Driving Defensively and Traffic Etiquette Guide

Defensive driving, is understanding that other drivers might not be paying attention or they could make mistakes and engage in aggressive driving that , result in crashes. In avoiding accidents, you have to be prepared to handle the other drivers’ mistakes and bad habits, as well as keeping aware of your own driving and keeping control of your own vehicle. Whether you are a Non-Experienced driver or been driving for decades, one can be uncomfortable or even get too comfortable about driving. Yet, we never loose the need to be cautious and mindful when behind-the-wheel.

Here are some Driving tips on being cautious, courteous and avoiding accidents. I cover some basic and some not-so-basic tips, but feel free to comment and add whatever else you may want to mention. Share this page and pass it along to anyone you feel may need or could use this information.

When driving, we are always susceptible to the actions of other drivers. The biggest error is trusting other drivers to be careful on the roads. Scenario’s and circumstances are ever-changing, each time we get out on the road. That’s what makes each time on the road so unpredictable. The biggest factors that will keep you safely driving on the road is being alert and aware (watching and (keeping an eye on reading the road) and not to be in a rush and speeding (give yourself plenty of time to get to your destination). Knowing ahead of time where exactly you are going, which route to take and keeping enough space between you and the car in front of you helps tremendously!!

Driving is a Privilege, be courteous to other drivers, take consideration that we are all human and can get into situations. We may be in different lanes, but we are here to share the road and help each other while on it! Just keep alert and aware and don’t jump into becoming upset at other drivers.

Driving is dangerous enough on the roads, one must watch for or stop habits of being a Distracted Driver (texting or in someway not paying attention to the roads) and other risky behaviors are being a Jumper (out-of nowhere, without warning, pulls in front of another vehicles ) or a Weaver (goes from one lane to another) and Speeders (driving in a hurry or as if they are on a racetrack game).

Some basic aspects of Defensive Driving are:

Keep a Safe Distance between your vehicle and the vehicle in front of you. Allowing reaction time and reduce your risk of colliding into cars in front of you or other cars. In bad weather, always keep a safe distance between other cars. Also, keep your eyes moving, look around, especially on long drives so you don’t go into a trance. Keep Alert!

Having Visibility when you need to change your lanes, not only using your mirrors to check for oncoming cars, but checking blind spots to make sure another car isn’t approaching beside you (that may be hidden from sight). Communicate with other drivers to get into another lane. Also be careful of driving in another drivers’ blind spot, to help them avoid crashing into you.

Always use Proper Communication to make sure other cars can see you and knows what you are doing or needing, by using your turn signals to communicate your intent, to merge, change lanes or etc. Also use hand signals to other drivers for assistance if need be, to get over into another lane or to let another driver know of something (maybe they forgot their gas cap or their tire looks flat). Have respect for other drivers when they signal and allow them to turn, change lanes and merge safely.

Before You leave and start driving your car, always check the weather and the time you are leaving to go out on roads, there are time-frames (during the day and late afternoon), that are called rush-hours, where a lot of vehicles will be on the road. Often, just leaving a little bit earlier before rush-hour times or leaving a little bit later, when rush-hour is just getting over (commonly 4:00pm-6:30pm), this can be so much safer. Specific Holidays can also cause the roads to be full of traffic and certain areas, such as state or city parks or campgrounds etc. Busy roads filled with traffic are most hectic and dangerous.

Before driving, (even if you are already in your car and ready to go), first check the best route to where you are heading, look over the map (whether the map is on your phone or physical one), to fully see exactly where you are heading (use the written route on your phone map as well, which can give you a read-out of the whole route) sometimes there’s even a better route than one the GPS suggests, especially if you can identify that on the map or you’re familiar with the area. You should always have a pen, a pad or paper to write on, in your car just in case you need to write a route or something down.

Reading the roads, is being aware of what’s happening in the road ahead of you and all around you. Be aware of where you would go in case you had to pull over and get out of the way of other cars or if something is in the road and you may have to get around it. Keep alert and watch what other cars could be doing, some cars may suddenly put on their brakes or stop to pick-up someone, there could be a car broken down or an accident . You may need to go around an approaching area, get into another lane over or get off that road and take another route. This is way no one should be looking at their phone while driving on the road, WATCH THE ROAD!!

Other common driving tips:

Speeding can kill and is harmful to everyone on the road. Speeding is one of the major causes of road accidents. There’s a reason for speed limits and to obey them for a reason, it will save lives. Speed limits vary on highways, it is essential to make sure you’re traveling within the posted speed limit. Slower speed limits are through roads of neighborhoods, stores, where people congregate or where wildlife tend to be crossing. Remember to adjust speed slower, when also driving through adverse weather conditions like rain and snow, as well as in bumper-to-bumper traffic.

