The Vacation Checklist for Your Home

We just returned from a weekend at a friend's farm on the Eastern Shore. It was bliss, but the smell that greeted us upon returning home was not. I will spare you the gory details, but let it suffice you to know that we did not prepare our home for our weekend getaway, and as a result the carefree attitude re-discovered over the vacation weekend was quickly abandoned. Next time we skip town, we'll be consulting this checklist first... • Empty ALL trashcans and recycling bins (closed windows + stale air + and rotting garbage = bad welcome home)

• Clean out the sink, and wash and put away the dishes (leaving dirty dishes in the sink is an invitation for ants and roaches to have their own vacation while you're away).

• Wash all dirty Laundry, AND empty the washer and dryer (you would not believe how offensive clean laundry can smell after sitting wet in the washer for a day or two...)

• Turn down/turn off the thermostat (unless your home is on danger of extreme weather conditions —pipes freezing and bursting in the winter — leaving the heat or A/C on is a total waste of money and energy).

• Close the curtains (this will keep your home cool while you're away).

• Clean out the fridge

These may seem like obvious points, but we always seem to skip at least one of them. What else should we add to the list to ensure the vacation relaxation lasts beyond re-entering the front door?

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(Images: 1 (clockwise from top left): All Sorts Blog, Hill Gate Reads, I Heart Luxe, via Macon County Conservation 2: Tom Scheerer)

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