Vacationizing Your Home: 8 Things To Do Before You Leave

In the excitement of planning a vacation and packing your suitcases, don’t forget to prep the house to stand empty while you’re away having fun!

Our Cape Ann was an awesome, relaxing week, but it was especially nice to return to a clean home after a long trip. We took care to get the house ready, not just for the dogsitter, but for a peaceful homecoming as well. I cleaned and “vacationized” the house while the hubby loaded the van.

Here are 8 things you should do before you leave an empty house:

  • Stop the Mail 1 of 8
    Stop the Mail
    Place a hold on your mail with the post office or ask a friend to check the mail regularly, especially if you'll be gone for any length of time. An overflowing mailbox screams "no one is home!" and runs the risk of returning home to soggy mail, if it won't close.
  • Clean the Fridge 2 of 8
    Clean the Fridge
    You don't want to come home to science experiments. Empty containers, wipe down the fridge, and toss anything that will expire before you return home.
    Photo Credit: Flickr user mr_t_in_dc
  • Get Rid of Food 3 of 8
    Get Rid of Food
    We keep a lot of fruit around, in bowls, baskets or on the counter. Typically, we take whatever is around with us as snacks for the road. This way, you don't come home to rotting food or a hoard of fruit flies.
    Photo Credit: Flickr user denimdave
  • Clean the Garbage Disposal 4 of 8
    Clean the Garbage Disposal
    I usually try to run an orange or lemon down the garbage disposal right before we leave, to clean and deodorize. It leaves the kitchen smelling fresh, which is much nicer when you return.
    Photo Credit: Flickr user d00d
  • Take Out the Trash 5 of 8
    Take Out the Trash
    This is probable one of the most important items on the list, since the house can get pretty rank if you forget. If possible, ask a friend or neighbor to push it to the curb on the appropriate day.
    Photo Credit: Flickr user athomeinscottsdale
  • Flush the Toilets 6 of 8
    Flush the Toilets
    After everyone has made their final bathroom visit, I close the lids and flush all the toilets an extra time — just in case. Sometimes I'll even pour in a bit of all purpose cleaner or vinegar. (Just be sure to leave the lids closed, if you're leaving any pets at home.)
    Photo Credit: Flickr user
  • Turn Off the Lights 7 of 8
    Turn Off the Lights
    The girls are good at leaving lights on — especially the bathroom and closet lights that go unnoticed. I always send a kid around to flip all the lights off as I'm doing my own final rounds.
    Photo Credit: Flickr user so_wrong_its_kelly
  • Change the Thermostat 8 of 8
    Change the Thermostat
    In the summer, I reset the thermostat to 80-85 before we leave. In the winter, I turn it down to around 60. I don't want to turn it off — the cats need at least a little something while we're gone, and I don't want to return home to an unbearable house. I just want to cut the use a bit while we're away, to save energy.
    Photo Credit: Flickr user dave-friedel

How do you prepare for vacation?

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