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Five Things That Cleaning Experts Always Travel With

5 Neat Things5 Neat ThingsJolie Kerr is a cleaning expert, advice columnist and the host of the podcast “Ask a Clean Person.” Each week, she’ll round up five essential cleaning products, tools and organizational systems to help you live your tidiest lives.

I’ve got travel on the brain, because I’m heading off on a short vacation soon and it’s honestly all I can think about. But duty beckons, and work continues apace, and so to pass the time before I get on the plane to LAX with my dreams and my cardigans, I thought I’d devote this column to the actual things I, a cleaning expert, actually use when it comes time to pack my luggage and get the hell out of town.


Jewelry Roll

My old jewelry roll bit the dust, and so I recently found myself in the market for a new one. This style is what I landed on — I chose it because most of my jewelry is bangle bracelets and hoop earrings, so the flexibility of a roll with three large zipper pouches are just right for my needs. If you wear a lot of stud earrings this mint green roll is a great choice, because in addition to three zipper pouches, it has a row for fastening four pairs of small earrings. If you’re more of a ring person, this wallet-style jewelry organizer, which has two rolls for rings, a row for fastening post earrings and three zipper pouches for necklaces, bracelets and watches, will work better for you.

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Charger Bag

In my own life, I repurposed an old Vera Bradley makeup bag to hold all the chargers and headphones and external batteries I travel with (it’s so old they don’t even make the style anymore, but it’s similar to this). But better options exist; much like with jewelry rolls, it’s a good idea to take into account what your particular charger mix is when picking a charger organizer. This Bagsmart charger organizer has small, medium and large mesh pouches to hold chargers of various sizes, as well as elastic loops to secure cords and headphones. If that’s more or less storage than you need, Bagsmart makes organizers that are bigger and that are smaller — all of the styles come in a choice of five colors (black, gray, navy, teal or pink).

One more tip when it comes to charger and cord management: Because so many look alike, I’ve taken to labeling new chargers when they come into my life, so I can easily find the one I need. This is the label-maker I use, in the event you’d like to join me in the Compulsive Labeling Of Things lifestyle!

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Travel Steamer

Travel steamers are so clutch and not just for de-wrinkling purposes, though obviously they’re great for that! Steam can also freshen up garments that you want to wear more than once, making them super handy for travel (or, um, everyday life) when we often want to get several uses out of a shirt, or jacket or pair of pants. The Joy Mangano My Little Steamer is much loved by fashion editors and the cast of Vanderpump Rules for its small size, low price and quick heat-up time (2-3 minutes). One little tip: You should always empty the water chamber before you pack a steamer, but it’s also a good idea to put the machine in a Ziploc bag since a few drops of water may still linger and can leak onto your clothes.

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Shoe Bags

Shoe bags keep your filthy shoes from spreading dirt and grime and germs all over everything else in your suitcase, and I am religious about using them.

There are loads of different styles to choose from, but here are a few I especially like: These dust bag-style ones are just sheer enough to be able to see which pair is in which bag; the drawback is that they’re on the thin side, so they’re not great for very thin heels, which can pierce the material, and they only come in one size. This set of TG Branch shoe bags have windows built in allowing you to see the shoes within, and they come in different sizes to accommodate various shoe styles and foot sizes. And this set of four waterproof Yamiu shoe bags offers more structure, plus yes, they’re waterproof — making them great for people going on active vacations when sneakers and hiking boots might get wet.

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Shout Wipes

Okay, confession time: Yes, I always travel with Shout Wipes ... by dint of the fact that I just literally always have them on me. They are just insanely handy! I keep a few packets in my handbag, and I cannot tell you how many days I’ve saved when I, or a friend, or a perfect stranger, finds themselves with a spill or stain on their clothes. Shout is especially good on food stains, but the wipes will also work quite well on smeared makeup like foundation or lipstick, and on dirt and grime.

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About the author

Jolie Kerr

Jolie Kerr is a cleaning expert, advice columnist and the host of the podcast Ask a Clean Person