying the minimum so you don’t forget to pay. If you can, pay a few dollars over the minimum every month to stay ahead.
  • Pay It Off Highest to Lowest – Figure out who is charging you the most interest and pay that debt off first. When you are done, allocate the amount of that payment to the next highest interest debt and so on. You still will pay the minimum due on the other cards, but your focus is to reduce these high interest rate cards first.
  • Set Aside Time– No matter how busy life gets, set aside time each week to review your finances. Reviewing your finances each week allows you to stay on top of your spending at all times. Staying on top of your spending allows you to see areas where you could be saving money and are spending frivolously (meals out anyone?) and make instant adjustments. 
  • Use cash– Ditch your credit cards in a drawer and stick to cash. Visit the bank each week and take out your spending and gas money. Once that money is gone, that’s it. 

It will be a hassle to pay down the debt but in the long run you will have less stress and more time after you consolidate your large credit card debt.

Photo:Steve Bussinne

What Do I Do With All This Memorabilia?

I have worked with many clients over the years, and for some, the area of memorabilia just brings them to a solid halt. They can more easily deal with less emotional objects but the minute we delve into their diaries, school papers, and other memorable items, they all ask me the same thing, ‘What do I do with all this memorabilia?’

  • Sort It– A basic, but necessary, first step is set aside time and go through it all. Discard anything you don’t want your kids to see or that carries no emotional importance. For example, it may be important for you to remember your high school boyfriend, but do your kids really need to know about him? Set aside anything that you want your children to have, or that defines who you are now. My friend still has her scrapbooks from her first marriage in storage. She wants her son to know that she and his father had a happy marriage at one point.  If you can pare down what you are physically keeping to a pre-determined box or container, that will help you know what you can and cannot keep.
  • Scan It– If your diaries or school paper mean something to you and you can’t seem to part with them, why not scan them so you could re-read them and yet, free up valuable real estate? If not, choose just a few pages, cut them out of the diary at the binding, and discard the rest.
  • Take a Picture– If you have any large objects that you would like to remember but don’t want to store the item, take a photo of it. You could create a digital photo album of all your special mementoes’ and whenever you want to remember, look at the album. Just think of it as an early start to any downsizing you may have to do in your life!
  • Box It – After you have pared down your memories, find a special box to store them in. If you still have too many items, maybe you need to go through them once more, so they can all fit in one box. You can easily pick up a memory box at TJ Maxx or Michaels. Choose one that matches your unique personality or the theme you are going for.
  • Frame It – I have seen many lovely shadow boxes of themed memories. One was of special event ticket stubs. Another was pieces of fabric from beloved clothes. A friend of mine lined hers with a velvet background and put her wedding invitation, her husband’s dried boutonniere, and a swatch from her wedding dress in one. Use your imagination and see if there isn’t a theme of memories that you would like to display.

What other ways have you used to save your memories?

Photo: Cristina M. Miller

Dresser Organizers We Love

Dresser Organizers We Love

It’s very easy for dresser drawers and chifforobe shelves to become cluttered with clothing. Without careful organization, these areas can quickly become a disorganized mess. Here are some of our favorite dresser organizers we love for restoring and maintaining order to dressers, drawers, and chifforobe cabinets.

  1. Folding Board – Tired of having your clothes a mess and not being able to stack them? This tool is a must to help you fold t-shirts, pants, sweaters, and more neatly so they stack and look great. It’s a great way to also have your kids help you with laundry!
  2. Underwear/Sock Organizer – This item allows you to customize the way you want to organize your underwear or socks. It is easy to use and cut according to your drawer size. These can also be spaced to hold compact items such as t-shirts.
  3. Drawer Spacer – Looking for a way to store your bras, scarves, belts, or other bedroom dresser items? This product comes in a set of four, allowing you to store a number of different dresser drawer items.
  4. Foldable Fabric Storage Cubes – These cubes are great for storing pocketbooks and other large items as well as for off season clothes storage. When you aren’t using them, they fold up flat and take up minimum space. Added bonus! These cubes have lots of uses outside your bedroom.

These are just a few of our favorite dresser organizers. What other products do you use to keep your bedroom drawers organized?

Photo: Amazon

How to Avoid Becoming a Pack Rat

How to Avoid Becoming a Pack Rat

In today’s age of BOGO (Buy One Get One) sales, online ordering, discount stores (Home Goods, TJ Maxx, Marshall’s), and bulk purchasing stores (BJ’s, Costco), over-buying can sneak up on you all too easily. Before you know it, you have a house filled with things that seemed like a good deal at the time, but that you never used. These things can sit for years collecting dust, taking up space, and creating chaos in your home. Here’s how to avoid becoming a pack rat.

