Hold All of Your Mail and Newspapers or Ask a Neighbor to Pick Them Up

A pile of newspapers on the front stoop is a dead giveaway that you’re out of town and off of your property.

Remove Your Spare Key

Leaving an extra key under the doormat or in a fake rock isn’t a great idea while you’re on vacation. If you have a spare key, give it to a neighbor you trust while you’re away.

Close Your Curtains and Shades

You don’t want people to peer into your house and see that it’s empty today. And tomorrow. And the next day… Bonus: Closing your curtains and shades will save you money on your energy bills by keeping the sun out!

Turn Off Your Hot Water Heater

An empty house doesn’t need hot water, and your water heater will cost you money while you’re gone. So turn it off! To learn more about your hot water heater, read: Inspect and Maintain Your Hot Water Heater.

Clean Out Your Fridge

The last thing you want when you return home is to open the fridge and smell curdled milk. Before you leave, toss anything that might spoil during your trip.

Sprinkle Baking Soda in the Toilet

To avoid being greeted by the nasty stench of stagnant water when you get home, sprinkle baking soda in the toilet bowl. This also works with sink drains.

Unplug Your Appliances

There’s no need to waste energy on toasters, computers, televisions and other appliances while you’re gone. Instead, unplug them. To learn more about energy hogs, read: Identify Home Energy Hogs.

Take Out the Garbage

Unless you like the smell of garbage permeating your house, take it out now.

Empty Your Washer

Moist clothes will attract mildew and mold if they’re left in the washing machine. Before you go, make sure that your machine is clear and your clothes are dry.  Also, it’s a good idea to turn off the water to the washer, too, so that if it leaks, you won’t have a flooded laundry room.

Adjust Your Thermostat

Save energy and money by adjusting your thermostat while your gone. There’s no reason to cool an empty house!


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