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This Travel Junk Tray Keeps My Jewelry, AirPods, and Hair Ties All in One Place

Photo: Alison Freer

Much like a goldfish, I will expand to fit any space I am given. If there is a flat surface available, I’ll set something on it. My boyfriend got so tired of picking up hair ties, lip balms, and jewelry from the various places I’d dropped them that he bought me two fancy glass catchall trays to dump my things in instead — and it’s worked like a charm.

Not only are our countertops no longer strewn with the trail of stuff that follows in my wake when I get home from work, I’ve also stopped losing my jewelry. I can’t count the number of nice pieces I’ve been gifted that have wound up tossed carelessly aside on the coffee table, where they then fall under the sofa to be vacuumed up and lost forever.

I recently realized that I’m not just a mess at home — I’ve also yet to travel anywhere that I haven’t left something behind. So I searched for a travel version of my at-home junk tray and wound up with the greatest travel hack ever: this flat-folding valet tray that takes up zero space in your suitcase but keeps your personal items all in one place when staying in an unfamiliar space. On a recent trip to the California coast, it saved me from losing my AirPods that would otherwise surely have been left tangled up in the bedsheets.

There are endless versions of my folding valet tray out there. Most are faux leather, though I gifted a full-leather pricier version to a bicoastal pal who lets me stay at his gorgeous upstate New York home every summer, and it proved to be a useful, thoughtful, memorable gift for around $50 — which is a hard trifecta to beat.

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This Travel Junk Tray Keeps My Jewelry All in One Place