As we creep towards summer vacation season lots of us are making plans for that big, much needed summer getaway. And even though the idea behind any vacation is to get away from the everyday and enjoy a wonderful period of rest and relaxation, vacation preparation can be, in itself, rather exhausting.

However, between booking Airbnbs, packing suitcases, corralling all the right travel documents and making sure that any furry family members who will not be making the trip will be well cared for while you are gone, there is something else you should add to your list; making sure to complete this cleaning checklist to help ensure that you do not return from your trip in a week or so to a smelly, buggy home.

Inventory Your Refrigerator

Take an honest look in the fridge. Anything that will even possibly not still be good by the time you return should be thrown out now. For example, however new and efficient your refrigerator is the chances that a head of lettuce will still be edible upon your return are minimal and the leftovers we all leave lurking in the back of the fridge should be consigned to the trash.

Wash ALL The Dishes

Even few minute food scraps can attract bugs in a home that will be sealed tight for days, so to avoid coming home to an army of ants resist the temptation to leave even a few unwashed dishes behind. The night before you leave run the dishwasher one last time and if you prepare a pre-trip breakfast – or even sneak a last cup of coffee before heading off – take a few minutes to handwash those dishes, dry them and put them away, rather than leaving them out damp on a rack.

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Do One Last Load of Laundry

Slightly damp towels or wash cloths left in your laundry hamper for a week are likely to become smelly or mildewy before they dry, so run one last load of laundry and fold it all up and put it away so you have one less chore to face when you return home.

Clean the Garbage Disposal

No one wants to return home to the smell of a stinky garbage disposal – or to the flies it can attract. Ensure that everything is as clean as possible by pouring some white vinegar down it, letting it sit for a few minutes and then rinsing it way with fresh, clean water. To leave behind a nice fresh scent that will linger a little – in a good way – add a few lemon peels and then run the machine again.

Clean the Toilet

Before you leave for your trip, give your toilet bowl one last clean. That done sprinkle a little baking soda down it and give it one last flush. This will help prevent any lingering debris in the pipes from becoming a stinky problem, which could happen as there will be no more actively flowing water there for at least the next several days.

Take Out ALL the Trash

If you do nothing else, this is pre-vacation cleaning priority number one. If you forget to take out the trash – and that’s all the trash, bathrooms, kitchen, bedrooms – there is a good chance you’ll come home to nasty smells and pests, which is the last thing you want.

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Just Organized By Taya

Taya Wright, Owner and Principal at Just Organized by Taya
Just Organized by Taya, led by RESA Certified Home Stager and Professional Organizer Taya Wright, offers home staging and home and life organization services, in addition to interior styling services to residents across the Greater Houston area.
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