Happy Easter

My daughter Emily made this cake, which I'm proudly showing off here. She's just so darn talented.

I hope you have a lovely day, full of family and food and celebration and JOY.

HE IS RISEN!!! Hallelujah!

Clean Travel Tip #9

Enjoy the scene captured in this shot taken near Hanalei Bay, Kauai, then let's wrap up this travel series with one last tip: ABOVE ALL ELSE, TRY TO PACK LIGHT!

There are plenty of reasons for packing light--less trouble, easier on your back, avoiding extra airline charges, etc.--but here's the biggest reason of all, at least for the housekeeping impaired: the less you pack, the less mess you can make at the other end.

It's that simple.

HAPPY TRAVELS TO YOU! Here's one last photo for the road, a shot I took from my hotel room in St. Louis last summer. Talk about a great view, huh?

See you next time, when I'll share some of my favorite housekeeping books with you!

Clean Travel Tip #8

I snapped this photo with my iPhone while on Maui. Just looking at it makes me want to grab my suit and jump in... And now here are a few more handy tips for clean and peaceful group travel: - Everyone should establish their own separate, personal KEY ZONE. That's because this is where you dump your pockets, and you don't want to dump together lest you lose and/or take each other's stuff by accident. When traveling with others, I'll usually set up my KEY ZONE somewhere on the side of the dresser that's closest to where I'll be sleeping, or maybe even in a top drawer that no one else will be using. - If you are traveling with a super neat freak, offer to contain any non-zone personal items to a specific but out-of-the-way area, for example in a back corner or behind a chair. You may even choose to drape a blanket over the pile when its not in use. That way, all your traveling companion needs do in order to avoid seeing your mess is not peek under the blanket. - If you tend to be messy, be sure that every night before you go to sleep you take a quick look around to see that you haven't left anything out on the floor or in the way. This is unfamiliar territory, remember, and you don't ever want your mess to cause someone else to trip and fall during a midnight bathroom run! - Be generous with the distribution of drawers, hangers, horizontal surfaces, plugs, etc., making sure that everyone sharing the accommodations gets an equal right to the storage options. This should go without saying, of course, but I'm including this here just in case you tend to act without thinking things through fully. Remember: A considerate travel companion would never hog all the hangers, take the top drawers of the dresser, monopolize the only table top, etc. 'Nuff said. - If there is someone you travel with frequently, such as a spouse or co-worker, try to learn from any past conflicts/mistakes/needs and solve the issues so that they don't come up again. For example, on your last trip did you... .
..lose the keys to the rental car, making you both late to an important function? If so, then you need to establish a better ZONE for those keys, or perhaps allow the other person to take charge of them whenever they're not in use. ...realize that sand was getting in your bed(s)? If so, then you need to come up with a solution for sandals, beach wear, beach toys, etc., that better limits the sand to a balcony or bathroom. ...misplace important receipts among all of the other papers that accrued? If so, then you need to establish a RECEIPT ZONE that's separate from your PAPERS ZONE so that it won't happen again.
and so on. However you deal with past problems, doing so promptly and with grace can insure that such issues are less likely to crop up again. Remember that travel can be stressful on everyone! Even the smoothest of trips can involve hassle, delays, waiting in lines, unfamiliar bathrooms, different mattress types, etc, causing temporary irritation or discomfort. If keeping your things a little neater than usual will help to ease the stress for others, then by all means give it your best try! And if you're a neatnik traveling with someone who's housekeeping impaired, remember that messy tendencies often go hand in hand with other things that you love about this person--especially on a trip--such as their spontaneity, sense of humor, or generosity. Show them some grace whenever possible. And who knows? By the end of the trip perhaps one or two of your neater habits just might have rubbed off on them!

Clean Travel Tip #7

My hubby took this photo in Hawaii, when we were cutting across the parking lot of a large apartment complex. I suppose you could call this handy surfboard rack one way to have a House That Cleans Itself--Hawaii Style! This week's traveling clean tip is about establishing "group standards" for travel cleanliness. If you are traveling with others, it's important that everyone be on the same page about the level of cleanliness you'd like to maintain as you travel. This is for the benefit of all who are on board, both the messy types and the neatniks. Somehow, regardless of how you do things at your homes, you'll need to find a middle ground of cleanliness that will work for everyone who is together on this particular trip. This may require some compromise on both sides, as those who are naturally neat may need to agree to accept a little more mess than usual, and those who are naturally messy may need to put in a bit more effort to stay neater than usual. As you sort this out, try to remember that this situation isn't forever, it's simply for this one trip! As my mother-in-law likes to say, "A man can get used to anything--except hanging!" I've been talking here about establishing various "zones" in your hotel room/condo/etc. as soon as you get there. This step is doubly important when you are traveling with others. Though some zones will be for your own personal use, you'll probably want to establish a few communal zones too. For example, two women would likely keep their ACCESSORY ZONES or their MAKEUP ZONES separate but might choose to combine their FOOD ZONE. Follow whatever procedure works best for all involved. For communal zones, you can establish them by committee, so to speak, but before you do, see if one of you is more eager than the other to be the chief zone-establisher. If so, you can save time, effort, and debate in the long run by letting one person establish the zones for all and simply inform the others what and where those zones are. When my hubby and I travel together, I choose most of the zones for us and simply clue him in once I'm done. But I do this with past trips in mind and with regard for how I know he would choose, if he were the one doing the choosing. For example, he's very tall, so I know he usually likes his KEY ZONE up high, like on a shelf above the TV, if there is one. Come back soon for more handy trips on clean and peaceful group travel.