Here are a few timely reminders as the summer holiday season approaches, to avoid spending any time worrying about the house, the dog, the plants, whether you left an appliance turned on that you shouldn't have, or if a bill will be late if not paid before you get back!
So take a few minutes before you close the door behind you to review the handy list below.
Take care of your post and newspapers
Nothing screams, “we’re not home!” more than a pile of post or newspapers piling up on the mat or postbox, so this is a must-do if you plan to be away for more than just a long weekend.
One option is to ask a trusted neighbour or friend to pick up your post and newspapers while you’re away, or you can put both your mail delivery and newspaper subscription on hold till you return.
Take care of your plants
Chances are, if you’re away for just a week or two, most houseplants would survive if watered well right before you leave. They may be limp and wilted upon your return, but a good watering would probably revive them.
One possibility, of course, is to ask a friend, neighbour, family-member, house-sitter or pet-sitter to tend to them, especially if that person will already be stopping by for mail and newspaper pick-up, pet care, lawn care or just to check the house. This may feel like a lot to ask of someone, though, unless you have or will be reciprocating, or they’re being compensated in some way.
So if having someone water your plants isn’t an option, here are some things you can do:
- In warmer weather, close the blinds or shades to keep your house cool. Plants need less water when they’re cool.
- Use watering bulbs, or aqua bulbs, which will release water as the plant needs it, for up to two weeks.
Take care of your pets
If you can’t take your dog with you, you’ll want to feel confident that they are in good hands.
Pet care options include:
- Pet-sitting service
- Pet hotels and resorts
- Leaving pets home alone
Take security measures
Having a light on for a while in the evening can be a good deterrent to would-be burglars. Why not use a timer to turn on a living room lamp for a couple of hours?
Outside light is perhaps an even better deterrent than interior lighting, so you can set one or two of those on a timer as well–one in front and one out back.
Other security measures to consider include:
- Installing a security system
- Park a car in the driveway
- Tell a trusted neighbour or friend and leave a spare key
- Lock gates
- Don’t post holiday plans on social websites
Take care to save energy
Think about some of these money and energy-saving tips:
- Turn down the thermostat
- Turn down the boiler
- Turn off strip switches and unplug your computer, etc.
- Turn down the refrigerator
- Check your taps and toilet for drips
Take care of bills
If you like to pay your bills as soon as you receive them, it pays to think ahead as to which bills you be getting by mail or email while you’re on holiday. There are usually grace periods for most bills, so if you’re away for just a week or two, chances are you’ll have time to get your payment in, either by mail or electronically, as long as you send them as soon as you return.
But if you don’t want to think about bill-paying right when you get home — there’s always plenty of other things to tend to — then some forethought can eliminate that chore. For example if you have bills that are always the same amount, you could send in payment before you leave or you could set up an automatic renewal.