Vacations can be an amazing opportunity to relax and unwind but they also require a bit of prep work. After all, you can’t just leave for days of bliss without first getting your home in order. So before you set out on your vacation, make sure your home is ready for the time apart. Here are a few things you should do around your home before going on vacation.
1. Leave keys with a trustworthy neighbor. One of the first things you should do when planning a trip is to inform someone of your plans. They don’t necessarily need a full itinerary, but should have a head’s up in case of emergency. A neighbor is a great choice because they can not only keep an eye on your house, but also collect mail and perform occasional duties.
2. Make plans for plants and pets. Should you plan to be away for awhile, make plans for the living things in your home. Depending on how long of a vacation you plan to take, try using a plant feeder for self service. In addition, you must also decide if you will have someone watch your pet or pay for overnight care.
3. Turn off the air conditioner. There is no need to rack up a high electric bill while you are on vacation. Be sure to turn off your air conditioning unit(s) in your home so you won’t waste any energy while away. Those who have a programmable thermostat may be able to keep units idle by using a vacation setting.
4. Schedule lights on a timer. You and a few people may know about your vacation plans, but this shouldn’t be public information. Put lights around the home (not all, but a few) on timers so outdoor onlookers will think someone is home. After all, a house without lights for consecutive days can leave your abode vulnerable to intruders.
5. Unplug electronics. Did you know that certain electronics make up for almost 10 percent of your home’s energy costs just by being plugged in? When planning a vacation, always unplug all computers, televisions and any other accessory you don’t plan to use. This will not only help reduce energy consumption, but also protect your precious items in case of an electrical storm.
6. Lower, don’t turn off a water heater. Like air conditioners, water heaters can rack up some serious dough when left idle. However, it is very important that you never completely shut off a water heater while away as it can cause serious complications when turned back on. If you plan to be away for some time, consider lowering the temperature to save on energy and a little money.
7. Clear out the refrigerator. As your food has an expiration date, you might want to consider reviewing what is in your refrigerator. Discard all items that are close to their life expectancy to help save on post-vacation clean up.
8. Take out the garbage. No one likes a stinky house or unidentifiable odor. Start on one floor and make your way through each room collecting garbage. By removing trash from your home, you can also help keep your home free of bugs.
9. Close all blinds. Who would ever want to come home to a humid house? Even with your air conditioner off, help keep the house cooler by closing all the blinds. In addition to protecting your interior from direct sunlight, closed window treatments also keep wandering eyes away, providing more privacy.
10. Lock up everything. Once all of your bags are packed, it is important to lock up every possible entrance to your home. Everything from the windows to the fence should be locked for safety.
Once you have made it through the checklist, enjoy your vacation knowing your home will be ready and waiting upon return.
Tanvier Lee is a New York based lifestyle decorator, stylist and freelance writer. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.