Your tickets are booked, your itinerary is all planned out, and your bags are all packed. But wait, are you forgetting something? The pile of laundry in your hamper? The water valve that’s still turned on? The package that’s coming after you leave? If you want to enjoy your vacation with little worry for your house–or if you want to take advantage of the time you’ll be gone for renovations—here is a list of things you should do first before leaving for vacation.
Paint, stains, epoxy
Painting your walls, applying a stain on your floors, or laying down a layer of concrete epoxy in your garage is a great and often inexpensive way to upgrade your home. However, these materials often take a long time to dry and cure, which means you may not be able to stay in a room or walk on the floors until the layers dry and cure completely.
Epoxy, for instance, can take up to a week to fully cure. Thus, applying epoxy on your floors right before you leave for vacation is a great way to allow it to cure completely without being disturbed by foot traffic. The best part? You’ll have gorgeous-looking floors to admire when you return.
Do the laundry
The last thing you want after coming home from an exhausting trip is to have to do laundry because you didn’t do any before you left, and now you have no clothes for the next work week. Do your future self a favor and pop the few remaining loads in your hamper while you prepare for your trip. You’re probably going to do this anyway if the clothes you plan to wear on vacation are still in the laundry basket.
Ask a friend or neighbor to get the mail
Mail piling up on your doorstep can serve as a beacon for potential home intruders. To keep your home safe and make it seem like someone is home, ask your neighbor or a friend to come by to fetch the mail, especially if you are expecting a package to arrive while you are away.
Clean out the refrigerator
Unless you’re going to be gone for only a few days, it’s wise to clean out your refrigerator before you leave. Put perishables in the freezer, then eat, throw out, or give away anything else that will spoil while you are gone. You can also bring some food with you for travel snacks, but don’t go overboard lest you want to be hauling extra pounds in your luggage.
Turn off the water valve and unplug electronics
To prevent the risk of a fire or a flood while you’re gone, be sure to turn off the main water supply and unplug all electronics that don’t need power while you are away. Aside from preventing a potential disaster, you’ll also get to save money on your utility bills.
While you’re at it, check all of your water fixtures for leaks and fix any that you find to avoid the risk of flooding—or at the very least, a jacked-up water bill.
Program your thermostat
If you have a programmable thermostat, you can set it to ‘away’ mode, which will keep the house a few degrees over or below the normal temperature when you are at home. Turning off the HVAC entirely is not recommended since the system will use a lot of energy when you eventually turn it on again. Besides, the air will still need to circulate while you are not at home.
To return to a comfortable temperature, disable the ‘away’ feature when you’re a few hours away using your phone (smart thermostats have this remote control feature). This way, you’ll be able to get comfortable as soon as you walk through the door.
Take out the trash
Many people forget this crucial detail when preparing to leave their homes for vacation. Trash that goes too long undisturbed can attract pests, which can lead to a nasty surprise when you return. Take out the trash and cover your outdoor trash bins tightly before leaving. If trash day is coming while you’re on vacation, ask a neighbor or a friend to wheel your trash bins to the curb.
Don’t let the excitement of vacation keep you from doing these basic household tasks before your departure. Not only will these tips help keep your house safe and clean, but they will also give you peace of mind knowing that your house is secure and that you’ll come home to little to no household chores.