weekend getaways

terryinmdJune 20, 2006

We are lucky enough to own a small vacation house on water. We have been renting it out as a vacation spot, but decided to just use it ourselves this year. Maybe we'll put it back on the rental program in Jan. We furnished it as cheaply as possible, mostly from Ikea, the dollar store, and the 'marts. I am upgrading some of the stuff, a little at a time, and as the house is 5 years old now, we are starting to paint the interior.

We need to bring clothes, toiletries, medications, tools, paint supplies, books, videos, (no tv reception) the dog, her crate, her food, her toys. I try to bring nonperishable food, and as much perishable stuff that will fit in a cooler, as it takes 45 minutes to get to the nearest grocery store.

Right now I make a menu plan, "shop" from my pantry, and make a list of groceries to buy the day after we arrive. I make lists of everything else too, gather it all together, then DH packs it all into the van. It usually takes me all week to plan this expedition.

It takes 5 hours to get there so we have a quick dinner, usually spaghetti, and unpack, then go to bed.

So my question is, how do I go about simplifying and streamlining this process?

I did leave some staple foods down there last time, and we have a washer and dryer.

I'm losing weight, so my current wardrobe is very small, so I can't really leave clothes down there.

Any suggestions?

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It depends how often you go on what foods to keep. Keep a list of what stays and what's needed. I've read to make a shopping list simple, to type out a list of everything you would buy that are staples...bread, eggs, jelly, milk, often used things as well, lunch meat, muchies, soda, and toiletries,etc. Then just circle it. Make one for this place and circle the things you need to return. You could make one for home too. I'd keep toiletries there...extra blow dryers toothbrushes...anything you can buy as a duplicate, do so. Toiletries are a pain to pack and would save room to double up on.

Loosing weight tends not to be as much on top as around the booty area :) heehee...maybe you can leave a couple shirts there? Extra shoes or socks or sandals? Keep it on your circled list and make sure you use it before going.

So anything you can double up on do so, what you can't put it on the circled paper and check off before you go what you'll need for next time.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2006 at 11:28AM
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We've been doing this for quite some time but it's not a holiday getaway, it's for work. I finally left minimum cosmetics, and all needed toiletries and items needed for possible medical emergencies there and we have a smalla refrigerator with freezer. Left nonperishables stored there and each time take perishables in a cooler for the week so there's minimal need to shop. We don't have a full kitchen but we have many accessible restaurants for dinner. I have to haul laundry back and forth as there is no washer there and I hate using laundromats. I bring basicallay the same clothes to wear each time so don't have to think about it. If you're renting it maybe you need to install a locked cupboard for your personal warehouse. We keep a list of what we need not to forget to check before leaving home. I bring back a list of replacements needed and keep them with the linens in a popup basket ready to go at a moments notice. I can be ready to go in an hour in the morning considering I need to bring my office and current projects with me. The lists are indispensible.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2006 at 12:19AM
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When we go for vacations or weekends at the lake, we pack groceries in a big cardboard box that fits in the trunk. The cabins come with linens, pots and pans,etc. I bring dish soap, cheese and crackers, canned goods, etc. Whatever I don't use comes home again in the big box.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2006 at 8:52AM
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Check with the camping forum . People with RVs and campers might have ideas.

We have a pop-up camper. We keep it stocked with pots, pans, etc., towels, bedding, toiletries, toothbrushes for the kids, paper towels and plates, broom and other cleaning supplies. We don't keep a lot of food in there. We keep salt, pepper, coffee and hot cocoa mix. We usually pack fresh food each time.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2006 at 10:05AM
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My mom had two things to simplify camping:

"The LIST" - a detailed listing of everything that was needed ... as things were packed, she would check them off. This was detailed down to the can-openers and salt shaker. If something wasn't used, she would line out the checkmark for that trip, and if something wasn't being used, it was dropped from the list.

The boxes ... all but the food for the ice chests went in boxes on a specific shelf unit in the garage. The equipment was dedicated to camping so she didn't have to raid the kitchen. Just pack clothes, ice chests and GO!

