How to Prepare Your Home Before a Vacation

Before you head off to an exotic paradise, a beach resort, or a weekend in the mountains, there are a number of odds and ends that need to be tied up prior to leaving for vacation. Aside from covering the logistics of your trip and making sure that all travel arrangements have been accounted for, you have to make sure your home is prepped and ready to be left alone.

Maintaining a home before vacation means ensuring the home is safe. You have to cover all of your bases. What needs to be considered before you head off for vacation?

Install Home Security Equipment

If your home doesn’t have a home security system, now is the time to equip it with a security setup. Modern home security systems allow you to view live-streams of the home and receive push alert notifications if any unusual activity or a break-in occurs.

Many security systems are also monitored by law enforcement and other emergency agencies, so if a break-in does occur, you’re sure to have a response from professionals at your property. Home security is the surest way to ensure your home is protected while you’re away.

Advertise Your Home Security System

If you’ve achieved step one and your home is equipped with home security, now advertise that you have the equipment. Thieves are 33% less likely to target a home that they know is equipped with home security, especially if it’s monitored and their activity risks them alerting law enforcement.

Place signs on lawns and windows that advertise your home security equipment. You can even add additional signs that a dog is present on your property, or that a neighborhood watch is present in your community.

Aim Home Security Equipment at Vulnerable Areas

All home security cameras should be aimed at the most vulnerable places of the house. The majority of burglaries occur at the front door, but back doors, balconies, windows, backyards, and garages each provide their own unique vulnerabilities.

Burglars can also target these areas if common home tools are left outside. For example, a balcony can be accessed if a burglar has access to a ladder. Always keep a clean home exterior.

Use Your Neighbors for Aid

Your community is the best resource to keep your home safe. Not only will they serve as the eyes and ears for your home while you’re away, but since neighbors live in your community, they are aware of what types of activities are unusual.

If neighbors see anything out of the ordinary, they can investigate, check on your home, and alert the necessary authorities. Neighbors can also help you by doing routine maintenance checks on the home and by helping take care of animals.

If your neighbors do provide a helping hand, make sure to do the same for them next time they’re on vacation.

Give the Home the Appearance of Activity

Burglars are less likely to target homes that they believe are in use. If burglars know that you’re on vacation, then they’ll see an opportunity for themselves to attempt a break-in. On the contrary, if they think someone is home, they won’t bother.

One thing I found super cool is the things you can do with Hue Lights.  They have special things Presence Mimicking and TV Mimicking to make it seem like you are open by changing and flashing your Hue bulbs.  These can be set on timers for evenings to automatically turn on. 

Maintain a Clean Home Exterior

Whether you’re on vacation or not, burglars are most likely to target homes that are unkept. An unkept home gives burglars the impression that owners don’t care about their property.

Untrimmed bushes and overgrown foliage also provide burglars with cover while they attempt a break-in. And leaving common household tools like ladders or stools outside can help a burglar gain access to a balcony or second floor. It is also a good idea to add locks to un-secure gates as well

clean yard

Always maintain a neat and clean proper, and be especially vigilant of doing so before vacation.


No Hidden Spare Keys

Whether you’re home or on vacation, spare keys are problematic. These keys are hidden with the intention of being secret, but oftentimes they are kept in the exact location a burglar would look. Under the doormat? Obvious. Inside the pot near the door? Obvious. The strange looking rock that’s not a natural part of the lawn? Obvious.

The better solution is getting a touchpad lock.  I added a Yale Smart Lock to my home and they are amazing.  No longer worry about locking yourself out and add codes for neighbors so you never have to worry.

If you need spare keys for the home, the best places to keep them are with close friends or relatives. Otherwise, make sure that you are remarkably strategic with your key placement, and one hundred percent positive that they are in a location that a burglar will not look.

Essential Plumbing and Electricity Needs

If you’ll be away from the home for quite some time, make sure to take the proper plumbing and electrical precautions. This means unplugging all devices in the home, turning off power, and placing your water heater in “vacation mode.”

You’ll need to turn off water valves for dishwashers, washing machines, and sinks. Set your thermostats to temperatures close to the outdoor temperature, or turn them off completely. With newer thermostats like Nest, you can turn it on remotely when you get back so the house is cool when you get home.

Keep Tabs on the Home

While vacation is a time to fully get away and forget about all of the cares and worries that you left back home, it’s important to keep tabs on what’s happening at your house. How often you check in will depend on the duration of your trip, but once every few days is recommended.

If you have home security equipment, you can check on the home through the live-feed of your home security smart phone application. If you’ve gathered aid from friends and families to help care for the home, a few quick texts or calls will be all the updates you need.

General Vacation Tips

With so many arrangements and travel plans being worked out at the same time, and the general excitement of a vacation, it’s easy to forget about some of the basic vacation necessities.

Remember to:

  • Tell your credit card and home security companies that you will be out of town
  • Test your smoke detectors to ensure they are working properly
  • Leave emergency contact information with a neighbor and inform them of travel plans
  • Dispose of all food in refrigerators that could spoil
  • Take out all trash to prevent odors
  • Run the garbage disposal with water and about a half-cup of vinegar to eliminate odors

Some preparation measure may be unique to your home and family. You may have additional pets that need to be accounted for or a large property that has unique needs. Whatever your situation may be, always consider all the variables present at your home. Remember to lock back sheds, garages, and place all outdoor items inside or in storage.

