Dear Heloise: Everyone tells me to pack light for a trip, and yet I don't really know how to do that because it seems I overpack every time I go somewhere. Got any hints on how to plan a wardrobe for a trip?

Stacy F., Owensboro, Ky.

Stacy F.: It’s really not hard to look good while traveling. Coordinate everything around three colors, depending on where you’re going. Take no more than three pairs of shoes: sneakers, flats (or loafers) and maybe a pair of comfortable low heels. T-shirts and a couple of pairs of jeans can be very versatile. Take one basic dress that you can dress up or down for day or night. One long-sleeved top, one sweater/jacket and only costume jewelry should be enough for your trip.

Dear Heloise: How do you clean a makeup sponge? I've washed mine, but it still has lots of makeup on it.

Diane D., Cedar Grove, N.J.

Diane D.: Beauty sponge blenders are very popular now. To properly clean one, put it in a cup of water with a tiny amount of dishwashing soap, and microwave for one minute, then rinse.

Dear Heloise: Why do I have to seal my granite countertop? I know marble stains easily, but why do I have to stain my granite in the kitchen?

Mavis T., Little Rock

Mavis T.: Natural stone countertops are porous, so sealing the top can prevent things such as wine, berry juices and other staining items from entering the stone. It also prevents acidic materials, such as lemon juice, soda and vinegar, from etching the stone. This especially is true with marble, sandstone, limestone and travertine. Sealing has the added benefit of keeping bacteria from entering the stone and from there contaminating foods you eat.

Dear Heloise: Since I can't put my cutting board in the dishwasher, how do I properly clean it?

Carrie R., Sioux City, Iowa

Carrie R.: Cut a lemon in half and dip the wet side in salt. Scrub both sides of the cutting board with the lemon-salt mixture, re-dipping the lemon in salt as needed, then rinse. After it dries, use mineral oil or a cutting board oil (found in hardware stores) and oil the wood.

Dear Heloise: How do I clean a glass stovetop? I've got some "gunk" on there that I can't get off.

Brenda K., Merced, Calif.

Brenda K.: Try this combination: dish soap and hydrogen peroxide. Make a watery paste and apply to the gunk, and let sit for about 30 minutes. Then clean the entire surface with this mixture.

Dear Heloise: My kitchen sink has gotten dingy. How can I make it brighter?

Rhonda S., Defiance, Ohio

Rhonda S.: Scrub your sink with baking soda and hydrogen peroxide, or fill it with water and 1 cup of bleach, and let it sit for 30 minutes.

Heloise’s column appears six days a week at washingtonpost.com/advice. Send a hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, TX 78279-5000, or email it to Heloise@Heloise.com.

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