Plane tickets and road maps burning holes in your pocket?

Ours too. But before you go strapping suitcases to the roof of your car and hitting the road, check off a few easily forgettable, yet essential, items from your list before you check into your hotel.

We know how hard it is to be organized before vacation – family suitcases to pack, keys to leave for the neighbor, mail to take care of…but the just get me to the beach mentality often results in a jaw-dropping return to a home you can hardly recognize.

Returning to toilet bowl rings after room service pampering can be an instant vacation buzz kill. We created a checklist to help our fellow vacationers enjoy a summer getaway and return to a home that is as fresh as they are.


  • Clean out the fridge: No one wants to come home to last week’s lasagna or near death perishables – think, Will I want to eat this in a week? If the answer is no – throw!
  • Coffee pot: All that moisture breeds mold quicker than you’d think. Discard any used coffee filters or coffee grounds. After rinsing out the coffee pot and filter holder, let the machine breath by opening the lid and flipping the coffee pot upside down on a towel.
  • Drains & Disposal: Just because you can’t see the food, doesn’t mean its not rotting away while you are gone. Turn on the faucet and run the disposal to be sure any remnants have passed through. Then, run lemon wedges through the disposal to create a pleasant aroma. If you do not have a disposal, be sure to run the faucet to clear the drains, and pour a cap of vinegar down to rid of any odor-causing residue.
  • Counters & Floors: Run a paper towel sprayed with an all-purpose cleaner over the counters to wipe away any last minute spills. To be sure ants won’t find any treats follow up with a quick floor sweep.
  • Trash & Bins: Turning the air conditioning off when you leave? This one is for you. Take all trash out of the house and put outside. If you missed the bag and have some bottom dwellers, be sure to spray the garbage bin with disinfectant and rinse out until clean. This is feeding grounds for hungry critters.
  • Sink & Dishwasher: Run the dishwasher and unload. To be extra safe, leave the dishwasher lid open to let it dry out. If you do not have a dishwasher, be sure to wash and dry all dishes and put away. Would you want to look at last night’s salmon remains in a week?


  • Toilet: If your toilet is looking less than shiny already, take a minute to spruce it up. Remember to leave the toilet seat up – when the air is turned off, moisture will build toilet rings faster and harbor mold faster than you can say, “Gross!”
  • Shower Curtain: Pull the shower curtain straight. Pushing it to the side encourages mold to build in crevices that can’t dry properly.


  • Make the bed: If you are really on a roll, put on clean bed sheets. Returning home from vacation is hard enough – you don’t need to be greeted by a wad of sheets and pillows as well.
  • Glasses: Do you keep a set of drinking glasses and tea cups on your bedside table? Take them into the kitchen to avoid water marks and moldy tea bags.

It’s easy to neglect nagging details when the sea or mountains or forest or family reunion calls your name, but nobody wants to come home to a smelly, messy house. Organize the entrance table before you go to avoid coming home to clutter. If someone is watching your home, make sure they have a designated basket or bin for the mail. The little things go a long way.

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