The Easiest (Reusable!) Packing List

I think there are several different opinions on the worst part about traveling. Some say it's packing, others say flying, or jet lag, or unpacking. Personally, I think the worst part (and my greatest fear) is forgetting something I needed. I have dreams, even when I'm not traveling, that I forgot to pack and therefore have to grab everything at the last minute. Also because in my dream I apparently "forgot" I had a trip too! Even if this were to happen someday, somehow, I'd be prepared. I have a packing hack that surpasses alllll the packing hacks. And the best part is that all you'll need is your iPhone or iPad. It's totally free, and really easy to use.

Never forget anything again! I have a packing hack that surpasses alllll the packing hacks. And the best part is that all you'll need is your iPhone or iPad. It's totally free, and really easy to use. Click to read more, along with some bonus features! #packinglist #travelhacks #packinglistfortravel

All you need to do is go to the Apple pre-downloaded Reminders app. It comes standard on all iPhones and you’ve probably even used it before for something like a grocery list!

The first thing you want to do is open up your reminders app, press the (+) sign and create a new list. You can call it Packing List for now, or label it after the destination you are going to. Then, you're going to want to start typing out all the things you need to bring with you. I think the best way to do this is to use a laptop or other device to see a generic packing list online, and adapt it to your own items. Keep adding items, one at a time, until you have a completed list. Then, as you're packing, click each item to "check” it off your list.

Oh but wait. That's not all! This hack gets even better, because this list is reusable. Next time you are traveling, you can rename the list, click "show completed" and uncheck the items that you need to bring with you. You'll leave all the other stuff on there, but it'll be checked off so it doesn't show on your packing list. You can use this over and over, and you'll never have to worry about forgetting anything again! Plus, as long as you have your phone on you, you have your list. This makes it really easy to add things on the go!

Other features

If you want to be a little bit fancier, you can use one of these features as well.

1. Share with a friend/spouse. If you're traveling with a friend/spouse, chances are that they need the same items you do! So, create a list with all the items you both need and share the list so that they can be as organized as you are. This is perfect for avoiding double the items, so you can add things like a selfie stick, sunscreen, toothpaste, or even a portable speaker! Since the list is shared, this won’t be ideal for packing clothes because when they check the items off, your list will be checked too. But, this feature is great for a family because you can add all your kids’ items and know what exactly has been packed already!

2. Set a reminder for a location. This is perfect in case you need to get something from a certain store, pick up something a friend borrowed, or grab items from your storage unit. Or, you can set a reminder at the airport to grab a bottle of water, a magazine, or a snack.

3. Set a due date. You can set a deadline for the items that you don't use often, the ones you need to pack at the last second, and everything in between.

4. Add a priority. If you're an overpacker like me, this feature is great for prioritizing what needs to come, what you want to bring, and what to include only if you have room.

5. Add notes. You can use this section to list out the individual items (i.e., pink swimsuit, blue swimsuit, black one-piece). It's also handy for listing out a quantity (i.e., 6 pairs of undies) or a location (from garage).

Here’s a handy dandy video showing off the features! It doesn’t have sound, but you can see how I navigate around the app to get to the features and settings I mentioned above.

So what do you think? Will you be using this app for future trips? Do you know a better way? Let me know in the comments below!

5 Tips to Speed Up Your Photography Process

Does this sound familiar? You have an idea for a photoshoot. You spend a day thinking about it, another day gathering supplies, and then another full day trying to find out where to set it up and take the photos. You try here, there, and everwhere, but in the end the photos are only mehhh. And, it took FOREVER. Maybe you don't even use the photos you took in the end! We all know that taking your time to create an amazing photo can really fun and rewarding. But sometimes, you just need a quick photo of a project, a product, or a process. What’s the best way to speed up the photography process, especially when you have lots of photos to take? Creating a routine, and sticking to it. These 5 tips will help you take quick and easy photos in no time!

What’s the best way to speed up the photography process, especially when you have lots of photos to take? Creating a routine, and sticking to it. These 5 tips will help you take quick and easy photos in no time!

1. Be predictable.

Create a photo “template” aka the usual way you take photos. For me, that means an overhead shot with a piece of wrapping paper angled sideways. This can be pretty boring, so why am I suggesting it? First, it allows you to take photos without wondering how exactly to set them up. And second, it creates brand identity and makes you easily recognizable. There are PLENTY of opportunities to be creative. But sometimes you just gotta get things done without reinventing the wheel each time. 

2. Create an editing workflow.

Once you’ve perfected your photo template, you've gotta perfect your editing workflow. Create a process where you can batch edit your photos and speed through them. This will also create brand identity since all your photos will have a similar look. Your website or shop will seem cohesive and will help people build trust in you. 

