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Essential tips for preparing your home for a long absence

Rita Deo Rita Deo
The Frontier House Eclectic style houses by 株式会社間宮晨一千デザインスタジオ Eclectic
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Most of us worry about the security of our homes during long trips to visit family or a summer holidays. The best alternative while undertaking a long trip away from the house is to prepare for its safety before leaving. First precaution is to switch off all electrical appliances, clean out the refrigerator and close all taps and block all gaps in the roof or windows that are likely to leak in case of rain or snow. To protect your home from burglars it is best to notify the neighbours and relatives that can keep a check on your house. Security experts state that people should create an atmosphere around the house that makes it look occupied when they go on a long holiday.

Avoid the impression of absence

Cancel the newspaper service for the days you are not at home, as a large pile of dusty newspapers are a giveaway that the owner is not in town. Talk to the local postman to hold all your mail with a promise that you will personally come and pick it up, else request one of your neighbours to pick it for you. Do not leave messages on the phone that you are on vacation instead, ask all calls to be forwarded to your personal phone. If you are not taking the car with you then ask a friend or relative to take it out and leave it on the driveway for a day and then put it back. These few tricks may seem inconsequential but will prove to any burglar checking out the area that the house is occupied and may deter him/her from trying their luck.

Dispose perishable food and empty trash cans

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Urban Myth

Tall pull-out storage

Urban Myth

If you do not want to call the pest control company when you come back then ensure that all perishable food items are out of the refrigerator, kitchen and pantry. If you cannot carry some or all of the food stuff in the house with you then give it away to charity. Remember to clear all trash cans in and around the house so that the garbage does not attract pests and burglars as this is a sure sign that there is no one in the house. Untrimmed lawns sometimes alert burglars that the house is unoccupied, so it is best to trim the grass to almost zero level before leaving so that it is at a normal height even after several weeks.

Tidy up and clean

On a long holiday away from home the last thing you want to think about is leaking taps in the bathroom or soaked towels and wet bathrobe on the door. After cleaning out food and leftovers in the kitchen and ensuring that there are no perishables that can rot during your absence, head to the bathroom for another cleaning exercise.

A large modern bathroom like this will have several nooks and crannies with dust particles and leftover wet towels and open tubes of creams, washes or pastes flung on the counter. Drain out all the water from the shower area, washbasin, bathtub and the floor else you are likely to see slimy moss when you come back.  Make mini toiletry sets with shampoo bottles and other goods that you can carry around.

Organise care for your plants

Planting and taking care of a garden is not an easy task and if you have a well maintained garden that has been set up after months of hard work and nurturing, then seeing them wilting or dead will be hearth-breaking after a long happy vacation. Check if a local landscaping company or utilities provider can take care of your plants and keep them in good condition until you come back. A large garden like this requires expert care of a professional or of a person that really cares about these plants. If you own just a few potted plants then these can easily be left in the care of a friend or relative so that they will be watered and managed till you are back.

Unplug electronic devices

Most people think that switching off electrical appliances is enough to protect the house, but as long as a device is plugged the electricity flow continues. If there is a sudden surge in power due to thunderstorms, then the device can burn out along with other inflammable objects in the vicinity. So the next time the entire family is going out on a long vacation ensure that plugs of all electrical devices like kitchen appliances, television, lamps, bathroom appliances and PC/laptop etc. are disconnected. If these are plugged in then you will be charged for usage of electricity even during absence from home

Organise care for your pets

Pets are very sensitive to change and like children are attached to most of the family members. Though most people take their pets with them on road trips there are times when the same many not be possible. When you go on a long trip ensure that the pet is comfortable in a care center or the person with whom it is being left in your absence. Sometimes owners leave their pets at the care center for a couple of days before the trip to see how the pet adjusts itself before starting out, as some dogs and cats can get very stressed and agitated if their owners are missing for long periods. You can make the pet feel comfortable by giving it it's favorite rug, this rug by Cloud- 7 that will reduce its feelings of homesickness.

Final check before leaving

Take a few minutes time out to inspect every door and window to see if everything is fastened and run through the checklist for the final time before locking the house. Ideally walk around the house and see that everything is locked and curtains are drawn tightly so nothing is visible from outside. Do not hide duplicate keys in easy to find places like flower pots but leave them with a friend or neighbour so you can take it from them if originals get lost or stolen during the trip. 

For more tips on preparing your home for a longer absence browse through this ideabook.

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