Getting ready to leave for more than a long weekend takes a lot of prep work. Cleaning your house a few days before that might not seem like the top of your priority list, but I promise, you'll be thanking me later. If you make sure you're packed ahead of time (save a few essentials like make up & toothbrush), this list won't take more than 2 hours of your time MAX & can be done over a few days. You can do it!
What's better than coming home from vacation, taking a nice shower and climbing immediately into bed with ZERO to think about? Nothing. If you clean house before vacation, you'll be enjoying these perks & be stress-free. Here's how.
The best way to make this painless is to keep groceries to a minimum a week prior. We bought only the essentials last week and have been eating down any random foods and we're almost down to nothing! If you've got a lot of fresh foods leftover a few days before you leave, make soups, salsas, or meals that can be frozen for your return! I made a version of this soup on Tuesday and used up all of our carrots & potatoes (plus, dinner & lunch were done for the next day)! Focus on cleaning out perishables like veggies & fruit, cheese, lunch meats, dairy & bread. Things like eggs, frozen foods & canned goods will last a few weeks without a problem. Toss any leftovers you won't end up eating. The more you work on eating up what you have, the less waste there will be!
2. Similarly, Have Some Essentials Ready For Your Return
Think about things with a long shelf life and have them ready. Coffee, eggs, oatmeal & tea will cover breakfast. Freezer meals (that you made with your leftover veggies), some easy snacks like dried fruit & nuts, rice cakes, popcorn, frozen fruit for smoothies, and pantry items like beans, rice, soup, chili, plus some frozen goodies can create quick lunches & dinners. Dream up a few meals before you leave that require minimal fresh foods so your first day back requires little thinking or creativity.
3. Wash Your Sheets
Climbing into bed with freshly washed sheets is absolutely the best. Make up the bed with fresh sheets before you leave for your trip, or keep them off to let your mattress breath while you're away. Having the clean sheets ready is half the battle. Even if they're waiting for you in the dryer!
4. Do Laundry
My least favorite part. I try to get this done a week before we leave, doing one final load the day before we leave. If you can't get the laundry done, just make sure all clean clothes are put away & dirty ones are in the hamper. It will make for an organized house when you get back & you won't be wondering if your favorite shirt is clean for Monday morning.
5. Have Clean Towels Ready
You won't likely have time to wash the last towel you used, but make sure you have a clean set ready to go when you get back. Goes great with a nice, hot shower to get the plane grease off.
6. Throw Out Flowers
We always keep fresh flowers in our house & there is NOTHING worse than forgetting to toss them before we leave on a trip. You don't want stagnant water & mold flooding your air when you return.
7. Clean the Bathrooms
A day or two before, do a quick clean. Quickly scrub toilets, quickly scrub the tub, sink and wipe down any surfaces. No ring in the toilet or grimy tub to come back to. You can easily do this in 10-15 minutes! That fresh shower will be worth it.
How to do it in 15 minutes
8. Clean the Kitchen
I know - sounds daunting. Put at least getting all of the dishes IN the dishwasher & cleaned will set you in the right direction. If you can empty it - even better. The most important part is to wipe down all the counters & then sweep the floors. You don't want any crumbs waiting around for little mice to decide to use your house as a vacation rental while you're gone.
How to do it in 15 minutes
9. Make Sure All Bills Are Paid
Most things are handled online these days, but think through any bills that might be due within a week of your return. If you're getting home on the 28th and rent is due on the 1st, send it out before you leave so you're not stressed or behind when you return.
10. Last Thing - Take Out the Trash
This might seem obvious, but do it right before you leave. Don't forget random trash cans in the bathroom, bedrooms & common areas. You never know if someone threw away part of a granola bar. Just say no to mice & bugs!
Now - you're ready for vacation! And you'll come home to a peaceful, clean, house that will make the first day back to work/school/reality a little easier.
What are your pre-vacation rituals? Do you have a pre-vacation cleaning checklist?
Other Travel Checklists:
International Vacation Checklist & Timeline
In Flight Survival Kit
Dos & Don'ts of Airport Security