How to Prepare your Home for Vacation

While we are busy planning our exciting vacations, sometimes we forget about the things at home that need to be prepared. Here is a list of things you can start planning for a couple weeks prior to your departure.

  1. Outside:  Do a cleanup of the outside of your house: store your garbage cans and recycling bins, put away ladders and lawn equipment, rake leaves and mow the grass.  See if you can set up your exterior lights on timers- especially if you have holiday lights. 
  2. Tell a Neighbor:  If you have a neighbor who you know and trust, let them know when you’ll be gone and ask them to keep an eye on your house. 
  3. Interior Lighting:  Place light timers on some lamps. 
  4. Unplug basic electronics and appliances (TV, toaster, computer, etc).
  5. Place Mail and Deliveries on Hold: USPS has an easy to use online form to place your mail on hold. This is especially important in single-family homes where people will be able to tell that you haven’t checked your mail in a while or if you have very small boxes that fill quickly with junk mail. If you’re expecting a UPS or FedEx delivery, contact them with your tracking number and they should be able to hold your packages at one of their facilities. I usually do not make any purchases that would need to be delivered in the weeks prior to my trip. Place other deliveries like newspapers, or groceries on hold.
  6. Prepare for services: If you will be out of town when the cleaning service, pool maintenance, or lawn service will come service your home, be sure to leave payment or re-schedule when you will be in town.
  7. Dishes:  Don’t leave any dirty dishes in the sink or dishwasher while you’re gone.  This will be a welcome treat for bugs, which is no fun to come home to (see number 8 as well).
  8. Food and Garbage:  Empty out your fridge of any perishables that could go bad while you’re away.  Eat any fruit or vegetables that may be on your counter. You could also cut the remaining fruit and veges for a healthy snack on the road or plane. Be sure to not over shop the week prior to your trip, it may be better to rely on frozen produce rather than buying too much before you leave. Take your garbage out right before you leave.
  9. Thermostat:  Adjust your thermostat so you can save money and energy on heating or cooling when you’re gone.  Remember to not go too extreme- in the Florida summers we do not go warmer than 78 degrees, otherwise you will return to a sauna.   
  10. Check all Doors and Windows:  Make sure all doors and windows are locked and close the blinds and curtains.
  11. House Alarm:  If you have an alarm system be sure to set it when you leave.

What are things you do to prepare your home before you leave for vacation?

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