If you’re looking forward to a summer vacation this year, you obviously want to minimise your stress and worry while you’re away. Unfortunately, people rush the process of leaving for a long summer holiday, and their enjoyment of the getaway suffers as a result.
Have you ever been sitting on a plane, worrying whether or not you switched the gas hob off? Have you ever been sat on a sunny beach dreading the cleanup operation needed in your home when you return? If you have, it’s probably down to a lack of planning and organisation.
Get your summer break off to the best possible start by following a few simple tips to prepare your home for your extended absence.
Try to make your home look lived-in
Most people worry a little about the possibility of a break-in when they’re away on holiday. But by making it appear like you’re still home, you can deter criminals from taking a chance on your property. For example, you can ask a neighbour to collect your mail every day. Leave a couple of lights on; or even better, use smart lighting, which you can turn on or off from anywhere in the world with your mobile device.
Other tips for making your home look lived-in include:
- Park your car outside your home
- Install motion-activated sensors that turn on outside lighting
- Arrange for someone to attend to your garden
- Ask a relative to move into your home
Take care of your home’s amenities
To stop yourself worrying about whether or not you switched everything off, create a master checklist that includes everything from taps to TVs. Seconds before you leave, walk around your home, and tick off each item as and when you attend to it. If it makes you feel better, you can even take the completed checklist with you for peace of mind.
On your “switch off” checklist should be:
- Heating — if possible, switch it to “holiday” mode
- Unplug small electrical devices that aren’t necessary
- Defrost your fridge freezer (leave it empty, clean and switched off if at all possible)
- Bins — they should all be emptied and clean
- Toilets — should be clean and flushed
- Ovens and gas hobs
- Lock windows and doors
Leaving a home empty for an extended period of time always creates practical issues that must be dealt with before you leave. Here are a few of those issues — use them to create a “going away checklist”.
- Check smoke detectors
- Contact your bank to let them know you’ll be using your bank cards abroad
- Leave emergency contact details with a relative and a neighbour
- Check use-by dates of all the food you’re leaving behind (you could look to donate anything that will go out of date in your absence to a local foodbank)
- Cancel newspapers, deliveries etc
- Clean your home
Clean your home thoroughly before going on your summer holiday
Make no mistake: dust will continue to settle on all of your home surfaces while you’re away. In the firing line will be your curtains, carpets and upholstery — so give them a deep clean before you leave. Consider covering large areas of carpet and your sofas and chairs with dust sheets. This could save you a lot of vacuuming when you return.
Exactly what you need to clean before going on holiday depends on your home and your circumstances. However, there are a few cleaning jobs that most people need to deal with before jetting off:
- If you have a dishwasher, run an empty cycle with vinegar to clean it — and wipe it dry to prevent mildew
- Make all your beds with fresh linen — you’ll be thankful when you return
- Remove all rubbish from your home
- Wipe down all surfaces. Sanitise kitchen counters with a sanitiser or a handheld steam cleaner
- Clean and flush the toilets.
- Leave a little pot of baking soda and your favourite essential oils in every room. This will absorb smells, and ensure your home smells wonderfully fresh when you return.
Start planning and organising this process at least a week before you leave. By preparing your home for your absence, you should be able to enjoy a relaxing summer holiday without worrying about the cleanliness or security of your property.