Move into the lane you need to make your turn-off in non-highway road or to exit off highway, ahead of time. Don’t wait too long or at the last minute panic to get over into the lane you need to.. Use you signals and gradually get over and into the lane you will be taking your turn off or exiting the highway and doing this will give you plenty of time to get over to turn off (even if you have to end up being behind someone that’s going slower, as you approach your turn of , it’s better than trying to rush past cars to try and get over). If for any reason you miss your exit, don’t panic, jut go to the next one and turn off there.

Remember to put your lights on when it’s starting to get dark. You can also signal others by using your lights (turn them on and off at another car to remind them to turn on their lights, if they had not and it’s getting dark). Another common time drivers use the blinking of headlights; is when communicating to another person in a vehicle that is trying to get into the lane you are in and you are telling them, you acknowledge them and it is okay to come into the lane in front of you or that it is okay to go, in other instances.

Don’t assume the car waiting at the light in front is going to take off when the light turns green. Keep a bit of a distance, just in case they don’t go or if they hesitate, that way you won’t collide into them . Just because the car in front of you indicates it’s going to be turning right, does not mean that they will actually turn right. Unless you can physically see the vehicle turning, do not presume. Also, drivers are sometimes unaware their indicators are on.

Even when you have the green-light to go through an intersection, always make sure to take a look first, don’t automatically go, there might be a car still coming through the light and it could cause an accident.

Use Seat belts, they are your best self-defense against a vehicle crash and they can help keep you secure and safe, inside your car. Not putting your seat belt on is putting you at risk, without it on, it can’t save you. With them on, it can not only lesson injuries, but will save lives.

Don’t go into a vehicle to Drive if you are upset, have been drinking alcoholic beverages, taken drugs or anything that can alter your judgment. Even an over-the-counter flu medication can impair your judgment and increase your response time. All of these can make a person impaired and lose the capability to function, even when a person thinks it won’t and this risks getting into an accident. In addition to this, persons driving under the influence can be made to pay a massive fine, even end up going to jail and having their license suspended. Protect yourself and fellow drivers, by avoiding altering your ability to drive and if tired or under the influence of anything that could impair you, get someone else to drive you, please just stay away from behind the wheel.

• If your tires suddenly blow out: Do not slam on the brakes. Take a deep breath and don’t panic. Hold steering wheel and gain control over yourself and the vehicle, step off the gas pedal slowly. gently apply the brakes. Do your best to keep the vehicle going straight, Once your speed drops below 30 mph, gently step on the breaks. When you’ve slowed down to a safe speed, 20 mph or so, you can turn the steering wheel slowly to guide your vehicle off the road. When you are safely out of traffic, take another deep breath and call for help.

More Driving, courteous and cautious tips :

You are ALLOWED to do whatever you have to, TO AVOID an accident. Even if you have to miss your exit, so miss it and go to the next one and if you have to veer off the highway unto the shoulder pavement of the road, then do so, (just don’t ever get out of your vehicle and be standing on the side of the road or shoulder side of traffic) and keep away from traffic side of road. If a vehicle in front of you stops short and you have to quickly veer off to the side of road or into a parking lot or such, than do so or if you can, safely go into another lane. If a vehicles coming head on at you then, Brake, look for room to safely go into and get out of the way!

If you do have to drive off the road, to keep or get you out of harms way to avoid any accident, you will have to make a quick decision, especially if you are on the edge of a steep drop and what might look like a nice soft exit, as a grassy ditch could actually have a hidden drop and culvert. Slow down, keep control of your car, as will get the most braking power on a road rather than driving on the verge where grass or gravel, as they will not offer as much friction. If you have no other option, but to hit something to slow you down or avoid hitting another car, think to choose something softer!! Look and choose a large bushes and shrubs to take impact and slow you down more gently, help direct vehicle back into the road. Instead of a stiff tree(s) or hard object (which will do more damage to you and your car). There could be guard to hit in case there is no other better option and hit it on an angle or sideways as they are made to help the vehicle do a sliding to stop. In having no other choice, but to run into or hit something, try not to panic, think and choose wisely. It may damage your vehicle and hurt you some, but you may avoid a worse accident and it will save lives. .Regardless, steer away from EVER hitting anything HEAD-ON-STRAIGHT with your vehicle, go to steer sideways or at an angle.

• Remember, If ever you are going to hit or run into something steer sideways before making impact and hitting something will cause the airbags to go off, so taking your hands off the steering wheel at the last minute, before the impact will help prevent broken wrists and powder burns on your arms. If your arms are crossed when the airbag goes off, the airbag will hit your forearms while you are gripping the steering wheel. This can easily break your wrist. Your arm will be flung backwards into your face which can break your nose and knock out teeth, as well as break your forearm.

