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Alternate title: “Things I wish I had done before I left town” or “How not to return to a smelly messy home” or “How to avoid stress and tears on the front porch after a long day of travel.”
This month Meldrums on the Move, Travel with Jess, and Adventures in Family Travel are also sharing on the topic “Things a Traveler Must Do Before Leaving Home.” Everyone has a unique perspective on preparing for travels!
This checklist is on preparing your home for your departure. Following this checklist will ensure that returning home is pleasant and you don’t find any nasty surprises waiting when you walk in the door!
What To Do at Home Before Leaving Town Checklist
#1 Take out the trash
This is an obvious one, but don’t neglect it! Survey all the trash cans in the house, you never know when the kids will have snuck a banana peel in the office wastebasket!
#2 Clean the fridge
Eat, compost, or dispose of anything that will go bad before you return. A bad fridge odor can corrupt all the good food, and you don’t want to return to that.
#3 Put your mail on hold
Our mailman is great, but he does get annoyed if we let the mailbox get too full. If you live in the US putting a hold on your mail is easy and free.
#4 Hide a key
What is it about a vacation that makes me lose my keys? I generally stash them somewhere “safe” and out of the way in my purse or luggage but after not using them for a week I forget where they are! While I always find them eventually, I prefer to do it at my leisure and not in a panic on the front porch. Hide it well though, you don’t want it found while you’re away!
Bonus: If you need a friend or neighbor to check on something while you’re gone, you can just point them to the hideaway.
#5 Make a plan to feed your pets or water your plants
Should this have been first? Yes, it should have. Fortunately, my pets are super low maintenance but I still need to make sure to feed them extra before I go out of town. Since they eat compost, I knock this out at the same time as #2.
#6 Clean the house
This is my least favorite and so I often neglect it, but coming home to a clean house is 100x better than coming home to a messy one. We always make a big mess unpacking so if the house was already messy it can reach tragic levels remarkably quickly.
#7 Set the thermometer
The environment and your wallet agree that you should not be running the AC when you aren’t home. We don’t worry about this one anymore now that we have a Nest.
#8 Catch up on laundry
When we return home we usually have bags full of dirty clothes. If we get home late Sunday night that’s not the time we want to realize we have nothing to wear for Monday.
#9 Crack a window
This is up for debate, but cracking a window or two is a great way to keep fresh air circulating in your home while you’re away. Chose a window with a screen that is not visible or accessible to passerbys or likely to get rain inside.
#10 Unplug your electronics
Even when not in use, those electronics are drawing some energy. Unplugging them will also protect them from any power surges that occur in your absence.
Everything on this list is simple and quick (except maybe cleaning and laundry) but they will all make a big difference when you return! We just got back from a quick 2-night camping trip and I’m cursing myself for not catching up on laundry before we left!