If you’re planning a long vacation, congratulations! You deserve it. And since the point of a vacation is to relax, the last thing you want is to feel anxious about your home while you’re away. Or worse, return to unexpected accidents or a break-in. We’ve put together a helpful checklist so you can protect your home and your belongings while you’re getting your much needed R & R. Follow this list before you set off and the only thing you’ll have to worry about is which pair of flip-flops to wear to the beach.
Make Your Home Break-In Proof
Secure your home from burglaries. If you plan on being away for a long time, you may want to invest in a quality alarm system. Even if you live in an otherwise safe neighborhood, robberies can happen anywhere, and a good security system will give you peace of mind. Once you choose the one you like, test it out and make sure it’s functioning properly several days before you leave.
Let a neighbor know you’re going to be away so they can keep an eye out on your home, and ask them to collect any newspapers from your driveway - a dead giveaway to potential thieves that the home is empty. Have the rest of your mail held at the post office. Most post offices will hold your mail for a period of 30 days. If your trip will exceed that time, have your mail forwarded temporarily.
Protect Your Home From Water Damage and Fire
If you’re going away during the winter months and you live in a cold climate, make sure your water pipes are thermally wrapped. You do not want to come home to a frozen, busted water pipe which could cost thousands of dollars to repair, not to mention the water damage it can leave behind.
- Leave a very tiny trickle of cold water running in sinks to prevent cracking when temperatures below freezing. (and make sure your drains are clear!)
- Shut off your hot water heater, especially if it’s gas. You may even want to shut off all the water to your home depending on the length of time you’ll be away.
- Make sure you turn off the gas to your gas fireplace. Remember that just because the flame isn’t on, doesn’t mean gas isn’t coming in. Double check that the gas valve is switched to the OFF position.
- Check that all of your smoke detectors are in working order before you leave.
- Double check that all of your windows are down and locked. Close curtains so that no one can easily see into your home.
- Walk through your home on the day of departure and check that all appliances are completely shut off.
- If you live in an area where hurricanes are common, you’ll want to board up your windows. It’s
- better to be safe than sorry.
- Leave a key to your home with a trusted friend or family member in the event of any emergencies. And always make sure they can easily reach you.
Protect Your Furniture
Protect your furniture while you’re away by covering it to prevent moth damage, and to save yourself hours of dusting time upon your return. Empty houses still collect dust, and you can even cover your bookshelves with one large cover that slips over the entire shelving unit if you have standalone bookshelves. This is much easier than packing all your books into plastic bins. Clear vinyl covers work great for covering furniture that’s in storage or in your home while you’re away because they’re economical and easy to slip on and off. Have some on hand to fit over your furniture like sofa, chairs, tables, and anything else you need to protect. You can also order custom covers for all of your furniture, so there’s no need to worry about finding the right fit.
Covers are particularly important for upholstered furniture to prevent moths from having a feast on your fabrics while you’re soaking up the sun in Hawaii or touring the Grand canyon. Likewise, pack up your fabric curtains, table cloths and other textiles in plastic tubs or sealed plastic storage bags.
Cover and Store Your Outdoor Furniture
Don’t forget to bring your patio furniture indoors or secure it in a storage room while you’re away. You many want to get your hands on some custom covers that will fit all of your outdoor belongings and then safely store them out of sight until you return. Quality covers are good to have for your patio space anyway, so you can use them to weatherproof your furniture, grill, fire pit, etc when not in use.
Don’t Forget Your Pets!
You’d never forget Fido, and you may even be taking the dog with you, but if boarding your animals, make sure you leave behind any special instructions, medications, or special needs. If a friend or pet sitter is taking care of your cats, dogs or bunnies, make sure they are prepared with an emergency vet number, and can reach you while you’re away. And don’t forget about your smaller animals like goldfish your youngest just won at the fair. Drop him off at the neighbor’s along with your hamster. Now enjoy peace of mind and a stress-free vacay.