You can’t wait to jet off on your next holiday — you may have even found the perfect property to rent while abroad, but there’s one very important thing you can’t forget: your own home. Before you leave, remember to take a few extra precautions, to ensure your own home stays safe and disaster-free when you’re gone. After all, the last thing you want after a refreshing break is to come home to a burst water pipe or a house that’s been robbed.
Whether you’re spending a month on the beach in Thailand or a long weekend in Prague, the steps you should take are the same. There’s a wealth of useful home maintenance resources online, but remember to also run through this quick housekeeping checklist before you leave on your holiday:
For a Weekend Break
- Take out your rubbish – Untended rubbish, especially in the kitchen, can grow rotten or attract mice. You don’t want to come home to the smell of rotting rubbish — or have it strewn all over your kitchen floor — so remember to leave it outside for the bin man, before you take off.
- Turn down your heat, or turn it off – If it’s winter, you may not want to come home to a freezing house, so consider turning your heat on low, or on a ‘holiday setting,’ if your heater has that feature. Either way, turning the heat low or off will ensure your house doesn’t accidentally burn up in flames — and it’ll save on utility bills.
- Set a lamp on timer, so your house doesn’t seem empty – If your house is obviously empty, you may attract burglars. To combat this, you can buy a timer and set it to turn on a lamp in the front room regularly, for a few hours each evening, to make it appear like someone’s at home.
- Switch on your security system – Finally, make sure your house will be a safe one to come home to. If you have a security system, turn it on, remembering to take the details with you and possibly leaving them with a close friend at home.
For Four Days or Longer
- Temporarily stop your post and newspaper deliveries – Burglars look for houses where post or newspaper deliveries are piling up. So contact the postal service in advance and have them temporarily hold your post while you’re gone. Do the same thing with newspapers and any other regular deliveries.
- Leave a key with a trusted friend or neighbour – To be extra safe, arrange with a neighbour ahead of time to water houseplants, feed pets, and check on your home while you’re gone. Leave your emergency contact details with them, too.
- Unplug appliances and electronics – Save on electricity bills and protect your items from an unexpected power surge. Unplug stereos, televisions, computers, lamps, microwaves, toasters – anything you don’t want to have to replace.
- Toss out food that will expire – You don’t want to come home to a kitchen full of mouldy food or a fridge that needs to be disinfected. This can attract pests and create an unhygienic environment. So go through your fridge and pantry, and make sure to bin any food that will go off, or give it to a neighbour or friend.
- Turn off your water valves – If you’re gone for a while, it’s a good idea to turn off water valves to your sink, toilets, dishwasher, and washing machines. Otherwise, a leak or burst pipe could lead to a leakage and water damage at home.
This straightforward housekeeping checklist should be easy enough to follow. Give yourself a day or two to go through these tasks, and you’ll be able to enjoy your holiday even more, knowing that you’ve done your best to keep your home tidy and protected!