Leaving for Vacation? Have a prepare your home checklist

putting flip flops in suitcaseNo matter how long your summer vacation is, whether it is a weekend getaway or a 10-day escape, prepping your home to be left alone is required.

With a family, and maybe a pet or two, it is hard to remember everything you need to do before you go. Often, just making sure you pack everything, and plan ahead for anything unexpected, is a chore in itself! Lists are required for both what you must take with you but most importantly for what must be done or secured before you leave.

Here is a “leave your home, possessions, and pets safe” checklist to get you started.

  • Do all the laundry: You want to return to a clean house with very little work needed from you (you may be tired!) and a chair full of unfolded clothes makes for a poor welcome home. Plus, whatever you need to pack for clothes needs to be clean! Wash and put away (or pack) laundry before you leave.

  • Prepare for pet care: Give the pet sitter or pet boarding facility detailed care instructions. Make sure they have favorite food, medicines and other supplies on hand.

  • Plan for plant care: Ask neighbor, relative or friend to water your plants, or purchase self-watering plant stakes.

  • Clean out your refrigerator: Throw away food that will expire while you're gone.

  • Plan security measures: Try and make you home look occupied while you are away. Either leave a couple of lights on in the house or purchase automatic timers that can turn our lights on and off at staggered intervals. If you have a trusted neighbor, ask them to keep an eye out for anything suspicious. Some police departments offer to drive through neighborhoods of residents who report to them they will be away on certain dates. (They essentially drive by and see if anything looks suspicious, or out of place, and passers-by see that police patrol the neighborhood, which serves as a deterrent to thieves.)

  • Set thermostat: Temporarily adjust the thermostat so the air-conditioner or furnace won't switch on unnecessarily.

  • Put a hold on your mail: You can do this online (look up your local post office’s webpage) or in person at your local post office. Fill out a quick form and they will hold your mail for you and deliver it all upon your return.

  • Clean bathrooms and put a tablespoon of bleach in the toilet bowls (close lid): This stops most deposits from the water sitting unflushed for extended periods and keeps it smelling clean.

  • Clean kitchen sink: Clean it thoroughly with a good cleanser or with baking soda, rinse well and then squeeze lemon juice into the drains to keep them smelling fresh for days.

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

  • Do dishes: Left over, dried on food on your dishes is the worst, so do all dishes before you go!

  • Empty all trash cans: This is crucial to avoiding foul odors filling the home or attracting insects.

With a little preparation your home, plants, and pets can be kept safe and returning from vacation can be much easier to manage.

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