Know Before You Go: Preparing Your House for Vacation

Dale Lavine March 17, 2022 | 4 min read
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What to plan for when preparing your house for vacation.

The weather is warming up, the trees are regaining their green, and the kids — if you have any — are hauling toward spring break at breakneck speed. For some families, that means vacation to a distant destination, like a certain mouse-sponsored amusement park, perhaps? For others, vacation means a quick road trip to visit in-laws or other nearby loved ones. Either way, vacation of any kind means leaving your home for a number of days. And while smart technology has made taking care of ourselves and our homes easier, there are still a few things you need to do manually when preparing your house for vacation.

Clear fridge, full bellies, can’t lose.

We’re not recommending you eat everything in your fridge before making a mad dash for departure, but food doesn’t stay fresh forever. Milk, meat, produce, and other food items that go bad quickly should be consumed, composted, or straight up canned if you’re not going to be home for an extended period of time. Imagine coming back from one tropical ecosystem to find another green ecosystem growing in your fridge. *Shudders.*

Keep it clean.

If you’re anything like us, you know that there’s nothing quite as comforting as coming home to a clean home. After all, the last thing anyone wants to do is drag their luggage inside and lose it among a field of laundry. Worse still, walking into the stench of week-old dishes. If that sounds like something you’d like to avoid, consider the following:

  1. Load, run, and unload your dishwasher. When it’s done, leave it cracked to let the steam escape and help the remaining water evaporate completely.
  2. Don’t forget the load in the washer. Look, who doesn’t let the dishes sit overnight every now and then to help get the gunk up? Unfortunately clothes don’t work the same way. Once they’ve been washed, you’re going to want to throw them in the dryer or hang them up to dry ASAP. Otherwise you’re looking at coming back to a moldy, stinky pile of wet clothes.
  3. Wipe it down, vacuum it up. You might be on vacation, but bugs and rodents might see your empty home as a hotel. To keep these uninvited guests out, consider wiping down all the countertops and vacuuming up any debris in high-traffic areas.

Leave a light on. Turn everything else off.

We’re not huge fans of waste around here, but when it comes to keeping your home and your belongings safe, leaving a light on is one of the best ways to keep ne’er-do-wells off your property. A single light in the living room or bedroom should suffice, but if you’re running a high-tech home you might consider scheduling different lights to turn on and off at various times while you’re gone for that extra measure of safety.

As for everything non-essential? Turn it off. Things like fridges, freezers, and pet feeders can stay on. Things like game consoles, microwaves, ceiling fans, coffee machines, and wax warmers can be turned off or unplugged to temporarily reduce your footprint (and your utility bill).

While you’re at it, don’t be afraid to turn off your thermostat if the house is going to be completely empty. Unless your pets are staying back, who’s the A/C running for?

Finishing touches.

One of the simpler recommendations we have for preparing your house for vacation is to wash your sheets, pillow cases, and comforter. Once those are dry, make your bed. Why? Wouldn’t you rather crawl into a clean bed than one that’s been sitting in your sweat and skin cells for upwards of a week or more? Your mattress may not live up to a hotel mattress, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give yourself something to look forward to when you get back.

While smart technology has made taking care of ourselves and our homes easier, there are still a few things you need to do manually when preparing your house for vacation.

Crunch the numbers.

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