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Preparing Your Home Before Your Winter Vacation Checklist

If you’re leaving home for the holidays for an extended period of time, there are certain measures you can take to protect your property against intruders, pests, and accidents while it’s not being occupied.

This checklist addresses important reminders for each area of the home, so you can make sure it stays safe during your Christmas vacation.

Inside the Home

Kitchen: 

Clean out your fridge of food that will rot in the time you’re away, and freeze items can be frozen

Take out all trash, recycling and compost to avoid attracting critters

Make sure the dishwasher is unloaded

Unplug small appliances (toaster, coffee machine), to ensure they’re not using any energy

Basement:

Ensure all basement windows are closed and locked

Prevent frozen pipes by insulating those that are located in particularly unheated areas. The same goes for pipes in the garage or attic

Bedrooms: 

Wash and change bedsheets

Put any valuables in a safe deposit box, and store out of view of windows

Living rooms:

Water potted plantsand move to cool, shady areas. Toss out any fresh flowers that will wither and die while you’re gone

Close and lock windows

Check to make sure that smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors are working

Bathroom:

Sprinkle baking soda in toilets to avoid returning to the smell of stagnant water

Lights & Thermostat: 

Turn the thermostat down to low, but don’t turn off completely which could put your pipes in danger of freezing

Set designated lights throughout the home on a timer

Outside the Home

Garage: 

Store all yard equipment and ladders in the garage

Front Walkway & Driveway:

Avoid an overstuffed mailbox while you’re gone. Get a neighbour to hold mail and newspapers until you’re back

Ask a neighbour to shovel the front walkway and driveway when they do theirs, or simply drive in and out after a snowfall. An occupied home and driveway looks lived in

Don’t leave garbage bins or recycling bins out the entire time you’re away. Ask a neighbour to take them out on designated days and bring back in

Ensure any surveillance cameras / exterior motion detectors are in working order. Alert your security monitoring company you will be leaving, if necessary. If you don’t have a home security system you know you can count on, now is an ideal time to consider one

Set Christmas lights on a timer so they come on at night

Backyard:

Lock garden gates

Store any outdoor furniture away in the garage or shed to preventing it from blowing over in wind or snow storms

Your Vehicle

If you’re leaving your vehicle behind, park it in the garage and consider covering with a lightweight car cover. This will prevent dust and debris accumulating on the surface. If you’re storing your car outdoors, a heavy duty, water-resistant car cover is necessary

If you are driving to your holiday destination, make sure it’s ready for a long winter drive. Install four snow tires and take a look at your car insurance policy to ensure you are adequately protected

Print this list and refer to it when you plan to leave your home for a long period of time. It will help reduce the likelihood of needing to make an insurance claim, and not to mention, make life easier upon return. Happy holidays, from DGI Direct!

Preparing Your Home Before Your Winter Vacation Checklist

Aside from gift shopping and party planning, an important part of getting ready for the holidays is preparing your home for your absence.