Whilst most of us are planning an extended vacation over the Christmas holidays, dont forget to make sure everything's shipshape on the home front before you go.
Most of us put a lot of time into planning our holiday vacation but the quickest way to lose that holiday feeling is to come back to a musty, stale-smelling home. Happily, a little preparation before you go can make your return less of a shock to the system.
For those who have a someone to look after your house when your away, here's a checklist to help you and your house-sitter.
Make a list of people to contact in case of emergency, including the details of your preferred tradespeople.List times for deliveries and services, such as when the rubbish is collected.Put breakables and valuables out of sight. Even a professional house-sitter can have an accident. And dont forget to include instructions on how to operate all your major appliances.You wouldn't want to have to buy new one's right after just spending on your holidays.
If you have a commercial security firm looking after your place, make sure they have a key in case there is an interruption in the power supply. This will allow them to reset your alarms, without irritating your neighbours, and make sure your electricity has resumed so your fridge and freezer don't defrost. Many commercial security companies will also collect your mail.
If you prefer to use timers to activate lights and other home appliances to give the appearance that you are still there, you will still need to have a neighbour pick up your mail or put a hold on it at your local post office.
Pets and other animals
If you have arranged for someone to feed your pets at home make sure you stock up on sufficient food and kitty litter. Your pets will be much happier if their normal food supply is available. Make sure your pet carer is on board to take them for walks. Bored animals get into mischief and you could come home to a chewed- or scratched-up disaster.
Never leave bird feed in your garden while you're away. Wild birds get used to the feed being available and when it runs out they vent their annoyance by chewing on things. Cockatoos and parrots have been known to chew window and door frames.
Make sure your home is well sealed and there are no small entry points for uninvited creatures. To deter lizards, possums, cats, rats and mice, you can make a spray solution by placing two mothballs into a litre of water. When it is dissolved pour it into a spray bottle and lightly spray it around eaves, window frames and doors. To keep cockroaches out, sprinkle salt around your doors and windows. However the best way to keep pests out of your home is to make sure there is no easily accessible food or water supply.
Keeping your house safe and secure whilst your enjoying quality time with your family is already a given. Having a good security system is half the race to a worry free vacation. Consider updating to Keyless Locks for your doors and entryways. Not only are these stylish, they also allow limit of access to your doors. Not to mention intruders wouldn't be able to duplicate keys that you may have accidentally left under the welcome mat since you actually don't have keys in the first place.
That clean, fresh feeling
Before you go, make sure you clean your home from top-to-bottom and dispose of any wastepaper and garbage.
Clean out your refrigerator of anything that will not last until you return. Empty the water from kettles and put plugs in sinks. Standing water not only attracts insects and vermin but it supplies sufficient humidity for mould spore and algae to grow.
Sweep all of the cobweb-prone areas in your home with a couple of drops of lemon oil on a soft broom. This will keep spiders and webs at bay.Make sure all of your washing is up-to-date and away in your wardrobe and put clean sheets on the beds. You'll appreciate the advance planning when you arrive home.
Everyone hates a musty smell when you return home, it's usually caused by mould spore. If you treat your home with an oil of cloves solution before you go away, the problem won't arise. Combine quarter of a teaspoon of oil of cloves per litre of water. Place the solution into a spray bottle and lightly mist it over the areas that you usually find mould. This solution lasts for around three months.
When you open your door after being away, you want your home to smell friendly, not fusty. This solution will deliver that 'welcome home' feeling. Before you go, place 500g of bicarb soda into a mixing bowl, add half a teaspoon of lavender oil, half a teaspoon of tea-tree oil, quarter of a teaspoon of oil of cloves, a few drops of rose oil and mix thoroughly. Divide into saucers and place around the house. You'll come home to a fresh, sweet-smelling home.
Place all your indoor plants in your shower vestibule and give them a deep soaking before you leave. Leave them here (with the door shut) while you're away — this will act like a terrarium. It keeps the humidity high enough so that they don't need much water, but if leaves or fronds fall they are easier to clean up from the base of the shower than they would be from your carpets. It has the added bonus of keeping all the humidity in the room that is most designed to cope with it so you don't get that damp musty smell throughout your home.