Summer means relaxing and vacations! Before you pack up and head out, take a few minutes to vacation-proof your home to really put your mind at ease.
1. Clean out your fridge.
The last thing you want to return home to is a stinky kitchen! Toss any items likely to go bad (like those leftovers hiding in the back), and freeze uncooked foods like meat and produce. For products you can’t freeze but don’t want to throw away, give away to family or neighbors.
2. Prep your plants.
Don’t forget to give your plants a good watering before you go! If your neighbor’s friendly, ask him to water plants, landscaping and your garden at least once while you’re away. If that’s not an option, consider soaking indoor plants in your bathtub with an inch or two of water, bringing outdoor containers into a cool garage or in the house, or install a hose on an automatic timer to water outside beds. And don’t forget that yard! Mow right before you leave, and ask a neighbor kid or lawn care company to come while you’re away.
3. Save energy.
Even when turned off, electronics use electricity when plugged in! Save on your next energy bill (and protect against power outages) by unplugging non-vital electronics like computers, TVs, fans, chargers and kitchen appliances. (Just not your fridge, of course!) If it isn’t too hot, turn off your thermostat – or at least set it to an “eco” or energy-saving mode while gone.
4. Secure your mail and deliveries.
Piling mail and deliveries left out are just begging for criminal activity! Ask a friend or neighbor to collect your mail every few days, and make sure to alert them if you’re expecting a delivery while you’re away. If you’re planning on being gone longer than a week or two, though, consider pausing mail and package deliveries altogether until you return.
5. Keep a light on.
We’ve all seen Home Alone! The best way to deter a burglar is to appear as if you never left. If you’re able, put an interior light or two on a timer so they click on at dusk, just like if you were there. And if you don’t have one already, consider installing motion-sensored exterior lights on porches, patios and around your garage.
6. Lock all doors and windows.
It sounds like a no-brainer, but this is definitely one you don’t want to forget! Before taking off, check every single door and window – especially sliding and patio doors. Have doors that tend to fly open in the wind? Secure them with a heavy cement block to prevent them from popping open.
7. Consider your water supply.
If you’ll be traveling for quite some time, you might want to consider turning off your home’s water supply to protect against weather damage and leaks.
8. Take out the trash.
Remember that whole stinky kitchen thing? One of the last things to do before heading out is remove all garbage and recycling from your home. If your neighborhood allows it, go ahead and wheel your trash bins to the curb for easy pickup. If not, enlist a neighbor to help you out when trash day rolls around!
9. Give a friend a key.
First things first: Remove any “hidden” house keys (like that fake rock that’s fooling no one) to prevent against potential break-ins. Then loan a key (or a guest code to your security system) to a friend or neighbor in the unlikely event they need to stop in.
10. Notify your security company.
If you happen to have a security system, notify the company you will be away, especially if your trip is a long one. (And don’t forget to set the alarm before you go!)
11. Watch what you say.
Prepping for vacation is exciting – but you never know who might be monitoring your online activity. Be wary of announcing vacation plans on social media and “checking in” to locations away from your home, especially if your profile settings are a little lax on security.
Checked off this list? You’re ready to go! And if you’re thinking about listing or looking, let’s chat today!