Vacation Preparation

School’s out at the end of the week so I’m in the vacation mood. When the end of school countdown begins I start itching to get away, but getting away means preparation; and not just making reservations, getting the car serviced, and looking through brochures and websites for ways to make your get away special, but preparing to leave your house unattended. Whether you’re leaving for a few days or a couple of weeks, it’s important to get your house ready for your time away. Here’s my must do list:

1. Check that all garbage has been taken out. Look everywhere for potatoes that may be hiding. On two occasions we’ve returned to the smell of rotting potatoes so you don’t want to overlook potatoes.

2. Run the dishwasher.  You don’t want to leave dirty dishes to draw bugs while you’re away. Better yet, wash and unload the dishes.

3. Don’t turn off the AC, but do adjust the temperature. Mold or mildew can grow in a relatively short time in a hot, closed up house. Better to turn the thermometer to 80°-82°.

4. Flush all of the toilets. I know this sounds like a given, but you don’t want a surprise when you return, and it’s best to leave the lid open.

5. Stop all deliveries. Either have someone pick up your mail or arrange for the post office to hold delivery until your return. If you’re expecting a package, make sure you ask a friend to pick it up so it doesn’t sit on the porch announcing to all the house is empty.

6. Check the windows to make sure they are all closed and locked.

7. Unplug small appliances, electronics, and chargers. This is a good way to protect them in case of a power surge while you’re away, and you’ll also save a little money on your electric bill.

8. Ask a friend to check on the house every couple of days while you’re away in case there are unexpected deliveries, flyers taped to your door, or neighborhood papers left in your driveway. Don’t forget to leave them a key to the house.

9. Set timers or leave on lights to make your house look lived in. Lights and even radios can give the appearance that you’re at home. This is the reason we always leave on the light in the hall bathroom. Leaving it on every night establishes a pattern, and couldn’t someone be in there at any hour? A couple of timers are worth the money.

In addition, if you have alarms don’t forget to set them, make sure the grass has been recently mowed, and check that everything in the yard has been put away and secured. If you are leaving a car behind, lock it (and remove the garage door opener) or better yet park the car in the garage. I recently read a tip that suggested you unplug the electric door opener to the garage so it can’t be opened while you’re away…not something I’ve ever had to worry about since I’ve never had a garage!

And you know I always think it’s a good idea to wash all the clothes and clean the house before an extended time away. It sure feels good to come home to a clean house with fresh sheets on the bed!

Looks like you’ve got another “to do” list! Prepare the house for your vacation.