Keep your home safe with this vacation checklist

Keep your home safe with this vacation checklist

Planning a summer vacation?  Whether you are going out of town for a couple of days or a few weeks, here are some helpful tips to prepare your home for your absence and for your smooth return.  If you follow these things, you can enjoy a vacation free from worries!

Prepare for Your Departure

Prepare a place for your furry friends: Give the pet sitter or boarding facility detailed care instructions. Make sure the one you choose has plenty of your pet's favorite foods, treats, toys, medicines and other supplies on hand.

Clean out the fridge: Throw away food that will expire while you're gone and wipe down with any sanitizing wipes.

Take care of the laundry: Wash and put away laundry before you leave.

Keep your plants alive:   Ask a friend or neighbor to water your plants, and be sure to leave multiple lists of all plants and their locations. Otherwise, invest in self-watering plant stakes.

Leave a light on: During a short trip, leave a few lamps on throughout the house to make it look occupied. For a longer vacation, invest in inexpensive automatic timers that can turn our lights on and off at staggered intervals, making your house look occupied. Alert your home-security service or a trusted neighbor so one or the other can keep an eye out as well.

Spray for bugs: Spray an insecticide in key areas so bugs will steer clear while you're gone.

Set the thermostat: Temporarily adjust the thermostat so the air-conditioner or heater won't waste energy by running in an empty house. Unplug unnecessary appliances in preparation for your absence.

Hold mail and newspapers: A call to your post office and news carrier will put your mail and newspapers on hold so they won't pile up in front of your house while you're gone.  You may even have a trusted neighbor that can keep the mail for you.

Protect your finances:  Call your credit card companies and banks to notify them that you will be out of town.

Other safety tips:   Leave emergency contact with a trusted neighbor and make sure all smoke detectors are working properly.  Park cars in garage out of the elements and to prevent break-ins.

 

Prepare for Your Return

Be prepared for breakfast: Before you leave, stock your kitchen with breakfast items, coffee and a container of shelf-stable milk so your first meal back will be hassle free.

Change the sheets: Make up beds with fresh sheets for a welcoming first night.

Clean the house: Sweep or vacuum floors; Do the dishes; Wipe down counters in the bathroom and kitchen with an all-purpose cleaner; Give toilets a quick clean.  Take out the trash!  Run your garbage disposal with a half cup of vinegar and some water to prevent smells.

You can use these tips to create a list of what needs to be done and start planning a week or two in advance.  Save travels!