With the summer dwindling, there’s only so much time to screw up your next trip. Here’s a list of what to do before you go on vacation:

Make a list of what to do before you go on vacation.

Remember where you put the list.

Blame other family members for putting the list on the front of the refrigerator rather than on the floor of the bathroom where you had left it.

Empty the dirty dishes from the dishwasher. There’s nothing that says welcome back like a plate of spaghetti sauce residue from early March.

Stop the mail. If you don’t do this, your mailbox will fill up with 37 catalogs, 14 credit card solicitations, nine special offers for subscriptions to Botany Today and seven envelopes filled with coupons for restaurants you’ve never heard of, including three that are already out of business. And on the second day you’re gone, it will be even worse.

Shut the alarm clock off so that it doesn’t start buzzing at 6:35 tomorrow morning and continue buzzing until Nov. 28.

Adjust the programmable thermostat so that when you return, the books in the family room aren’t sweating and begging for water.

Learn how to program the programmable thermostat.

Turn off the panini maker. If you don’t have a panini maker, it’s not too late to buy one.

Put away the milk. You don’t want to leave it on the table. Trust me.

Tell your neighbors you’re going away so that they can make fun of your lawn out in the open and not have to whisper.

Leave a light on in the living room so that your home won’t look abandoned and so potential robbers can find where you put the good stuff.

Make sure you have enough of your anti-gout pills with you so you won’t run out during the middle of your vacation and have to spend half of your vacation looking for a gout store in the middle of a national park campground.

If you’re going to forget anything while you’re packing, and you will forget something, make sure it’s not underwear.

Don’t wait until late the night before to do your packing for the vacation unless you really enjoy looking in your crawl space for where you put the blue suitcase.

If you will be flying somewhere on your vacation, make sure to get to the airport two hours before departure so you can wait three hours.

If you are going by car, check the oil. I have no idea how to do that, but maybe one of your kids will.

Make a list of what to do when you come home.