Dyson knows that travel can be a bit hair raising!
Travel can be a little hair raising at times! Balancing the dueling worlds of home life and travel life can get messy on occasion and I'm sure I'm not alone in feeling this.
My pre-departure thought process goes something like this. If a serial killer gets me while I'm traveling - a totally likely scenario, right? - then the next logical step is that members of the FBI Behavioral Analysis Team will come to my home to investigate. I don't want the Criminal Minds team to conclude that the serial killer was targeting slovenly women who are unable to organize their sock drawer.
Therefore, before I leave, everything MUST. BE. SPOTLESS.
Stress free travel begins at home
Even if you're not slightly crazy like me, I think it's natural to want your to-do list out of sight and out of mind while you're traveling and doing so has a practical purpose. It means that your return home goes more smoothly, it makes things more welcoming for a house sitter, and so on. But it shouldn't be a source of stress when all you should be feeling is excitement.
So I'm doing my best to focus on the big picture of enjoying my trip - and not sweating the small stuff, like the unorganized sock drawer. Hey, this is a big step for me! I'm also coming up with a plan so that a clean house is just naturally a part of our pre-travel routine and not a constant crisis. Here's my plan of attack:
Pack first, then clean.
It's hard to go anywhere if you're not packed - and it's hard to clean in advance when you're still living and working in a space. Since I love packing (and really, who doesn't? Ha!) I'm going to focus on packing several days in advance and thus getting the most important thing of all crossed off my list.
With the suitcase secure, I won't be making any last minute messes as I dig through drawers in search of lost items. And I can also concentrate on spending the last day or two on getting the house tidy instead of frantically doing laundry and searching for the snorkel masks (which, in case I ask later, are on the top shelf of the bathroom closet).
Get the right gear.
Quality over quantity is my motto when it comes to travel gear and I need to apply that philosophy to household stuff - both for the items I use every day and for the cleaning gear I use to make the house spic and span.
The quality conundrum was evident to us recently when yet another cut-rate vacuum finally roared its last. The lives and deaths of our many vacuums is a bit of a running joke now - even my mother laughed at me when I said we were vacuum-less once again! It's not like we deliberately set out to orchestrate their demise but we thought there simply wasn't a product on the market that could handle our winning combination of tons of stairs with pets who shed like demons. Behold the beasts who cause such chaos in our lives!
When Dyson Canada heard us lamenting our plight online, they very kindly offered us a V6 Animal cordless vacuum to try. I was excited but I'll also admit to being a bit nervous. Sure, it was designed for pet hair but I don't think even Dyson could have anticipated the "Ya gotta see it to believe it" levels of fur that Oliver sheds day in, day out. And Darwyn the cat is no stranger to shedding herself. Things get REALLY messy around here!
There was another reason I was nervous. Frankly, I assumed anything strong enough to deal with the heaps of fur that coat our house would be huge and heavy - and heavy was already our number one vacuum problem thanks to all the stairs!
Turns out the Dyson is so lightweight, Ryan can balance it casually on his fingers! There is no cumbersome canister to drag behind and there are no dangerous cords to trip over while we're cleaning the stairs. The vacuum plugs in and takes about 3 hours to fully charge for 20 minutes of suction. On the max power setting, it lasts for about 6 minutes - just enough time to whip through the furriest spots if we're strategic.
Having something we can use quickly and easily has made all the difference in the world in our pre-trip cleaning routine - and our day to day cleaning as well. Getting out the vacuum and heaving it up the stairs is no longer an arduous chore. We can vacuum the entire house now in about 10 minutes where before it would take that long just to haul a machine to the top of the stairs.
When you add the fact that with all of the extra attachments, we can even dust and easily vacuum the car pre-road trip (including under the seats of the car!), we now save a lot of travel preparation time.
After two months of testing, if there was one minor thing I'd could change, I'd love for the max setting to last just a minute or two longer. Thankfully, our house is laid out in such a way that if we truly need the max setting everywhere, we can easily vacuum the first half and set the Dyson to recharge a bit while we mop the wooden floors, and then resume vacuuming the second half of the house.
Turning vacuuming from our most dreaded chore to the easiest pre-departure task has absolutely reinforced to me the importance of quality and value. If you lined up all the cheap (and now dead) vacuums we've used over the years, they collectively far exceed the cost of a Dyson and we ultimately spent years overpaying and over-stressing. It is so easy to use, clean, and store - and it's somewhat horrifying to see how much pet fur it sucks up!
Bring in some help.
It feels like the most indulgent thing in the world to say, especially for a frugal, value focused traveler: hire a housekeeper. And it's even harder to contemplate when you consider how long you've been saving for a trip and the cost cutting measures you've engaged in just to save extra money for trip treats. But, having done it, I can honestly say it's some of the best money we've ever spent.
A visit from a house cleaning team pre-trip means my kitchen is clean and organized, encouraging me to make a homemade dinner instead of calling out for pizza. And returning home to a clean kitchen encourages me to do the same. If using a cleaner saves me two pizza orders - and maybe a few coffees or breakfast orders too - it has paid for itself. And, pizza aside, if I can swap out one night in a hotel for a hostel, I've saved enough money to pay for the house cleaning. There's a lot of people who would rather use that money on their trip and I don't blame them. But for me, it's a special treat that has been well, well worth it - every time.
And now that we have by far the most effective vacuum we've ever owned in the Dyson V6 Animal, there'll be a lot more time left for them to get to some of the extra chores on the to-do list like washing windows and scrubbing baseboards.
Start every trip with a smile
There's an old joke that if you really want to light a fire underneath someone, tell them their flight leaves tomorrow. There's no more productive time to cross things off your to-do list than in the 24 hours before a trip starts! But when you travel a lot, it can feel like you're caught in a never ending cycle of packing, unpacking, organizing, and cleaning. But with Dyson by my side and a new plan of attack, I'm looking forward fewer hair raising moments and more happy departures!
Time for you to weigh in! What keeps you sane before you leave on a trip?
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