When Feeling Unsafe, Unsure, need to text safely , JUST PULL OVER!! Whenever, you encounter any situation that may interfere in anyway, with your ability to keep your focus upon the road; NEVER PUT YOURSELF in a risky circumstance because on the road, seconds count. If another driver is angry or has road rage, don’t engage in it or even look at them, keep eyes on road and let them pass or just keep away from them and safely drive on.

When traveling on the highway always Read the road ahead . If cars are coming into or merging onto the highway from an exit, look to see the adjacent lane that you can move over to (if you can), so the cars can merge onto the highway and you can avoid panic or accidents and then you can change back into you lane after .

When approaching unto or merging into the highway if there’s ever a big truck coming past in traffic within a short distance away, let the truck pass then get unto the highway. It takes a lot to slow a big truck down . Don’t ever try and get in front of a big truck, unless you have plenty of room and time to speed up way ahead of the oncoming truck. Trucks and big rigs carrying things need more warning and time to slowdown. Be courteous to truck drivers and big rigs. It is very difficult for them to maneuver around other cars in traffic and extremely difficult to stop. Let trucks just get on their way down the road and pass on. Best to just get into and use the next lane over instead, to avoid ever needing to pass a truck. When on the highway, if there happens to be a big truck (or any vehicle) going a bit slower in front of you, if in the right lane and you either are going to get off an exit to the right, just wait and get off your exist. If in the right lane and there is an immediate need to pass a big truck (or any vehicle) safely move into the middle lane, gradually speed-up and get several car lengths ahead of the truck, make sure you have your turn signal on to let the trucker (or person in any vehicle) know you are needing to pass and then pass them safely into the lane. If in the middle behind a big truck and need to pass them, get into the far left (fast lane) trucks are usually not allowed in fast lane) and same applies; get several car lengths ahead of the truck (or any vehicle), make sure you have your turn signal on to let the trucker (or person in any vehicle) know you are needing to pass and then pass them safely into the lane. Sometimes you may be behind a slower truck or vehicle and they are in the exit lane and you need to get off the exit approaching, just lower your speed, be patient and get off to your exit. PATIENTS PAYS OFF ON THE ROAD and just keep out of the way of trucks and big rigs !!

“Look Twice, Save a Life”, Keep a lookout for motorcyclist, whether you’re on the highway or neighborhood street. Be aware of motorcyclists and let them be aware of you. Give motorcyclist room to maneuver. Let the motorcyclist be aware you are going to change lanes, by giving enough time ahead, using your turn signal and when passing, make sure you have lengths ahead of the motorcycle before you pass and then return to your lane. Often using hand signals out your window for motorcyclist to see, also can help.

When driving through an intersection or anywhere you see pedestrians, Don’t assume they will see you coming and that they will stop, they may get distracted or be looking at their phones, make sure to slow down (use your horn, if need be to let them know you are approaching). Use eye contact or hand gestures (to go) in letting the Pedestrians know they can safely cross to other side or cross, being aware of each other’s intent. When approaching an area like a mall, parking lot, movie theater, convenient store, neighborhood or anywhere there is or could be people, always drive in there with a very slow speed, never chance going fast even if you’re in a hurry, those minutes can wait because it’s crucial in saving lives.

NEVER-EVER-BACK-UP IN A HURRY or back out fast, always go slowly backing out of anywhere, Check all sides of vehicle several times, people, children and animals can pop out at any minute and not seen coming around cars. You never know when a child or animal could break free and run into the road or pass the back of your car. Take a breath, Stop the Rushing!

• When coming back to your parked car or while still in your vehicle and a car next to you is backing out, getting ready to back out or coming into the space next to you, wait until they fully back out or pull in, to get in or out of your vehicle.

When there’s a hold up in traffic and there’s several cars trying to get into traffic where you had stopped at, let one car in as you go and then the next person can let the next car in and so on or if a total traffic jam, an accident and traffic is stopped or it turns into one lane (before reaching the area police controlled) the courteous thing to do, as each car goes, is to let ‘one’ car in . Another words, for the traffic to move faster and more fair, it shouldn’t be everybody passing cars up while everyone’s going ahead and everyone trying to get ahead of each other. Work together in a traffic jam, accident or such. It will move things along more quickly..

Keep your vehicle maintenance and inspections up to date. Not only will this prevent sudden stalls, but to avoid vehicle failure by checking tires, car lights, brakes and engines regularly. Make sure you have a first aid kit in the car and have sufficient insurance coverage to protect you, if you are involved in an accident.

Your safety is your responsibility, the less you assume, the safer you will be when getting behind the wheel.

Any activity that diverts your attention from driving– whether it’s texting or talking on your phone, eating, drinking, talking to fellow passengers or children in your car, fiddling with the music or navigation system, loud music playing in your vehicle, vehicle mis-function or being tired or under the influence of some substance… THESE ARE DISTRACTIONS !!!

