I thought that with all the trade shows and all the events going on, and all the traveling we’ve been doing within the design community – to Los Angeles, London and High Point, North Carolina – where Leslie’s headed any day now – that I might talk about coming home. While it’s always fun to travel and get away, at the end of the journey I’m always ready to come home.
Before I go away for any length of time I take care to get my house in order, as most people do. I put lights on timers, stop newspapers and mail from being delivered, unplug all non-essential appliances, televisions, computers, etc, make sure windows and doors are locked and alert close friends and neighbors to tell them of my absence. I usually enlist the aid of a friend to check in on my home to make sure I don’t find any unwanted surprises upon my arrival. Most of us do this, but I also make sure that my home is ready for me – and my return.
The days before I leave for any significant amount of time are usually days filled with frenzy and a flurry of activity as I tie up loose ends and make sure I have whatever I will need to bring with me on my trip. I also make sure that my home is absolutely perfect, if not better than perfect. Who wants to come home to a mess and a state of disarray?
A day or two before I leave, I change all the sheets and place new towels in the bathrooms. I fluff up all pillows on beds and couches. Beds are perfectly made. I vacuum each room and mop the kitchen and bathroom floors so that they shine! (At the risk of sounding like a commercial I use only my Shark steamer. It’s easier, more efficient, faster and way better than any mop. It also kills more germs than any mop ever will. If you don’t have one of these in your home, you should get one. And then thank me when you do!)
I make sure all counters, sinks and whatnot have been cleaned. I make sure all laundry is done and put away. All children’s toys are put away. I run and empty the dishwasher. There may be a mug or two from the morning’s coffee in the dishwasher but the night before we’ll go out to dinner or have take out on paper plates. I want no mess left behind! I arrange with the garbage collector to come on an off day if I have to. And I take care of my fridge.
My refrigerator is very important. Anything that won’t last until our returned gets given away or tossed. I fill the fridge with fresh milk (make sure the expiry date is not for several days after your return, or get some Parmalat.) I do this because I cannot start my day without coffee and I don’t want to have to run out late at night or at the crack of dawn the following morning to get milk for my coffee. My morning coffee is a ritual for me. It’s more than a cup of coffee, it’s how I ease into the day slowly, carefully, deliberately. This is why it’s essential for me to have my coffee supplies all ready before I even leave for my trip.
I also make sure there’s plenty for the children to eat for breakfast. The freezer has become my best friend. With my morning coffee and the children’s breakfast all taken care of I know I can rest easily. Some of you may want to have a bottle or two of wine chilled and ready for your arrival as well.
There’s nothing like coming back to a sparkling and well organized house. We have enough to catch up on once we return , that it’s always nice knowing the house has been taken care of. It’s one thing to come home to your bed, it’s another altogether to come home to your bed with fresh sheets. If only I could figure out how to place some fresh flowers by my bed and keep them fresh for my return…
Re-entry can often be tough with all the catching up we have to do, so why not make it as welcoming as possible.
What do you do to welcome yourself home after a fairly long trip?
Images via: Wadia Associates, Prettyplumsugar, NJ estates.net, Flickr, Flickr, Zsazsabellagio