A LONE HOME
The holidays are a time for vacations and relaxing, but there's so much more to taking a holiday trip than just picking up and leaving. There are a few things to organize ahead of time, and you need to make sure your house and belongings are safe while you're gone. So here are 25 things to do before you leave to ensure your home is secure and you can spend your vacation worry-free.
STOP MAIL DELIVERY
The U.S. Postal Service makes this really easy now. You can check your ZIP code online to see if Hold Mail Service is available in your area and select the dates (up to 30 days). If you're expecting any packages from FedEx, you can put a vacation hold on with FedEx Delivery Manager. Both services are free.
PAY BILLS IN ADVANCE ONLINE
SET LIGHTS ON TIMERS
OPEN THE BLINDS
ARRANGE FOR SOMEONE TO CHECK THE HOUSE
DON'T PUT IT ON SOCIAL MEDIA
STOP NEWSPAPER DELIVERY
SET UP PET CARE
GET A HOUSE SITTER
If you don't want to leave your house completely unattended, arrange for a house sitter to stay there over the holidays. You may need to pay someone to move in temporarily, although the right person might do it just to stay there (especially if you have a really nice house). Perhaps they could help with chores, but it's more about just having a living body milling around.
SET 'AWAY' MESSAGES
STOP ONLINE ORDERS
TURN DOWN THE HEAT
SHUT OFF OR TURN DOWN OTHER UTILITIES AND APPLIANCES
UNPLUG ALL UNNECESSARY ELECTRONICS
These days every room in the house has something plugged in: computers, TVs, speakers, coffeemakers, you name it. You won't be using any of that while you're gone, so pull the plugs simply to avoid a fire hazard. An added bonus is you'll save money on your electric bill, as some devices still consume a little power while turned off.
CLEAR OUT THE FRIDGE
DO THE DISHES AND TAKE OUT THE TRASH
DO THE LAUNDRY
BAKING SODA IN THE BATHROOM
REPLACE SMOKE DETECTOR BATTERIES
LEAVE A CAR IN THE DRIVEWAY
BRING IN OUTDOOR DECOR
If you have valuable lawn furniture or decorations, better bring them inside just to be safe. Not only do you want to keep them away from any thieves, but if it rains or snows while you're gone you don't want to leave your outdoor goods to soak.