In today’s post I’m going to be sharing with you exactly what I do to clean my house before I leave for vacation. I’ll share what chores I prioritize, how I keep our home smelling good while we are away and some thoughts on what I’d like to try and do before our next vacation.
I literally always underestimate how much it takes to get our family of five ready to leave for vacation. It’s SO MUCH WORK. Totally worth it, but still – work nonetheless. I realize it’s not like that for everyone – but there’s a reason why it takes so much effort on my part and I’m not about to change it now.
I’m not ashamed to admit that I am a homebody by design.
I love being home.
I love going on vacation – but the coming home part…feels so good.
But there’s a key to making the coming home part so amazing. And that’s the pre-vacation home cleaning that takes place.
Vacation is both refreshing and exhausting, and by the time you finally drag your suitcase through the door you’re practically ready for another vacation.
Ya feel me?
I’ve been doing it for several years whenever we travel, but it wasn’t until recently that I realized that what I’d been doing was actually a system I had in place to help create a smoother return home. One that would allow me to come home, unpack and step right back into life without feeling like I’m weeks behind on laundry, dishes, trash, work, groceries and everything else!
And honestly, none of this is earth shattering information – but you just might find that putting all of these things together at once and implementing them before your vacation, will make a world of difference when you return.
This process is a combination of three things: preparing our family for vacation, preparing our home for a house sitter, and preparing our home for return from vacation.
The first part of this is preparing our family for vacation. And usually it starts with doing copious amounts of laundry so we all have our best clothes clean. But not just that, I like the idea of coming home from vacation and not having laundry to do.
Pre Vacation Cleaning Checklist
But probably the best part of how I get our house ready before we leave for vacation is the cleaning. Knowing that I am coming home to a clean house gives me so much peace of mind as we travel home.
So even though it can be a lot to try and prepare our family of five to leave for vacation, I always try to make this a priority for my own sanity.
Put on Clean Sheets
There’s not much better than slipping into a freshly made bed after traveling all day. One of the first things I do to prepare to leave for vacation is to wash our sheets and make sure our bed has clean linens. One of my favorite ways to practice self care is a freshly made bed – one of my favorite things.
Wash/Dry/Fold/Put Away Laundry
I’m not always the best at folding and putting away our laundry.
Often times we have two or three baskets full of clean clothes that need to be folded and put away sitting on the floor in our bedroom. Honestly, it drives me crazy. But with five of us – keeping up with the laundry is a full time job that I just don’t prioritize because…there’s more to life than laundry.
However, when we leave for vacation, this becomes a priority. There are a few reasons why this is one of my must do chores.
1. I can find all the clothes we need for our trip.
2. I know I’m not coming home to laundry piles.
This one may feel a bit obvious. However, I have been tempted to leave dishes in the dishwasher before and just run it when I get home. Imagine my surprise when I get home and the dishwasher reeks of dirty dishes.
No, thank you.
So to avoid the stinky dishwasher problem – I run one final load of dishes before leaving.
Then, I hand wash whatever last minute dishes we have so I can dry them and put them away.
Finally, I wipe out the sink with my favorite Caldera counter spray or do a quick clean with Bon Ami and then run the garbage disposal and put a few drops of lemon essential oil down it to make sure it’s nice and clean.
I get both of these in my monthly Grove order and they are some of my favorite cleaning products to use!
Take Out Trash
Take out the trash so it doesn’t get stinky. I mean, I know it seems so obvious but you’d be surprised how often this almost gets forgotten. And almost as bad (maybe worse) than coming home to a stinky dishwasher is coming home to a stinky trash can.
Usually we will have a neighbor or house sitter take our bins out for trash day so when we come home we don’t have a ton of trash sitting in the bins.
Tidy Couch Pillows & Blankets
This is something I do every night before I go to bed because I want to wake up to a clean and organized space. Before we walk out the door, I do a quick spruce up of our living space. I place the pillows in their respective corners of the couch.
Fold up the throw blankets and store them in our blanket baskets. Pick up any toys or books on the floor and make sure they all go to their designated homes.
Clean Out the Refrigerator
The week before we head out of town I do a quick purge of the fridge. This takes me a max of about 30 minutes to complete. I pull out any takeout, leftovers, or spoiled food. This way, when we get back from vacation, I’m not having to purge food. Pretty simple, right?
How Can I Keep My House Smelling Good While on Vacation?
I mean, who likes a smelly house? Nobody.
And there’s lots of different factors that play into an interior odor occurring in your home. Most of the time when we notice a weird smell, we quickly work to identify the root of the cause and get rid of it asap. So before you head out for your vacation, think about what you can do to be PROactive about the smell of your home. You can come home to a nicely smelling home.
Here’s a recap of what to do to keep your house smelling good while on vacation:
- Take out the trash
- Clean out your refrigerator
- Clean the garbage disposal
- Run the dishwasher & wash/dry the dishes
- Wash bed sheets and bedding
How to Clean Your House When Before Leaving for Vacation
There’s no one right way to clean your house before leaving for vacation. Ha, I know that doesn’t answer your question though. So I’m going to give you some suggestions of things that you can do to clean your house before you leave for vacation.
I’d totally recommend turning this into a working list of sorts and just add and take away things as you go. The more fine tuned this list becomes, the better you will feel about preparing your family and your home for leaving for vacation.
- Wash/Dry/Fold all laundry
- Put away all clean laundry
- Change bedsheets
- Get rid of any old or expired food in the fridge
- Trash any take out leftovers
- Take out the trash
- Run the dishwasher & put dishes away
- Hand wash any left over dishes
- Clean garbage disposal
- Wipe out the sink
- Wipe down counters
- Run the sweeper
- Reposition throw pillows and fold up blankets
By the time we walk out the door for vacation as a family of five, I feel accomplished and ready to fully relax (as much as you can with three little ones in tow). I can’t tell you how much peace of mind I get out of knowing that when we come back home, everything will be clean and ready for us to jump back into life as we know it.
Remember how I said this was totally a working list? Let me know if there’s anything that you do to prepare your home before leaving on vacation and I will add it to this list!
Be sure to follow me on Instagram and let me know if you use this blog post for your summer vacation planning purposes!