I’m less than 24 hours away from a trip to Colorado to go white water rafting for my 30th birthday. So these things are definitely on my mind. I’m notorious for NOT doing these things then coming home to a hot mess of a house. So it felt appropriate to write this blog post today to encourage myself to do these things, and encourage you to do them as well.

1. Change your sheets and make your bed

I am not one of those make-your-bed every day kind of people. Quite possibly the exact opposite. But nothing is better than coming home to clean sheets and a clean bed. I often will change the sheets the night before our trip so it’s easy to remake it in the morning of travel. That way it’s flop-in worthy upon return.

2. Empty the fridge

Throw out the leftover pizza and anything that will expire before you return. No one wants to deal with spoiled milk after extensive travel. Tidy up the fridge so you can easy do a grocery shop upon your return.

3. Water your plants

They’ll die in your absence. If you’re gone for an extended amount of time, enlist a friend to come water them once a week. When Alex and I lived a month in Hawaii, we brought all our plants into one room with a good window. It made it easier for my mom to water them for us.

4. Prepare your pets

If you have pets I’m sure you’re already preparing them for travel. This particular trip we’re going on is for six days, so I’ve set up a friend to come feed our cats once a day and to change the litter box a few times. Shorter, weekend trips I’ll leave out extra food and water for them. Longer trips (like the month-long Hawaii one) I arranged housing for them. Give ’em some extra snuggles while you’re at it.

5. Empty the sink of dishes

This is one that I suck at doing and always, ALWAYS regret when I come home. Even if it’s just putting the dirty dishes into the dishwasher, get them out of your sink. They’ll end up smelling, attracting bugs, and just being a gross welcome home present to yourself.

6. Set your thermostat

Turn your thermostat up or down based on the time of year while you’re away. It’ll save money and you won’t be heating or cooling an empty house.

7. Clean off your counters

Toss out the junk mail pile and put things away. You’ll feel amazing coming home to a nice space.

8. Prepare your mail/lawn maintenance

Depending on the length of your trip you’ll want to hold your mail or have someone collect it for you. If you have a lawn, ask a neighbor or a friend to mow it for you if possible.

9. Get your laundry in a good position

I’m not saying you need to do all of your laundry right before you leave, but get it in a good spot. Meaning don’t leave anything in the wash to rot while you’re gone. I like to make sure everything is in the baskets in the laundry room and nothing in between stages. So if I’ve recently dried something, I’ll make sure it gets folded and put away.

10. Set your out of office alert

The best part of all. Make sure you set an out of office on your email, turn off your computer, and prepare for an awesome work-free vacation.