Monday, December 22, 2008

Ready, Set... Go!

After a snow-covered New England weekend, my husband and I are looking forward to flying to sunny California tomorrow for Christmas and the rest of the week.
Today I am zipping around finishing my gift shopping and packing, and readying the apartment for the week it will spend alone.
To keep myself from going insane today, and from having that "oh no, rotten bananas!" moment when we return home, I compiled a checklist of must-dos before leaving for a trip. All of it is common sense, but common sense I have completely lost in the rush to get out the door to catch a flight.

Before You Go:

Clean out the fridge and kitchen of any produce or perishables that will go bad in your absence. Make sure you get rid of that Chinese Take-Out in the very back.

Unplug electronics you won't be needing. This will save them from damage in the event of an electrical storm, and will also save you money on your bill- a plugged-in microwave or TV uses electricity even when it's not in use.

Water all of your houseplants, and move them out of direct sunlight. They should be fine without another watering for at least a week. Throw out any cut flowers and rinse out the vase- those lovely blooms will be rotting corpses by the time you get back.

Pay your bills that will come due while you are away.

Do your laundry, even if you won't be needing any of it for the trip. Mildew-y towels are only going to get worse if you leave them in a hamper for a week. And while you're at it, do the dishes, too.

Make your bed and put away your clothes. Walking into a clean house or apartment after a long day of travel on your way back will help to take a little of the edge off of the fact that your vacation is over.

Hide your valuables. It's always wise to keep your most precious jewelry and whatnot in a non-obvious place, but it becomes even more important when you will be away from home for any length of time.

Ask a neighbor to take in your mail and newspaper or call and have the post office and paperboy put a hold on them so they don't build up outside, getting damaged and broadcasting your absence to n'er-do-wells.

Leave a key with a trusted friend or neighbor
. It's always good if there is at least one person who can get into your house in the event of an emergency (or if you realize on the way to the airport that you left the tea kettle on the stove).

Lock up (obviously). Make sure you walk around and get all the doors and windows, including those in the bathrooms, and in your basement or attic.

Set your thermostat/heater or air conditioner on very low (in the Winter/Summer), to avoid extreme temperatures in your apartment that can damage plants, electronics, and perishables.

Take out the trash. This is best done right before you walk out the door with your suitcase, so you make sure to get rid of anything that might get (even more) gross or smelly.

Turn out all the lights and make sure anything potentially dangerous (space heaters, curling irons, Christmas tree lights) are also off. If you have one (and are a real trickster), you can also set a timer to have a few lights come on at night.

Enjoy your trip (and let the relaxation begin)!

For a comprehensive packing list, click here. And if you have any tips of your own for leaving for a trip, please feel free to post them in the comments section!

1 comment:

mia said...

I really don't want to burst your bubble, but it's raining and freezing (literally) pack your warm and cuddly things! See you soon!