Preparing your home before leaving on a trip is just as important as packing your suitcase and getting your travel documents in order. Before you lock the door and rush to the airport, here are 8 essential steps to prepare your home before you travel, to ensure it stays safe while you’re away. And to make sure it’s a welcome oasis once you return from your fabulous adventure.
1. Take out the trash. In the rush to start your holiday, it’s easy to overlook the take-out containers, food scraps or dirty diapers that are in your trash cans. After only a few days of sitting alone in your home and these items are going to funk up your pad and become an unwelcome surprise when you return.
2. Run the garbage disposal. There is no telling what nasty bits of food or vegetable peels may be lurking in your garbage disposal, just waiting for a few days to become a smelly stew. (TIP: Toss in some ice cubes before you run it, to help clear out any hardened chunks of food waste.)
3. Eat up, freeze or dispose of perishable food. A slice of leftover pizza or a once lovely tomato will be unrecognizable after a week or two in your refrigerator or countertop. Clear every perishable or you might be airing out your home for days after you get home.
4. Ask a neighbor to collect the mail or have the US Postal Service hold it while you are away. A pile of mail or packages on your doorstep is a clear sign to criminals that nobody is home. You can schedule a temporary mail hold using the USPS website. As a back up, ask a neighbor to keep an eye out and remove any door hanger advertisements or newspapers that show up on your door while you’re away.
5. Adjust your thermostat. You don’t want to be heating or cooling your home while away, wasting your hard-earned money. An intelligent thermostat, such as the Nest Learning Thermostat, allows you to make adjustments remotely. You can turn the heat or cooling back on upon your arrival at the airport so your home is nice and comfortable when you walk in your front door.
6. Get a light timer. You can automatically activate a lamp inside your home at night using a light timer. This way your home will not be dark and appear uninhabited, which would make it a prime target for thieves.
7. Turn off the main water line to your home and empty the water out of the pipes, if you plan to be away for an extended period. Especially in the winter if temperatures are likely to dip below freezing. You don’t want your pipes bursting while you’re away.
8. Wash your sheets, do a quick vacuum, wipe down the counters and pick up any big messes. Don’t forget to give your house plants a nice drink. After a lovely adventure you want to maintain the carefree holiday glow for as long as possible. A messy house, dead plants and unwelcoming dirty sheets will quickly kill that carefree feeling. Fresh sheets are always a welcome refuge especially after a long flight.
If you have any additional recommendations on how to prepare your home before you travel, please share them!