As we gear up for our next camping trip, I have been working my way down the rather long “to-do-before-we-go” list and had to smile when I heard Jarrett start running the vacuum cleaner.
You see, I have this crazy thing that I must do before every camping (or regular road) trip: I clean my house. Over the years, Jarrett has always found this rather comical that in the midst of suitcases, travel bags, and grocery bags he would find me tidying up, sweeping the bedrooms, mopping the floors, and cleaning bathrooms. “Why,” he would ask, “are you cleaning when we are leaving?”
The answer is simple enough: I hate coming home from a vacation or trip to a messy house that needs to be cleaned in the midst of all the unpacking chaos. It’s just sort of a huge let-down after all the relaxation and fun. So early in our marriage I started this little cleaning ritual. To some it probably seems neurotic 🙂 but even Jarrett now admits it is really nice to come home to a tidy home rather than being greeted by all the things that got left undone before the trip.
But cleaning/tidying the house isn’t the only thing we do to get ready for a trip. Here are a few more:
Clean out the frig
In the days leading up to our trips, I try to use up any refrigerated items that are likely to spoil while we are gone. This can sometimes make for interesting, hodgepodge meals! If there’s anything left that can be frozen, I’ll pop it into the freezer. (Leftover veggies can be frozen and then used to make yummy and frugal soups! Ripe fruits and some veggies like spinach or kale can be frozen and used later to make smoothies.) Any food items that can’t be frozen and are likely to spoil get pitched. Then I give the fridge a quick wipe down–because I have a cleaning neurosis, remember. 🙂
Adjust the thermostat
Depending on the season we will either turn the heat down (but keep it on so the pipes don’t freeze) or turn the cool setting up–no need to pay to heat or cool the house if no one is there!
Turn off the water
Our hot water tank is on the fritz and the repairman recommended that we shut off the main water line and put the tank on vacation whenever we are away for a few days. Then in the event the hot water tank starts to leak while we are gone, we won’t come home to a massive mess–and a huge water bill. Since our main water line shut-off valve was rather ancient, we just recently had a plumber come out to install a new one, and the new-style levers are even easier to use. Score!
Install a battery back-up sump pump
Because of the location of our home, the previous owners had to install external and internal french drains plus a sump pump to keep the basement mostly dry. During particularly rainy seasons, the sump pump in our basement is constantly running, and if it were to break or if the power went out, our basement could potentially begin to flood. So shortly after moving into the house we decided to make the big investment in a battery back-up sump pump–and there have been numerous times since then that having the back-up has been a life-saver.
That was especially the case last year when we left on our West trip: Western PA was experiencing a ridiculous amount of rain and the main sump pump was having a hard time keeping up. The back-up pump kept kicking in to help manage the flow of water. Although the back-up pump was able to keep things under control, we still had friends stop by the house while we were gone to make sure everything continued working as it should.
So those are some of the somewhat crazy things we do around here to get ready for our camping trips. What about you? You can leave a comment below. Happy camping!