Organising a holiday is challenging enough, but preparing your home for your prolonged absence simply adds to the stress and worry. There are several issues to bear in mind, including several related to security and cleanliness.
If you’re planning an extended holiday in the near future, this checklist should help you to prepare your home to the best of your ability.
1. Let a few trusted people know
It’s always a good idea to let a close friend or relative know that your home will be empty for a while. The people you inform may be willing to visit your property a few times while you’re away — just to check that everything is as it should be. Give someone a key, and ask them to enter your home occasionally to pick up mail and turn on lights.
If you have security with an alarm company, inform them of your holiday dates — and make sure they can contact you to inform you of any unauthorised access to your property.
2. Open internal doors
In order to prevent the build-up of moist air and mould, it’s a good idea to open all of the internal doors of your home. This should help to maintain a healthy level of air circulation. Don’t forget to open your wardrobes and closets too, as this will help to keep your clothes fresh.
3. Put the rubbish out
Just before you leave, walk through your home to check for rubbish. Any perishable rubbish that is left to fester for weeks will cause odours that prove very difficult to remove on your return. Make sure all of your rubbish is in your outdoor bins before you set off.
4. Disconnect electrical appliances
There’s no need to leave anything in standby when you’re going to be away for several days. Unplug TVs, kitchen appliances and anything that is connected to the mains — other than a full fridge or freezer, of course.
Tip: If possible, empty, defrost and clean your refrigerator before you leave for a long period.
5. Cancel the papers
If you receive newspaper delivers, milk or anything brought to your front door on a regular basis, make sure you cancel it in advance. Tell the provider the date you’ll return to ensure your deliveries resume on time.
6. Adjust your thermometers
Depending on the time of year, it could be a good idea to set your hot water to come on intermittently over the course of your absence. This could stop your pipes from freezing and cracking during cold spells.
7. Prepare your toilets
While your toilets might look clean, they could be harbouring some nasty bacteria that could begin to smell after a few days of festering in standing water. Add a cup of bleach to your toilets just before you set off to keep your toilets looking and smelling fresh.
8. Unplug or mute phones
Nothing tells would-be burglars that you’re not home like a phone that continually rings out. Unplug or mute your phones to ensure your home isn’t giving criminals hints about your whereabouts.
9. Check the water into your home
Check all of the taps and water pipes that come into your home before you leave. It’s best to do this the day before, as you’ll need time to address any leaks before you head off.
10. Set up your home technology
A great way to manage heating, lighting and security in your home during your absence is through the installation of home management technology that can be controlled with mobile apps. Wherever you are in the World, you can view cameras, switch lights on and change heating settings in your property.
11. Spend extra time cleaning the kitchen and bathroom
The bacteria that live in most kitchens and bathrooms can get out of hand if left to multiply over the course of a few weeks. It’s therefore a good idea to sanitise all your floors and surfaces just before you leave. A quick way to clean both of these rooms to a very high standard is to use a steam cleaner — which removes dirt and kills the vast majority of harmful bacteria.
12. Check all windows and doors
Just before you start packing your car with cases, walk around your home to check that all windows and doors are properly locked. Don’t forget to check loft windows, conservatories and outbuildings too.
As long as you’re thorough and organised in your approach to preparing your house for a long absence, it should be spick and span on your return.