Traveling Clean

It seems that no matter how much I refine the House That Cleans Itself system in my home, the minute I check into a hotel, my room starts turning into a giant disaster. It's bad enough when I'm traveling alone but far worse when my family is with me as well. Given that I am housekeeping impaired, this makes sense. WIthout all of the stopgap measures/clever fixes/problem-solvers/etc. that I have established throughout my house, when I go on the road I'm left with nothing more than a few suitcases and my own behaviors, which have always been and will always be MESSY.

Recently, I started thinking about this problem, about how I could make changes to my luggage choices, travel accessories, packing techniques, etc., that would make for a neater travel experience overall. The more I thought about it, the more ideas and realizations I had. Over the coming weeks, I'll share these with you. So keep checking back for helpful and fun ideas you'll want to try on your next trip.

Let's start by talking about the big picture, what I call Trip Standards. Should you have different standards of cleanliness when you travel than when you are at home? My husband and kids think so. Their theory is that a room can be messy as long as it's not dirty, and since most hotels include maid service, dirty isn't going to happen.

I agree, to a point. How messy is too messy when traveling? For me, too messy is:
a. anything that sucks up extra time, for example having to iron a shirt just because I didn't hang it up
b. anything that gives me a sense of irritation/frustration rather than peace, for example clutter that blocks a beautiful view
c. anything that's just too much trouble, for example trying to find loose jewelry in the bottom of a jumbled up suitcase.

As long as I adhere to the above standards, I'm willing to live with more mess on the road than I do at home--on vacation, that is.

When I travel for business, I follow a different set of standards, mostly because I don't have much time to spare, and the messier a room is, the more time everything takes to get done. I also dress a lot better for business than I do for leisure, so I'm that much more careful to keep my things neat and save time and trouble with every change of clothes.

How about you? Are you a messy traveler? Or are you the opposite and find yourself living more neatly on the road than you do at home? I'd love to hear how your mess does or does not go with you.

Be sure to come back next week, when I lay out my ground rules for neater travel.

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