  1. Question It – While you’re waiting on the checkout line, ask yourself: ‘Do I really need these items or am I just excited to purchase them because it is a great sale?’ Using the technique of NOT buying and going away before you purchase is a great way to separate yourself from the ‘high’ of the sale verses the need for the item. If you get home and really do NEED that item, at least you know you have a real need and not just a desire for the sale.
  2. Know What You Already Have – I have worked with many clients who have an abundance of items like peanut butter, tuna, pasta, or you name it living in their pantry. The reason they have so many of one item is that they have no idea they already own multiples of any one item in their pantry! Their pantry is disorganized, and they don’t keep a list of what they are running short. As a result, they keep buying items they use a lot and keep shoving them on their shelves.
  3. Get Organized – Organize your pantry and start keeping a shopping list. By doing so you will save money by not over buying any one particular item. Added bonus: you will use up your existing inventory of an item before it expires. This will also save you money.
  4. Set Limits – Use a drawer, shelf, or container to limit how much of any category or item you stock will help you to not over buy. For example, In the case of clothes, if you have one drawer that holds your turtlenecks and you absolutely have to have the sage one you just saw on sale, then you have to use the ‘One In, One Out’ rule. In order to stay within your drawer space allowed for the new turtleneck, a turtleneck you no longer wear must go. Setting aside specific shelf space for excess toilet paper, paper towels and such items, will act as a limiter to how much more you can buy.
  5. Keep A Shopping List – Now that you have your pantry organized, and specific space set up for your items, set up a shopping list. This will prevent further overbuying. You can do this the old-fashioned way, by putting a notepad and a pen on your refrigerator. Or you can use Alexa or Siri. Both applications have list apps. As you run out of an item, write it down on your shopping list or tell Alexa/Siri to add it to your list. When you go to the store, only buy what is on your list and mark each item off as you purchase it. When you are out of items on your shopping list, go directly to checkout. Do not pass go, do not collect additional items.
  6. Avoid The ‘Grab Me’s’– Every checkout aisle, no matter how big or small, has small items such as coffee mugs, magazines, chewing gum, chocolate, reusable shopping bags, and gift cards set up around them. Some stores even have long checkout aisles with numerous items stocked on them that you have to pass through to get to the register. Focus only on what is in your cart at the register. Add any “Grab Me’s” you see to your shopping list for the next trip. This will allow you to think about these purchases, and decide if they are actually needed, before you buy them.
  7. There Will Always Be Another Sale – I just got a 20% off coupon for Sephora in my mailbox. This comes right on the heels of the 20% off coupon I received from Ulta that just expired. It also coincides with the 10% off beauty products coupon from Macy’s included in their recent flyer. While coupons can be useful, and may present a great way to stock up on something you use frequently, don’t buy something you already have plenty of just because you have a coupon. Remember: there will always be another coupon available when you actually need an item.

You don’t want your house being taken over by any excess purchase. Your real estate costs too much for it to be cost effective to give up living space for over purchasing. What do you use or do to help you from becoming a pack rat?

Photo: Cristina M. Miller

How Do You Apply for a New Job?

How Do You Apply for a New Job?

Job searching has changed dramatically in the last five years. You used to be able to email your resume with a cover letter, and, if you were in a creative field, directly to a hiring manager or Human Resources. You could even upload your cover letter and resume into Monster or CareerBuilder and they would send it to an employer for you. How do you apply for a new job?

Today it is not so easy. Most employers pre-screen applicants via online job applications that require you to fill out your qualifications before submitting your cover letter and resume. These applications, and the resumes, are parsed, or electronically searched, for specific keywords and phrases before they even hit human eyes.  Here’s what you need to know, and what you need to have in front of you, before you click that “apply” button on Indeed.

