Thursday, October 11, 2012

31 Days to a More Organized Life : Day Eleven : Preparing Your Home for a Trip

Welcome to day ten of my efforts toward organizing our home and family, one step at a time! If you missed any of the previous days you can check them out here!
Today we are talking about how to get your home ready before you leave for a vacation. There's so much to do before a trip, not to mention so much excitement and anticipation. Just a few simple steps can help keep your house safe while you are out of town.

1. Hold the mail or ask someone to pick it up
If you're going to be gone for more than a day or two, it's a good idea not to let your mail pile up. If you have a neighbor that would be willing to grab your mail each day, that works! If not, it's really easy to have the post office hold your mail. You can do it online at and the mail will be delivered in bulk on the first business day after your scheduled return. You should do the same for the newspaper if you have a daily delivery.

2. Plan for pet & plant care.
Most likely figuring out pet care is a given if you have cats or dogs. Don't forget about the small pets like fish or hamsters! We have a family in our neighborhood who is usually happy to fish-sit for a few days. Also if you plan to be gone for more than a few days and have a lot of house plants, it's a good idea to schedule for someone to water them. Often you can find a trust-worthy teenager in the neighborhood that can pick up the mail, newspaper, and water the plants or care for a low-maintenance pet. 

3. Alert the neighbors. 
Let a neighbor or two know you'll be out of town and for how long. They can keep an eye out for any problems or suspicious activity. Make sure to provide a contact number so they can reach you if anything comes up. A few years ago, we were away and our neighbor noticed water leaking near our garage. It turned out there was a problem with the sprinkler system. We were able to have the water turned off and prevented major flooding, all thanks to our kind neighbor!

4. Set automatic timers for one or two lights in different parts of the house. 
This one is pretty self explanatory, but having a couple different lights turn on at different times makes it look more likely that someone is at home and keeps shady characters away. 

5. Do a walk-through before leaving.
It's common sense to lock up when you go out of town, but I have often found a bathroom window left open when we do a final once-over. By walking through the house quickly before you leave, you can be sure that windows and doors are secure and that valuables are hidden from view. You can also turn off unused lights and turn down the thermostat. No sense wasting energy when you aren't even there!

None of these tasks are too time-consuming, but they all help to ensure that your house will be safe while you are away so you can enjoy your vacation!

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