I love coming home to a home that is comfortable, inviting, warm, loving and yet lived in just as most people do, but doing the work to create it into a special environment of lushness’ and luxury takes creativity and well I believe we all deserve this.
Each time our family would go away on a vacation it would take us a few days to get our suit cases packed and what I always hated most was returning home to an unkempt dusty musty house that needed cleaning and refreshing. It felt good to be home but I could not help but to feel a little depressed after spending a wonderful vacation in a luscious luxurious hotel room with food service and pampering and fun. And especially after returning from a luxury cruise, back to our home made me feel even much worse. Immediately I was faced with thinking what would be for dinner that night and we always needed to do food shopping the very next day. Not only that I hated the mounds of laundry to be done once unpacking of the suit cases was started. I always knew it was back to reality and the wonderful vacation was over and I’d think of all the house work that needed to be done.
So I devised a plan to turn it all around by choosing to do a whole lot more before I went on vacation so that when we returned home the house was much more pleasant, cleaner and a glamorous place that I would have virtually no work to do and could relax unwind and recover from jet lag or road lag and be guilt free for at least another few weeks once we reached home. I thought of a way that I could return home without having to do so many things I dreaded and so I sort of reversed things a bit.
So I started doing my spring cleaning a few weeks before our vacation time and other little things that made a big difference to me and my family once we returned home. Since I always loved cleaning my place from the top to the bottom anyway and I figured why not follow a plan to make our place more inviting and relaxed when we returned.
The number one trick was to put fresh clean sheets, mattress covers, blankets and pillows on each bed the night before we left and so in the morning we would take the time to pull back the sheets and blankets before we’d leave so the beds are refreshed when we returned.
So I would plan to spend an entire month before our vacation date to pre-bake family sized meals like lasagna and pre cut it to portion sizes, chicken breast, vegetables, another casserole along with making a crock pot made fresh homemade hearty vegetable soup. I also would fry a package of sausages, bacon and pre-cook a bunch of blueberry and plain waffles and freeze it all.
I made sure clothing laundry was done at least the night before so there would be no laundry to do when I returned and it would be a family effort that the household work is completed. So at a minimum of a two or three days before we leave I would make sure all sheets, blankets, pillows and curtains were laundered all clothes were folded and put away and I would see that the kitchen and bathroom was thoroughly cleaned including the stove and refrigerator and that all floors were mopped and carpets vacuumed and furniture dusted and polished.
We would do a bit of grocery shopping for breakfast foods and lunch foods items like orange juice, apple juice, grape juice, cold cereals, seltzer, bagels, cans of tuna, lunch meats, cheese, bread, crackers and plenty snacks like popcorn, corn chips, chips and sodas and coffee and tea. I guess you say why so much food? Well we would all eat at least three meals a day and I needed it to be enough to last us for at least two weeks after returning from our vacation.
So we would all shower the night before and set our clothes out to be worn. All suitcases finished packing, closed and placed in the car except for the toiletries bag we would pack as we were leaving out the door.
So in the morning before we were are about to leave I’d make two thermoses of hot coffee and tea then clean the coffee pot and pack some sandwiches for our lunches for the road if we were to do long distance driving and we would pack a small cooler full of ice for cold drinks and water with a bag full of snacks and take out the garbage is a must. Some years our family would drive from NYC all the way down south, so we would drive straight thru and not stop at hotels but we would stop at the rest stations and eat and use the rest rooms and be back on the highway and keep it moving.
So the very last thing I would do while on our way out the door in the morning before we left home, is to spot check the house for tidiness and I would put out clean towels for each family member in the bathroom with fresh bars of soaps, body washes and shampoos and a fresh new bathmat on the floor. I would put out bowls of fresh potpourri in each room and open a few air fresheners.
So when our family returned home from vacations we would come back home and open the door to an inviting clean, tidy and fresh smelling home the moment you walked through the doors it was a great improvement. But I would still have to open all the windows for an hour or so then turn on the air conditioners and so we would put our suit cases in the storage room and we didn’t have to start immediately but we would start unpacking leisurely over the next few days because before we left the vacation site we’d laundered all our clothes so I did not have to do laundry upon returning home, so we’d have clean clothes to wear for the next day few days or for at least a week.
It was so nice to come home knowing that all meals were mostly pre cooked meals that I only had to warm up or pop foods in a microwave. All our lunches were easy and ready to prepare and breakfast was a heat and serve thing and the only thing I had to cook was to fry up a couple of eggs and make a fresh pot of coffee.
So I felt the difference upon returning home to a fresh smelling, clean home, it was much better, it was like having an extended vacation because you would find every luxury item all readily available and so we could lay around for another week or so with nothing much to do but just chill. It was so much easier to roll back into normal mode of things because I would be feeling either jet lag or road tiredness and since everything was done before our vacation I had time to recover and not feel overwhelmed, sad nor guilty about all the work that I was letting go undone. There was nothing to do! No food shopping, no cooking, no laundry, no house cleaning, no nothing. What a great plan and it worked for me for a while.
The only thing we had to do when we returned was have to do lite housework like making up the beds daily, unpacking and taking out the garbage and it lasted for a whole two weeks or more. And so we used lots of paper plates, cups and plastic forks and knives for the first few days. There wasn’t much to do for weeks so it felt like an extended vacation and so I enjoyed myself immensely for a while.