Having a ball at the beach by Mary Feliz

There’s no happier entity on the planet than a golden retriever at the beach, with a ball. But humans can come close to that same level of enjoyment at the California coast or almost any other seaside spot. Prepare for your trip following these key tips:

• A rental with easy access to laundry facilities will make packing for your California coastal vacation easier. Pack layers adaptable to vacillating temperatures and conditions. The good news? Leave your dressy gear at home. As long as you’re not accepting an Academy Award, you can get away without glitz almost everywhere.

• To reduce housekeeping chores, set up a foot rinsing station outside your front door. Keep it simple. A plastic dishpan of water and a towel or soft brush will do the trick.

• To manage sand in the car, line passenger foot wells with old towels you can carefully lift and shake out when necessary. Keep a whisk broom handy for the driver’s area, where a towel could get dangerously tangled among feet and pedals.

• Having trouble removing sand from skin? Sprinkle baby powder over the sandy area. The powder absorbs moisture making the sand easier (and less abrasive) to brush away.

• Use mesh laundry bags to transport sand toys. Shake to get rid of excess sand, and rinse off in the ocean, with a house, or under a faucet at the end of your trip. Toss the whole bag in plastic garbage bag for maximum sand control.

Find more organization tips in my Maggie McDonald Mystery series featuring a Silicon Valley Professional Organizer and her sidekick golden retriever.

Professional organizer Maggie McDonald manages to balance a fastidious career with friends, family, and a spunky Golden Retriever. But add a fiery murder mystery to the mix, and Maggie wonders if she’s finally found a mess even she can’t tidy up . . .

With a devastating wildfire spreading to Silicon Valley, Maggie preps her family for a rapid evacuation. The heat rises when firefighters discover the body of her best friend Tess Olmos’s athletic husband—whose untimely death was anything but accidental. And as Tess agonizes over the whereabouts of her spouse’s drop-dead gorgeous running mate, she becomes the prime suspect in what’s shaping up to become a double murder case. Determined to set the record straight, Maggie sorts through clues in an investigation more dangerous than the flames approaching her home. But when her own loved ones are threatened, can she catch the meticulous killer before everything falls apart?

“A skillful amateur detective with an impressive to-do list.” —Kirkus Reviews, STARRED REVIEW, Address to Die For