Home Sweet Leaving Home

Whether you're headed out of state for a week or across the country for a month, leaving your home for any length of time can be a concern. You think about thieves, bad weather, leaving your pets at home and the other headaches that come with being away.

We're going to a graduation in Colorado in May, and we're already making plans for being out of the state for a week. What are the options for the time you're away? How can you protect your home for those days it's empty?

1. Look for a house-sitter. Is there someone you know who can actually live in your home while you're gone? This is the best option for our family because we're leaving the girls here. This is a great way to make sure there's someone in the house at night and the mail and paper are brought in. Plus you can have your plants watered, your messages checked and the lights on in the evening.

Consider some single friend or young adult living with their parents. Offer to pay for gas and have the kitchen stocked for them for the time they'll be there. Not only is it added protection for your home, but you can give a young person the opportunity to get out in the real world.

2. At the very least, have a friend or neighbor bring in your mail and paper. If your comfortable giving them a key, have them check on your plants and the inside of the house. They can turn on lights in the evening and bring in the trash can from the curb. Have a nice gift ready to give them when you get home for all this special work they're doing for you.

I don't recommend leaving your pets at home in this kind of situation because they'll be alone too much of the day. If you have to leave them while you're on vacation, find a pet-sitter or take them to be boarded.

3. If there are no other choices and you decide to leave your house unattended while you're gone, make sure everything is unplugged in every room. If there are storms or power surges while you're away this will protect your electronics.

Invest in automatic light timers and leave the blinds the way you normally would. You want the house to look just as when you are there. Clean up your home and take out the trash - the last thing you want to come home to is an awful odor.

Make the outside of your house neat and tidy, mow the yard, replace anything like windows or doors that are broken and store anything that thieve could remove from your property.

Lock all the doors including the garage and any storage buildings. Make sure that someone you trust has a spare key in case of emergency. Also give them all your contact numbers while you're on traveling and an itinerary of where you'll be.

Once you've secured everything and found a trusted watcher, you can travel in confidence and in peace.

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