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Travel Week: Prepare for a Relaxing Return Home

There's nothing quite like walking through your front door after a week-long vacation to a messy living room, a basket of dirty laundry, burnt-out light bulbs, and dead houseplants. Oh, wait. Did we mention the sky-high electric bill that comes a few weeks later?

Travel Tips - Prepare Your Home | Image source: / Photographer: Julia Karo

Here are a few ways you can prep your home before you leave, to ensure it's in a totally welcoming state when you return.

Gone for a Week or Less

Empty All Trash Cans

Toss out any and all garbage right before you leave, and replace bins with new liners. For some added freshness, sprinkle a little baking soda in the bottom of each receptacle.

Wash All Laundry

Round up every bit of dirty laundry and get it washed, dried, folded, and put away. You'll be doing more than enough of this on your return home! Take some time to wash your sheets, pillows, and throws, too, so you can sink into a fresh, cozy bed your first night back.

Clean Dishes

Collect all dirtied dishes around your home before you leave and wash what you can. If you own a dishwasher, toss it all in and run a load just before, or as, you leave. Try to leave the sink empty and clean to keep unpleasant smells and insects at bay.

Vacuum, Dust + Mop

The day before, or the day of, departure, do a quick sweep and wipe-down of all floors, tables, and countertops. This will help rid your home of any crumbs, spills, or smells that could attract ants, flies, or mice, and put a stop to any mold growth.

Turn Off + Unplug

Unplug all appliances from their outlets and turn off the A/C or heat in order to save on energy costs while you're away.

Water Plants

The day you leave, water all of your houseplants and, if necessary, place them near a well-lit window.

Gone Longer Than a Week

Stop the Mail

Being gone for longer than a week could result in some major mail overflow. Contact the USPS and have your mail held at their offices until you return home. This is also a great way to prevent identity theft from happening while you're gone.

Replace Light Bulbs + Batteries

You will probably want to leave a light or two on while you're away, or set a couple of lamps to a timer. Take some time to replace the bulbs you plan to leave on if they haven't been replaced in awhile. Also, if your fire alarm batteries haven't been replaced in the last several months, get them updated to ensure they're in working order while you're out of the house and to avoid that annoying "Beep! Beep!" of a dying alarm when you get back.

Get a House-sitter

One of the best things you can do - especially if you have a houseplants, a garden, or pets that need tended to - is ask someone to watch over your home while you're away.

We know this sounds like an awful lot to do before leaving for a vacation - on top of packing, printing off tickets, and more - but your return home will be so much better if you can get as much of the above done as possible, and you'll avoid feeling like you have to get back in the groove the moment you walk through the door.

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