While traveling has been on my mind, I decided to continue this series and discuss what I do before leaving the house. All of these things make my life so much easier when I return. I prefer to do all my thinking before my trip to ease back into my routine.
Previously, I’ve talked about…
Now, Here Are My 21 Tips For Prepping Your Home Before You Leave:
1. Empty the dishwasher
Running your dishwasher may sound like a no-brainer, but I prefer to unload it entirely AND then leave it cracked. This suggestion could be specific to my dishwasher, but mine starts to smell if we leave ours closed for too long. That musty smell is the absolute worst!
2. Wash, dry, and fold laundry
I like to think of this step in two parts. The first happens the week before departing. I will do laundry as usual, but then I will pull out items I want to pack. That way, I won’t wear those items before our trip. Then, I will do laundry again right before we leave, and that’s when I put all my clothes away so I only have to do vacation clothes when I return.
This may be controversial, but I don’t do laundry when I travel. I want it to be relaxing and enjoyable on vacation, and laundry is not that for me. 🙂
3. Hold your mail
I might be naive, but I didn’t know this was possible AND I recently figured out how simple this is! Here’s how it works… You can go to the USPS website, create an account, pick the dates you leave and return, and then the USPS holds your mail all for free. My pro tip is to hold your mail for one extra day to simplify your return. No one likes an overflowing mailbox.
4. Wash your sheets
There’s nothing like coming home from a long trip and getting into fresh sheets. 🙂 It’s one of my favorite feelings.
5. Fill your car with gas
This is a new one I’ve been trying to prioritize. I hate having to do anything extra on my way home from the airport, and it always seems like we are low on fuel when we return. If you have multiple cars, I even suggest filling both up. When you return to work or your everyday routine, you are ready to hit the ground running.
6. Empty the refrigerator
Before we leave, I like to empty the fridge and toss any expired items or food that will spoil before we return. That way, our fridge is free for all the new groceries on our return.
7. Take your trash out
Remember to take the trash out! I like to have this done the moment we walk out the door.
8. Make a grocery list and schedule for grocery pick up or delivery
Before we leave, I like to meal plan simple dinners and then schedule curbside pick up for the day we return or the day after. Additionally, I rarely want to cook on the day we get back. It’s helpful to have a frozen pizza on hand or plan to eat out one last time before returning to normal. This is another tip I am trying to incorporate more.
8. Figure out plant and pet care
Don’t be like me and forget about your plants. I am still grieving the loss of my four year old aloe.
9. Lock all doors and windows
This is one I am constantly paranoid about. Even more so when we will be gone for an extended period of time.
10. Arrange for package pick up
If your home is like ours, then a delivery truck stops by just about every day. Depending on where you live and how long you will be gone, it may be nice to ask a neighbor or friend to grab your packages while you’re gone.
11. Set the thermostat
Depending on the time of year, the forecast could significantly shift while you’re gone. I can’t tell you the number of times we have left a comfortable house to return to a freezing or sweltering home.
12. Notify a neighbor
If you have a trustworthy neighbor that could lend a watchful eye, you can let them know you’ll be away and if they should expect anyone to stop by while you’re away.
13. Alert your credit card company for international travel
It’s always a good idea to inform the bank that you will be aboard. I’ve heard that some banking companies will freeze your funds until they verify that it is you.
14. Set light timers
This is something we use year round. We love having our lights set on automatic timers every morning and evening.
15. Withdraw some cash
As much as we live in a primarily cashless society these days, we always seem to find ourselves in a tricky situation needing cash on vacation (usually for tipping).
16. Put away outdoor furniture
You don’t want those patio umbrellas or couch cushions flying away while you’re gone. It’s best to move them indoors if possible.
17. Arrange for outdoor maintenance
Do you need someone shoveling snow from your driveway or water your flowers while you’re gone?
18. Run as many errands as you can ahead of time
Complete those Amazon returns, drop off those donation bags you’ve had in the trunk of your car the last month, and pick up your prescriptions. Whatever lingering items you have on your to do list, get them done because you’ll want to do them even less when you get home.
19. Turn off the water to the house
If you have ever had a flood in your house, then you know how disastrous that can be. I have recently learned that you can turn off the water temporarily at the valve while you’re gone.
20. Tidy up
Right before we leave, I tidy up the house however I can. This creates a much better environment for your return.