Going on vacation is something we all look forward to. It’s a time to get away, spend time with family, and explore the world. But, let’s get real here….sometimes – coming home is rough. As fun as vacation is, we’re usually tired when we get home, and the last thing we want to do is come home to a messy house.

We go on a lot of road trips. We always remembered to arrange care for our animals and asked a neighbor/friend to water our garden, but we learned the hard way about a few other things we really should have taken care of before leaving on a trip.

This little checklist can help ensure that the only unpleasant tasks you’ll have to deal with when you get home are unpacking and vacation laundry. The suitcases full of dirty clothes will seem SO much more manageable if you come home to a clean house.

These tasks may not be high on your priority list as you find yourself preparing to leave, but trust me – they’ll be worth it! Have a great trip! (And enjoy your clean house when you get back!)


  • Empty all of your inside trashcans! (This is especially important for food trash and things like diapers! You don’t want to come home to a house that smells like garbage.)


  • Do ALL of your laundry! (You’ll have plenty of “vacation laundry” when you get home. Help yourself out and wash, dry, & fold everything in your hampers before you go!)
    • I cannot stress how important it is to make sure there is NO WET LAUNDRY in your washer, dryer, or hampers. Trust me – you do NOT want to come home to that smell.
    • Insider Tip – If you happen to be going somewhere that has a washer/dryer, use it! If visiting family or renting a house, do a load or two of your vacation laundry while there – then you’ll only need to put it away when you get home! 


  • Contact the post office to have your mail stopped. This can be done online and takes less than a minute. You can select the time frame you want your mail to be held, and whether you want it to be delivered when you get home, or if you’d like to pick it up. Easy peasy.


  • Turn off your thermostat. There’s no sense in paying for your house to be heated/cooled when no one is in it!


  • Clean out the fridge –especially if you (like me) tend to leave containers of leftovers or other things that can spoil (and smell) while you’re away.
    • Make sure to use up your perishables as well! (If you’re going on a road trip, throw your fruits and veggies into a cooler and use them for snacks!)


  • Clean out your coffee pot! If you’ve never had the misfortune of leaving your coffee pot for a week, you may not realize that both the grounds and the coffee in the pot can and will mold. It’s pretty gross – and not something you’ll want to deal with when you get back home!


  • Empty the dishwasher. That first night back, you’ll be wanting to relax – not unload the dishwasher.

It may take a little more planning and preparation before your trip, but coming home to a clean (and not stinky!) house will be well worth the time investment. Enjoy your next trip!