Ask a Clean Person: The Pre-Vacation Clean-Up

Your Clean Person is headed on vacaaaation. While I’m away, The Lady Edith and The Great Goddess Janie will post two versions of Ask a Clean Person Retrospective. The first will be done in chronological order in a sort of Behind the Bleachie way; be on the lookout for the stories behind the column. The following week will tackle the archives by topic, so that those of you who haven’t been around since the beginning can catch up on the tips and tricks we’ve already taken on. Be sure to take a gander at the comments — one of the best thing about this column is the shared wisdom to be found among the commentariette.

But before I go, how about a checklist of the things that need to be done in the home before leaving it idle for some time? Sure thing! So here’s your pre-vacation clean-up routine:

The Must-Dos:

  • Wash, dry, and put away all dirty dishes.
  • Wipe down kitchen counters and sweep the floors to make sure you’re not accidentally leaving around any potential critter-bait.
  • Open the refrigerator. If you’ll be gone for more than a week, throw everything remotely perishable out. If your trip takes you out of town for less than a week, use your best judgment about tossing stuff. Produce should mostly go. Butter, eggs, cheese, that will be fine. Milk is dicey — I wouldn’t want to drink five-day-old open milk, but I’m generally skeevy about milk anyway, so you do what works best for your and your particular neuroses.
  • Take out the trash and the recycling. This includes emptying any wastebins scattered about the house.

The Nice-To-Dos:

  • Change the bed linens. Won’t it be nice to come home from a wearying day (or days) of travel and be able to fall into a freshly made bed? Yes, yes it will be. Treat yourself to that. Similarly, make sure you have clean towels for that hot shower you’re going to take the minute you walk in, because eew eew eew travel sludge eew.
  • If you have odor issues with your mattress and/or pillows, you might want to consider stripping your bed and leaving it unsheeted while you’re away to let it air out. If you go this route, do yourself a favor and leave fresh sheets and pillowcases folded at the foot of your bed, so that when you come home exhausted and ready to hit the hay you can make that bed up as fast as possible.
  • Put away all your clean clothes, and place anything dirty in your laundry bin. When you get home with a suitcase full of dirty underpants and that skirt you didn’t end up wearing and 30 new pairs of Havaianas, it will be a lot easier to unpack and cope if there aren’t clothes strewn all about the place.
  • Give the bathroom — especially the shower — a once over before you go. Again, it will be nice to come home to a clean bathroom.

And with that, my little bleach bunnies, I’m off to commune with the spirit of Hestia atop a Mexican mountain.

Oh wait! Before I split for the airport, one last Occupy Wall Street PSA! The General Assembly is looking for volunteers to provide laundry and shower services to the OWSers. If you’re willing and able to offer one or both, please do! I’ve signed up to help out with laundry, because duh, OxiClean; let us know what you go in for! This is specific to New York, but I’m sure other cities have similar outreach plans — if you know of them, please tell us in the comments.

Jolie Kerr is not paid to endorse any of the products mentioned in this column, but she sure would be very happy to accept any free samples the manufacturers care to send her way! Are you looking for a green alternative to the suggestions found here? Because we’ve got some! More importantly: Is anything you own dirty?

Photo by ppart, via Shutterstock