  • Hunt and Gather It – Before you even log onto SimplyHired, gather your resume, contact information for references, college transcripts, the names and addresses of every school you have attended, including high school and put it in one place. Having all this information in front of you will make it easier to quickly customize your cover letter and resume and fill in those online applications.
  • Google It – Google a description of the job you are applying for and peruse both job postings, sample resumes, and the qualifications of other professionals in that field. Make a list of the skills, qualifications, certifications, and experience that come up repeatedly amongst all three.
  • Optimize It – Now that you know what employers in your field want, SEO, or Search Engine Optimize, your resume so that those skills are mentioned repeatedly in different ways on your resumes. If a specific skill or certification is mentioned by name, you want to state its name and say your exposure to it. The more keywords in your resume, the better the chance it will make it to the next level. Check out this example on LiveCareer for an example of how to accomplish this.
  • Detail It – Your resume should include a list of technical skills, i.e.: Microsoft Word, Adobe, etc. It should also demonstrate that you have used them in your job experience detail. Be sure each job description on your resume does this. For example, instead of saying “Developed press releases” when a job calls for MS Word, say, “Used Microsoft Word to develop press releases.” These days employers know better than to pull in a candidate who doesn’t show the use of a particular skill they’re looking for. Naming that skill is not enough.
  • Cover It – There is some argument that cover letters are going the way of the dodo. I say they are still important. A cover letter can explain why you’re living in one state and applying for a job in another, or a gap in your resume. Most companies will also call for a cover letter as part of the online job application process. If not, a cover letter can easily be added to your resume and the two documents can be combined into a single Adobe PDF. Make sure your cover letter is Search Engine Optimized, and that everything you have on your resume matches your cover letter.
  • Customize It – Since you are already taking the time to fill out a job application, take an extra few minutes and fine tune your resume before you upload it. Make sure the resume states how you have done whatever the company’s job description states as the required skills and experience.
  • Create a Plain Text Version – Odds are, your resume or cover letter will be parsed by the online system and formatted into plain or real text format. This can be awkward if your resume has customized formatting. Create a plain text version of your resume with linear formatting. This will ensure your resume is clear and easy to understand when it finally hits human eyes.

Applying for a new job is not a fun task but by having yourself as organized as you can be will make this experience a more pleasurable task.

Photo: Gerd Altmann

How to Store and Save Lego Creations

How to Store and Save Lego Creations

Ah Lego… Sitting in their neatly boxed kits on toy store shelves these tiny bricks seem full of possibilities. Lego has been proven to foster creativity, build imagination, and improve problem solving skills. They are also an excellent way to spend quality time with your child. There are almost no downsides to a good, inexpensive box of Lego bricks. That is, until you stumble out into the kitchen for a cup of coffee and step on a forgotten brick. Ouch! Here’s how to store and save Lego creations while enjoying all of the benefits of Lego bricks and avoiding accidental foot torture.

  • Sort It Out – Sort out the Lego bricks that will be difficult to find in a large container. These include the tiny connector pieces used to connect pipes, tiny flat pieces, single dot “1×1” bricks, specialty pieces from previously assembled and disassembled kits, and especially wheel pieces. This will be invaluable for the next time you build free form, or lose a piece for a Lego kit to your carpet mid-build.
  • Stack It – Stack or store difficult-to-find Lego bricks in a stackable storage container. Stackable craft containers are ideal for this purpose. You have easy access to all of the pieces you need without a lot of space. A client and her son used this system for years with great success. If you want to decorate and stay true to Lego, you can purchase large storage bricks in bright colors directly from Lego. Using the bricks as a limiter to how many Legos may be accumulated is also a great trick!
  • Store It – Many Lego brick sets come in their own plastic storage containers. I recommend Ikea’s Trofast line to store Lego bricks. Trofast is also inexpensive and allows you to customize both the configuration and the storage bins you want to use. Trofast also has longevity. This system can be used to store video game components, makeup, and school supplies when your child ages out of Lego.
  • Lay It Down – Store a plastic play mat with your child’s Lego bricks. Have them take out this play mat and build on it each time they play with their Lego bricks. I personally like this one, that has a drawstring and automatically gathers up all of the bricks when your child is done playing and it’s time to clean up.
  • Play-Again Kits – Some Lego kits are designed to have a “play with it after” component. The Ninjago, Minecraft, Disney, and Powerpuff Girls sets, for example, have minifigures that can be played with on whatever the particular kit creates. Set aside space to temporarily store these repeat play kits. Hint: if you have a train lover, the Lego Train sets can be built upon for years and store easily in under-the-bed bins.
  • Show It Off – Many Lego kits, such as the Architecture series, are designed to be built once. Once the Lego creation is done, what do you do with it? Anything built with a Classic Set should be dismantled and the bricks saved for the next project. For the one-time build sets, set up a temporary space to display a limited number of these creations for a limited time. After that time is up, break down the bricks for the next project.
  • Donate Them – Some children never outgrow Lego, no matter how old they get. Others eventually stop playing with Lego bricks and take up other hobbies. When this happens, contact your local charity and donate the bricks. If there isn’t a charity that can accept them, contact a consignment shop, secondhand toy store, or your local Salvation Army or Goodwill. These organizations will take the bricks off your hands.

