Checkout Task List: Back by popular demand

by cv harquail on August 26, 2009

(Several readers have asked to see this list again… turns out it’s been hard to find, probably I need to use more & better tags. Until the rainy day when I get to play with the folksonomy, here’s the Checkout Task List! originally posted Aug 25, 2008)

checklist

When your aupair is getting ready to leave for home or for ‘her next adventure’, there is a confusing array of tasks for her to attend to. Here is a partial list of tasks — tasks related to the home and the kids– that might help you and your departing au
pair stay focused.

Bedroom

    Remove sheets from the bed.
    Leave the comforter and decorative pillows on the bed, no need to wash these.
    Spread the bad with the comforter and pillows, but without sheets.
    Wash all the sheets, fold them very neatly, and put them in the closet.
    Remove any decorations from the walls, remove any adhesive tape left behind.
    Vacuum the entire room carefully, including under the bed, under and behind other furniture, and the corners of the ceilings. Lookout for spiderwebs.
    Empty out the drawers completely, vacuum them inside if they’re still dusty.
    Empty out the closet, and return all hangers neatly to the closet rod.
    Wash the mirror and glass table tops with the blue spray glass cleaner to get them completely clean.
    Please do not leave anything behind in your room for the next aupair unless you check with me first.

Bathroom

    Wash, dry, and fold all the towels and all the bath rugs.
    Put the towels and drugs in a neat stack in the closet in the bedroom closet.
    Clear all of your toiletries and beauty products from the cabinet and the cupboard.
    Wash the mirror with glass cleaner.
    Wipe down the inside of the medicine cabinet, especially the plastic shelves.
    Scrub the toilet and the bathtub with cleanser.
    Use the vacuum cleaner to vacuum the entire floor, especially under the bathtub and in the corners. Pay special attention to getting up from the floor any bits of dust and hair.

Electronics
Remove any of your files and discs from the laptop computer.

    Be sure to check the area around the computer for any of your small electronic items and their adapter cords — you don’t want to leave anything behind by mistake.
    Turn the laptop computer and monitor completely off.
    Make sure you take any of your DVDs from the area around the television.
    Turn off the television completely.
    Put away any DVDs that you might have borrowed from the family.

Telephone

    Change the outgoing voicemail message on your house phone and also on the cell phone, giving someone a telephone number or e-mail address where you can be contacted.
    Erase any voicemail messages and contacts information from the telephone.
    Remove your name from the cell phone welcome screen.
    If you have changed any of the voicemail passwords, return those passwords to the original numbers.

Other items: mail, telephone messages on the house phone, library books, library card, videos, random stuff

    Please leave us a street address where your mail can be forwarded if any pieces if anything is delivered here after you leave.
    Go to the post office and fill out a card they are so that the post office can automatically forward your mail to your new street address.
    Please leave us a telephone number that we can share with anyone who calls trying to reach you.
    Be sure to let your bank know that your address is changed, you don’t want to miss any important documents.
    If you have any outstanding library books, please return these to the library.
    If you have any videos rented from Blockbuster, return these videos
    If you have a family blockbuster card, gather this up.
    Please bring down the aupair notebook, and any other parenting books or information we might have given you.
    If you have any car keys, pool tags, bike lock keys, etc. please gather these up.

Car

    Take the car to a car wash and have it cleaned fully inside and out.
    Check all of the compartments in the car for your belongings.
    Fill the tank completely with gas.
    Check to make sure that the insurance documents and maps are put away neatly in the car glove box.

(This returns the car to the same really nice condition in which you received it, and makes things nice for the next au pair.)

Finishing up your au pair responsibilities

You should leave all of the kids” things that you are responsible for in neat and tidy order. The idea here is to leave everything ready for the next aupair when she arrives later this week.

Laundry

    Finish washing the kids’ laundry, fold it and put away.
    Check the laundry room for any random pieces of kids’ laundry, put it away.
    Check the laundry room for any of the kids’ ironing, finish that up, put it away.
    Be sure to check the laundry room for your clothing — it’s easy to leave something behind on the drying rack or in one of the laundry baskets.

Kids’ bedroom

    Put fresh sheets on the kids’ beds.
    Wash the old sheets, fold them neatly, and put them away in the linen closet.
    Tidy up the girls’ room.

Other areas
In all of the places around the house that the aupair is responsible for keeping tidy, gather all library books, laundry, shoes, etc., and cookies away wherever they go. Please leave these areas very neat.

For the Host Parent(s)

Cleaning supplies:
Make sure that you give your aupair all the supplies she might need to get her room clean.

Offer her a few boxes, tote bags, etc. in which she can pack extra stuff.

Have any duct tape? She might need that too.