Commit to driving defensively and use common sense safety rules and tips, to protect yourself and others from mishaps that can happen on the roads.

There are certified defensive driving course to learn about more safe driving practices in detail.

If anyone has any other tip or rule to share, leave the comment below.

Safety First and safe traveling on the roads, out there to All!!

C .Star. V

Recycling, It’s Honorable!

Recycle, Reuse, Rescue, Reduce

Recycling is still very important because most trash is not trash at all. We must keep realizing a very large percentage of our waste materials, items and things that we may not think can be recycled and repurposed actually can. This is monumental in reducing the waste, the pollution problem and saving lives.

I have recycled and repurposed alot over the years. I learned there’s a lot more we can do then we think.

• I recycle plastic baggies in all sizes, as long as it had not been previously used for anything with raw animal meat or something with a strong pungent odor ; such as an onion or garlic . I clean them with a bottle brush, warm water and soap, rinse well, shake excess water out, clean rag or paper towel to wipe dry and then air over a water bottle or such and reuse again. At least a couple more times!

• I recycle Glass or (some) Plastic Jars, from products that I buy from drinks, coffee, sauces or jellies and such. I will put them in a pot of water and soak off the labels. Then scrub the excess glue off (if need be), with some steel wool or some lighter fluid on a cotton pad and re-clean them. You wouldn’t believe the lovely glass jars that you can reuse to put other items or foods in or use as drinking glasses (That way if one breaks, it’s no biggie and not to risk using and breaking any of my good drinking glasses), saved me in those years of raising teens.

• As we were filling up our garbage can to the brim before the regular pick up days. Then found out from my local county recycling, that they took a lot more items, than I originally thought. So, we don’t have to take garbage out to our regular garbage can but every couple of days or more, it had . really cut down on the garbage especially if we empty food stuff (not seeds or pits) down the sink garbage disposals as well! Recycling has become more beneficial and a little more fun! I even put a smaller makeshift recycling bin at the corner of our counter in the kitchen it was a decorative bin and I lined it with a plastic bag and used it for daily recycling. Then, I would just bring the plastic bag to the big recycling garbage can (in the garage) dump it out and throw away the plastic garbage bag in regular garbage unfortunately, those weren’t recyclable. Oh how I wish they were!!

• Over the years, I have furnished my homes with items from thrift stores and kept recycling them. I also have pets that I have adopted and rescued from shelters and even from off the street (that no one claimed after advertising). Renewing a life..

There is much of garbage of bottles, plastic, paper, boxes, glass and aluminum (cans) that can be used again or put into recycling bins and then there is recycled (repurposed) household items, clothes, furniture, sporting goods, hobby materials and more. There are even animals that are rescued from shelters and given new homes, new lives and some are even trained to help wounded soldiers or people with needs and conditions. There are thrift stores and goodwill stores, that we can buy things from that were donated and used again, we also can donate to these and to animal shelters as well. So, there is a fair share of ways we all should be recycling; in reusing, repurposing, rescuing, and reducing all kinds of issues around the world, in our land, waterways, homes, lives and nature .

As, recycling is much more than a way to reduce the amount of trash that ends up in landfills, it is a proven method of reclaiming valuable items, materials and even lives.. What we discard can be recycled and utilized into new products or new usage. Whether it’s paper, plastic, metals, glass, aluminum, e-waste or a life from a rescue shelter or off street; they are all , far from worthless.

In recycling our waste products, it also helps us to reduce the need to use natural resources and fossil fuels, among many other benefits globally. As the recycling of organics, such as Composting, (this practice has been around for thousands of years) and It is one of the most efficient forms of recycling in use today; relying on a purely natural processes to breakdown waste which is then used as compost or fertilizer.

Yet, we know all of this, so why wouldn’t everyone doing their part in recycling?

I suppose, it is all in the way we think about our trash, garbage, our waste and the lives of others, as well as other living things; such as plants, animals and nature.

It is in what, we are throwing out, can’t use or don’t want anymore and we need to see through the idea that it is just all being garbage or useless, as it could be a much needed item or another way of being a valuable resource.

Hey! Please Recycle, Reuse, Reduce and Rescue Away!!

Our attitudes about our waste consumption and recycling must continue to change and this goes for all individuals, as well as in big and small companies.

What are ways that you have recycled?

C .Star. V

More Tips Downsizing, Moving or Selling Home.

I have moved and changed residences many-a-times and for most of us, the progress is not something we look forward to. It seems as though each and every time we go through a move, no matter how much we plan and how much time, money or help we have nor how much or little of stuff we have, it’s never an easy process..

Moving or relocating itself can be soo overwhelming, a process because moving and downsizing, is a process within a process.