Lego bricks are a great way to connect with your kids. With a few basic storage tools, you can spare yourself the pain of unexpectedly encountering those painful bricks, stay organized, and build cherished memories for years to come.

Photo: JenFongSpeaks

Creating a Home Gym Space

How to Create a Home Gym Space

Exercise offers many benefits – everything from increased energy to stress relief and even better long-term health. Not everyone can afford a monthly gym membership, or has time to dedicate to hitting the gym. Fancy exercise equipment is a double-edged sword: you want the best for your dollar, but a lot of exercise equipment ends up gathering dust in a spare bedroom. Here’s how to create a home gym space with equipment you’ll be motivated to use without breaking the bank.

  • Set Aside Space – Any space in your home can be a workout area. I know people that use their bedroom floor to do their daily morning stretches. A friend of mine keeps a set of free weights and an exercise mat in her sewing room. A colleague of mine has a stationary bike next to the bookshelves in his family room. Choose a space where you will work out. Make sure there is plenty of room for you to move without accidentally injuring yourself on a piece of furniture.
  • Stash It – Once you’ve decided where you will work out, find a nearby space for your exercise equipment, including free weights, exercise mats, workout videos, and resistance bands. You don’t need a fancy weight rack or exercise equipment container for these items. A plastic crate will do. Having all of your exercise equipment in one place, near where you plan to work out, will motivate you to get moving.
  • Get Some Free Weight – Free weights are a great way to increase strength and add muscle tone to your body. They are also invaluable for increasing the level of an exercise once your body has gotten used to a particular movement or routine and can do it easily. You don’t have to spend a lot of money on free weights. Check out these colorful weights. Don’t buy a whole set of free weights at once. Start with the lowest weight that gives you some resistance and, once you can lift those with ease, upgrade.
  • Increase Your Bandwidth – Resistance bands are another great way to build strength and add resistance to a workout. In addition to taking up virtually no space, these bands are available at most retail discount stores such as TJ Maxx and Marshalls.
  • Stream It – Streaming exercise videos are a great way to build a workout library without taking up additional space in your home. Most major broadcast TV providers have at least one exercise channel. Amazon Prime offers exercise videos. You can also buy exercise videos on Amazon and store them your video library to access wherever you go.
  • Go Old School – Walmart, Target, Marshalls, and all offer inexpensive workout videos on DVD. Many of these videos use your own body weight as the resistance, eliminating the need for additional equipment. One of my client’s personal go to every time she needs to lose a couple pounds is Jillian Michaels’ 30 Day Shred, available for under $10 on Amazon.
  • Look NextDoor – Looking for more than an aerobic workout but don’t want to spend money on fancy exercise equipment? Check out your local NextDoor Community or Facebook Marketplace. You can often find very high-end equipment for half or less of its retail cost and older, sturdier models for $100 or less. Make sure to look up the reviews on the make and model of the equipment and test it in person before you pay any money to the seller. A good way to do this is to enter the brand and model number into Google. You can also visit websites that sell this equipment and read the consumer reviews.

With just a few feet of space and a minimal investment, you can have a great workout at home, no “Lunk Alarms” or long waits for the treadmill required.

Photo: Alfred Derks

Five Must-Have Products for Your Cruise

Five Must-Have Products for Your Cruise

You have booked your dream vacation, a cruise. Congratulations! Now the time has come to start packing for your trip. Here are five must have products for your cruise. And the best part, they are all available on Amazon!

  • Waterproof Pouch– You are going to need a pouch that will hold your cell phone. Here is one example. Just make sure you test the pouch out before you put your phone in it to make sure it truly is waterproof, and you know how to securely close the pouch.
  • Water-Resistant Watch– It doesn’t have to be the most expensive but you want to make sure it works when near water. You are going to be near water and although you can’t wear a water-resistant watch when scuba diving, you need to be on time for various outings and make sure you make it back before your ship leaves you in port.
  • Magnetic Hooks– Who knew that the walls of a cruise ship are metal? Having a bunch of magnetic hookswill increase the way you can store items such as a hanging purse and cosmetic bag.
  • Magnetic Bag Clips– One convenient use for theseare to hold the ship’s daily schedule and adhere the clip to your cabin wall.

Sticky Notes– Yes, that is right! A great way to leave notesfor your cabin mate in case you each decide to split up for the day. Purchasing the extreme notes is worth it as they are water resistant!

What are your must-have products when you cruise?