Paperwork
Be ready to complete the paperwork that closes out your aupair’s year. (Our agency gives us a form for this.) The worksheet helps calculate how much money you might owe your aupair for education expenses and vacation day(s). It also reminds you to check to see if there are any outstanding telephone charges that the aupair may be responsible for.

[I sketched out this list when time we had an au pair depart abruptly…for a rematch… so I was not going to cut her any slack. While it’s specific to my house and the things that drive me nuts (e.g., au pair leaving without telling me the voicemail password…), you can of course modify it to fit your needs. As always, your mileage may vary.]

checklist funny guy

Can you think of anything else that should be added to this list?

{ 18 comments }

Daniele August 27, 2009 at 10:18 am

I agree with the list I just have some questions:

Is it really responsability of the au pair to pay for teh car wash and for the GAs to the next au pair?

I guess it depends on how things are with your host family and how you guys deal with the gas and the cleaning.

(cv: Danielle, we give our au pair a freshly cleaned and tuned up car with a full tank of gas and a tidy, empty trunk. We ask her to ‘return it’ to us in the same condition she got it in (minus basic wear and tear). One of our ap’s departed for home, leaving her roller blades and 10 pairs of off-season shoes in the trunk of the car. …. ?

PA au pair mom August 27, 2009 at 10:27 am

I plan to give my au pair the money for the car wash and vaccuuming. I will also give her the weekly amount we agreed to for gas. She is asked to leave the car with a full tank, so if she has used more than what my money covers, I expect her to contribute the rest to fill it.

Not sure what other host families do though.

Southern Host Mom August 27, 2009 at 10:47 am

While I’m not sure we would expect our departing Au Pair to pay to fill the Au Pair car with a full tank of gas (half a tank would be fine by me), we learned a valuable lesson when our second Au Pair left only fumes in the car. My husband was afraid the car wouldn’t even make it to the gas station! Another valuable lesson was learned when a well-intentioned departing Au Pair left old magazines, stationery items, half-used toiletries, etc., for her replacement. This set the stage for a whole year of “clutter collection.” As suggested in this blog entry, starting with a completely clean and cleared out room (much like a hotel), looks nicer and is a much better plan in the long run!

Calif Mom August 27, 2009 at 10:50 am

Also make sure old versions of your family’s handbook is not passed along, too! We ran into that one…

PA au pair mom August 27, 2009 at 11:00 am

we helped our AP bag up things that she wasn’t able, or didn’t want, to take back to Germany. Then we took her to the rescue mission so she could donate it. She is leaving behind some parenting magazines, DVD’s and books for the new au pair…she asked our permission first.

we only have one day in between our AP’s so we need things to get into good shape quickly.

Darthastewart August 27, 2009 at 2:36 pm

We’ve decided that we will no longer have any overlap between the au-pairs. that will give us a chance to make absolutely certain the room is completely clean, everything is washed, and stuff that is showing signs of wear and tear is replaced. – I’ve noticed that a number of things have just disappeared over the years that should be in the room (cd player, toothbrush holder, etc…) I think that having some down time in between will enable us to do that job a bit better.

Anonymous August 28, 2009 at 12:20 pm

I love the idea of encouraging the aupair to donate some of the clothes and shoes she doesn’t want to Goodwill or the Salvation Army. What a fine idea !

PA au pair mom August 28, 2009 at 12:26 pm

I also made a specific list of things in her room/bathroom that are NOT to be taken when she leaves…hairdryer, comforter, etc. I figured it would help with any last minute confusion.

Busy Mom August 28, 2009 at 7:59 pm

I modified this list to use for my last au pair. I asked her to leave the sheets & towels in the laundry room to be washed because she wouldn’t have had time to wash them on her last day.

anonymous August 30, 2009 at 4:23 pm

Thank you for saying that Busy Mom. I guess sometimes, if you’re lucky, your au pair will have time to complete this whole list before she leaves. But realistically I think the list is a little too demanding. It’s great that everything is so organized and I understand that you don’t want your au pair to leave all her crap at your house and that you want her room to be in order.

However, I think that asking the au pair to fill up the whole tank of gas and get the car washed on her own dime before she leaves is kind of ridiculous…as is making sure everything else in the house is perfect before she departs. Leaving the country and packing up all your stuff is time consuming and very stressful (for me, anyway). I would guess that the au pair is already stressed enough as it is without having a bunch of added responsibility for her last few days. Now, it’s a different story if you give her a few days (of the childcare component of the job) off before leaving– then she will probably have extra time to do all of this. Just keep in mind that she is going to be busy packing and trying to say goodbye to all of her friends before leaving!!

