Leaving for an extended period of time comes with packing, plans, packing, more planning and more packing. Sometimes we are so consumed with prepping our family for the adventure away that we forget to prep the homestead. Here are 18 things to do before you leave your house for an extended trip.
1. Give someone close to you your trip itinerary.
It is important someone knows where you are going and when you should be there in case of an emergency. This same person is someone you may want to text “We arrived in ____ safe!”. Quick check-ins are great.
2. Find someone to check in on your house.
They don’t have to do it every day, but a check in every few days will prevent any major damage in case of a flood or electrical issues. It is also good to have in case of a troublesome storm so they can check the property.
3. Create a contact list and leave it on the counter.
This list could include your homeowner’s insurance, handyman or lawn care, and other important numbers in case of an emergency. Leave it on the counter for your house-sitter.
4. Notify immediate next door neighbors of the timeline for when you will be gone.
Then there will be extra sets of eyes watching the house for any odd activity. This helps the neighbors avoid the guessing game if you are home or not and whether they should be concerned.
5. Turn off the water to your washing machine and possibly your dishwasher.
Leak prevention can save you a lot of money! (Just ask my parents about their leaky stove and washing machine when they were away!).
6. Unplug all unnecessary electronics.
There is no reason to keep the TV plugged in, desktop computer and other items. Just pull the plug from the wall rather than just turning the item off.
7. Stop newspaper delivery.
I cannot tell you how many of my neighbors forget to do this. If you aren’t going to have someone coming to your home each day, just cancel the delivery all together for the time you’ll be gone. A stack of newspapers in the driveway is a burglars dream.
8. Stop mail delivery.
Same as item 7. If you aren’t going to have someone pull it from the box each day, just cancel delivery at the post office. They’ll hold it there until you return.
9. Keep your front blinds open or partially open.
Nothing says “I’m not home.” like a house that looks boarded up.
10. Set your air conditioning or heat to a higher/cooler level than normal.
Don’t turn it all the way off unless you want to come home and spend hours getting it to a reasonable temperature. Keeping your house at a steady temperature can also save you money.
11. Double check all doors and windows to make sure they are locked.
Don’t forget garage exterior doors and windows. If you have sliding windows or doors, make sure to put a wood stick or dowel in the tray to prevent break-ins.
12. Close up those doggy/kitty doors.
No need to have unwelcomed guests traipsing in and out.
13. Give away or use items from your fridge or fruit/veggie basket that will spoil.
No one wants to come home to rotten food. Bleck!
14. Lock all your gates and/or fences around your yard.
15. Empty all the garbage.
If you can, have your house sitter or neighbor take your garbage cans down the first week you are gone so you can come home to empty trash cans inside and out.
16. Fresh sheets on the bed!!
This is one of the hardest things for me to do because it is so time consuming when you are trying to get out the door, but trust me. When you come home and climb in to a bed with newly cleaned linens, you’ll thank me!
17. Clean the house.
Don’t, if at all possible, leave for an extended trip with a messy house. Even the smallest of messes, which may look harmless upon departure, can be awful when you arrive home. Not to mention that in case of an emergency (like a flood), you don’t want things all over the place to get ruined.
18. DO NOT POST PICTURES OF YOUR TRIP ON SOCIAL MEDIA WHILE AWAY!
This is probably the hardest rule to follow. Especially if you are using a public account, do not announce and prove to the world that you are no where near your home and that any and all invaders are welcome. Sharing pictures of your amazing experience is just not that important. Send a few emails or texts to close family and friends, but avoid sharing your trip with the world until you are home.