It doesn’t get much better than hitting the highway for a weekend away at the cabin. But even after you’ve got everyone’s swimsuits, SPF 60 and bug spray packed, there are a few things you should take care of at your primary home.
Here are some tips for hitting the road with a clear mind on the weekend.
Put your lights on a timer
You can conduct a symphony of lights in your home while you’re away by investing in a timer. Program it so different rooms light up at various times throughout the night so it doesn’t look like anyone’s away. You can also leave blinds partially open so people can see the lights and your house has that lived-in appearance.
Adjust your thermostat
You don’t want to turn your AC off completely, as it helps fend off mold and mildew. But, to save money on your energy bill, you can adjust the AC so it’s not pumping away while you’re not there to enjoy it. Try setting it four degrees above the temperature that’s normally comfortable for you.
Ditch the perishables in your fridge and take out the trash
If you haven’t already packed away all of your fresh produce, meat and dairy products into a cooler, consider offering up any remaining food to a friend or neighbour. You don’t want to come home to food that’s spoiled and smelly (make sure to empty your trash too!).
Turn down your refrigerator temperature
After getting rid of the fresh food that’s most susceptible to spoiling, adjust your refrigerator to a slightly lower level (especially if it’s on a supercool setting). You’ll minimize the risk of blowing a circuit and reduce its energy spend.
Turn off your main water supply
Even if you haven’t had any scares, you don’t want to tempt Murphy’s law while you’re enjoying family time at the lake. If you want to be sure no leaks happen, turn off your main water supply. You can even shut off the water to the dishwasher and laundry machine – as a surge in pressure could burst a hose.
Any plugs that are easy to reach can be disconnected to avoid wasting phantom electricity. Some examples are your TV, cellphone chargers, microwave, toaster and coffee machine. You’ll not only save on your electric bill – you eliminate the risk of a power surge or electrical fire.
Pour baking soda down your drains
You know that stagnant, sitting water smell you sometimes come home to? This can be eliminated by shaking some baking soda down your drains (and even down your toilets!). Try combining with vinegar to help clear any clogs too.
We know – you’ve practically upturned your home to pack everything you need, and now we’re suggesting more chores. But coming home to a clean home feels so much better. You likely won’t have the energy to do a power-clean when you get home – so at minimum, wipe down your kitchen surfaces, and do a sweep and vacuum.
Freeze a good meal
Another idea that your future self will thank you for: freeze a simple meal for your return so you don’t have to fight the post-vacation blues. Instead of ordering pizza, you can heat up that lasagna everyone loves so much, saving money and energy.
Check up on insurance and make friends with the neighbours
Check with your insurance provider or refer to your policy. Some providers require you to have someone (friends, neighbours, etc.) enter the home every 24 - 48 hours to ensure there are no issues such as water leaks. Make sure you’re up-to-date on insurance and have coverage you’re comfortable with. It’ll help you rest easy in case of a worst-case scenario. The best insurance is getting to know your neighbours – you can let them know you’re often away on weekends, and ask them to keep watch.