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, prepping your plants for an extended time period without your care 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 and organization 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.
However, because the cupboards may be a little too bare after vacation, Old Mother Hubbard Syndrome may set in. After spending hours in the car or on a plane, the last thing you want to do when you get home is schlep out to the grocery store to get the essentials. And given that vacations are pricey wherever you go, spending a small fortune on even more takeout won’t be an appealing prospect either.
If necessary, stock up on non-perishable staples before your trip. If they are close, enlist the help of a close friend or relative who can stock your home with fresh bread and milk and a some fresh produce the day before you arrive. Otherwise, have shelf-stable milk and frozen bread and other easy to prepare frozen or canned basics on hand for the first day after your vacation.
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.
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 organization and 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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