The Only Pre-Departure Checklist You’ll Ever Need

I’m heading out of town for most of the next week, and I’ve spent most of the day getting ready. That got me thinking about what I do to make sure I get out the door on time and leave behind a clean apartment when I leave.

I make sure I complete the following checklist each time before I depart, even if its just for a weekend away.

Make two lists. A “To Do” list and a “To Pack” list. Usually I’m cutting things close at the end, and I want to make sure I complete and pack everything. As I think of things throughout the day, I add them to the list.


Ensure the house smells fresh when you return. This means taking out the trash, running the disposal, running the dishwasher and doing the laundry. Taking out the trash is a no-brainer, but I’ve found that doing the laundry is almost as important (especially if you live in a rather small apartment like I do). And think of the disposal as an extension of the trash can. You don’t want food scraps brewing in the water for many days.

Clean out and restock the fridge. Give the refrigerator a once-over. Are there any items that will go south (like milk) while you are gone? Get rid of them. At the same time, make sure your fridge and freezer aren’t completely empty. Have enough food for one meal to prepare when you return home, so you don’t have to go to the grocery store immediately.

Water the plants. I always feel bad when I return to my apartment and I’m greeted by drooping greenery. It’s such a stark manifestation of my forgetfulness.



Do a quick vacuum. Yes, that includes cleaning the hairs off the bathroom floor. No need to go overboard, just remove all the visible dirt. It makes the house feel much cleaner.



Lock the windows and lower the shades. This is always the last thing I do before heading out the door. Close up rooms in the house once you’re done using them, so you aren’t making a mad dash around the house while the cab is waiting outside.

Last but not least, lock the front door!

Is there anything I’ve left off my checklist?

  • Promessi3

    I would add: Advise a friendly neighbor that you’ll be gone so they can keep an eye out for unexpected visitors, package deliveries and pesky solicitor door handle brochures that signal that you are away.

  • Robert

    Under “Ensure the house smells fresh when you return”, remember: flush the toilet(s). In this day of water-conscious stewardship of increasingly scarce resources when we don’t flush every time for any thing, following this “good” habit does increase the chances for an unhappy result upon returning from an extended absence. Adding this one to the “To Do” list reduces the chance of that.

Powered by WordPress | Deadline Theme : An AWESEM design