Your bags are packed and your accommodation booked. But, you have to make sure your home is well taken care of while you’re away.

It’s no secret that holidays take their fair share of planning. Part of this planning involves devoting some time to home prep that will save you stress while you’re lazing on the beach, sipping sundowners in the bushveld, or making memories with those you love.

So, let us do the housekeeping while you get ready for the exciting stuff. Follow these guidelines to take the bitterness out of that bitter-sweet homecoming after your restful trip.

Safety first

The basics of home safety include making sure all your windows are securely closed, the doors are locked, and any valuables like jewellery, laptops, and handbags are stored out of plain sight. It may seem strange, but taking a walk around your home and peering through the windows will help you see whether valuables are sufficiently hidden. Taking five minutes to skulk around your own home is most definitely worth coming back to it as you left it.

A few days before leaving, be sure to test your alarm system. We often take for granted that systems are in working order simply because no obvious issues have arisen. Knowing that your security system is working as intended will help you unwind while you’re away.

Phone a friend

Let local loved ones know when exactly your home will be standing empty. That way, they could housesit, drive by each day, or simply keep their phone on hand should you be concerned. Entrusting a family member or close friend with a set of spare keys is recommended, even if they don’t intend housesitting.

Exchanging contact details with your neighbours is also a good idea. Let them know that you’ll be away and they are sure to appreciate the heads up, especially since it may affect their safety too.

Leave a clean slate

Firstly, no one wants to come home to a mess after hours of travel. Secondly, making sure your home is clean will cut down on the potential for insects, pests, and odour.

A quick clean goes a long way, so ensure you’ve emptied the bins, washed the dishes, and cleaned up any pesky spills. Also check that you’ve removed any fresh produce or perishables from your fruit bowl, fridge, and pantry. Consider donating this food to those in need instead of simply binning it – it is the season of giving, after all.

An automatic air freshener will also keep your home from smelling stale, especially if you’ll be on an extended trip.


Preparatory plant care

If you’re off for only a few days, ensure that you water your house plants adequately the day before you go. Nourishing your indoor plants with an added boost of plant food will help keep them at their best too!

For longer trips, consider either leaving your plants with a green-thumbed friend or paying someone to come to your home every few days to do some watering. The same goes for your garden – if you’ll be away for a while, arrange for garden maintenance to continue. There’s nothing quite like getting home to happy houseplants and a flourishing yard.

Home Prep Checklist

Before leaving, make sure you’ve:

  • Closed all windows
  • Locked all doors
  • Tested your home safety system
  • Left keys with someone you trust
  • Stored all valuables out of plain sight
  • Emptied the kitchen and bathroom bins
  • Done away with perishables in the fridge
  • Watered all houseplants

Written by Ashton Kirsten

Featured image: Greatstock/Living4Media