8 tips for getting your home ready before you leave for the holidays
It’s the most wonderful time of the year! But, along with all the decorating, lights, cookies and presents, there’s also usually some holiday travel thrown in there! Most of us who move don’t live near family and loved ones, so we end up making flights or drives across the country as part of our holiday rituals. So, before you dash out the door with your suitcases, be sure you make a list and check it twice to get your house prepped and ready to be safe and secure while you are gone!
1. Stop the mail – If you have a great neighbor you know and trust (and who will be stay around town for the holidays), ask them to look after your place! Ask them to pick up your mail, walk through your house and make sure things are OK! If you don’t have a neighbor who will be around, go to usps.com (your local newspaper’s website if you get the paper delivered) and schedule delivery to be stopped while you are gone. There’s not a much better indicator that you aren’t home than mail piling up and looking like no one has checked on it.
2. Figure out Fido – You may want to take your pet with you, but if you can’t (or don’t want to!) be sure to find a place for your pet to go, or someone who can come look after your pet in your house! This is something to get done WAY ahead of when you will need it because typically, the best places and sitters fill up fast! If you are in a jam, you might want to see if a good friend wouldn’t mind taking in your pet! We’ve done that for friends and since we don’t have pets, we enjoy pretending for a few days and loving on someone else’s pet!
3. Make your house look lived in – Growing up, my mom was (and still is) the queen of timer switches! If you’ve never used a timer, they are cheap and you can purchase them at lots of stores. You plug in your appliance to the timer and then set it to turn on and off. You can even set it for several times a day. This makes it appear that people are turning on and off lights, radios, TVs or even Christmas tree lights when you aren’t there! This a cheap and super easy way to make sure your house doesn’t just sit dark and empty.
4. Give your local police the heads up – When we moved into our current house, our stuff was there for about a month and a half, but we weren’t physically there yet. I was worried that our home may be an easy target, but a friend told me that many police departments allow you to give them your address and let them know how long you will be gone. Then, as they have patrols throughout the area, they will drive by and make sure that everything looks good. They typically ask you how many and what kind of cars you expect to have in your driveway while you are gone as well as if you expect to have any lights on in your house!
5. Don’t let the cold weather ruin your house while you are away – Don’t turn off your heat completely and open up your under sink cabinets so that the pipes have access to warmer air. Busted pipes would be a quick way to ruin your holidays!
6. Tidy up before you head out – This might be more of a personal preference, but it is so nice to come home to a tidy, clean home. Make the extra effort to get the dishes put away, get the table wiped and laundry done so that after a long, tiring trip you are able to come home and relax and not feel like you have a mountain of extra work waiting for you. Also, clean out the perishables in your fridge that will expire while you are on vacation so you don’t come back to a fridge full of spoiled food.
7. Take our the trash! – The last thing you need to do is come home to stinky, old garbage that has been sitting in your house the whole time you are gone. If the garbage man isn’t scheduled to pick up before you leave, consider finding an alternative location to drop it off.
8. Check the water heater – Turn your water heater down to “vacation mode” if have one or to a lower setting. That way, it won’t continue to unnecessarily heat your water in your absence, and that saves you money (which is good, because, let’s be honest, who didn’t overspend on Christmas gifts?)
Do you have any tips you always make sure you do before you head out on a trip? Let us know! We’d love to add them to our list!
-by Emily Robertson and Emily Shedek