Making the Best of Vacation Clean Up

The best part about staying in a beach house on vacation? You’re not in a hotel.

The worst part? You usually have to clean the place up before you leave.

Here’s a few tips for how to make this experience as good as possible.

Follow the Leader

Every cleaning effort needs a leader, and that leader should NOT be you. Let someone else delegate chores and be responsible for the finished product. You don’t want your neck on the line when the next houseguests move in and discover a herd of ants feasting on a pile of crushed Cheez-its under the couch.

Start early

Once the clean up process has begun, everyone is looking to see who the last person to get involved is. “Oh look, we’re all cleaning up over here and Nate is still sitting on the couch milking a bowl of soggy Raisin Bran”. Once you’re pegged as the Last Cleaner, there’s nothing you can do to turn the spin around. Your contributions will be tainted by your late start. Make sure you’re one of the initial cleaners…and make sure you point out to everyone who the Last Cleaner is.

Find the easiest job

Hey look, these pillows need to be arranged symmetrically on the couch. I’ll get to that as soon as I’m done arranging these remotes on the end table in ascending order according to the size of their power button.

Keep moving

If you sit down for a break, even for just 30 seconds, that will be the exact moment that someone walks in the room and assumes you’ve been parked on your butt for the last 20 minutes. Think of yourself as a housefly: stop and you’re dead. Just keep buzzing around, regardless of whether you’re actually doing something productive.

Take the trash out

Carrying a trash bag out to the barrel or to the curb is a great chore. It’s relatively easy to do and once your outside you can mill around for a few minutes and get some fresh air. As long as you don’t pull out a lawn chair and light up a stogie, no one will know you’re catching a quick break.

Out of sight, out of mind

After all, the only reason throw rugs were invented was so we could sweep things under them.

Create messes to clean

Oh no! Someone (me) spilled Skittles on the counter at some point (just now)! Don’t worry everyone, I’ll clean them up (eat them all).

Ask the obligatory “Anything else?”

Whoever is in charge of the clean-up effort (hopefully it’s not you) will have to determine when enough is enough. Keep a close eye on the leader, and once you’ve determined they’re about to call off the dogs, step in and ask “Is there anything else I can do?” If you time it right, they’ll respond with, “No…I think that’s about everything.”

At this point walk away as quickly as you can before they remember that one last thing they’re forgetting.

I know there’s some other great vacation cleaning tips out there.

Feel free to cover anything I missed in the comments.