Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Vacation Prep - For Your Home

Going on vacation takes a lot of planning. First you've gotta book your trip, and book your time off. Then there's the planning and packing for what to bring. But you certainly can't forget to look after your home, while you're away.

Canadian magazine Chatelaine has a great little checklist to help you ensure you have everything taken care of to help you sail through your vacation without worrying about the state of your home.

  • Turn off all lights and set certain switches to a timer, to make it look like people are home. **Tip: have the lights set to come on at typical hours, like dinner-time and throughout the evening. My parents always also put a radio on a timer, so that noise can be heard from outside.**

  • Turn the ringer volume on your phone down, so anyone outside can't hear the ringing phone going constantly unanswered.

  • Stow away all valuables, especially those seen through a window

  • Take care of your plants. Ensure they are watered. **Tip: covering them with a plastic bag, traps moisture and acts like a mini-greenhouse.

  • During colder months, set thermostat to a temperature that ensures pipes won't freeze, but that is energy conscious, especially for an empty house. If you have an electric thermostat, even better! In warmer months/climates do the same for your a/c

  • Empty garbage and recycle bins - if you won't be there to put them out for collection, get rid of them before you leave, so that they don't sit, stinking up the house. But don't put them out too early, which signifies no one is around

  • Ensure dishes and laundry are done before you leave. You never know what could grow in those closed tupperware containers, or worse yet, damp towels left in the washing machine!! eeeeew!

  • Lock all doors and windows, especially doors between house and garage. For extra security, put a bar (or piece of wood) wedged between sliding patio door frame

  • Unplug any electronics that will not be used while you are away. There's no sense in keeping these vampire power suckers plugged in. Plus, there's less a chance of something being left on, and starting a fire.

Neighbourly tips

  • leave the neighbour a copy of your key, and the dates that you'll be gone. Alternately, my younger brother watches our place while we're gone.

  • Have a neighbour pick up your mail. Cancel your daily newspaper while you're away. Ours is delivered to a mailbox that requires a key, but I still have my brother pick it up while we're away.

  • If you can't leave your car on your driveway, have your neighbour park on yours from time to time, to look as though someone is coming and going.

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