Your Home's Summer Vacation 12-Step Checklist - Prep Now for Less Stress Later

Inspired by Dawn shares summer travel tips on preparing your home while you're away

Reservations are made, bags are packed, out of office reply is turned on, and you're almost ready to go. But before you head out on your summer vacation, here's a quick checklist of how to prep your home to ensure you don't come home to any post-vacation reentry disasters. A little prep now can help you hold on to that vacation glow just a little while longer.

- Light timers - Set a lamp or two to turn on and off at different times so the casual observer will not suspect you're out of town
- Close & lock windows & doors - Seems obvious but take a second and check all the doors and windows. You don't want to be hours or days into your vacation and wonder if your bedroom is getting soaked or the back door ever got locked
- Hold mail & newspaper - No need to signal that you're away with a pile of mail and newspapers out front. Both can be put on vacation hold with just a few simple clicks online
- Garbage cans - Make sure you bring garbage cans in from the curb before you leave or ask a neighbor to do it for you. Again it's just one less signal that you're away

Saving $s
- Hot water tank - Save some dollars for your trip and turn down the thermostat on the hot water tank so you're not heating water you're not using
- Adjust thermostat - This differs by season but consider turning off the furnace or air conditioner while you're gone. Again a good dollar saver

Cleaning & Maintaining
- Clean refrigerator - Not a necessity but nice to not come home to a few science experiments. Take a minute and dump out all the old leftovers
- Run dishwasher - Also not a necessity but always nice to not wonder if the dishes are clean or dirty. However, if you forget to do this the odor will often tell you!
- Take out trash - Once of the last things before closing and locking the door is to take out the trash and recyclables to minimize odor
- Water plants - This one is time dependent but give your plants a good soak before you leave and consider asking someone to help if you're going to be gone awhile
- Dehumidifier - This is region-dependent but if you have a dehumidifier make sure it's set up to keep running and draining while you're gone. Connect to a basement drain or ask the person watering your plants to empty the bin as well

One More Thing...
- Check your packing list one last time - One last glance can save you from spending precious vacation time shopping for a forgotten item

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