Here below : I’ve listed additional and more (then my last post) of general tips of the process, even though it’s kindly lengthy, but wanted to cover some-things, before one decides to move as it gets hectic during a move. Whether you are moving local, out of state into another residence or selling your home and moving, (if been at a residence for more than a couple years or already have a lot of stuff), the sooner you start your researching, the plan of uncluttering and downsizing process, the easier it will be to go through, the whole process.

1. First the uncluttering, this can consist of going through each closet, each drawer and each and every space in each room. Evaluating what all you have and what you can rid of, which includes all of what’s in all junk drawers, kitchen drawers, your clothes, your shoes and all your stuff, that means even going through your bathroom toiletries, any papers saved, important paperwork or documents saved, contents of file cabinets and everything all around your home. Cleaning out things that are garbage, or (old and outdated such as: food, spices, medical supplies, medicines, beauty products etc.) also things that are broken (either fix or repair them or if beyond repairing that you’ll ever find the time to do) and things you don’t really need or won’t be really needing (think in terms of what needs for your end goal and what path you are going onto). Separate things into groups, such as, garbage to throw away, items to be donated or given to others or things you could possibly sell.

2. As you start the process, re-organize all things according to what they are, where they need to be, put them or store them (for convenient usage or easy accessibility or if not being used that often, then store away). Example: kitchen (what goes into kitchen area) and what will go in each room, bedrooms, bathrooms, office, closet, drawers and if you have a garage as well. Also, any important documents saved or wanting to save (put in file cabinet or file boxes and on each file folder label the contents or what it is pertaining to.

3. Once de-cluttering is done, (you still may have to decide what you will need to get rid of or keep, if it’s going to your new residence, (always a good idea to take photos or measurements, when viewing or deciding on a new residence even in order to put furniture through doorways to see what would fit), then you’ll know what you’ll be bringing to your new residence. * While de-cluttering, you may also need to get a storage and figure out how large of a storage you will need for the things you want to keep in storage, until you move or for things that you may want to keep, but will not be taking to your new residence (maybe not right away) or you may need to clear out your storage if moving out of state and figure out what you will do with all of those items. You may also need to return anything you borrowed from a neighbor.

4. Get a calendar (especially ones that have large enough square boxes on it, so that you can write things on it. This way you can write down on the calendar the things you have to do and people, contacts or companies you need to tell you are moving. Also, block time off that you will be moving and this helps give you a time frame, keeps you organized and aware of all the things you have to do, get done and when..

5. When planning and before deciding on where to move, always investigate the area in which you’re moving to, the neighborhood itself, the nearby surroundings, including what and who is next-door to you. Going to the closest food store and shopping center at dinner time or whom is out walking after hours, can give you an idea of who visits or lives in the area you may want to move too. Think of safety factors for you and your family.

6. Once you make plans to move (you may need to clean or repair some things in your present residence before you move-out, (a more throughout cleaning can be done once all of your belongings are out). If renting, often security deposits are given back only, if things are clean and in order when you leave or if you are selling your home, you may need to get repairs, painting and things fixed that will be under inspection and take care of those. * When moving, or deciding to move there are all kinds of checklists you can make or find, here are some things to consider, months and weeks before you move. (other things to consider, during and after your move as you scroll down)

A. You may need to review your present lease and (within the terms of lease)plan to notify your current landlord and let them know the date you will be moving-out and coordinate it with the date your new residence will be ready to move-in. As well, you will need a plan if you are selling your home, de-cluttering it, staging it and anticipating a closing date. * You will need to plan ahead of what you will need to set aside before packing up, such as tools, necessities for yourself, children and pets. “Some right-away essential items” to keep in a separate area, later packed up and kept with you (more on that as you scroll down).

B. There will be several contacts you will need to coordinate with at least a week or 2 before you move, making sure to have transferred to your new residence and ready, when you get there.

1. You will need to fill out a change of address form at your local post office, but (now-a-days) it can be done online (you put the date to stop present mail and when to start forwarding your mail) done at the USPS website (united states postal service) you will need your debit card or your credit card and a valid email address to verify it is you.

2. Insurance’s for home residence’s may need to be changed.

3. Services to stop, start and be transferred, such as electric, gas, water (utilities), pest control, phone, internet, pool or lawn services, cable and (You may need to return the cable box to get refund or left with a charge for the box).

4. Let your employer know of when you will be at your new address, to update information so any important mail or tax documents go to correct address. Also let your employer know you need to schedule time to take off work to move, if need be.

C. Moving can have different costs:

1. You will need boxes to put all your things into, packaging paper (for breakable items and the proper packaging tape) grocery stores and liquor packaging stores offer free boxes, just ask them if they have any boxes.

2. You may need to hire movers, check for local reputable ones and get an estimate of the costs and ask questions. Get a folder or plastic bag to save all moving receipts in.

3. If moving by yourself, make arrangements for family or friends that can help you and decide what size rental or uhaul truck you may need and figure out the best driving route from your present address to your new address.

