How to Prepare Your Home Before Going on Vacation
28 Feb 2020
You’re about to go on vacation and if you live anywhere like Winnipeg at the time this article is being written, hopefully, you’re going somewhere very warm. You’ve probably read a lot of travel-related tips: Don’t post pictures of your vacation on social media while you’re on vacation. Get your shots when you’re going somewhere with dangerous infectious diseases. Bring sunscreen. This advice is all well and good, but it’s not the focus of this article. Here, we’re going to look at how to get your home ready for your vacation – it’ll be worth it when you get back – being greeted by a clean home.
Do Your Chores
Coming back from your vacation to a messy house may be one of the worst feelings you can experience. People often feel tired after a vacation; the last thing you’ll want to do in your state of post-vacation bliss/fatigue is clean your house. Before your vacation, you should do all of your typical chores – tidy every room, clean all the floors, dust everything, and do laundry. Take this opportunity to wash and dry your bedding and make your bed before you leave. Your future self will thank you when you flop onto that nice clean bed.
You’ll want to start tidying at least a few days before you go on vacation; there are always a lot of last minute things that can pop up just as you’re about to leave and you need to give yourself a buffer to handle those things. Certified Green Cleaning recommends you get a professional cleaner to come in before you go on vacation. That way, you don’t get bogged down with chores if last-minute emergencies crop up.
While every chore is important, if you can only do one thing before you go on vacation, be sure to take the garbage out. For obvious reasons, leaving garbage sitting around in your house for a week while you’re out is a very bad idea.
Clean the Kitchen
Every room in your house is important to clean; you want to come home and do nothing. The kitchen, however, is especially important because you don’t want to be throwing away rotting food when you get home. Before your vacation, be sure to buy fewer groceries than you normally would. When you’re about to leave, check the expiry dates on your food and give away or throw away anything that’s going to be expired before you get home. You should also make sure to have some easy meals on hand for when you get back: frozen foods, cereal with powdered milk, and other long-lasting, easy to prepare foods.
Another important thing to clean out is your sink; there can be a lot of food particles that sit in your sink and rot. You’ll need to clean your garbage disposal, too. This goes hand in hand with the very important “take out your garbage” chore we discussed earlier.
Tackle Repairs and Maintenance
That roof shingle you’ve been neglecting to patch? The cracks in the wall you’ve been meaning to repair? The time to do it is before your vacation. Plumbing and electrical problems, when exposed to the elements, are all made significantly more problematic when you’re not in the house in case of emergency. A few weeks before you vacation (hopefully you’ve planned that far ahead), make a plan to fix up all the minor repairs that are necessary around your house.
In a similar vein, if there are weird clanging noises you haven’t identified coming from your HVAC or the power seems to be on the fritz or your water bill has been abnormally high, now is the time to call a professional to check these things out. Coming home to a flooded basement or a house with no power is going to put a damper on the post-vacation vibes.
A lot of people have a fear of people breaking into their homes while they’re on vacation. We already addressed not posting pictures on social media until you return but there’s another trick you can use to protect your house while you’re away: smart technology.
Most of us have the lights on around the home while we’re in, and turn the lights off while we’re away or going to sleep. You can use programmable light bulbs to give the impression that you’re still leaving, coming home, and going to sleep. This is much better than the alternative of leaving all your lights on or off.
Smart technology will also enable you to turn the heat in your home down (or up) until you get back. Optimally, you’ll program your smart thermometer to heat the home up (or cool it off) a few hours before you return. That way, you’ll come home to pure comfort without having spent a bunch of money keeping your home perfectly climate controlled while you were gone.
Mind Your Water
When you’re away on vacation, most insurance policies will not cover you for water pipes that have frozen and burst. That means it’s a good idea to turn off your water before you leave, especially if you live in colder climates. Once your main water supply is turned off, run your taps to ensure that there’s no residual water in the pipes. You wouldn’t turn off your water if you have someone house-sitting for you.
Get a House-Sitter
When you have pets or plants, a house-sitter is an absolute must. You’ll need to leave them detailed instructions about feeding regimens, medication, exercise, and anything else your pets might need. Even when you don’t have a pet, it’s a good idea to have someone you trust swing by each day to check the mail and ensure there are no problems in the house. It’s best if you can have a neighbour you trust look after things; they’re nearby and know the neighbourhood well. Failing that, ask a good friend or family member.