Vacations are supposed to be relaxing but getting ready for one can feel like nothing more than added stress. Checklists are a big help when it comes to remembering everything you need. One checklist you may not have thought of is the one for your home. You want your home to be secure while you’re away. The chances that someone will break into your house are small but taking a few extra precautions can give you much needed peace of mind while you travel. We’ve provided a list of tasks to not only make your home more secure but more pleasant when you get back from vacation. 

1. Check Locks on Windows and Doors

This might seem like a no-brainer, but when you’re rushing to the airport, it can be easy to leave a window or backdoor unlocked. Either the night before you leave or well before it’s time to go in the morning, walk through your house and make sure all the windows are closed and locked. Check basement, patio, and garage doors to be sure they are locked as well. At the end of this step, you should only have the front door left, which you’ll lock on your way out.

2. Throw Away Leftovers

To prevent any unwelcome surprises when you get home, throw away any leftovers in the fridge. You’ll save yourself some very smelly clean up when you get home.

3. Take Out the Garbage

Everyone has done it at one time or another. You come home from vacation to find your house smelling like a garbage dump. If you’re going to be gone for more than a few days, make sure to take the garbage out. Don’t forget to take out bathroom and laundry room garbage as well.

4. Leave House Keys and an Itinerary with a Friend

You never know when you might need someone to check something while you’re gone. Leave a set of house keys with a friend or neighbor that you trust. For safety reasons, it’s also a good idea to let someone know where you’re going, what route you plan to take, and when you’ll be back. Let this person know if you make changes to the plan. If for any reason you don’t arrive when expected or have trouble on the road, this person can let authorities know where to start looking for you.

5. Adjust the Thermostat

Summer or winter, it doesn’t matter, adjusting the thermostat will save electricity and money. Your home doesn’t need to be at 70 degrees while you’re gone. You don’t need to turn it off completely especially in the winter when frozen pipes could be a problem, but low enough that it won’t run excessively.

6. Lights Off, Noise On

Turn out the lights to save electricity. If you’re concerned about your home looking empty and becoming a target for thieves, leave at least one light on so the home still looks occupied. You may want to purchase a timer that can turn lights on and off while you’re away. Some timers can even turn lights in different rooms on at different times. Leaving a radio or television running is another way to make it seem as though someone is still home.

7. Lock Up Extra Car Keys and Important Equipment

Extra car keys, laptops, valuables, and important documents should be locked up in a safe or stashed somewhere secure. This is just an added precaution to give you more peace of mind.

You shouldn’t spend your vacation worrying about whether or not you remembered to lock all the windows or unplug the iron. A checklist like this one lets you systematically move through your home and mark items off the list. When your valuables are safe, you can relax and enjoy your time away from home.