The Composed Domain is about space and time. The process is a unique blend of organizing, clutter clearing, designing personal systems and balancing energy. The goal is to live in rooms that work, able to function at your best and feel truly AT HOME. It’s acupuncture for environments. Compose the space you live in and truly inhabit your life.

Being Home – July 2015 Newsletter

With great excitement and gratitude to all my family, clients and supporters I am finally able to announce that my book will be published this fall by Turning Stone Press.

Home is more than an address. It’s a place you belong, one that reflects who you are. This feeling of belonging comes from your being, as well as where you are.

Recognizing that relationship between you and your environment opens a door. When you understand the link between these two you can step across a threshold and make your home a place that works well and feels right.

Being Home teaches you how to establish this link by creating awareness about your natural and energetic boundaries, rooting in and connecting to your spaces, and utilizing the three fundamental qualities of an environment to create a feeling of home, wherever you are.

Each lesson is supported by a variety of exercises that can be performed at home, at the grocery store, or even while stuck in traffic. When you engage with your surroundings you’ll move with fluidity and confidence anywhere – a crowded room, an empty street and anything in between.

September 30th is our date and the e-book should be available on Amazon and other places in late August. Details on those launches will be sent out over the next few months. As my marketing phase moves along I hope that some of our beloved Seattle book stores will stock the book. Ways to support that process, as well as how to pre-order the digital version, will be announced as well.

I hope you are all enjoying a fine early summer and that this finds you both happy to be at home and enjoying any travel or vacation plans ahead.

Perhaps this month’s tip will help:

There is Being Home and then there is leaving it…

As to leaving home, it is again the high season for travel and vacations. It seems like people either dread packing or enjoy it, not much in between. Being an organizer I love it, but I understand it can be a real chore, especially as it entails so many choices.

If you recall last month’s newsletter; this is a prescription for decision overload. How many pairs of shoes is reasonable for a two week jaunt?

The whole thing becomes extra fraught if you are not totally comfortable with being away from home in the first place. Even if you are excited and ready for adventure, figuring out what to take can be hard.

All the books will tell you to pack light, and they are not kidding. If you feel rebellious about it, just read up on current airline policy changes on fees for baggage. The other factor is your own mobility while in transit. If you are using a rented car of your own and staying in one or only a couple places, then hauling a huge bag in and out of a trunk a few times might not be a big issue.

But if you are using any sort of public transport like buses or trains, be aware that the lighter your load the happier you’ll be at the end of the day. And unless you have been doing your overhead presses, you must be prepared to ask for help every time your humongous bag needs to be stowed somewhere.

The gold standard is: one carry-on size rolling suitcase and a day bag or backpack. I have tried those little additional bags that supposedly sit on top of your rolling suitcase. So far I have mailed it home twice, full of stuff that I got tired of carrying. Never again!

And to complicate your choices further there are different types of carry-on bags. There are narrow “international” profile types for use in the smaller overhead compartments on some planes and then there are the more typical “domestic” (for use in the US) bags that may seem larger.

Other features that can make or break your suitcase choice are the kind and number of wheels it has and whether or not it can be expanded as your purchases accumulate. I decided that four rotating wheels for easy navigation were more important than the ability to make the bag bigger.  We will see how that works for me later this summer!

The trick here is to hope a store will let you take one home and actually try packing it. The Savvy Traveler in Edmonds  let me do this and I was delighted to find that I could fit all I needed into the narrow international style bag with the required four wheels.

As to packing light, the question must be asked: Does your destination have stores? Can you, in all likelihood, buy anything you forget to pack? If the answer is yes, the first challenge is to RELAX. It won’t be a life or death problem if you run out of socks.

If you really believe that you must have different clothes every single day for a two week trip and won’t be able or willing to do a mid-trip laundry run, then one medium suitcase probably won’t work. On the other hand, it is possible to skip the laundry if you are willing to rotate your wardrobe and get creative about how often you wear things in combination.

Basic Travel Wardrobe for ANY trip: No matter how long!

  • Underwear for 5 days/ a swimsuit if appropriate.
  • Light weight version of your sleepwear – a night shirt or boxers.
  • 2 pairs of shoes: one for walking and one for dressing up.
  • 3 – 4 pairs of pants in dark colors best, consider lengths, weather, and take as few as possible.
  • For women:1 dress: something classic and simple that can be paired with a cardigan or scarf for dinners out and/or a skirt or skorts (shorts with a skirt over them)
  • 4 – 6 shirts: A mix of sleeve lengths, suited to your destination.
  • 2 – 3 cardigans or light layers: I find these are the key to mixing up the combinations of outfits!!
  • For Men, one jacket for going out or more formal occasions as needed.
  • Scarves or a larger shawl for cool conditions
  • Temperature-appropriate outerwear.

But how?!!

1. The way I get started on this process is to select shoes first. This is the single defining element of what I pack, since any given trip will entail some amount of walking and a degree of need to “dress up”….or none! The only exception to the two pair rule for me would be the need for beach flip-flops.

2. Next I gather all the non-negotiable items: underwear, night wear if needed, and start gathering the toiletries. If you wait to pull those together, you may have to give up and check a bag. Remember, they sell lotion all over the world.

3. Next I select all the items I plan to wear on the lower half of my body. Then I gather the tops and ideally EVERY top will go with EVERY pair of pants or shirt/skort. Last, a single dress for going out to dinner if desired, but you can also just add a scarf to a day outfit and suddenly be dressed up.

4. Include some accent items if desired (scarves do amazing things) and outerwear as needed. A single lightweight cardigan can take you between all sorts of temperatures.

The first site below has some great inspiration and more general tips about careful packing, as well as lots of checklists for the other items you might want to consider. As usual Rick Steves has good advice, and some local travel stores even offer classes!

Traveling Light Recommendations

Rick Steves Packing Tips

Wide World Travel Store in Seattle