7 Things You Need to Clean Before You Leave Home for the Holidays

published Nov 17, 2017
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(Image credit: Reagen Taylor)

The holiday season is upon us, and that means you’re probably excitedly gearing up for your holiday travels—whether you’re off to spend quality time with your family, or you’re taking a much-needed vacation somewhere warm. But before you head out the door suitcase in hand, there are a few things at home you should take care of.

As much as you might not want to spend time cleaning when you’re already stressing over all the things you need to remember to do and pack before your holiday travels, take a little time to get these chores done and you’ll thank yourself later. Just think about how nice it’ll be to come home after a long trip to a clean, happy apartment.

Clean Out Your Fridge

Nothing can take the holiday spirit out of you like coming home to a fridge full of smelly, spoiled food that you then have to deal with. Save yourself the trouble and toss any foods that are likely to go bad while you’re gone. You don’t have to do a full fridge deep clean, but a quick—but thorough—check of all the expiration dates and assessment of any produce you have is absolutely worth it.

Wipe Down the Kitchen

Again, you don’t need to do a full deep clean, but a neat and clean kitchen is just a nice thing to come home to. You won’t have the stress of dealing with it when you come back, you’ll avoid any potentially weird odors, and you might even be more motivated to cook than you would to order takeout upon your return (no judgment if you do order takeout though).

Deal with Trash and Dishes

These are pretty obvious must-dos, but be sure to take out all the trash from every room in your home—not just the garbage in the kitchen. And as far as dishes go, don’t leave any in the sink. If you have a dishwasher, check to make sure there aren’t any dishes in it before you leave, and run any dirty dishes through a cycle and put them away.

Clean the Bathroom

Because, much like the kitchen, it’s nice to come home to a clean bathroom. (Especially when you walk out from behind the curtain of that first post-travel shower.) No need to go into full-on deep cleaning mode, just clear off the counter, wipe down the sink and the shower and do a quick toilet scrub.

Do Your Laundry

Laundry is, let’s face it, not the most fun task in the world—especially if you don’t have a washer or dryer in your apartment or building and have to go to a laundromat to do it. But as much as you might hate doing it before you leave, think about how much more you’ll hate it when you get back, and you have even more laundry from your suitcase to add to the pile. Do it now, and you’ll come home to a closet full of clean clothes—and much less stress.

(Image credit: Reagen Taylor)

Make Your Bed

Of all the things on this list, this one is likely the one you’ll thank yourself for the most—at least initially. After a long day of return traveling, the first thing I always want to do is just sprawl out on my bed and revel in the fact that I’m back in my own home. Do yourself a favor and get your bed ready with fresh bedding and well-fluffed pillows so that when you finally get home, you can truly relax.

Bring in Your Plants

Okay, so this isn’t necessarily a cleaning task, but you should still do it before you leave. If you haven’t already gotten your plants situated for winter (maybe it hasn’t gotten cold enough where you live yet) be sure to check what the weather will be like while you’re gone and bring your plants in if need be or prep them accordingly.