Before you head out for vacation, throw away expired food and tame that mess in the fridge. Don’t forget to wipe down all the shelves and crisper in the refrigerator too. This will keep your fruit and veggies fresher all summer.
Vacuum the refrigerator coils
Your fridge may be chill, but that gives it no excuse for dust-clogged coils. Help it out by cleaning the coils this month. Pull your fridge out from the wall, and put that vacuum attachment to good use.
Clean the oven and appliances
After a year’s worth of cooking, your oven needs some lovin’. Grab a face mask, gloves, and oven cleaner (or water and baking soda) and scrub out the baked-on debris at the bottom of the oven.
Cleaning your oven regularly (even once a year) will keep it running more efficiently.
While you’re waiting for the cleaner to set, wipe down your kitchen appliances too. Your coffee pot, toaster oven, blender, and anything else that sits on your kitchen counter will look much better after a quick spritz.
Microwave cleaning pro tip
Get rid of all the gunk inside your microwave by heating a bowl of water for five minutes. The steam from the water will loosen the leftover food mess. Then all you have to do is wipe it down.
2. Bedrooms and living areas
Check all locks and deadbolts
Make the rounds and check every window and door. Tighten or replace any loose locks, and pay special attention to any access point at ground level. You can also find locks for your windows and sliding glass doors.
Consider some upgrades
Think about replacing your old deadbolts with a smart lock that you can control from your phone. These devices let you open the door remotely, making it easier for the house sitter to come in while you’re on vacation.
Move large valuables out of view
Avoid presenting opportunities for window-shopping to would-be thieves. Take a look at your house from the outside to see if valuables like your television or stereo are easy to see from the street. If so, it’s time to rearrange some furniture.
Take inventory of your safe (H3)
If you have a home safe, take inventory of everything inside, and add any other valuables you have around the house. Keep important documents, jewelry, firearms, or any other important items away from prying eyes.
Check water softener
If you’ve noticed that your water seems to leave spots everywhere, your softener likely needs attention. Add salt only when the reservoir is completely empty.
Take a close look at your water heater for any leaks or loose areas. Testing the water pressure release valve will clue you in on your water heater’s condition.
Drain the water heater to clear it of any built-up sediment that could be blocking it. Careful—this water can be hot.
Tips for draining your water heater
Be sure to shut off power to the water heater before starting.
Use a garden hose or bucket to divert water and debris.
Check for leaks around sinks and toilets
It’s normal for condensation to collect on toilets and pipes, but puddling or dripping is a sign of trouble. In the summer months, conserving water can be essential. Plus, nobody wants to come home to water damage from an unattended leak.
Scrub that tub
A cool shower after yard work is super refreshing. But you may come out feeling unclean if your shower or tub is in bad shape. Take a moment to deep clean your bathtub or shower space to remove grime, mildew, and hard water stains.
Test the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors
Get in the habit of testing your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors once a month.
It only takes a few minutes to press the test button on each detector in your house and make sure the batteries still have juice. Regular maintenance for your smoke detectors can save your family’s life in an emergency.
Change the air filter
The pollen and dust from spring cleaning may be out of the air, but it’s also trapped in your HVAC filters. Swap out that dirty old filter for a clean one to improve the air quality in your home.
Automate outdoor lighting
Keep the lights on even while you’re out of town by getting automated lights. Smart light bulbs can go in or outside of your home. You can set them on a schedule, timer, or any routine you want.
Smart light bulbs can deter potential home invaders, and they can also prove helpful to anyone in your family who comes home late.
If friends and neighbors aren’t available, apps like Rover can connect you with experienced sitters.
House sitters can also help out with tasks like simple maintenance, gathering mail, and watering the plants. They’re helpful to have on your contacts list, especially if you’ll be gone for more than a week.
Clean outdoor sitting areas
The elements can take a toll on your deck and patio furniture. Take a moment this July to wash any outdoor cushions, sweep the outdoor areas, and tidy it up for guests (or your own enjoyment). Keeping the area clean makes the deck feel more inviting and attractive for use.
How do you set off fireworks safely?
If you’re celebrating Independence Day from home this year, be sure to play it safe with your fireworks. Look for a flat, open space far away from buildings, trees, and vegetation. Keep a distance from the fireworks after they’ve been lit too.
We’re traveling this summer. How should we prepare?
Katie McEntire has tested home security systems in her own apartment, installed GPS trackers in her own car, and watched her cat, Toki, nap all day through a live nanny cam feed. As an expert reviewer, she believes that firsthand experience is the best way to learn about new products (even if it requires being the guinea pig). She specializes in pet safety and DIY security and has contributed to publications like DigitalCare.org and TechGuySmartBuy. Learn more