4. If you are moving out of state, you may need to research moving and shipping companies to help you. Make sure they have insurance and check your own auto insurance policy that might cover moving truck insurance and shipping assistance.

5. Make sure to also take your own vehicle in to update any services needed before your move (especially if you’re going to be moving out of state), you will want to have a thorough check of your vehicle, tires, oil changed to make sure your vehicle is going to be running well.

D. If moving with children, you’ll need to talk to your children about moving and having to move. You may need to research childcare and schools in your new community and register them for school and finalize any plans for childcare on moving day. If moving with pets, make sure to take your pet to the vet for a check-up before you move, get all medicines and updated vaccinations if they are necessary and ask for copies of their vet records, get new ID tags and update address on your pets microchip (if they have one).

E. Once you start collecting up boxes, get or purchase boxes that are sturdy and make sure not to pack each box too heavy, and tape them up well. Keep package tape, tools, scissors and some plastic baggies handy, for small items, such as screws, door knobs, keys, brackets and such, this will help find them when you need them or to put things back together.

1. Remember to pack up (in clear boxes so you can see in it or an Essential Bag), things you may need for yourself, any children and one for any pets with at least your first several days of being moved into your new place getting and settled. * For instance : pack up in that essentials bag, phone chargers, paper plates, plastic utensils, a set of beddings, towels and daily necessities or toiletries. When you first arrive at your new residence make your beds, so you’re not having to scramble looking for bedding and having to make it and find things, when you’re already exhausted from your hectic day. If traveling out of state you will need an essential bag and additional traveling needs-essential bag with things for the trip or ride.

2. If renting a uhaul or truck to move yourself: Pack-up the inside of the truck with the heaviest and largest items first in the back of the uhaul truck, then items such a night stands, lighter and smaller items as you pack truck up and work towards the front of truck’s back opening and don’t put anything that is fragile in the top upper cab space (if it has one), that could fall out and break. * Pack up heavier items in smaller boxes, such as books and for fragile things you may need just a little bigger box to make sure you have blankets, towels or bubble wrap, and packaging paper around the items, so they don’t get broken. Pack-up (in your vehicle, rental truck or in your storage) heavier boxes on bottom then lighter ones on top, make sure all boxes with fragile things in them are secured.

3. If you have smaller valuable items (jewelry and such) you should pack them to travel and kept personally with you.

F. When packing, try to pack up things that go in the same area or room (kitchen things, office things, etc.), use a marker to boldly write on each box, what room or area the boxes will be going into.

1. Specific color-masking-tape can be used on boxes, for each room or different colored labels can also be used, (in addition to the sturdy package tape used) this can help to differentiate the different areas the boxes will need to go.

2. Set aside a broom, mop, dustpan, duster, sponge, cleaning products, paper towels, and old rags for cleaning up when done packing and to have easy locating when you move-into your new residence to clean before putting all your things away.

3. Make sure to back-up all your files on your computer on the cloud or to an external hard drive and take pictures of your electronics (as where it is hooked-up) before you pack them up, so you’ll know how to hook them back up. Make copies of important documents and put them in a folder to take personally with you.

4. If there’s something specific in a box you want to remember, write what that item is inside the box, on the box. This will also help to locate it easier, later on. You may want to number each box as you finish packing them up (1st box # 1. and so on) and writing the contents as well, this way you’ll know how many boxes you have and could also differentiate specific numbers with what rooms or where they go. If shipping items, you may need to print off some moving box labels.

5. With in the last 2 weeks before you move out, re-evaluate what is in your refrigerator and freezer (eat-up, give away or get rid of what you can) and buy only last essentials that you’ll need so that you can clean everything out before you leave (so not to have a lot of food left and wasted). If moving local and there are refrigerated food you want to take with you, you can use some bagged ice and a cooler if need be.

G. You may want to research your new community that you are moving to and update your memberships to community organizations, subscription services, gyms, and clubs and you may also need to update your new address for any health insurance’s or if you receive social security. You may need to locate a new doctor, dentist or pharmacy and you may need to have medical records and prescriptions forwarded. Remember to make sure to say goodbye to your present doctor, dentist and pharmacist.

1. Important contacts to update once you get settled into your new residence or a few days before you move to your new address (depending on if you, will be needing to be ordering things right away or paying bills online) such as paypal, amazon, pet food company or any accounts that deliver things to you.

2. If you update information on bank accounts (make sure your debit and all credit cards match your address and zip codes as they have to match to be valid if using them to purchase online). You may want to go paperless and use online for bills-to pay. * My last move, we were such in a rush and had a little time left during the crunch time of moving, we hadn’t changed over or updated any of our bank information, debit cards, credit cards, none of our accounts online and we waited to the last minute to change your address online. It was a bit of a fiasco, we were lucky to be able to retrieve any important mail (as we had met the people that moved in to our residence after we left), but as far as our online accounts we had to just use our old address for a while to pay our bills online and until we can finish ordering the stuff that we needed to, from our credit cards and debit card and then just change the address it was going to so that we would get the items delivered to our new address.

