How to Prep Your Home for a Long Absence

If you’re going on an extended vacation, it pays to do some prep work in advance of your trip. Doing so will help ensure that your home is safe and secure while you’re away, and allow you to come home to a house that is clean and ready for you the moment you open the door. Here are some tips that can help you prepare your home for a long absence – whether it’s a week, a month, or more.

Hold Your Mail

The first thing that you should do is request a mail hold. We know that visiting a post office can be a chore, but before you balk at the idea, it’s worth mentioning that you can request a mail hold online. And you don’t have to go to the post office to pick up your mail when your hold is over either! Believe it or not, the post office will deliver your collected mail right to your house, on the date of your choosing. It’s quick, easy, convenient, and effective. What more could you ask for?

Unplug Non-Essential Appliances

It’s no secret that appliances that are turned off still draw power. This is known as standby power, and over the course of a month or two, shutdown appliances can draw enough energy to have a difference on your electrical bill. It’s not a huge difference, but why pay for it if you’re not using it? To ensure that non-essential appliances are truly turned “off” while you’re away, unplug them or flip the switches on your power strips to off. If you’re able to plug your devices into a power strip, you will likely find that this is the quickest, easiest way to disconnect them entirely from their energy source.

Freeze or Discard Perishable Foods

Some perishable foods can be frozen, while others are best consumed while they’re fresh. Knowing which foods are which can help you determine what items need to be eaten fresh before you go, and which can be preserved for later use. If you can freeze it, do so. If not, make an effort to eat this food before your trip so that it doesn’t go to waste. But remember, whatever you don’t freeze should be discarded unless you know for certain that it will still be good when you return. If you don’t know, err on the side of caution and discard it so that it doesn’t go bad.

Clean Before You Leave

Do yourself a favor and clean before you leave – and not after you get back! The moment you walk through your front door to a clean house, you will be glad that you did. Dust and clean the bathrooms, tidy up and put things away, do all of the dishes and laundry, put new linens on the beds, and vacuum the floors. Yes, it might take a bit of time, and right when you’re trying to get things packed, but the benefits will be worth the effort.

Hire a Gardener

One of the reasons that you should request a mail hold is that uncollected mail is a tell-tale sign that someone isn’t home. Well, it’s worth remembering that an unkempt lawn and long, overgrown hedges can be just as telling. If you plan to be away for a month or more, consider hiring a gardener to keep the lawn looking clean, kept, and lived in. Not only is long grass a sign of an empty home, but untrimmed bushes and hedges can even act as cover for would-be thieves. To dissuade burglars, your goal should be a home that looks as normal, ordinary, and occupied as possible.

Manage Your House from Afar

Home automation systems from companies like ADT allow you to manage your house from afar, right from your smartphone or tablet. Leveraging the Internet of Things, these systems can connect to a whole suite of “connected” devices – from smart thermostats and auto locks to wireless security cameras – to automate the home and put you in control. They do this by syncing with devices that can think for themselves. These smart devices can acquire habits and patterns based around your needs, but can also be controlled remotely if need be. In other words, they offer the best of both worlds. So don’t worry about whether or not you locked the doors or shut off the lights the next time that you leave on an extended trip – simply do these things from your phone.

A Little Effort Can Go a Long Way

Taking some precautionary measures now can help ensure your house is safe and secure while you’re away. And putting in a little elbow grease will see to it that your home is clean and ready for occupants when you get back. So muster up some energy and put in the work needed to prepare your home for an extended absence. We think you’ll find that the little bit of effort needed is more than worth the reward. Bon voyage!

Samantha Rivers ()

Samantha Rivers is a freelance writer who lives in Chicago (Go Cubs!) and loves writing anything in the lifestyle, tech and career realm both online and print. When she’s not running the Upward Onward blog, she enjoys reading, finding new restaurants, being active outside, and indulging in a glass of wine or two.