Leaving Your House Empty: 10 Preparations Before a Long Vacation
So, you have probably done planning and creating your itinerary for your upcoming vacation. You are now so eager to leave all your work and some of your responsibilities behind (although temporarily), as well as unplug and enjoy your much-awaited trip.
You have probably created a list of the stuff that you need for your trip as well.
However, the most important preparation that you probably have to do is to prepare your home before you leave. That way, you will have peace of mind all throughout your holiday knowing that you left everything in order.
Here are the preparations that you need to do before taking a long vacation:
1. Deep cleaning
Now, the last thing that you probably want to happen is to return home after a long and restful holiday only to find out that your house is out of order.
Everything is cluttered and all over the place, there is a foul smell coming from the trash, and the same stench is emitting from the fridge. Yikes!
That’s why you need to make sure that you deep clean everything before you leave. Thoroughly clean your fridge, cabinets, sinks, microwave, dishwasher, and oven to get rid of any leftover food that could easily attract pests and produce foul-smelling odours. Then, wipe these surfaces dry after you clean them.
You might also have to spray insecticide to some vulnerable areas in your home to keep those pests away. Just be mindful of it though, as there is a tendency that if you have pets, they might ingest it as well.
2. Check your refrigerator
Also, make sure that you take a look inside your fridge. Eat or discard away anything that you think might spoil or expire while you’re away.
The last thing that you want is to come home to a fridge that’s full of rotten, foul-smelling food. This also ensures that you come back to a clean and fresh smelling fridge.
If you think that you’ll be going away for extended periods and you have to leave your home unattended, unplug your refrigerator, and keep it open to prevent moulds and mildew from forming.
Additionally, you also have the option to leave a container of baking soda inside the fridge so that it will help absorb any odours.
3. Empty the dishwasher
Place all the dirty dishes in the dishwasher, then make sure to clean it afterwards. Empty it, and leave it open if you can. That way, the stagnant water will evaporate.
4. Unplugging electronics
Unplug all the electronics that you won’t need while you’re away. This includes floor fans, lamps, computers, microwaves, and so on.
Not only does this helps you save money on your next electric bill, but it also reduces the chances of an electrical fire. Also, if there’s a power surge while you’re away, it could fry out some of your electronics, causing them to malfunction.
A surge can even cause your garage door to open, leaving parts of your home vulnerable to poor weather conditions, animals, and even thieves.
You can also choose to unplug your modem and wireless router as long it doesn’t interfere with the security system of your home. Don’t leave out cords lying everywhere, as a pet or house sitter can trip off of it.
5. Water your plants
If you have plants inside your home, do not forget to give them some love by watering them before you leave.
One of the best ways to make sure that they are healthy and well-maintained is to ask a friend or a neighbour to water them for you. You can also leave out detailed lists if you have multiple plants.
You can include in the list the types of plants that you have, as well as their quantity. You should also list down specific care instructions for each one. This ensures that your plants are not under or over watered while you are gone.
Now, if a plant needs to be moved to a much sunnier area, save your friend or neighbour the trouble and put them out before you go, carefully noting it in your directions.
If you do not have someone to look over your them while you are away, you can also use self-watering systems to keep your plants hydrated while on an extended vacation.
6. Take out trash
You do not want the smell of rotten garbage that sat for weeks to greet you once you get in. So to avoid this unpleasant situation from happening, make sure that you take out the trash before heading out the door.
Also, run a cup of vinegar and water in your garbage disposal. Other people recommend placing a little bit of baking soda on toilets and sink drains as well so that the stagnant water there would not stink.
It is also important that you wash the dirty dishes and your coffee pot.
7. Turn the main water supply off
If your trip is a particularly long one, then you might also consider turning off the water supply.
Once you turn it off, make sure that you drain off the pipes with any excess water. To do this, turn on all the faucets until they run dry. Flush out your toilet to clear the water from the tank and bowl.
If it’s winter, place non-toxic plumbing antifreeze in your bowls and tanks as it prevents any remaining water to freeze or crack through your pipes. During the warmer months, ensure you pour in a half cup of bleach to your bowl so that a scum ring wouldn’t form.
If you’re using a boiler system for heating, make sure that you talk to a professional first to ensure that it’s safe to cut off the water. If you have a fire sprinkler system, make sure that you keep the water supply on.
Now, if you don’t want to completely cut off your water supply, you can at least turn off the water supply in your dishwasher and washing machine. That way, you can avoid coming back home with a broken hose or some leaks.
8. Lock up valuables in a safe place
Similarly, you should also ensure that you take the necessary measures to keep your home and valuables safe while you’re on your trip. That’s because there’s only so much that you can pack in your suitcase ‒ even if you purchased it from one of the best luggage brands.
Store your valuable and lock them away in a safety deposit box. Also, make sure that all your burglar and smoke alarms are properly working.
Another good idea is to get in touch with your alarm company’s representative before your trip and inform them that you’ll be gone for quite a long time.
Now, if you have a garage, make sure that you park your car inside and secure it. If you’re planning to park your vehicle at the airport, then you have to make necessary arrangements ahead of time to avoid stress and unnecessary hassles on your trip.
It also helps that you let your friends or neighbours know that you’ll be away as well. Provide them your phone number so that they could reach you anytime something comes up.
9. Lock all entry points
Make sure that everything is locked and secure before you leave. Check the front door, the back door, and the lock between your house and garage. Ensure that your sliding door has its security locks. Also double-check all external entryways in your home.
As much as you can, choose deadbolt locks. Make sure that all your windows are locked as well.
Also, note that garage doors that have electric garage door openers can also be susceptible to thieves just waiting for their chance to get in. So, while you’re away, make sure that you unplug this as well.
Moreover, take off all the valuables that you left in your car. See to it that you inform someone who has access to your home that you’ve turned off the garage door system, and it can only be accessed manually.
10. Hold your deliveries and mail
Another important thing that you need to do is to suspend all your deliveries, for the entire duration that you are away. This is true especially if you are going away for a couple of weeks or months.
Make sure that all your emails are stored in a “keep safe” in the local post office. Most of these mails can hold off for 100 days.
Mail piling up your home will attract potential thieves and burglars because it alerts them that no one is home to receive these emails. Doing this as a vital safety precaution on your part will ensure that you will be keeping your home safe.
Vacations are a time for yourself to destress, relax, and unwind. But if you do not make necessary preparations ahead of time, you will likely end up having a challenging time instead of enjoying yourself.
Do not make the lack of preparation spoil your much-awaited trip.
Hopefully, you can apply these tips so that you can prepare your home before you leave, and you can make sure that you will be having a great time.