i imagine many of you traveled over the holidays & know the exhausted i-just-want-to-go-to-bed feeling when you finally roll up in the driveway. but you can't. you have to get the luggage out of the car if nothing else. the next morning, if you're like me, you're scrambling through your morning routine because all of your stuff is still packed up & maybe didn't even make it up the stairs! and you don't feel any more up to dealing with it all than you did the night before. and if you're like me, before you know it, three [or more...] sluggish, still-living-out-of-the-suitcase days have passed, & you're starting to run out of clean underwear.
well, i have the remedy for much of this problem. a post-travel clean routine! i got this basic idea from [where else?] flylady.
the routine is broken into three parts: before you leave, when you return, & the day after.
to have a successful post-travel clean routine, you must do some prep work before you depart.
BEFORE YOU LEAVE
[one] make arrangements for your house, mail, & pets.
some people like to have a house sitter depending on how long they're gone or a house/pet sitter duo. we have neighbors & friends who keep an eye on things. keep extra keys & a copy if instructions to use for such occasions.
for xmas we take zorra traveling with us. when we have to leave her behind, our best friends keep her at their house. we keep a bag already packed with metal bowls [they travel better than her usual ceramic ones], food & treat containers, & toys. we just fill the food containers with how much food is needed & add her leash. we take her bag, dog bed, & crate [if needed].
[zorra's ready to go!]
our cats hold down the fort at the casa, & they're pretty self-sufficient. we leave them lots of food & water [most important is lots of water in various rooms]. we have friends check on them & replenish their food & water every couple of days.
whatever you do, just make sure you figure out your pet plans in a timely manner!
[two] make your bed with fresh, clean sheets.
you know that wonderful feeling when you enter a fresh, clean hotel room? that's what you want when you return home. an inviting bed with fresh sheets will make falling into it after a long day's travel all the sweeter & what a reward for completing your travel clean routine!
[three] put ice cube baggie in the freezer.
this may sound strange, but if you ever return to a house that's lost power while you were gone, you'll be thankful! if the ice cube is still in tact when you return, you're all good. if it's melted & refrozen into a blog in the baggie, then you know you need to get rid of your food. trust me, food poisoning is no joke!
[yep, that's blue bell ice cream!]
[four] set thermostat.you can get away with setting your thermostat as low as 50 degrees in the winter & as high as 80 in the summer. however, we don't go lower than 60 when we leave due to potential condensation issues & the cats still being in the house. in the summer, we usually set it at 78.
WHEN YOU RETURN
[one] reset thermostat.
back to our usual 72 degrees year-round.
[two] check the freezer.
if the ice cube is in tact, you can do a happy dance. if it's not, you can deal with the spoiled food later, but at least you'll be prepared to figure something else out for breakfast than cereal & milk!
[three] unpack bags immediately.
this is the hard part. but it's soooooo worth it in the long run. you'll feel so much better in the morning & return to your normal routine quicker. i suggest chucking most of your clothes into the laundry & taking the time to put all of your toiletries in their usual spots.
[four] start a load of laundry.
while you're already piling up your dirty clothes from the suitcase, you might as well get a load a-washing. again, it gets you back to normal routines as soon as possible. just make sure you don't forget to put it in the dryer in the morning!
[boy, do i need to clean my washer...]
THE NEXT DAY
[one] pick up & care for pets.
if you're pets need picking up, you'll obviously want to do this asap. if your furry companions are like ours, they need extra attention when we return. make sure to take the time in all the busyness to give them some love!
[two] go through mail.
we rarely put a stop on our mail, but our friends leave a pile on the kitchen island. it takes me a while to sort through it all, but again, it's worth it to get back to "normal."
[three] continue laundry.keep it going! the sooner it's clean, the happier you'll be, & you won't end up with an empty underwear drawer -- ha!
[four] put away luggage.
i'll post thursday about where & how we store everything for easy travel prep, so check back for ideas & tips then!