What to clean before the wife comes home

As I’m flying across Australia to visit friends, I can’t help but wonder what state the house will be in when I return.

Bit of a back story first: in my previous life as an engineer, I spent 2 months in Ireland on a business trip. I made sure the house was spotless when I left, and told my husband I wanted it in the same state when I returned. (Bossy me…I think we’d been married less than a year then!) I wasn’t completely cruel though – I gave him the number of a friend’s house cleaners, but told him if he called them, then he’d have to schedule them permanently.

Surprise, surprise, that’s how we ended up with house cleaners!

Now that I’m out of the workforce, we no longer have house cleaners, and I don’t want to lose the benefit of my holiday by coming home to a disaster zone, so here’s my wish-list for a clean house.

Guife for the house-sitting husband

Kitchen: dirty dishes in the dishwasher and benches wiped down (Ok, I’ll be reasonable, the odd dish or two on the bench that couldn’t fit in the dishwasher is ok!). Any majors spills on the floor cleaned. Bins not overflowing (even though I know I left the recycling bin in a bad state Smile)

Bonus points for a clean coffee machine, with a full water-tank, empty drip tray and beans in the grinder!

Dining room: sticky messes and crumbs wiped up from the table and the floor. Dishes/packets/wrappers taken to the kitchen. Hint: Try to corral the kids to the table while eating so the mess doesn’t spread (or take the kids outside!).

Living room/playroom: Most of the toys put away (there are photos on the boxes, if you don’t know where something goes – or I’m sure the 3yo will tell you if you put things in the wrong spot). I know it’s not possible to get them all put away as the tricky little monkeys will pull them out again as soon as they see you put them away.

Bathrooms: No obvious spills and drips, blobs of hand-wash on the basin, and yes, I’m going to say it….remove any skid-marks!

Bedrooms: Dirty clothes in the hamper. Umm, that’s all I can really expect!

Laundry: Fold and put away the load of washing you insisted I do the night before I left (and no more should be said about that!).

Children: clean as you go – if not, the mess will spread far and wide.

And lastly: the cordless vacuum cleaner is your friend – use it early, use it often (and please plug it in when you finished!).

So what have I forgotten? What cleaning disasters have you returned to after a holiday?

Note: I wrote this post on the plane interstate, and my husband must have read my mind. The house was pretty clean when I came home – he even did a load of washing after a bed-wetting incident. I think he’s a keeper!


  1. hahahaha. I think my husband would be happy if I did those things when I was at home! Kidding. My kitchen (sometimes) feels like the only room I have control over, so it’s generally spotless. It’s the dining room I have issues with!!! It’s the catch-all, do-all room in the house… and we’re open plan. *wail*

  2. LOL!!! I have never had a holiday away from my family so I would not even know where to begin. Nothing gets done if I am not on top of the household schedule. 🙂

  3. I used to travel a lot for work and remember many a time when I would be in the cab on the way back from the airport and get a text from hubby ‘umm, sorry if the house isn’t clean like you left it’…he always said we should get a cleaning lady and I would say ‘not until you learn to pick up after yourself first’…ah, nagging wife!

    1. It’s amazing how much more motivated you are to pick up stuff before the cleaning lady comes (especially one who moves things around/puts things away so you can’t them again… Oh I miss having a cleaning lady!

  4. I cried when I came home with our baby…I just cried. He’s a bit better now, but it’s been 28 years. 🙂

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