Tips for Preparing Your Home for Vacation

Preparation for vacation makes you feel like a juggler arranging the flight, booking the hotel room and deconstructing your entire closet to pack one suitcase. And while the point of this vacation-prep madness is to get away from stresses of home life, but you may be forgetting one thing: preparing your home for vacation. Just as you're preparing yourself to get away, there are to-do tasks to get your home ready for while you're away. Don't feel dread about these tasks, though. They can keep your home safe and help reduce the cost of your utility bills:

1. Raid the Fridge

Raid the fridge and pantry to purge all items with an upcoming expiration date. Don't toss a gallon of milk if it still has a few good days after your return and you plan on using it. You could also plan ahead, and prepare a few tasty freezer meals with the items that are coming due. Set up a small breakfast, lunch or snack for your return, too, so there's no immediate cooking right when you get home. Wipe away any stains, and change out a box of baking soda to make the fridge smell fresh.

2. Take out the Trash

Go around your home and pick up any food items or dishes. Wipe down surfaces, and take out the trash.

3. Nurture Your Plants

Give your plants a little water before you leave, and arrange their environments to the optimal conditions for thriving. Write down any instructions and plant locations for a neighbor coming over to tend to your plants, or set up a self-watering system. For outdoor gardens, arrange any lawn or garden care with a local company if a neighbor's help will not suffice.

4. Plan for Pet Care

Tips for Preparing Your Home for Vacation

Will a neighbor come over and check on your pet? Is someone pet sitting over the weekend? Be sure to leave the proper care instructions, with extra toys and fun items for your pet. With more toys, your pet will be less likely to chew up other items. Put hazardous materials away, such as coins, important documents and office supplies. Personal treasures, plants and small pets should also be kept safely apart from a rowdy pet. Be sure that play areas, doors and windows are secure and not at a risk for the pet running away.

5. Do the Laundry

The laundry may be the last thing on your mind since you'll likely have a load in your luggage to do when you come back. Doing some of the laundry now, though and folding and putting it away will make life easier on your return.

6. Spray for Pests

Is your home pest proof? Get a professional, or pick up a can of bug spray. Go around the home and spray along the walls, windows, nooks and crannies that you know particular pests lurk. Spray for ants and set up mouse traps, for example.

7. Park the Car in the Garage

If leaving the car, park it inside of the garage to secure it. It's also helpful to ask a neighbor to park in your driveway to show activity at your home and keep burglars away.

8. Power, Lights and Sensors

Should you leave some lights on when you're gone or not? Use the following tips to save on your utility bills and avoid robbery:

  • Unplug power suckers you won't be using, such as lamps, computers and televisions. Also, unplug small appliances in the kitchen.
  • Make sure your porch light is timed to turn on during the day and turn on at night.
  • Leave one eco-friendly light on inside the home to show activity. If you can, put it on a timer. Otherwise, the fact you're away may be too obvious.
  • Use a motion-activated sensor outside at entrances and dark areas below an advantageous window.

9. Put Plumbing on Vacation Mode

  • Place the water heater on vacation mode, so it won't consume energy which can save you money.
  • Water valves for the sinks, the dishwasher and the washing machine should be turned off.
  • Set the thermostat close to outdoor temperatures, but at a point that is safe for your plants, pets and any sensitive household items. The thermostat will be set warmer for the summer and set cooler for the winter.

10. General and Emergency Contact To-Dos

You'll need to also contact a few people before you leave with your vacation and emergency contact information:

  • Home security system companies, utility companies, credit card companies and banks should be contacted, especially in case they have tips for you.
  • Leave vacation details and emergency contact information with family and a neighbor. Your family should also have an extra copy of your key, insurance and passport, just in case.
  • Don't forget to check your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.

It's easy to forget certain household tasks and calls to make when you're busy planning your getaway and packing. These tips will help you prepare your home for vacation, so you can relax worry free and save money while doing it!   About the Author: Megan Wild is a home improvement blogger who likes organizing and finding easy ways to make her home look better. Follow her on twitter @Megan_Wild.