You’re busy planning your vacation – packing, putting stops on your mail and newspapers, double checking your itinerary… There’s always so much to do before a getaway – but if you take just a little extra time to make a few preparations before you leave, coming home will be a thing of joy – not an adjustment to real life.
Plan a few meals in advance – go for the kind that can be prepared most
of the way, frozen and then require only minimal preparation at mealtime (like
a lasagna you can just pop frozen right into the oven). You’ll be glad to have
a few nights of dinners ready when you come home.
Go grocery shopping – stock your pantry with enough to get you through a
few days after you get home… put the bread in the freezer, buy organic or
lactose free milk (the expiration dates on these are usually months ahead as
long as they haven’t been opened), Apples keep well in the crisper drawer,
so does un opened bagged lettuce. Just look for things that are either
non-perishable or have expiration dates after your return (and don’t open them
before you go – the expiration dates are for unopened packages).
Take out all the trash and recycling – Ask a neighbor if they can move
the can to the curb & back again on trash day. Neighbors are usually happy
to do this and you can do the same for them when they’re gone.
Wash it up – make sure all of the laundry is done! There’s nothing worse
than coming home to a musty-moldy smell coming from the washroom.
Design an outfit – If you’ll be coming home and going back to work the
next day, pick our your outfit for the work day (and your kids outfits) put
everything together in a special spot – one less thing for a vacation-mode mind
to think about. It will also keep you from having to do laundry the night you
get home so you’ll have something to wear.
Do a quick change – Make up the beds with fresh sheets and hang fresh
towels in the bathroom. You’ll feel like you’re still at your hotel when you
Let your plants go for a swim – Place your houseplants in the bathtub (preferably
not one you’ll need as soon as you get home) and fill with an inch or so of
water. The plants will be able to soak up the water they need and will still be
green & healthy when you return.
Set your email for vacation mode – most email programs allow you to set
an auto respond that let your clients or family know you won’t be able to
answer your emails. Choose a return date a few days after your return so you
don’t feel pressured to go through 10,000 emails the day you come home.
Make a clean sweep – throw away anything in your refrigerator that will
expire before your return and also toss all leftovers (they’ll be truly nasty –
and dangerous – by the time you get home).
While you’re on vacation make your return easier by:
Sorting your dirty laundry – use the laundry bags provided by your hotel
(they never leave enough, don’t be afraid to leave a note [in a place
they’ll surely see it, like the bathroom faucet] asking for more). Sort
your dirties as you would at home… dark, light, bleach (however you sort). This
will make it infinitely easier to do laundry when you return – simply dump the
bag into the washer! It’s also a great idea to pre-treat your stains while
you’re gone. (I always take a Spray & Wash Stain Stick with me and
pre-treat the stains on clothes as the kids take them off, before I toss them
into their dirty clothes bag) This will save lots of time going through the
clothes and finding what needs pre-treating before you wash.
Pack most important things last – be sure to save anything you might
need when you get home (makeup, your jacket, slippers) on the top layer in your
suitcase. That way you won’t have to rummage through the suitcase and have
things strewn everywhere when you get home.
Lastly, when you do get home:
Be sure to unpack you suitcases promptly. Yes, there are people who have
their suitcases cleaned out and put away the next day… but if you’re like me,
you do the laundry and the rest of the stuff can sit there for days (I find it
totally irritating and don’t know why I leave it sit – habit, I guess). Then
there are others who (like the stinky cheese suitcase episode in “Everybody
Loves Raymond”) can let their suitcases sit for weeks or months. Trust me, your
household will run more smoothly with the suitcases empty and put away where
Vacations are fun and relaxing. You can sightsee, play, or simply do nothing at
Going on vacation is something we look forward to all year and… coming home is
something we dread all vacation long. This year, take a little time to plan
ahead for your return and your “return to the real world” headache will be