3. Keep all supplies together.

Whether it’s all in one box, one room, or one closet, having all your items in the same place will help drastically reduce the amount of time it takes for you to set up your photos. You’ll be able to grab everything you need in one go. Try your hardest to avoid the “whoops my extension cord is downstairs and my camera is in the car” dance. Why? Because any time spent running around is time you can get distracted by something else. And believe me, chances are you will!

4. Plan ahead.

Some factors are better for photography than others. The weather, time of day, and even the season can all have an effect on your photography. So, plan ahead! Check the weather app to see which days will be sunny (or partly sunny) and try to take your photos then. Add the photoshoot to your calendar, so you don't miss the best weather OR the best time of day. And, be sure to gather all your supplies before the day of the shoot and have them ready to go. It's way better to go shopping for props on a rainy Wednesday than on a sunny Saturday when you were hoping to take your pics!

5. Batch photos.

While everything is set up and ready, do ALL the photos you need to take. If you’re doing different poses or angles (like flatlays and model shots) batch those too! All the flatlays at once, all the model shots at once. Any time you can avoid moving lights, backdrops, etc. around is time saved. In the editing process you can batch your photos together if you need to (like by keyword, or into folders) otherwise once you name them they’ll magically group together! 

Taking your own photos doesn't have to take tons of time. With a bit of planning, you can speed up the process and take even better photos than you imagined!

If you're looking to improve your photos, I've created a FREE photography e-course to help you do just that! Be sure to sign up by clicking the photo below!

How to Stay Organized During a Move

This year, my fiancé and I moved out of our one-bedroom apartment into our three-bedroom house.  Despite doing as much research as possible beforehand to ensure the process went smoothly, we still hit a few snags. Here's my advice for getting through a move the most organized way possible while keeping your sanity. 

Moving soon? Be sure to follow these 9 easy steps to stay organized and keep your sanity!

Consider making a moving binder. I decided to make a moving binder and it was SUPER helpful! I had all my labels, packing lists, receipts, etc. all in one place. This meant that if I ever needed anything, I just had to find the binder. For me, this was so important because things got chaotic and it was much easier to find an entire binder than just one piece of paper.

Get a storage unit near your new home. Since our apartment was super crowded, we knew we wouldn't have enough room to pack and pile boxes. We decided to get a storage unit near our new house.  Even though we had to drive an hour away to store the items, we were unable to fit anything more in the moving truck at our apartment and had to make a separate trip to the storage unit after unloading it. 

Label everything well. Notice I didn't just say to label everything.  It's important to be thorough! I tried so hard to do this on my recent move, and I thought I did a great job. That is, until my movers (aka my MIL and her friend) asked for coffee, and I had no idea where the sugar was. I had to open every single kitchen box until I found it for them. Do yourself a favor, and be as detailed as possible.

Be specific. This goes along with my last point. Don't write kitchen, write "plates and bowls". Don't write cups, write "drinking glasses" or "mugs". It will be extremely helpful once you're in the new home and just really want a glass of wine out of a proper glass, or need to find a scarf on a chilly day!

Face all the labels outwards. This is pretty obvious, but if you're enlisting relatives to help, make sure they are aware of this and adhere to it. Nothing like trying to rotate a 3-box-high pile to see what's in the bottom one. 

Start early. To ensure you don't go into panic mode, start packing as early as you can. Begin with things you know you won't be needing. For us, this meant books, artwork, and rarely used appliances.  This is also a great time to go through stuff and toss out trash, so be sure to leave enough time to de-clutter instead of just tossing everything in a box and moving junk you don't need. 

But don't start too early. I was so ready for this whole moving thing and we timed everything perfectly. Unfortunately, we had a delay with our mortgage bank and were unable to close on the original date. This would have been ok except that someone (cough, fiancé, cough) decided to pack all our pots and pans, most of our dry goods and our DVD player! Be sure to leave certain items out until you're 100% sure of your moving date. 

Make a first day box. We made a first day box, and packed an overnight bag with important items, toiletries, and clothes.  This was really helpful that first night when we were exhausted from the move. You'll be so glad you had everything you needed easily accessible, and this makes the first night feel kinda like a hotel stay!

Know when to wing it. On moving day, there's always those last few items that haven't been packed. Additionally, you'll feel as though everyone needs something from you and you're being pulled in all directions. At this point, it's ok to give up on being totally organized and just toss everything left over into one big box until you get to the new house. Try to label its contents, but sometimes just writing "last minute items" will have to do! 

Be sure to follow my organization Pinterest board for tons of ways to keep your new home clean and organized!

And those are my top tips for staying organized during a move! How did you stay organized for your move?