10 Things To Do Before You Go Home For The Holidays

With Thanksgiving down and the holidays rapidly approaching (we're officially in December — this is not a drill, people!), most of us are gearing up to get away yet again in a matter of weeks. But before you take that hard-earned vacation or slightly dreaded but inevitable family trip, there are a few easy things you can do at home that will make your return something to look forward to.
Turn Off (& Unplug!) Everything
Yes, everything. Plugged-in appliances still drain energy, even when they're turned off. Totally disconnecting before you leave (and, ideally, implementing this behavior on the regular once you return from vacation) will help cut down your electric bill.

Close Your Windows
Partly for security — especially if you're on the ground floor — but also: Weird weather happens. After an awful travel day, you really don't want to unlock your door to find a rain-ravaged apartment. If You Can, Turn Off The Heat
Same thing goes for your AC in the summer months. It'll reduce your energy consumption, though, admittedly, might make for a less than comfortable temp when you return home.
Clear Out Your Fridge
Start by throwing away leftovers, then check your produce and compost anything about to turn. (If you don't compost at home — like most of us — you can keep organic matter in an airtight bag in the freezer, so it's ready to go for your next trip to the community compost, even if that's in a month.) Keep Your Bathroom Clean
Sloppily unpacking your carefully curated vanity mirror shelves and piling the contents into a dopp kit doesn't make for the most relaxing return. Know ahead of time whether or not you have travel-sized shampoo and avoid manically ravaging your entire product arsenal by keeping everything in its place.
Take Out The Trash
It's really important to keep this in mind once you've cleaned out your fridge. It's also just a nice courtesy to future you, who may be arriving with the spoils of travel in tow and in need of space to unpack, unwrap, and try on in peace. Do Your Laundry
You'll obviously need clean underwear for your trip, and it'll be nice to have an empty hamper upon your return where you can just dump all of the week's soiled separates. As someone who once spilled red wine on his white jeans at the onset of a transcontinental flight, I can attest to the validity of this statement. Make Your Bed
What could be better than coming home to your clean, no-rotting-food-in-the-garbage-smells apartment, turning on the heat, and tucking yourself in for the night? Or day. Or whenever, really.
Let A Neighbor Know You'll Be Gone
Or your landlord, if he lives in the street-level bodega of your building. Or your local barista, if you trust her more than your neighbor because you know your neighbor once stole your Ikea catalog. The point is, you want someone to keep an eye on things. You could also install one of these little guys and watch over your abode from your phone! Leave A Meal In The Freezer
If you get home and feel like doing anything other than napping (such as eating, obviously) be sure to leave yourself something to dig into.

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