Sometimes just heading out of the house can seem like a project in and of itself. But it doesn’t have to be that way, as long as you have your “system” together. Try these helpful tips for taking your show on the road:

Map Out Your Day

Make a list of each place you want to hit, and what you plan to do there. Then make an easy route to get from one to another. It’s a great way to conserve energy and remember everything you have to do. There are some helpful online mapping sites out there. Google Maps and Mapquest provide free route planners, and Hop Stop
( www.hopstop.com) offers a great way to plan out your public transit route in many major US cities.

Pick “User-Friendly” Places

Heading out for a day of shopping? Figure out which stores are the easiest to navigate and make those your targets. You’ll be in and out a lot faster. Choose a store that’s laid out well, one with good (non-wobbly) shopping carts, and when you’re done, ask someone to bring everything out to your car. They have people on staff to do that. If you want, you can call ahead to see which stores offer this type of assistance.

Make a List

Before you start your day of errands, make a list of everything you need to get done and then order them based on your map. Put the “heavy lifting” errands at the beginning, like groceries and picking up the dry cleaning. Then move on to lighter items to round out the day, like minor appointments and quick pick-ups. You can also divide your list up by store – mapping out what you need from where and grabbing everything in one fell swoop.

Mobilize the Kids

If you’re out with your kids, spread out the responsibilities. Have them carry their own stuff. And let them be your helper when you need it. It’s good for them, and it’ll make them feel good that they’ve helped you.

Trim it Down

If there are too many places you need to be, save a few for tomorrow. Some things can always wait.

Stay in Synch

When you’re out doing your thing, you may want to remain aware of what the rest of the family is up to — after school activities for the kids, last-minute errands, upcoming social gatherings. Cozi.com is a website that can help you and your family stay on the same page while you’re out and about — keeping track of to-do lists, shopping lists, and the daily schedule. Visit the site and sign up for an account, and you’ll be able to take advantage of their free all-inclusive organizational mainframe. There, you can:

  • Create a family calendar that can be viewed and updated by everyone in the household, and synched to your computer or handheld with Microsoft® Outlook®.
  • Create to-do and shopping lists and have them at your fingertips at all times. Cozi will send them directly to your phone as a text message or read to you over the phone.
  • Post quick messages to the account, which can be viewed by the rest of the family.
  • Use the journal feature to capture moments as they happen by uploading photos and text. This a great way to make a scrapbook in the moment rather than having to carve out the time later on.
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