I am an over-thinker, planner, mildly OCD, control freak. So, when we started kicking around the idea of possibly taking a trip back home to Oregon, I immediately started making my normal plethora of lists. Any appointments we have between now and then, what to pack, who to remember to visit, things to do when we get there, places to eat, etc. I thought I was golden until one day I had the realization I was missing a list: things to do to the house before we leave. Before, this was NEVER an issue. Whenever we would travel we were only gone for a couple days. Now, between having to travel about 2,000 miles (and DRIVING it!) and having two years’ worth of catching up to do (including another son to introduce!), we’re taking a little bit longer. So, here are a few ideas to help prep your house for vacation.
1. Un-plug EVERYTHING. If you are a fan of This Is Us, then I don’t have to explain the main reason this is such an important idea. Thank you to the This Is Us writers for reminding us all to check our smoke detectors and for testing out our “waterproof” mascara. But seriously, if you are going to be gone for a few days or longer, unplug everything! You never know what could start a fire, and if you’re not there to use it, there’s no sense in paying a higher power bill.
2. Turn off the main water. I’m not trying to be a negative Nancy here, but just like a fire is a possibility, so is a flood. Pipes burst just like crock-pots catch fire (we love you, Jack!). You can never predict this stuff, but it can happen. Turning off the water at the main line can be the simple act that saves your belongings from taking their own beach front vacation. And (sadly I know from recent experience), even a small toilet leak can rack up your water bill. Again, no sense in paying extra!
3. Adjust your thermostat. You can add this to my list of traits: frugal spender. I hate spending money, especially on unnecessary things. So, back to the power bill. If you’re not going to be home, either turn the A/C off completely or change the desired temp so it’s not working overtime to keep your empty couch and unplugged TV cool.
4. Stop your mail. If you don’t have someone you trust to collect your mail for you, contact your post office and have them hold your mail until you get back from your trip. No need to overload your mailbox, letting everyone know your house is uninhabited and ready to be looted.
5. Clean your house before you go. I know this sounds exhausting when you’re trying to plan a fun trip, but your retuning-home self will thank you! Clean out the fridge of anything perishable and empty all the trash cans so the house doesn’t stink while you’re gone. Do the dishes and add baking soda to sinks and toilets to help with this as well. Vacations can be exhausting (especially with kids), so catch up on laundry and come home to fresh sheets on your awaiting bed. And, if you’re feeling super loving towards your future self, maybe even prep a couple freezer meals so the first few dinners back home are already taken care of!