- Clean the house - there's nothing worse than coming home to a cluttered and dirty home. It doesn't have to be spotless, but do some basic maintenance.
- Clean sheets - after a tiring trip home, there will be nothing nicer than slipping into fresh sheets.
- Dinner and Snacks - your fridge is going to be mostly empty, but be sure to leave yourself something that you can make for dinner upon your return. The last thing you want to realize after a long trip is that everyone is starving and there's no food in the house. Pasta with jarred sauce or a frozen pizza is just perfect.
- Stop the mail - go to the USPS website and put in the dates for when you want your mail to stop and what day you'd like to have it all delivered.
- Arrange for pet sitters
- Alert your neighbors - if you're fortunate enough to have neighbors that you're friendly with, it's always a good idea to let them know that you'll be gone. This way they won't assume your nephew is playing hide and go seek when they see that guy crawling through your window.
- Take out all garbage and compost. Don't forget the coffee filter from the coffee pot - that baby will be nice and moldy upon your return.
- In the spirit of saving the best for last, this next trick has revolutionized by life. No, really. I read this on the Fly Lady website and knew that it just might be the solution to an extremely long-standing problem. For YEARS now, every time we left town for the weekend, we would return and the house would always smell weird. And not good-weird. Not in any way charmingly-weird. Bad, in fact. And I have finally solved the problem and it makes me so damned happy. Here it is - before you leave, pour a little bit of Pine Sol or Mr. Clean into your toilet, sink drains, and shower drains. Apparently that weird smell is the smell of stagnant water and doing that eliminates it!! And. It's. TRUE! I can't tell you how nice it's been to come home and smell fresh air with a hint of vanilla from the wall air freshener and not undefinable ickiness.