4 Steps To Prepare Your Home Before Leaving For Extended Vacation

You finally did it! You managed to take time off work, book a stay in your dream destination, got everyone on the same page, and took care of every detail regarding planning the much-needed vacation. But did you really?

4 Steps To Prepare Your Home Before Leaving For Extended Vacation
Photo by pan xiaozhen on Unsplash

Before you grab the suitcase and head out the door, there’s something you shouldn’t forget about – preparing your home for your absence. After all, going on a vacation is supposed to be an exciting and relaxing experience, so you definitely wouldn’t want to worry about issues such as food left in the refrigerator or doors that you left unlocked. There’s simply no way to enjoy your leisure time when you’re constantly thinking about what might be going on back at the house while trying to enjoy your stay in San Francisco or sunbathing on a beach in Miami.

To avoid headaches and worrying, the article below will guide you through the essential steps you should follow before shutting the front door for two or three weeks. With these tips, you’ll have peace of mind knowing that you won’t come back to any unpleasant surprises.

Secure Your Home

If you’re planning to go on an extended vacation, especially abroad, you need to make sure that your house is properly secured. Locking all the doors is one of the last things people do before leaving, but it’s still arguably the most important step. You’d be surprised how easy it is to get caught up in all the hassle caused by packing the car and running around to get every last thing.

That’s why this list begins with closing all the external doors. If possible, you should also leave the internal doors closed – a window might break during the storm while you’re away, and if you close the internal doors, no winds of debris will carry through the rest of the house.

Then, move to the garage doors, as 9% of burglars use them as their access point. Besides the burglars, you also wouldn’t want any animals or rain getting into your garage. If you have automatic garage doors, consider disconnecting the electronic opener and placing a padlock on the garage-door track instead. It’s an important step, no matter if you live in New York, San Antonio, or a small town in North Carolina.

You should also close and lock the windows before leaving. You might feel tempted to crack them open in a few rooms, especially if the weather is nice and it’s summertime, but try to resist this temptation – you never know when a sudden storm might come; it will also make it easier for potential burglars to get inside. If you’re worried about coming back to a dank smell after weeks of vacation, keep in mind that you can easily air out the whole house after you come back, and it won’t take long until everything, including the smell inside, gets back to normal.

Clean Out the Fridge

There are few things worse than coming back home to a fridge full of rotten and smelly food just because you forgot to clean it out. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you should simply get up in the morning that you’re supposed to leave and throw all the leftover food in the trash – that would be simply wasteful. Instead, you can start preparing a few days ahead by skipping the usual grocery shopping trips and cooking only with the food you already have in your fridge.

This might require experimenting with a few new dishes as well as a bit of creativity, but there are plenty of apps that will come up with a recipe if you just write down the things you have in your fridge.

Cleaning out the fridge is also an excellent opportunity to wipe down all the surfaces and go through your condiments that might’ve expired and need to be thrown away. Once you remove everything from the fridge, it’s a good idea to leave it defrosted and unplugged, with the doors slightly cracked. If you’re worried about the foul smell, pour some baking soda into a glass bowl or on a plate and leave it on one of the shelves – baking soda is great at absorbing fridge smells.

Unplug the Appliances

A big thunderstorm can suddenly appear even if the weather forecasts don’t mention it, and depending on its severity, it can cause power outages. These, especially if they’re rapid or last for extended periods, may impact the appliances and electronic devices in your home. For this reason, before leaving for your dream vacation, go around the house and unplug anything that doesn’t need to stay on. This includes a dishwasher, a dryer, washing machine, toasters, TVs, cable boxes, and everything else that has no reason to stay plugged in for the next few weeks.

Just keep in mind that you should definitely leave your lamps on, whether they’re inside or outside. Set them on a timer, so they turn out at dusk and, depending on where they’re located, stay on until dawn or turn off during the day, so it appears as if the house is occupied. If you want to go the extra mile when making it seem like someone’s in the house, you can also leave your TV on and program it, so it turns on and off automatically, especially in the evenings.

Turn off the Water

One unexpected leak or a faulty burst pipe is enough to ruin your whole vacation mood. Nobody wants to come back to a flooded house and deal with all the water damage, which can cost you a pretty penny, depending on the severity of the damages. If left for a few weeks, even a small leak can turn your beautiful home into a wet mess.

In order to shut off the water and ensure that you have peace of mind when enjoying your vacation, locate the main shut-off valve and make sure to turn it off before you leave town. However, your task doesn’t end here. You should then head to the bathrooms and the kitchen and turn on all the faucets until they run dry and there’s no water left. Next, flush your toilets and turn off the water at their bases. This way, no mold or mildew will build up inside the toilet bowl.

However, if you want to keep your sprinkles on while you’re away or you need to leave your heating system on, and it uses hot water, you shouldn’t turn off the main water line.

The Bottom Line

Getting ready for vacation can be both exciting and stressful. Yes, you’ll finally be able to spend some time away from home and everyday worries, but on the other hand, you’re about to leave your house for up to a few weeks. In this time, anything can happen, so it’s only natural that you might feel a little worried.

Luckily, there are steps you can take to have that peace of mind in knowing that you did your best to ensure the safety of your home. Securing it and making sure that all the doors and windows are closed is crucial. You should also clean out the fridge so there’s no food left and unplug every appliance, so the power outages don’t affect you. Once you complete these steps, all that’s left to do is grab your suitcase and go! Bon voyage!

Team JST

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