How to Prep Your Home When Traveling

When you adequately prepare your home before a trip, you can embrace a few days of guilt-free relaxing when you return. There’s nothing like coming home to a clean house. It’s easy to preoccupy all of your pre-trip time with packing and travel arrangements, but you should make plans to prep your house in advance. Here are five tasks you should add to your next pre-travel checklist.

Clean out your refrigerator and wash all dirty dishes. What you need to trash depends on how long you plan to be away. Produce ages quickly, so if you plan to be gone for two weeks, it makes sense to discard it before the trip. If you’ve been saving any leftovers, they should also be discarded. After two to three days of leaving cooked food in your fridge, you risk coming home to a science experiment. Don’t forget to clean the dishes in the sink and/or dishwasher. Cooking your first meal after your return will be much easier if you can start with a clean slate.

Take out the trash. Leaving even a small amount of trash can be a smelly nightmare when you return, especially if there’s food involved. Be sure to conduct a final check of all trash cans the night before or morning of your departure date. The smell of your house will be the first thing to greet you upon your return…and bugs.

Clean your house.  Tidy each room and remove all clutter to make your home more visually appealing, and don’t forget to sweep, vacuum, and mop where necessary. Avoid using an upcoming trip as an excuse to postpone your weekly cleaning routine. Be proactive. If your regular cleaning day is on Sunday but your flight leaves on Saturday, schedule your cleaning on Thursday. Try not to procrastinate until the last minute, because you’ll need to leave time to deal with any unexpected travel issues.

Wash and put away all laundry. Most trips end with a suitcase full of dirty laundry, so it’s best to catch up beforehand. It’s much easier to focus on washing the couple of loads in your suitcase than the loads in your suitcase and the loads you left in the laundry basket. Also, keep in mind that hanging and folding laundry is just as important as cleaning it. It might be tempting to applaud yourself for just finishing the washing and drying, but motivate yourself to complete the final step. Leaving out clean laundry creates clutter and disorganization. The sight of it can quickly diminish any peace of mind you gathered while travelling.

Water your plants. Similar to pets, your plants’ survival while you’re travelling depends on how well you prepare. Water all plants and seedlings thoroughly the night before or morning you leave. Position them so they get natural light, but keep in mind they will lose moisture quickly if exposed to excessive sunlight. If you’re going to be gone for more than a couple of days, consider creating a water wick. You can create one using average household items, and it will ensure your plants receive sufficient water while you are away.

Venturing out of your daily routine can be refreshing for your mind, especially when travel is involved. Preparing your house before you leave is a great way to preserve your new mentality. Although it creates additional work during a time you are already busy, with sufficient planning it’s worth the effort. If you find yourself too overwhelmed, consider hiring a professional. What matters most is not how it gets done but that it gets done.