Preparation Means Peace of Mind

Following all of these home preparation tips for vacation ensures that you get the most out of your trip. If you have the peace of mind of knowing that everything back at home is in order and taken care of, you’ll be able to focus your full attention on your family and vacation.

Vacations are enjoyable because they happen infrequently. They’re cherished getaways, but many people forget that vacation preparation also includes the work that is done before even leaving for the trip. As soon as you book your next vacation, begin the process of preparing your home. You will be happy you did.

Decorating Small Spaces

When house or apartment dwellers live in an area of limited space, they often struggle with ways to decorate it in an attractive manner that will not envelope all the available space. While they wish to include enough furnishings in their residences to ensure their comfort, they overdo only to wind up with a claustrophobic mess on their hands. Luckily, with proper planning, this problem will not occur.


Wall Units Provide Storage in a Space-Saving Manner

Using vertical space offers adequate storage without hogging the floor space. Various configurations are possible today with these units in both stock and custom versions. You can store and display knick-knacks, books and other items in an organized and attractive way. They are adaptable to all types of rooms from the living room to the bathroom. Since no floor space is necessary for this option, you will still retain plenty of space to place a sofa, chair, bed or other pieces of furniture.

mirrors-and-vertical-space

Create the Illusion of Space With Mirrors or Glass Features

Glass features and mirrors offer an illusion of space. The reason for this is the way that these elements reflect light to different areas of the room. For two examples of the glass features that will work to provide this result, consider installing glass-front cabinets or glass back splashes, or a combination of both in your kitchen. Mirrors can replace other wall decorations throughout your small residence. You can hang a singular one with or without pictures around it, or multiple ones together in a wall arrangement.


Sleek Modern Cabinets and Countertops Save Space in the Kitchen

Modern kitchen elements require less space than those of traditional design. After all, modern is sleek, smooth lines without heavy, ornate designs, and it depends only on the materials and finishes for its personality. On top of this, you can take the cabinets up to the ceiling to ensure enough storage for your kitchen. Place items that you seldom use on the highest shelves in the cabinetry. When you turn to modern-style elements for your kitchen, you will reserve plenty of space to move about in while you prepare your meals and other recipes.


Avoid Overstuffed Furniture

While large, overstuffed pieces of furniture are incredibly comfortable, they take up an enormous amount of space. Pieces such as these are best for large homes and spacious apartments and not for small residences. Instead, concentrate on furniture that is minimalist in design yet comfortable. Sofas and chairs with moderate cushioning will be ideal for your limited space. Other furnishings such as your end, coffee and dining tables also should be modest in size.

Small kitchen table

Keep Furnishings to the Essentials

On top of limiting the size of your furnishings, you must concentrate on only the essentials. If you cram too many pieces of furniture into a small area, you will make your residence have a cluttered appearance. As a result, it will seem smaller than it actually is in square footage, and this is the exact opposite effect that you want to create in your size of residence.


Use All Available Spaces

Utilize all available spaces for either walking, furnishings or storage. For example, the space under your stairs may make the perfect storage area for books or your important papers. You also may set a desk in that indentation the designers built into the wall. In fact, a desk with shelves over it and viola, you have a mini-office in this spot. With small residences, you may often overlook the area under your bed for storage. Containers are available for just this purpose today. One way to use this area is for storing your winter wear in the spring or vice versa.


Turn to Pastel or Neutral Colors

Avoid dark colors on the walls, as they will result in creating a heavy appearance to the room, which will make the room feel and look smaller than it is in reality. In place of these colors, use neutral or pastel shades. Shades such as these allow the walls to appear farther away from you and therefore, the area feels and looks more spacious. Beige, light tan, sand, off-white, white, pale pink, pale peach, light blue and light green are just a sampling of the colors that we mean here. Use the darker colors only as accents not as primary wall shades.


Illuminate Your Small House or Apartment

Bring illumination into the house through sheers on the windows and unique lighting fixtures. Sheers allow natural light to drift into the room in a pleasant manner without brashness. You can team the sheers with heavier drapes for privacy in the evening if this is your preference. Today, light fixtures come in a variety of shapes, styles and sizes. If you wish to keep your tables free of lamps, then install overhead or hanging lights. With the energy-efficient bulbs that are available on the market at present, you can afford to illuminate your house freely without fear of high electric bills. When you brighten your small residence with sufficient lighting, it opens it up instead of closing it in for you. Remember, your goal is to make your space feel and look as large as possible.


Prevent Clutter With Baskets

Place freestanding shelves with woven baskets on them near the door that you enter when you retrieve your mail from the mailbox. Utilize the baskets to sort your mail as you enter the house. Put bills in one, personal letters in another, and coupons and sales ads in the last one. Throw the mail that you do not wish to keep straight in the trash. All this will prevent clutter from taking over any of your usable space. Even though this idea is not decorating, it is a necessity in a small living area.

Keep the above suggestions in mind when you decorate your small residence to receive the most from its appearance and its usefulness. When you accomplish this with your small living space, you can take pride in all your efforts.