H. Once you are all packed up and ready to move out: Everything should be cleaned up, the refrigerator and freezer should be cleared and cleaned out, take the garbage and the recycling out for the last time. Keep your phones charged. Have some cash on hand. Keep calm and organized as possible.

1. Once in your new residence, do a walk-through before putting things in place and setting up, making sure there’s no issues that need to be addressed. It may take a couple days to get acclimated to the new space, your new routine and where things should go. If you have small children or pets keep things childproof (such as sharp tools, cleaning chemicals etc.).

2. Locate the fuse box and water shut-off valves. The fuse box and water valve are two things that you don’t want to end up looking for when you really need them.

3. If needed, clean your new residence before putting things away.

4. Test the smoke detectors and A/C unit.

5. Change locks, if need be and get key copies.

6. Meet your neighbors

7. Re-locate local restaurants, eateries, gas stations etc. and learn roads and driving routes.

8. Settle in and enjoy your new residence!

C .Star. V

Downsizing to Uncluttering

I have had to unclutter and downsize many-a-times (lots of stuff, lots of children, big family, sentimental collector) and as anyone that has gone through this process can tell you, it is not an easy task. Yet, if you simply start with uncluttering, then cleaning, then rearranging and begin there, it may make the chore a little easier.

Now, uncluttering takes a bit of organizing in itself and ultimately some of the goals could be ; to actually know what you have, to know where your stuff is or locate all your stuff, to save you time and money from having to acquire or purchase more things that you already have, also to free up space in your home (and yourself) and to get rid of unwanted, unused, unneeded, broken, and otherwise useless stuff (even if they are liked by you) as things take up space and possibly restricting your freedoms.

We can often make the mistake in feeling as though, if we don’t have all of our stuff, not enough stuff or able to get more stuff, that we are not complete or not finished, but “The little kettle can boil the water just as good as the big kettle, yet the little kettle can fit in more places”. After or even during this process, many feel by “Downsizing and uncluttering often creates an upsize in their lifestyle, their potential, their freedom and their mobility”!

So, we will find that by re-organizing our things, we realize just how much we have and may not really need. Then, being faced with deciding what to keep around and what not to. The next decision is whether to keep the excess of things and where to put or store them. Some people choose a closet or room in their home (if large enough), others use a storage facility to store their excess and additional items. Often, we just need to get rid of a lot of stuff and that can be the most difficult (which has many putting off this process) and even though there are plenty of people with suggestions on how to figure out and decide what to keep and what to get rid of (and many good suggestions), honestly; it will all come down to your own needs and your own decision.

Uncluttering can be done once a week, everyday, a little bit here and there or every month or so. It just depends on each individual, as some people have began making a habit or routine of uncluttering their life and make efforts to keep it uncluttered (often by not buying more and more stuff) as less buying means less spending on things you don’t really need and being able to save to do or have more of what you really need or want.

Some of us, begin uncluttering because we are attempting to sell our home and must begin the process (not only to help in reducing the chore of packing later, but also to unclutter and clean-up all around for better pictures of the home). There can be a variety or reasons.

One of the best ways I have found, to help me organize everything and keep it that way; is to place anything and everything in its own spot or which I like to call, “its own home”. In other words, if I have or find around my residence things such as pencils, pens, sharpener, paper clips, scotch tape or such, these would all go in a desk or in an office area (a drawer in the kitchen may also have a few of these items for quick finding and use), but basically the bulk of different types of things collected or that I have, I organize them within their own place.

All Holiday decor, can be separated by holiday and put into plastic bins and can be put in a storage area, attic or storage facility for next use. As you find things or pick up things, take a moment and put it back into its ‘home area’ and so on and so on..(that way, when you may be looking for something or wanting something you’ll know where to find it). . It’ll also save you time later, if you put things you find (or come across each day or so) in a ‘catchall basket’ (big and small one) or in a specific area and then put it all away when or as you can…Then of course, sometimes you won’t have time or (you may find or collect something and you might not be home) to put the item back in the right place, you may have to hold onto it (put it in a bag or something) until you can get it into its proper place.

Often when we move from one resident to another, there seems to always be that daunting chore of going through all of our things (once again) deciding what we’re going to take, what we’re not, what is trash, what we could sell, may give to family members and friends or donate. Of course if you have been downsizing or uncluttering here and there, it will be a lot easier upon you. Yet, it’s one chore that never seems to get easier, no many how many times we do it and it never fails, no matter how much we can organize and unclutter we never seem to realize how much stuff we have or have collected.

