Checkout Tasks List: Advice for when your Aupair departs

by cv harquail on August 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 aupair stay focused.

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.


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.
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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 the last time we had an au pair depart…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?

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Carla September 14, 2008 at 7:39 pm

my first family forgot to clean the sheets and they gave me dirty sheets … In the first day I noticed and I was disgusted with that.

cvh September 14, 2008 at 9:29 pm

Carla, whar a bummer… whether they just forgot to wash the sheets, or thought the departing au pair had done it, or just didn’t cae, that’s not a fun way to be welcomed. I hope things got better soon after!

Hula Gal August 4, 2009 at 12:31 pm

I just sent this to my departing au pair. We have housecleaners but they came last week so she is on the hook for a lot of the tasks that she’s never had to do before. She is in for a suprise on how much work she never had to do in our house because we paid someone else to do it. It would be nice to think that this would open her eyes to how good she had it here but I know that she’s too immature to understand such things. All she will think is “OMG – I have to clean the toilet, ugh!”

Calif Mom August 4, 2009 at 2:48 pm

No; what she will think is how MEAN you are for making her do it. ;-)

Glad you’re in the denouement, Hula Gal!

HulaDad August 4, 2009 at 4:45 pm

HulaGal’s husband and HD here. Calif Mom, you soooooo nailed it ;-)

AZ HM August 5, 2009 at 7:45 pm

I was just modifying this to give to my outgoing au pair. We, too, have had housekeepers all year and I have a feeling our AP is going to be a little surprised.

Question — do you all think it is fair to ask the AP to clean the car if she didn’t have exclusive use of the car? In other words, the car our AP uses for personal use is sometimes used by host parents during the work day.

Seems minor, but unfortunately our car has taken a beating this year and is looking much worse for the wear (especially when compared to condition when we made the car available for AP use). And our AP has never taken any initiative to clean the car or participate in any maintenance.

Hula Gal August 5, 2009 at 11:31 pm

Well, our car is for the exclusive use of the au pair. But, if we had a car that was primarily used by the au pair and occasionally used by us I would still expect that she clean the car before she departs. I guess it depends on what level of use you had – did the kids get in it? Did you, the kids or the husband eat in there, spill things, get it dirty yourself? If not and the “worse for the wear” was caused by the au pair than absolutely she needs to clean it! I don’t expect the au pair to return the car to us in better condition than when we gave it to her (although that would be nice) but it should be as clean as when we turned it over to her for her use. Our au pair did in fact take the car to get it cleaned so she did comply with this part of the checklist.

CV August 12, 2009 at 7:07 pm

AZ Mom-
I think that it is a bit dicey to ask the AP to do a big cleaning of the shared car. I think it’s okay to ask her/your outgoing ap to take the car to the car wash (if you pay for it, but on her time) and to straighten up maps, cds, etc that she might have used herself or with the kids. I’d let this slide, and then take a different approach with the new AP.
Aks the new AP to clean up the car sometimes, as long as you ALSO make a bit of a show and clean the car sometimes too. Make $ available for the car wash and ask her to take the car on her on duty time to the car wash, just as she might do the laundry. And, if/when she uses the car for a significant personal event (like all day Sat., or carpooling friends to a cluster meeting) asking her to make sure her stuff is cleaned up. With a shared resource, she should take car of the kids mess when she is on duty, her mess all the time, and your mess never. What to do about mess that’s everyone’s? Take turns.
You might also try taking the car to the car wash right when your new AP begins, to show her how, and then making it part ofher training experience to get in the habit pf helping the kids clean their stuff out regularly.

german aupair in michigan August 11, 2009 at 6:59 am

you should do the same list before the new aupair arrives. many host families want the aupair to clean and organize everything in her bedroom before she leaves but they forget to give the new aupair a clean and organized room when she arrives herself. just think about it.

TX Mom August 11, 2009 at 11:37 am

Wow. I have never asked our AP’s to do this much. I just make sure they do the basics (take all their stuff and remove passwords, etc.) I have found that cleaning and preparing for the next AP is a great transition exercise for me (and my daughter.) However, I do have a box in my office of “leftover stuff” from different AP’s. Has anyone had an AP do all this without a grudge?
Re: the car. We set the expectation that they need to keep it neat and every now and then I need to get on the AP (some more than others.) I think some periodic reminding during the year helps. Occasionally, they need to drive it for maintenance (oil change, tires, etc.) But, I try to drive the car occasionally for maintenance too so that 1. I know what condition the car is in but more importantly 2. it reminds the AP that it is NOT “her car.”

Calif Mom August 12, 2009 at 11:45 pm

A simple, super-sticky note on the dash that read “Mom: Remember to empty the car” worked wonders. Seriously, I put it there as a reminder for myself. Then HD and AP started following suit, and the kids now do it, too, taking their own stuff back into the house. With reminders, but not grousing.

We also buy a book of carwash tickets and keep it in the glove box. Love the idea of taking a new AP with you as part of errands/training day. That would demystify the whole process. I’m sure that’s the hurdle for most APs. Mine didn’t know how to pump gas on arrival, either, which I discovered because she was going to full service at the pricey station and I wondered why.

My 2 cents August 13, 2009 at 11:18 am

Car cleaning is addressed in our handbook. It’s basically the commonsense policy that you need to clean up after yourself and will be expected to take it in for oil changes and car washes here and there (we pay). This isn’t any more or less than I would expect for my own kids when the time comes, or from anyone who has free use of the car or is a houseguest.

Of course, this also means that I need to be more attentive to my cleaning too !

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