As you’re getting ready for your upcoming trip and quadruple-checking your luggage, it might be a good idea to prepare your home for your absence, too. From throwing away all that soon-to-expire food to making sure everything is safe and secure, doing these simple chores ahead of time could really make the difference when you come back from vacation.
Here are nine things you should do around your home before leaving on your next vacation. And if you’re looking for more house tips, then you’ve come to the right place. We have a plethora of interesting DIY and expert advice articles waiting for you to check out. So, what’s on our to-do list before leaving on vacation?
Tidy up your home.
Trust me, the last thing you will want is to come home to a dirty home after a nice and relaxing vacation. You might not even have to deep clean everything before leaving. However, walking through the door to a dirty house after a long trip might take away all that relaxation mode.
With that being said, cleaning your home before vacation isn’t just for your own good. It’s also to help prevent all the things from going bad, like fruit flies taking over all your leftovers in your absence. Make sure you scrub the sink and toilets, vacuum, and toss or eat any leftover fruits that you might have sitting around.
Clean out the refrigerator.
While you’re at it, you can take a peek inside your refrigerator. Freeze, eat, and toss any foods that might spoil while you’re out. This is quite self-explanatory, actually. No one really wants to come home to a fridge full of rotten, stinky foods, right?
Take out the trash.
To be honest, taking out the trash is really part of cleaning. But if you clean out your refrigerator, it’s still worth reiterating that you should also take out the garbage before leaving. If you don’t, you might run the risk of coming home to all kinds of rancid smells and pests galore.
Double-check the laundry.
As you frantically run around packing and cleaning the house, it’s so easy to forget some of the most obvious things. The last load of laundry you forget to put in the dryer, for example. Before leaving, make sure you check the washer. Coming home to a full load of laundry that has been sitting there for over a week is less than ideal, to say the least.
Take precautions for fire.
Before leaving, make sure you unplug electronics around the house that don’t need power while you’re gone. Not only will it save you a lot of money on your energy bill, but it will also lower the risk of an electrical fire. Unplug things like routers, televisions, computers, and even unused chargers.
Program your thermostat.
Another efficient way to save on energy while you’re on vacation is to set the thermostat to an away program. Plenty of new thermostats, especially the smart ones, have a feature like this that will help you adjust the temperature setting while you’re gone.
In the summer, it will raise the temperature for cooling, and during the winter, it will lower the temperature for heating. You have to be ready to wait, though. With that being said, if you have a smart thermostat (if not, you’re in good luck, because this is a very good one), you could easily disable the away mode hours before you arrive home. This way, you will walk into a perfectly cooled and heated home.
Put lights on timers.
One easy step you could take to deter break-ins is to put lights all over your home on timers. You can easily do this the old-school way, with analog outlet timers. However, if you want to upgrade to the full effect, you could use smart bulbs.
Not only will you be able to control the lights remotely, but you can also put them on a different schedule each day while you’re out. This way, you will successfully simulate someone being home. Moreover, you could also take things one step further by putting your entire smart home in vacation mode.
For example, you could put a television or radio on a schedule using a smart plug. Not only will you have lights on a schedule, but you can also have the TV playing for a couple of hours at night to really make it more convincing.
Ask a neighbor to gather your mail.
This isn’t really easy to do from home, but putting your mail on hold with the post office might keep your mail from piling up, which is also a telltale sign that the place is vacant. Oddly enough, so is the mail person skipping your home every day for a week. At times, it’s even better to ask a friend, neighbor, or even a family member to stop by every day and just collect the mail for you.
Check all the windows and doors.
Right before you go on vacation, it would be very wise to check all the possible entry points in your home. You want to make sure you haven’t left any seldom-used doors or windows unlocked or cracked open. It’s also very easy to forget about that side door that rarely gets used, which is, at times, the first place a would-be thief would check in.
Security measures: Security cameras
Security lights work especially well when they’re paired with security cameras. Lights can easily startle potential thieves, but cameras connected to security apps will allow you to see exactly what’s happening in your home, even if you’re hundreds of miles away in a hotel room.
If you get alerted that any of the alarms have gone off, you could just call the police and put a stop to it. However, you probably won’t have to call the police, given that cameras themselves send messages to home invaders that you already take your security quite seriously. So there won’t be any kind of home-alone-type situation.
- As for the lights, you might want to think carefully about where you place them so that you can see all your entry points. If you install outdoor security cameras 8 to 10 feet off the ground, you will get the best angles and make the cameras way harder to steal.
- Ultimately, just think about the IP rating of the cameras. The IP rating will tell you everything you need to know about what kind of weather a camera can withstand. Also, you don’t want to lose your video feed just because a random thunderstorm starts. Good outdoor cameras will need ratings of a minimum of 65. At that kind of level, they are dust-tight and can easily withstand water projected from a nozzle. But for more protection, you could simply purchase cameras with ratings up to 68. At that level, they resist dust, dirt, and sand, and they can even be immersed in water up to 1.5 meters for 30 minutes.
Video doorbells are definitely one of the most useful security products to hit the market in the last decade. Naturally, as the name implies, these devices work very well with cameras. They’re placed to capture exactly what’s happening on your doorstep. Here’s a really good one we recommend.
Besides, many video doorbells include two-way audio. A two-way audio system will let you talk to whoever happens to be knocking, which will give the impression that you’re not gone. In fact, it’s designed to fool people into thinking that you are on the other side of the door, even if you’re on the other side of the country.
If you enjoyed reading this piece, then you definitely need to check this, too: Painting Your Home in These 8 “Moody” Colors Will Raise Its Worth