December is here, which typically means festive treats, down time with the family and for many, holidays away from home. Before you take your well-earned break, spare some thought for your home and make sure that everything is in order so that you don’t return to a nasty surprise.
Make plans for your garden
Depending on how long you will be away and whether or not you attend to your garden yourself or have a gardener who has access to your garden, you should do what you can to make sure your garden will survive your absence.
What’s more is that you don’t want your garden to give away the fact that you are not home. An unkempt, dead lawn and overgrown beds will alert opportunistic criminals to the fact that you aren’t home.
If you are going to be away for some time and don’t have a garden service, now’s the time to consider installing a basic sprinkler system and ask a friend or a family member to cut the lawn. Don’t forget to thank the person or people who looked after your garden on your return.
Clear and uncluttered
Before you go away, ensure that your roof, gutters, downpipes and drainage pipes aren’t blocked with any debris. The last thing you want while sitting on a beach is to receive a call informing you of the fact that your roof has just collapsed or your house has flooded because of a blocked pipe.
In a similar vein, make sure that your bin is completely empty and that there is no trash or boxes lying around. Piled up refuse could be viewed as a sign that nobody is home. Rubbish that is left for too long will also attract vermin and pests.
Make arrangements for your pets
Every time a holiday rolls round, horror stories of abandoned and starved pets do the rounds. Treating animals in this fashion is cruel and completely unacceptable. If you have pets at home, it is your duty to ensure that they are cared for and cannot escape and get lost while you are away having a good time.
This does not mean you can leave your animals a bag of food and a few bowls of water and hope for the best. Neither does it mean that you have to spend loads of money checking your pets into a fancy pet ‘motel’ or kennels.
Simply ask a neighbour, a friend or a family member to pop round each day to feed and water your animals and make sure they are OK. Going this route is actually ideal as it means your animals don’t have to go through the stress of staying in foreign kennels. Again, as is the case with your garden, be considerate thank whoever helped you on your return.
Safe as houses
Of course no pre-holiday, home preparation plan would be complete without attending to the security issues. In line with this, clear vegetation away from any electric fences you may have, make sure all of your physical barriers such as gates, security doors and window bars are working and are in good condition and make sure your alarm is working properly.
If you don’t have day-night switches, now would be a good time to consider investing in them. Not only do lights which are left permanently on waste energy and cost money but they are a dead giveaway that nobody is home.
Lastly, although you might want to announce to the world via social platforms that you are going away to some exotic destination, resist the urge. You may think that events in your life can only be viewed by friends and family and that your security protocols are up to date but you don’t know for sure who is watching. If you wouldn’t announce to a crowd that your home will be left unattended for a few weeks, you shouldn’t do so on Facebook or Twitter either.
The niggly things
There are a few other things you may want to attend to before going on holiday. For instance, you may want to buy extra prepaid electricity (if applicable) so that you don’t come home to a dark house and a defrosted fridge. You should also consider unplugging all appliances and turning off your geyser. Doing so will save energy and money and offset the chance of damage caused by power surges.