It’s exciting to pack up and get away during the holidays but it’s important to prepare your home for your absence. Of course, there is the threat of a break-in but it’s far more common to have your possessions damaged in other ways. As you get ready for your getaways, make a checklist to ensure that your home is ready to be left vacant, especially if you will be gone for more than a few days.

Turn Off Your Water

When the temperatures dip, you run the risk of pipes freezing and bursting. To avoid this, shut off the water supply to the house by closing the main valve which is usually located outside. Next, turn on all of the faucets in the house and flush the toilets to get rid of any water than is still in the plumbing.

Unplug Devices

To reduce fire hazard (and be kinder to the environment), make sure that all non-essential items are unplugged from power outlets. You may be surprised by how many things you leave plugged in on a regular basis. Go around the house and disconnect your gadgets, stereo equipment and television. Don’t forget to head into the kitchen and unplug the coffee pot and toaster too!

Clean Out the Fridge

Who wants to come home to a fridge full of expired, potentially moldy food? Do yourself a favor and remove any perishable items and wipe up any spills so that your refrigerator is fresh and ready-to-use when you get back. It’s also helpful in case there is a power outage.

Tidy Up

Yes, get your chores done before you go away on holiday. This can protect your home from insects, pests and vermin in your absence. Take a few minutes to pass the vacuum, wash your sheets and take out the trash. This will eliminate odors and prevent you from leaving crumbs behind for any critters who may be lurking in your absence.

Stop Your Mail

Don’t leave any outward signs that you are not at home. Have the post office temporarily stop delivery to your home so that it doesn’t build up. Even if you normally don’t get much mail, we all see an increase in cards and packages around the holidays. It’s better to be safe than sorry!

Do you winterize your home? Have you ever had a situation that made you wish you did? Share your tips and stories!