Etiquette at Home: Leaving a Space as You Found It

As my home swap draws to a close, I'm not only trying to cram in those last things I want to experience, I'm also considering what I have to do to leave the space as I found it, if not better.

Whether I've swapped my home, rented it out through a service like AirBNB or have just offered it to friends for the weekend, I've discovered that coming home to find the place a mess — dirty sheets and towels, half-used bars of soap, overflowing wastebaskets, moldy food in the refrigerator — is the fastest way to kill my good trip glow. So, while it may not be the most fun part of my trip, I'll take an hour or so during all the craziness of my last few days to do the basics: vacuum the rugs, mop the floor, wipe out the sinks, showers and tubs, wash the linens, make the bed, dust. I know how I'd like my home to be when I walk into it — fresh and clean, ready for me to jump into the shower and crawl into bed after ordering take out food, leaving the unpacking for the next day. Plus, it feels like leaving someone else's home that same way is good karma.

Image: Leela Cyd Ross from Laura's Mid-Century Melrose Place