Pre-vacation checklist

Getting ready for the day that you leave for a vacation is both fun and exciting. But alongside planning your itinerary and packing list, be sure not to forget the important things you need to take care of in your home before you leave on your trip.

No matter how long your trip is, you will feel much safer and ensure your home will be exactly as you left it by checking off each of the items on this list before you set out.

1.   Eliminate Expired Food and Take out the Trash

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Before you set out on your trip, it’s a good idea to get rid of things that may spoil while you’re gone. Check the expiration dates on all of the food that is in your refrigerator. If the expiration happens while you’re away, toss it now. Any dry goods such as flour, pasta, and other foods should be placed in airtight containers or placed the freezer to discourage pests. Once you’ve cleaned out the food, take it and the trash out to the curb. Make arrangements for it to be picked up while you’re gone.

2.   Clean Up Before Leaving the House

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Be sure to wash and put away any dishes, wipe down countertops and surfaces in the kitchen. If possible, finish any laundry. Go over the floors with a broom or vacuum. Change the sheets and make the beds. The less you have to do when you return home, the faster you can get used to being at home again.

3.   Unplug the Appliances

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Save energy and keep your home safer by unplugging appliances. It’s a good idea to go through each room of your home to make sure. Be sure to unplug the television and entertainment consoles, computers and printers. If any of these items are on a surge strip, unplug the strip entirely from the wall socket. Some appliances, such as refrigerators, have a vacation setting that can be programmed to operate with less power and switch back to full power when you return. If your refrigerator doesn’t have this, just leave it plugged in.

4.   Adjust the thermostat on heating & air conditioning

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To save energy, adjust the thermostat in your home. Keep it warm enough to prevent pipes from freezing in the fall and winter months. If you are away during the summer, adjust the temperature on air conditioning to be slightly higher than where it is set when you are at home. It’s okay for a home to be a little warm, but leaving the AC on will also suck out humidity from the home. 

5.   Turn off the gas and water

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If you expect to be gone for a longer period of time, it’s a good idea to have the gas turned off completely. Also, shut off the water so that your home to prevent it from becoming flooded while you’re away. No one wants to return to their home to face the nightmare of water damage restoration. The water supply to the home can usually be turned off in the basement or wherever it comes into your home. Leave a note to yourself to remember to turn it back on so you’re not surprised.

6.   Have your Mail and Newspaper Deliveries Stopped

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In order to prevent tipping off potential home intruders, have the post office hold your mail for you. If you have a newspaper subscription, call the circulation department and have these stopped while you’re away.

7.   Close the curtains and blinds

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 You can make your home less of a target to would-be intruders and prevent them from seeing what’s inside. Put lights on a timer so that they come on during the evening and shut off at your usual bedtime to give the impression someone’s home.

8.   Lock all windows and doors just before you leave

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Go through each room in your home including the basement and garage and check that all windows and doors are completely closed and locked. When you pull your car out of the garage, close and lock the door it from the inside. If you have an automatic garage door opener, shut off the device that allows a radio signal to get to it or unplug it from its power source.

By following these tips, you can be assured that there will be no nasty surprises or a ton of housework waiting for you upon your return. And you’ll be able to enjoy your vacation a little bit more.


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