Clean Travel Tip #1

Today's tip for Traveling the House That Cleans Itself Way begins before you ever leave home.

When I pack, I tend to make a pile of "possibilities" (clothing, accessories, etc.) and then whittle that pile down to what's actually going with me. Unfortunately, by the time I'm finished and ready to depart, that leaves a big, messy pile of leftover clothing and things heaped on or near the bed. As I am often running late, there's no time to put that stuff away before heading out on my trip. (News flash to those who are organized, yes, there are indeed many of us who do not get around to packing for a trip until it's almost time to go!)

If this sounds like you, then you might try my favorite trick: Before you start packing, grab a large, empty laundry bin or other container and place it very near your suitcase. As you whittle down what goes and what stays, toss all of the "stay" items into that one bin. You'll still have to deal with them once you get home, of course, but the mess that greets you upon your return is far more contained. And if there are other "piles" in your room, at least you'll know what this pile is about and thus won't waste time standing there going, "I wonder why I put all of this stuff here..." Instead, you'll see it and think, "Oh, right, those are my packing leftovers," and then you can promptly--and more easily--put everything back where it belongs.

Voila, that's all it takes to have a cleaner packing area when you leave--and, obviously, when you return.

PS - To celebrate this series of travel-related posts, I'll be sharing some of my family's favorite trip photos. My daughter Lauren took this gorgeous shot from an airplane window as we headed to Hawaii this summer. (Pardon a mother's boast, but she's got a real eye for photography, don't you think?) Enjoy!

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