Don’t Leave the House Until You’ve Read This Pre-Vacation Checklist!

Going away on vacation this summer? Here’s the ultimate checklist for cleaning and taking care of business at home before you leave, from

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Make a Pre-Vacation Cleaning List and Get Organized

Vacations embody the dreams we all have of being away from the grind of everyday life. But before you leave for a trip, you want to make sure that all of your worries are truly left behind. After all, coming home to a messy, disorganized house post-vacation can quickly erase whatever relaxing you’ve done while away.

A pre-vacation cleaning checklist ensures that you and your family return from vacation stress-free. Get ready, because it’s time to clean up and get organized! Read on to find the ultimate pre-vacation cleaning checklist to help you make the most of your next trip out of town.


What to Do Before You Leave for Vacation: The Checklist

1. Take out the trash and recycling

This may seem like really basic information, but take this tip from any professional home blogger like The Hairpin or Life as Mom. You don’t want an insect- or rodent-infested house when you come home. Remember to remove perishable fruits, vegetables, or dairy items. Old pizza cartons can attract ants, and bananas can sprout fruit flies.


2. Pause your mail – the budget option

The United States Postal Service has a convenient way to pause your mail by placing things on hold for up to 30 days. When you return, you can pick up your mail at the local post office for free without having to hire someone to make sure it doesn’t pile up on your doorstep or mailbox, accidentally alerting intruders to an empty home.

3. Wash the dishes and do the laundry

If you’re thinking about backpacking in the country, take a moment to ponder how relaxing and refreshing that first shower and clean bed will be when you return home after a long stretch in the great outdoors. Pro blogger The Hairpin again suggests washing your towels and bed linens to prepare for that glorious return to civilization.


4. Taking care of pet business

Nowadays, there are many solutions to pet problems that arise due to owners going on vacations. is one such solution that allows for dog boarding at home, pet sitting in home, or simple walks you can schedule every day while you’re gone.

One very cool feature comes in the form of pictures of your dog, taken by the service while you’re gone. Leave a list of detailed care instructions including where the leash, food, water, treats, toys, and litter boxes are (yes, they offer cat sitting as well), and you’ll be set.

Smart Homes or Security Systems Keep Intruders at Bay

Setting alarms and timers for lights can make it seem like you’re still at home so burglars don’t break in. If your home isn’t yet “smart,” consider hiring a trusted house sitter and leaving emergency contact information with them. You can always ask a neighbor to check in on your home while you’re away.

Plan your next meal

Make sure you don’t come home to an empty refrigerator with a hungry belly, and keep easy-to-make items like eggs or frozen pizzas on hand for when you return home. No one wants to go grocery shopping after a long flight or road trip, so keep non-perishable food handy in the pantry.

Tidy up the house

Throw away all the junk that accumulates during the workweek and stow those books and magazines away. Vacuum the floors and dust. Clean the windows and open them while you cook your pre-vacation meals to air out the house – you’ll be grateful when you return!


One More Tip Before Leaving on Holiday…

When you head out of town on vacation, don’t leave valuables around, especially cash, computers, expensive electronics, jewelry, or handbags. Although you may have home or renter’s insurance, the deductibles can be quite high.

According to the Insurance Information Institute, your deductible is likely to be $500 or more depending on your policy, which is the amount you pay before the insurance kicks in. If you use this checklist item by item, you can rest assured that your house is as ready for your vacation as you are!

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Alex is a home staging guru who moonlights as a writer. She loves everything about interior design and loves working in the industry. Alex is an expert in finding what makes people light up when they walk into a room, and has made a living by creating interiors that are unique, warm and inviting. When she isn't arranging flowers or making sure she's found the right loveseat for prospective buyers, she writes about her passion — home design.

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