Traveling during the holidays can be complicated, and the thought of leaving your home may make you anxious. In fact, ensuring you’ve prepared your house for your departure on top of gift shopping, cooking, and packing can be downright exhausting.
Not sure you’ve remembered everything? Here’s a list I’ve compiled of 10 ways to prep your home for your absence. I’ve even included a printable version at the end of this post for your final walkthrough!
Make it Look Like Somebody’s Home
Have someone keep an eye on your house
Whether it’s a friend, family member, or neighbor, let someone know you will be gone. It’s best to give them a key so they can take care of the little things that will give the appearance that someone is home. This can include retrieving your mail, moving your trash cans to and from the curb, and watering plants. Doing so can also be helpful in the event of snowfall or a rainstorm so they can maintain your lawn and sidewalks to avoid fines (or lawsuits).
Install light timers and floodlights
There’s nothing more tempting for potential burglars than a constantly dark, empty house. I recommend putting 1-2 lights on a timer to make it look like someone is home. Or, you can try these handy smart plugs that connect to your phone so you can control the lights while you’re away.
Take All Necessary Plumbing and Electric Precautions
Unplug all appliances in your home and adjust your thermostat
It’s wise to unplug all electrical appliances in your house that will not be in use while you’re away. As a result, you save a bit on your energy bill and lower your risk of a fire during your travels. To save even more money, adjust your thermostat to an “energy saver” mode and avoid heating an empty house. A Nest can even help you control your home’s temperature from afar.
Protect your water pipes and turn off your main supply
Consider turning off your main water supply to prevent frozen or burst pipes when you return. You may also want to leave a faucet in your basement or bathroom running just slightly. That way, water is continually moving through your pipes and drawn out of your lines.
Prepare Your Home for Your Return
Clean the house and finish all laundry
It’s never fun to come home to a dirty house, so try to tidy up before you leave. Finish all of the laundry in your home to avoid throwing in a load when you come back. Doing so will not only allow you to return from your relaxing vacation to clean living space, but it will also prevent unpleasant smells or critters from settling in.
Clean out your fridge
We’ve all done it: you leave for an extended vacation and forget to remove leftovers from your fridge. Upon returning, you open the refrigerator door and feel the waft of stinky, rotten air as it hits your face and climbs into your nostrils. Do yourself a favor and remove any perishable items from your refrigerator BEFORE you leave.
Make arrangements for your pets
If you have furry friends in your home, make sure you leave them with a kennel or sitter that understands their needs. Write a list of medications, common behaviors, fears, and favorite treats for them so your sitter can provide the best care possible for your pets in your absence. If you use a sitter from Rover, they’ll even send daily photos to let you know your furballs are safe and happy!
Check all locks on doors and windows
Before leaving, make sure you’ve secured all of your windows and all door locks are properly in place. It only takes one unlocked door or cracked open window for someone to sneak in. As previously stated, consider leaving a spare key with someone who can check up on your home.
Check your smoke detectors
Ensure your smoke detectors are working properly in case of an emergency. If your pets are being watched by a sitter in your home, it may be a good idea to change the batteries in your smoke detectors before leaving to avoid that heart-stopping beeping that seems to drive dogs nuts.
Hopefully, you’re feeling more secure about your travels after reading this list. Don’t forget to pick up your PDF version of this list here, and I hope you all have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!