Prepping Your Home for Your Summer Vacation
Thrive Real Estate Specialist Owner/Broker
Having recently returned home from a fantastic family vacation, I’ve found myself thinking about the fresh start I experience when I leave my house behind for a week or more. This summer, I was really organized in the days leading up to my departure. Amidst the packing and the planning, I also put my house in order in anticipation of redecorating my living room. I ordered new sofas that were delivered a few days after we returned from vacation – and it almost seemed that I was extending the vacation itself!
Leaving home provides me with a sense of rejuvenation. I always seem to be in a better frame of mind to make home improvements after I’ve been away for a while. I can see my house more clearly when I take a step away, and as a result, some of my most productive projects tend to occur immediately after I arrive home from vacation, feeling refreshed and with a new sense of purpose. I urge you to consider looking at your house with fresh eyes when you return from your summer vacation, and maybe you’ll be inspired to make some improvements. At the very least, you should find yourself able to look at your home with a new perspective upon your return.
Of course, there are also plenty of practicalities associated with leaving on vacation – particularly if you are going on a long trip or you will be far away. Here are a few considerations to tend to before you leave:
- Hold mail with the post office or ask a friend or neighbor to periodically bring in mail and packages that arrive while you’re away.
- Make arrangements for pets. Ask a neighbor to look after the cat or book the kennel for your dog.
- If you’re unsure that you have airtight privacy settings on your social media accounts, refrain from advertising your absence via posts until you have returned home.
- Stock nonperishable provisions for your return so that an extensive trip to the grocery store is not immediately necessary; make a list of essential perishables to pick up during a quick trip to the store when you return.
- Notify your security company if you have a security service. You can also contact your local police department and notify them of your absence; in many communities, police are willing to patrol neighborhoods while residents are out of town.
- Leave emergency contact information with friend or relative and give a neighbor the key or alarm code in case of emergency.
- Lock the windows and doors!
- If you are wired to do so, monitor your home from a smart phone app.
- Although not strictly associated with your property, I would also urge you to contact your bank and credit card companies if you are traveling abroad so they won’t issue fraud alerts on your accounts when your bank cards are used in other countries.
- Tend to the yard. Enlist a teenager from your neighborhood or hire a landscaping service to mow the lawn.
- Check pool pump settings and hire a pool service or ask someone you know to add water and chemicals as needed during your absence.
- Remove spare keys from obvious hiding places.
- Install motion-sensitive lights on the exterior of your home.
- Water houseplants and ask a friend to stop by to care for them periodically.
- Put lights and small appliances like radios or television sets on timers so your home will seem “lived in.”
- Turn up the thermostat to save on energy costs.
- Unplug small appliances.
- Turn off valves to sinks, toilets, the dishwasher, and the washing machine.
- Set your water heater temperature to “vacation” mode, which will cause it to run less frequently.
- Test your smoke detectors to make sure they are functioning.
- Clean out the refrigerator and finish off or toss anything that could spoil.
- Make sure kitchen and pantry are free of crumbs that could attract pests.
- Remove all trash from the house.
As a bonus, I like to clean my house before I leave so that I come home to a sparkling kitchen and spotless bathrooms, an empty dishwasher, laundered towels and clothing, and clean sheets on the beds. It makes me happier to return to a clean house so that I don’t have to dive back into chores immediately following my vacation. And once you return home, relaxed and refreshed, consider looking at your house with fresh eyes. It may just provide you with the spark of inspiration you need to make some improvements to your living space.