October 25, 2021 | Forest Pointe Apartments | Apartment Tips
Vacation time is here! You finally have a break from work, school, your kids, or just life in general! Going on a vacation is exciting but can be stressful. The preparation, finding a sitter or relative to leave the kids with, finding a pet sitter, and don’t even get us started on the packing. Yikes! Everything all can add up to big stress, and in the midst of the chaos, we often forget…how should I prepare my home before I leave? Whether you are going for a quick weekend or weeks on end, we have the tips and tricks to follow in preparing your home for vacation.
I don’t know about you, but the last thing I want to do after a tiring day of travel is to come home to a messy house. You may not feel the need to deep clean before you leave, but things like making sure the countertops are wiped down, floors are picked up, your bed made are all simple but make a huge impact on your exhaustion level once you arrive home. Prop tip: wash your sheets prior to leaving if you are able – there is nothing like crawling into a fresh smelling and clean place to rest your head. Cleaning your home or apartment before you leave may seem like an annoying task, but your future self will appreciate the extra effort when you get home. So all that's left to do is unpack and relax. We have a great blog on how to clean your apartment/home if you need help jump-starting this task!
Easy…the fridge. Clean out your fridge before your travels. I guarantee you will not want to come home to a stinky fridge and surrounding kitchen area when you return. Depending on how long you will be away, throw out anything that may rot in your absence, like fruit and dairy products. It's always helpful to plan your grocery shopping accordingly so you avoid throwing out unused food on the days leading up to your trip. If you don't want to throw anything away, freezing items always works too! Freeze any meat to ensure it lasts well beyond the time you get back and avoid wasting money and food! Also, a clean fridge will make grocery shopping easier once you return and there will be no mess and stress about putting groceries away.
On the subject of cleaning, again, not only will taking out the trash help aid in fresh smells once you return, but it will also help with bugs, overall cleanliness, and your peace of mind that you will be returning to a relatively bacteria-free space. If someone is staying at your home while you are away, ask them to take out the trash prior to you arriving home. Depending on when you are leaving/returning, you can take your trash out prior and have a neighbor roll your garbage can back up to your property. If you live in an apartment building, make sure to drop your trash off in the designated area to prevent any surprises when you come home. The same can be applied if your apartment building offers valet trash pickup. Not friends with your neighbors yet, don't worry! There are great ways to meet your neighbors so it's not awkward.
Whether your space is small or large, your utility bill will thank you at the end of your vacation if you turn off as many lights as possible. If you are still housing your pet at home while you are away, leave a light on above the sink or the hallway light on consistently for them at night. The natural light during the day will suffice as their daytime light. If someone is watching your home for you, have them turn the lights off during the day and then come back at night to turn them on – this will save on your lightbulbs and your wallet. Or with today's technological advances, you can control your lights from an app on your phone, which has many benefits. One, it will help give your pets some lighting when you're away, but it will also deter anyone from breaking in. Keeping the lights on while you're away, gives the illusion someone is home, which could save your home from becoming the next target for robberies.
If you have any pets that you are leaving behind and not at puppy/kitty camp, make sure all their needs are set out for your sitter. Making sure their food, toys, leashes, water bowls, etc are out on the counter or somewhere accessible for your sitter will make your pet's life a little less stress-free while you are away. I will also save them from hunting for your pet’s basic needs and ones that make them feel comfortable while you are away. If they are on a set feeding schedule or if they enjoy specific play toys, leave a friendly note with their needs and what they enjoy! This will help your pet miss you just a little bit less! Services like Pet Sitters allow you to hire a professional pet sitter to watch your loved ones while you are away. If you want to go a cheaper route, have a coworker or neighbor check in on your pets in exchange for a gift card to their favorite restaurant!
Don’t forget to get the mail! But really…don’t forget your mail. This isn’t something that is done at home, but we feel it is a necessary preparation step. Designate a friend, neighbor, or family member to check your mailbox daily. After that, have them put it in a designated place in your home where you can see it once you return. The last thing you want to do is your mail piling up, praying there’s enough room in your box, or having the mail personal think your home is now vacant.
While you don’t want to rack up your electric bill, you do want to make it appear that someone is home. Especially if someone is not staying or house sitting for you while you are away. Whether you program your outdoor lights to turn on once it gets dark or you have a neighbor turn on your lights, porch lights, etc it is better to be safer than sorry. Speaking of timers, there are ways to turn your home into a “smart house” with apps and features like Alexa, Google, and Echo. From there you can program your lights and even your locks on your house to engage at a certain time.
While you are probably running around like a crazy person, don’t forget that last load of laundry in the wash! You’ll want to flip that into the dryer before you come home to stale, smelly laundry that you’ll have to re-wash a second time. You would rather run the dryer on wrinkle press again once home than take care of stinky laundry.
Especially if you will be gone for a longer period of time, start out your absence with a fresh lawn! Mow your lawn or if it is snowing where you are, snow blow prior to leaving. This is also a great time to find lawncare help while you are away. Ideas would be to pay a high school or college kid to take care of your lawn, another trusted neighbor, or hire lawn services for the time you are away. The last thing you want is to come home to grass mile high or get stuck in the snow in your driveway upon returning home.
Unplugging your chords helps in a few different ways. Leaving things plugged in could lead to a fire hazard or if there is an electrical surge or shortage and something sparks, it could lead to a house fire. Unplugging assures a better piece of mind that your home is safe while you are away. Also, why rack up the electric bill when you are not using it? If you are only going to be gone a few days without a house sitter, go ahead and unplug items like lamps, microwaves, hairdryers, curling irons, and electric toothbrush stands.
If you are going to be in a different state or country, be sure to notify your bank or credit union. This way when you make a purchase, not in your area, the bank will allow it and not question you and potentially shut your card down. Most banks will ask how long you will be in that area so they can ensure you'll be able to access your funds and use them to enjoy your vacation to the fullest. There is nothing worse than being in a completely different part of the world, with no money! Yikes!
We gave you a lot of options on how to prepare your home for your upcoming vacation and he hopes you found it helpful! Above all, before you even begin, make a list. Prioritize your home and the needs you will have once you are gone. Begin early and be sure you book a house or pet sitter with plenty of time! Follow these easy yet simple ways to prepare your home and your vacation will be even more relaxing and your mind will be at ease. Happy travels!