Planning a trip usually means booking flights, reserving a room, making an itinerary and figuring out what to pack, but make sure you don't forget about one of the most important things about going away — making sure your home is well-taken care of while you are gone! Here is a checklist of some basic things that you can do to ensure that your home is safe and sound while you are away, so that you can keep your mind off your home and on enjoying your trip.
1. Tell your neighbors and/or friends. Inform your neighbors and friends of the dates that you will be gone and ask them to keep an eye out for any suspicious activity around your home. Leave an extra set of keys and contact information with a trusted neighbor or friend. If you will be gone for more than a few days, ask your neighbor or friend to pick up your mail. You can also go to the USPS website to place a “stop” order on mail and newspapers. Consider asking a friend to check in if you have plants that need to be watered.
2. Tidy your kitchen. Clean out your fridge. Dispose of food that will spoil, eat your leftovers and take out the trash and recycling. Any food left in the trash or the sink will spoil and stink up your home, so make sure to do the dishes.
3. Tend to the bathrooms. Sprinkle a little baking soda in toilets and down the sink drains to avoid coming home to the stench of stagnant water dripping.
4. Take safety precautions. If you are concerned about safety, invest in a light switch timer that can turn lights on and off according to a programmed schedule, park a car in your driveway, and leave curtains or blinds exactly as they usually are. Make sure all windows and doors are locked before you leave and double-check that the alarm system is armed, if you have one. It is also a good idea to place any valuables in a locked safe or in a part of your home that is out of plain sight.
5. Pay the bills. This is especially pertinent if you are going to be gone a few weeks. Plan ahead and pay all the bills that will be due while you are away. You shouldn't need to worry about when bills are due while you are on vacation.
6. Conserve energy. Adjust the thermostat so that it saves energy. Make sure all faucets are turned off and no water is dripping. Consider shutting off water lines to washing machines to avoid flooding problems. Make sure all lights of the home are turned off. Double-check to make sure all appliances are turned off and unplug electronics to save on power.
7. Clean the house. Tidy up and clean up the clutter! I love coming back home to a clean house; it makes you appreciate your home that much more and will make unpacking and getting back into the routine that much easier.
(Image credits: Abby Cook)