Your bags are packed and your flights booked. You’ve put your SecretEscapes skills to the test and managed to find an amazing deal, booked in a few fun activities, and sorted out your holiday wardrobe. But you can’t leave just yet. Why? Because after a lovely holiday, the last thing you want to come home to is a messy house. Plus, there are a few extra steps to take to make sure your home is safe from unexpected disasters when you’re gone.
So before you jet off to Thailand, the Med, or even that much-needed skiing break, here is a handy checklist for the few things you’ll need to take care of. You may want to check out other great online sites for cleaning tips and home maintenance advice as well for further step-by-step guides, but at the very least, you’ll need to make sure you cover the following:
- Toss out food that might expire – Go through your kitchen and either bin any food that will go off, or give it to a neighbour or friend. While you’re sampling the local delicacies in foreign lands, you don’t want your fridge at home to be developing a few exotic (mould) cultures of its own.
- Take out your rubbish – Similarly, neglected rubbish in an empty house can rot or attract mice. Get rid of it before you take off!
- Fix all your leaks and turn off your water valves – If you have a leak in your ceiling or pipes, make sure that’s fixed. If you can, turn off the water valves for your sink, toilets, dishwasher, and washing machines. After a week sunning yourself on a tropical beach, you don’t want to come home to puddles of cold water collecting on your floor.
- Turn your heat down or off – This will depend on how long you’re gone for, and what time of year it is. If it’s winter, you may not want to shut off your heat entirely, as you’ll come home to a freezing house (a very unwelcome return, especially if you’ve been in warmer climes)! Some heating systems have a ‘Holiday’ setting, so consult your heater manual.
- Unplug appliances and electronics – Again, save on electricity bills and protect your items from an unexpected power surge. Unplug stereos, televisions, computers, lamps, microwaves, toasters – anything you don’t want to have to replace. You can save a bit of cash this way, so you’ll have more to spend when you’re abroad.
- Put a visible inside lamp on timer – You don’t want to attract potential burglars, so it’s important to make your home look lived-in while you’re away. You can buy a timer and set it to turn on a lamp in the front room for a few hours each evening, for example.
- Temporarily stop your post – Contact Royal Mail in advance and have them temporarily hold your post, so it doesn’t pile up in your postal box and attract burglars. Do the same thing with newspaper and other regular deliveries.
- Leave a key with a trusted friend or neighbour – If you need to, ask someone ahead of time to water houseplants, feed pets, and generally check on your home while you’re gone. If you’re leaving a pet behind for over a week, go beyond just letting your friend know where the food is – you’ll want to pass on a few cleaning tips for your pet’s bedding or cage. Leave your emergency contact details with them, too.
- Turn on your security system – Finally, make sure your house will be a safe one to come home to. Again, you may want to leave security system details with a trusted friend.
- De-clutter your home – Do a quick final tidy-up, so you’ll know where everything is when you come back. Clutter also attracts mice, which are more likely to venture into an empty house. You may not be able to match the professional tidiness of the resort you just came from, but if your house is somewhat tidy, at least the return to reality won’t be as harsh!
- Have a set of clean laundry for your return – Make sure you have clean clothes, towels, and bed sheets for that first day back from holiday. You don’t want to do an emergency load of laundry when you’ve just gotten back.
Hopefully, with these home maintenance and cleaning tips, you’ll have better peace of mind when you’re off on holiday. Now get out there and enjoy your well-deserved break!