- Take out the trash and recycling. This one is obvious: don't leave a scrap of trash in your kitchen. Take it all out and put in a fresh bag. In fact, this is a good time to clean out your trash and recycling containers.
- Deal with your compost. If you compost indoors, this is a good time to dump it all outdoors. Or just make sure that any scraps in the refrigerator or in your compost pail are disposed of before you leave.
- Dispose of food that will spoil. Hopefully you've been working on this for a few days before you leave; eat up any leftovers in the fridge, and eat or cook things that will spoil like soft cheeses, dairy, and produce. Some perishables might last just fine; check the expiration dates on your yogurt, eggs, and butter.
- Do the dishes! We love coming home to a clean kitchen. Sometimes a plate or two will get left in the sink when we race off to the airport, but generally we always wash the dishes before leaving.
- Do an extra wipe-down of the fridge and countertops. When you leave home for awhile, especially if it's summertime and the air conditioning will be off while you're away, it's a prime time for odors and germs to proliferate in the kitchen. We try to leave an extra-clean space behind by wiping down the countertops and fridge with cleaner before leaving.
That's our little pre-travel routine in the kitchen. What's yours? Do you have any must-do tasks before leaving for a trip?