How to Prepare Your Home Before You Leave

Berty and I love to travel.

We will get away for only a weekend, or ditch our place for an entire month to run around Indonesia. On the other hand, we also love being at home.

Coming home from a trip, we love to burst through the door, throw down our suitcases, and cuddle in our nice warm bed and forget about unpacking for a little while.

In order to make our lives easier when we return home, we’ve put together a prep routine to get our apartment ready for “vacation mode”.

This ensures that we come home to a clean house, fresh clothes, and peace of mind that we didn’t burn the entire place down.

We’ve decided to compile this list in time for Thanksgiving and Christmas, when lots of people leave and go home to families, vacations etc. Enjoy!


How To Prepare Your Home Before Leaving


General Cleanliness

Take Out Trash/Recycling/Compost

This one is for obvious reasons.

You didn’t ask a city of flies to move in, so don’t give them an excuse to invite over the whole family. Empty out every single garbage can in the house and replace with new liners before you go.

Wash The Dishes

Food gets crusty and gross as quickly as overnight.

It would be horrid to come home to fossilized lasagna in your sink, so get your gloves on and erase any evidence before you hop on that plane!

Do Laundry

Just thinking about coming home to clean sheets, blankets, and fuzzy socks makes me want to come home early!

Do yourself a favor and wash, fold, and put away everything. Then, when you finally get off that 14-hour flight, you save precious time getting into your sweats as fast as you can.

Unplug Cords

This tip is actually a two-in-one. Not only do you prevent a fire in your house by pulling out your cords, you save energy by doing so. Yay!

Plugged-in cords keep currents of energy running, so cutting that off will give you peace of mind that your stuff is safe and sound.

Set Thermostat To Low

Depending on where you live, this may look different.

However, a rule of thumb is to keep it low enough to be a safe temperature to keep your pets comfortable and your plants alive. Plus, you will also save money on your energy bill. *High five*

Clean Out Fridge

Or better yet, try to eat all of it before you head out on vacation!




Money + Mail

Call Bank/Credit Card Company About Travel Plans

It’s important to notify banks of travel plans.

Many cards detect where purchases come from, so if all of a sudden they see a transaction in China (where you’re on vacay), they’ll freeze your account thinking it’s a fraud!

Make sure to call your bank a week before you leave, and let them know where you’re going and how long. It ensures you have access to your money at all times.

Ask A Friend To Pick Up Mail

Asking someone to empty your mailbox once in a while ensures all your mail + packages have room to get delivered. It also serves as a way to trick burglars into thinking you’re still home.

There’s nothing more obvious than 30 newspapers piled on the front porch that tells robbers “hey everyone! I’m not home!”

Set Up Automatic Payments For Bills

So, my mom still mails checks to all the companies that send bills.

When we went to Indonesia as a family in 2016, we were going to be gone when a lot of her bills were due! I sat down with her and we set up all her bills for automatic payments.

It’s easy to set up, and ensures you don’t miss a single payment. Berty and I set up automatic payments for everything – it’s easy to manage, and we check on it once in a while to make sure things still look good.




Store Valuables

Don’t let anything of value be seen from a window in your home. Store and hide away any laptops, jewelry, or anything else special to you. If you have a safe, put them in it!

Leave Spare Key With Trusted Friend

If you NEED someone to stop by your house while you’re away, give a spare key to a very trusty friend. This way, a few people have access to your home as possible. And always remind them to lock the door!

Brings Cars To A Safe Place

Berty and I live in the city. In our neighborhood specifically, it’s a common crime to have property stolen.

Therefore, we take our cars out of Seattle and park them at a family member’s house. The family lives in a quiet, safe neighborhood, so we know our cars won’t get broken into while we’re gone.

If you have a garage, it’s safer to put them inside than leave them outside on the driveway or street.

Keep Some Lights On

Dark house = easy to sneak around. If you have outside motion lights, make sure they are working.

Berty and I don’t have timers on inside lights, but we would definitely use them if we did! Random lights turning on and off occasionally gives bad guys the message that your house is off-limits.




How to Make An Easy Car Emergency Kit

Successful Camping in the PNW

How To Pack for a PNW Weekend

How To Pack for a Los Angeles Weekend


What are some other tips or preparations that you do to get your home ready? We’d love to hear your thoughts!








  1. I just discovered your blog and this post! How timely this is for me with a trip across country for Christmas in just a few weeks. You mentioned several things I wouldn’t think of in preparing to go. So, thank you for that!

    1. Hi Hannah! I’m so happy that you found it useful! Berty and I leave our house often for trips, and we’ve found these tips very useful in coming home to an already-clean/prepped home. I wish you safe travels on your journey during Christmas – thanks so much for stopping by! Seriously, comments like yours make my day!

  2. We also turn off the water as we’ve had several friends return home to flooded areas! I don’t unplug things! Thanks for that tip!
    I too like to eat everything we can in the fridge. Saving money on groceries before we leave = more money to spend traveling! 🙂 I also will pack food that we have to take on planes/on the road for less need to buy pricey meals/snacks in the airport, etc. Finally I freeze everything that will work well frozen (and most stuff will) so that it won’t rot plus we can use it when we get back. If I’m SUPER organized I’ll freeze a batch of pancakes or a dinner meal or something for ease as we settle back into being home and haven’t hit up the grocery store yet. I’m always so glad if I do.

    Also, we have our mail held by the post office and then just get it all at once when we get back!