A little organizing can help make your cottage vacation a chance to de-stress, unwind, and enjoy. Here are some planning tips for you, just in case you were feeling a tad overwhelmed.
A family cottage vacay can be a splendid way to get away from the everyday hustle and bustle of life. You’ll want to have quality time together with the ones you love. Whether it’s a large family reunion or a more intimate group, getting to the point where you are all packed up and ready to go can require a fair amount of organization. We thought we’d share some helpful tips!
If your family is anything like my family, then you covet moments of enjoyment over a delicious meal together. We think of ourselves as a family of hobbit-like creatures and being at the cottage provides an opportunity to have a few wonderful such moments.
- Plan a menu for each day you’ll be spending at the cottage. Remember to include drinks, condiments, snacks and desserts.
- Use the menu as a guide to create a grocery shopping list for easy shopping. That’ll also help you figure out what you’ve already got at home so you can save money and resources.
- If you have a large group, you can turn the shopping list into a shopping sign-up e-document, like one that you can share on Google Drive, for example. That way, everyone has an opportunity to contribute and the costs are shared.
- Give everyone a chance to contribute to meal preparation and cleaning up by creating teams for each meal. Not only does this ensure that no one gets stuck doing all the work over the holiday, it also provides a great opportunity for building bonds while cooking and cleaning together.
Things to Bring Checklist
These days, I always scribble down a checklist before I pack because I’ve had my fair share of stressed out moments wondering what I might have forgotten after leaving home for a vacation.
- If you are renting a cottage, check about bedding, towels, kitchen appliances, dishware, and cutlery. Will these be provided or will you have to bring them?
- What are the amenities at the cottage? Are there unique and interesting things you’d like to see and do in the area? And do you need to bring any special gear to make the most of your time there?
Here’s a quick and simple checklist of some basics that are easy to forget. It’s a start…
- Bathing Suit
- Beach Towel
- Natural Bug Repellent
- First Aid Kit
- Eco-Friendly Toilet Paper
- Plant-Based Soap
- Rainy Day Indoor Games
Green Living at the Cottage
Being at the cottage can be a nice way to practice living in closer harmony with nature. These are a couple of eco-friendlier choices you can make for your cottage vacation:
- Try an all-natural bug repellent rather than using DEET. DEET is a chemical pesticide that is harmful to the environment, but it’s also harmful to the human body, especially the central nervous system. Some websites indicate plant-based bug repellents as having as strong a repellent effect as DEET, only you might need to reapply often. It is important that you make the choice about what’s best for you and your family. If you decide to go with a botanical all-natural repellent you might try this recipe for making your own homemade bug repellent.
- Plant-based soaps are biodegradable, which means they won’t remain as potentially harmful chemicals in the natural environment because eventually they will be broken down and return to nature. Make sure your soap really is biodegradable and phosphate-free.
- If you decide to do a bit of outdoor washing, use soap sparingly, and don’t pour soapy water into lakes and natural water sources. Instead wash at least 200 feet away from lakes, rivers, and streams and allow soapy water to flow into the soil instead. You might enjoy the feel of plant-based soaps and decide to go phosphate-free and biodegradable everyday.
With all of the planning you’ll have done, it may be helpful to reflect on balancing organization with flexibility, adaptability, and open-mindedness. Often, spending time with family means experiencing those challenging moments when people who love each other see things differently, and sometimes those moments can feel like a threat to your careful planning. At times like these, it might be helpful to focus on the purpose of your vacation, which is to spend quality time together in a relaxing environment. It might just feel better to let go of controlling things and shift instead to allowing all of the benefits of your careful planning to shine organically. And they will. Appreciate yourself even if others do not always recognize your hard work. You’ll know that you played an important part in bringing together your precious family for an experience they’ll always remember.