Escaping the winter chill? Her’s what to do around the house before you go away
Nothing beats jumping on a plane, knowing you’re heading to a holiday destination that’s a few degrees warmer. Or, if you’re embracing winter, heading to the snow to carve up some fresh powder.
Before you even think about zipping up your suitcase, there are a few things you should do to get your home ready for the break. Here are our top tips.
Clean out the fridge before you go
No one wants to come back from holiday to decaying fruit, or cheese that has mouldy where it didn’t have mould before. It’s often a task that’s left till the moment the Uber’s arriving to take you to the airport but try to chuck out perishable or expired foods early on, so you still have time to clean the fridge’s interior.
Remove and wash drawers and racks in the sink in mild detergent. Wipe surfaces inside the fridge using white vinegar or a solution of 1-part bicarb soda and 7-parts water. You can also place a small bowl of bicarb soda in the rear of the fridge to soak up any odours.Wash and dry any pet-food bowls, too, so you don’t attract creepy crawlies. Oh, and put the bins out (or, ask a friendly neighbour to do it for you while you’re away).
Put timers on lights
It’s the oldest trick in the book, because it works. By pre-programming certain household lights to go on and off, potential burglars might think you’re still home. To make it even more realistic, some timers can be set to ‘random’ mode. Bunnings stocks a range of affordable options.
Secure the perimeter!
Check every single door and window latch to ensure they’re locked, and let trusted neighbours know you’re going away. They may be able to keep an eye on the place for you.
Avoid posting anything on social media about your holiday. It’s a tough ask, especially for teenage kids, but it’s better to publish Instagram holiday reels when you’re home safe and sound, rather than announce to the world that the house is unoccupied.
Do some pre-holiday laundry
Sure, your bags are packed with a carefully curated holiday wardrobe, but what’s the situation in the laundry? Try not to leave dirty clothes, linen or towels piled up while you’re away unless you wanna come back to a mould den (or at the very least, laundry that needs doing). Consider wiping out the washing machine, too, especially if it has a rubber bellow in the door that’s prone to grime and mould.
Check your wardrobe for mould or mildew and address this before you go, even if it means dumping stuff at the dry cleaner en route to the airport. Ensure any remaining clothes are hung with some space between them and keep wardrobe doors open for extra light and ventilation.
And we recommend changing your bed linen, as well, before flying the coop. It might seem like your to-do list is getting longer than Santa’s at Christmastime, but sliding into fresh sheets upon your return will be totally worth it.
Tend to your garden
Your own pre-vacation grooming might be done (tick!) but don’t neglect the garden or your house plants. If you have a lawn, give it a mow so the grass clippings help mulch and moisten the soil while you’re away.
If someone’s coming to water your plant pots in your absence, try to group them in a cluster so they’re easy to tend to (and give the nice person a big bottle of wine). If they’re in pots with holes in the base, indoor plants can be placed in a bathtub in about a centimetre or two of water.
If you don’t have an automatic irrigation system, give your garden and plants a good water before you leave.
Switch off appliances at the wall
Many appliances continue to use energy while on standby mode, ie. when they’re switched off on the machine but switched on at the power outlet on the wall. This can add up to 3% of a household’s energy use, which doesn’t sound like much but with power bills increasing, every cent counts. So, other than the fridge and freezer, remember to switch off appliances at the wall before you hit the road.
Finally, relax and enjoy yourself. After a couple of years of lockdowns and lockouts, you deserve a great holiday.