Make the time to take time and start going through the things you have and have collected. You may find some-things you had forgotten you had and could use right now. You are living your life right now, so why not choose to use or do something with them right now? After all, you have wanted, collected and kept them for a reason! Choose to use them or if need to save something (as items kept to be given to family or friends), then give them as a gifts. You possibly could sell some things and you can always donate them; as someone else may really want it or have use for it (they may not have been able to ever acquire some-things) and that would make them smile or make their day to find an item of need or want. If you have ever went thrift shopping you’d know what I mean..

I have other tips and tricks on coping with the process of downsizing and uncluttering that I will post later, but for now I recall a saying that suggested we stop waiting to use and enjoy the things we have…

So yeah, Start downsizing to upsize your life and while you are at it, Go Ahead…Use the good-stuff and enjoy them now, there.. I gave you permission!

C .Star. V

Our Brain and Thinking

The human animal once had smaller brains, but over time the brain developed and became much larger and with this, humans were able to be deeper thinkers and ones to make better judgment and decisions. The fact that the human diet had something to do with the evolution of our ‘bigger brains’, has us believing that eating healthier has its benefits.

As well, it is important what we input into our minds and the things we expose ourselves to, what we choose to watch, read and think. Most of us humans, have similar choices and decisions to make in our lives. However, there are many factors that are different, such as, age, monetary factor , environment and experiences.  The ‘Generation Gap’ of yester-years used to signify the overall differences in people of different ages and often this has and can cause misunderstanding, confusing and otherwise disagreements upon issues and topics among those of different age generations..

Such as, of a person in their 40’s and a person whom may be only 19 years old. If asked both, the same question about something (random nothing even specific) their answers will only reflect what they may ‘only’ really know within that point of their life and this can also be applied to their behavior and actions. Since the 2 different minds/brains will not only comprehend and perceive things in which they know and this could be quite different and view even the same things much differently. So, these differences can have us, constantly misunderstanding each other.

At one part of our lives and in developing, we may think and feel a certain way and then at another time or part of our life we may feel and view things differently and often we use the term “Mature” when a person copes well or understands more for their age. Yet, we will only know, what it is that we either have learned, experienced or can envision and of course, what we have evolved up to . Which many a times, may not be reflected or used (by a mature person) when they are handling a situation and become angered, frustrated and even disappointed. Whether it be the person coping with themself or helping another person in need of coping with themself.

We can also witness a sad partaking in inconsideration of others in people of all ages and this can make anyone feel upset and could cause additional harassment, ridicule, bulling and abuse of a person, child or animal; for someone if any age just ‘not knowing’, not understanding or not comprehending something that should not “Automatically be expected to know”.

Yet, most of us humans should already be aware that “Not one of us inhabiting on this planet can possibly know everything about everything” and should not take offensive towards others (even their pets), for not knowing something or how to do something and cause hurt and abuse to others (even innocent animals). As this can become a dilemma if not dealt with correctly.

One simple example of the ‘not knowing’ could be a parent bringing a child or children to doctors office, it’s usually a long wait. If they do not think to prepare to bring a bag with books, crayons, drawing pads or age appropriate toys, games and other needs such as, snacks, diapers bottles what ever they may need to cope, handle and take care of child while they wait, dilemmas can arise. Another example is, going into a store with a child or any place, where if the child is not told ahead of time what is expected of them and how to behave and what will be the reward or consequence, then what do parents expect?

None of us come born with instructions and surely none of us are born knowing everything . “Especially everything we will need to know, for every instance in our lives”. It will need to be taught, shown or experienced before we do. That’s why Parents and pet owners especially need to understand this because pets and children are great responsibilities and it takes much effort, care and learning the know how’s, plus coping skills, to create a more pleasant experience. Being aware that if it isn’t shown ‘how to’ and ‘not to ‘and ‘what to do’, then don’t expect it to be known and then punish unjustly, if not. Using our brain capacity and development is much needed here. We not only need to fill our minds with the appropriate things, but use them more appropriately and beneficially ( for the sake of our own self and others).

Although, most humans lack appropriate coping skills and these are well needed, but often must be learned and unless we have been properly shown or taught some valued lessons and some of these coping skills, many dilemmas can arise. Subsequently, people of all ages may have learned how to do many things and even to to cope well, but don’t necessarily use their knowledge to the best of their ability either, because they just don’t want to or don’t always have the energy to. There is massive amounts of information on how to get help, learn to cope with others and in educating oneself . Plus we are typically social beings and there are people (chose wisely) all around us that are willing to help others.

Meanwhile use your energy wisely, ask questions, learn all you can about coping and preparing yourself for the events and happenings and be learn interested in doing and knowing better for ourselves, one another, our children, the animals and nature inhabitants of our planet and our planet itself…

C .Star. V