PA au pair mom August 30, 2009 at 6:40 pm

My list is not nearly as extensive as the one listed above. We have a cleaner who cleans the au pair’s room and bathroom regularly. Most of my checklist has to do with cleaning out, including vaccuuming the car, making sure she doesn’t leave things behind, straightening up her room, closing her bank account and other last minute issues like cell phone and car keys.

I sent my checklist to her by email 3 weeks ago (she’s leaving thursday). I gave her a chance to read it and we reviewed it together. I advised her not to wait until the last minute. So far, she has almost everything on it completed. Only giving back the cell phone and keys is left on the list.

NewHostMomtoBe October 23, 2009 at 12:56 am

I think this list is actually helpful. I think as a new host mom it will be easier to remember the things that need to be done before the AP leaves and a new one arrives. I am making a note of these things to start off with {remember to write down the old password for the phone/computer/etc so that AP can change them back before she leaves}. I also don’t think it is wrong to have AP fill up the gas tank if she was the one that ran it out.
I think giving the list 3/4 weeks ahead of time is plenty of time to get everything figured out and done.
I think we may schedule some off days {maybe the last 2 or 3 before she leaves so that she can say her goodbyes, pack, and get things mailed off}. I hate to hurry and pack, so I don’t think I will do that to the AP. Well, unless I REALLY want her gone. lol Just joking. :)

Should be working January 28, 2010 at 5:42 pm

I spent last night brushing the departed AP’s HAIR out of the carpet in that bedroom for over an hour. So much, and so deep in there, that a vacuum wouldn’t work. Wads and wads–she used hair extensions, which will from now on be forbidden in our house. Then my husband brought in a rented steam-cleaner and did the carpet, removing most of the several makeup stains and g-d-knows-what stains. Talk about steamed, *I* am steamed at spending all this time and money when she should have cleaned it all herself.

::off to add another page to my ever-lengthening AP handbook::

NoVA Host Mom January 28, 2010 at 8:36 pm

I found this list to be really helpful in the creation of my Family Handbook (created thanks to this blog as well). Does everything apply to us or work for me? Nope, but it sure does give me a great place to start.

After telling AP1 that all decals and stickies have to be removed from our furniture and the residue must be removed, she left with decals afixed to the mirror. HD spent an hour scraping everything off. I have no idea why she needed to save so many “My Name Is” stickers, and why these seemed to have the strength of Samson to them!

Darthastewart January 28, 2010 at 9:19 pm

Geesh. I’m not looking forward to this! My AP is leaving on Monday, and dh gets to check over her room. I told her she got $200 for it being clean..

Jennifer November 30, 2010 at 2:55 pm

I’m curious if anyone has been in this situation or how you would recommend handling this.

We are leaving the AP program and our LCC is now MIA. Our AP’s year is up Dec 27th but she asked to leave the program early to go home to her country. Her last day with us is Dec 3 (this Friday). She is traveling to CA on Saturday and returning on Dec 12 (the next Sunday). She flies home on Monday (Dec 13).

Okay, she wants the car to go to the airport and to her final class on Monday Dec 13th. She wants to take the cell phone and gps to California. We both work on Monday the 13th so noone will be home for a final checkout. I am totally not okay with this as she’s only been with us 3 1/2 months AND she’s leaving the country. We don’t really know her at all and although I think she would do the right thing I just don’t want to take any chances.

My thoughts are to tell her Dec 3 is it. She can stay Friday night. I will hold back vacation money until my items (phone and GPS) are returned on Sunday and she needs to find another place to stay December 12th. NO CAR. We can’t take her to the airport as I have final exams on Sunday and a state football championship for my son.

Does this seem reasonable?

SotaGal November 30, 2010 at 3:23 pm

I think that seems very reasonable, especially given the short time she has been with you and that she isn’t even finishing out her program year. My guess is that she may not be agreeable to withholding her vaca pay until the end and if that is the case then I would make sure to have your phone and GPS in hand before she leaves. She entered the AP program as an adult therefore solving her own transportation problems when they don’t fit in to your family life is something she should be able to solve.

If you aren’t getting support from your LCC you could also call the main office to find out who is their back up (our LCC notifies us of an alternate contact when she is unavailable) or who her regional director is to help you if needed.

Best of luck!

MommyMia November 30, 2010 at 6:30 pm

I’m with SotaGal. She can purchase a calling card (or give her one as a goodbye gift) that she can use while travelling. Especially if she’s going with or staying with friends or other APs, she’ll be able to borrow a phone and GPS in an emergency. We were almost faced with the same dilemma, although our AP has been here the entire year (extended after completing a year with another family, too) but then her 13th month travel plans changed. It’s so hard for them to “pull the plug” on their electronic link with the world, but they will NOT die if they can’t text/call/email every five minutes.

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