    Bookmark   June 21, 2006 at 1:30PM
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I have always admired people who can do the weekend thing -- We don't and I don't miss it. But we do a summer thing (involves an airplane ride) --about 7 hours door to door. We rent a car about three hours from the destination and have always enjoyed breaking up the trip with a stop at a mid-way grocery store. I do have to unload staples and fresh foods when we arrive, which is a pain, and sometimes I guess wrong about what I buy. But a big salad --no cooking--the night we arrive fresh from the food shopping is always a treat.

We leave a piece of art work there and a lawn chair for my back, but as we rent, I have to take clothes and hiking boots and all of that. The owners leave us a bottle of wine -- which is always a nice touch. You could leave yourself that treat. I can already fantasize that glass of wine and a salad after a long day of travel. Hmmn.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2006 at 9:57PM
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Yes, lists are key, but we go at different times of the year, (We're trying it out as a place to retire to) and for different lengths of time. A 3 day weekend, 5 days, 9 days.

So the amount and kind of things we eat (I don't like chili in July or cold pasta salad in Jan.) and the types of clothes will differ. So I don't think one master list will do it.

Maybe one clothes list for summer, one for winter, and one for spring/fall. Maybe 2 menu lists with supplements for longer stays.

If we decide not to put it back on the rental market we'll be able to leave more stuff. I used to leave washing machine detergents and cleansers for the renters until one of them decided to bring them all home when they left.

In the past we left towels and bedsheets in plastic tubs in the locked shed (renters provided their own linens) but it's nice to be able to leave them in the house. We also had to do a white glove cleanup, or pay for maid service every time we left, now we can leave the bed made, which is really nice when you're tired after traveling.

We do have a shelf in the basement where we collect items to go down, or at least I do, DH brings his tool bucket back and forth, and collects other items the night before.

You've got me thinking.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2006 at 12:58PM
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I have some more questions.

What I have been doing is using some computor paper boxes to take things back and forth. They are all labeled with "take to lake" on the side. They work, but take up a lot of space when empty. Has anybody used tote bags or collapsable crates?

I always overestimate how much food to take, so we bring food (perishables) back home with us. I have tried making a list of canned and boxed meals, but got tired of the same things all the time. Spaghetti and sauce, Mac and cheese plus tuna, corn with black beans and stewed tomatos vienna sausages optional, canned chicken/w gravy poured over bisquick biscuits. Anybody have some good pantry meals without frozen or refrigerated ingrediants?

Water pressure is low, and DH likes to be back on the road before lunch, so if sheets and towels need cleaning, he prefers to bring them home, rather than wait 2 hours for items to get clean and dry. I want to schlep fewer items back and forth. Any suggestions?

We have been upgrading some of our videos to dvd, so started keeping the videos at the lake, but we've seen them all. Closest video rental is 40 mins. away. Yes we read and do puzzles, but need some other evening entertainment. Ideas?

    Bookmark   July 11, 2006 at 3:35PM
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I would definately get duplicates of toiletries and cleaning supplies and leave them between visits. As for clothing, if you have a washer and dryer at your summer place, you can get along with very few outfits. If you each take 2-3 outfits to leave at the cabin, you should be fine. As for food, nonperishables will keep for a long time so stock up on those and leave them between visits. Just add your fresh items and some main dish ingredients and you'll pack a lot lighter. Keeping lists is very important and I think you're on the right track. Enjoy!

    Bookmark   July 12, 2006 at 12:40PM
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When we leave our cabin, we're on the road shortly before lunch too, which is usually not enough time for laundry. I got a second set of sheets and towels since I didn't want to pack all that back home. I change the sheets and put the ones to be washed on the washing machine. If the used towels are dry, they go there too; if not, they are hung on the towel bars crooked--all this as a reminder of what needs to be laundered at my leisure the next time we are there. And the bed is ready to tumble into when we arrive at midnight or after!

    Bookmark   July 12, 2006 at 3:34PM
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