By Dr Eugene Brink
You’re so tired the only things you can think of are cocktails and idyllic beaches. The last thing you want to think of is expending more effort and time in and on your house.
However, if you are going away, it is crucial that you tick some things off your last to-do list for 2018. The advantage most people have is that they now have more time to do it than during the busier parts of the year.
But before you dive in and just start doing stuff, take note of some of these useful tips (lest you waste even more of your already depleted energy levels and become even more agitated!):
- Wash the dishes and take out the trash
The last thing you need is coming back from your much-deserved vacation only to be greeted by some foul smell emanating from your kitchen sink or one of your dustbins. The heat will certainly exacerbate this and it is imperative that you ensure that all dishes have been washed before you close the door behind you.
Maggots and flies are likely to breed in trash if left unattended. Hence, take all of it out and wash the bins with soap and water before you leave or else you may have to battle a pest infestation or a stubborn, horrid smell that is difficult to get rif of.
- Cut the clutter
Decembers are usually a time for bonuses and the extra things this money can buy. But, says DIY blogger Kate Desmond, before you can bring in more stuff you should declutter. “Go category by category, room by room, dividing every item into a pile: Keep, Trash, Donate, Sell. Consider donating unwanted items to a local organisation or shelter that could really use it this time of year.”
Do yourself this favour. You won’t regret it.
- Check all security-related matters
This should be one of your top priorities as the customary spike in crime over Decembers is repeated once again. “Test your alarm as well as your panic buttons and beams. If you pick up any issues schedule a service (with your security company),” advises security giant ADT.
South African security company Iron Curtain Security says it is recommended that you test the alarm a week in advance instead of only the day before your departure. This will give you ample time to rectify any problems and alert your security company to any problems you are not able to fix on your own.
Take a walk around the entire perimeter of your property and check all fences, barriers and security cameras to establish whether they need repair. Also, repair any broken windows, security gates or burglar bars. “Make sure that no screws are loose, no bars are rusted and that locks are well oiled, enabling you to easily close them before leaving, and open them upon return,” says Iron Curtain Security.
- Make you house looked ‘lived-in’
An empty house might attract nefarious attention. Nationwide.com advises the following to let your house appear occupied:
- Stop the newspaper and mail – or ask a trusted neighbour to collect them.
- Park your car inside the garage, if you have one.
- Ask a neighbour to park in your driveway occasionally so that there is activity at your house.
- Put at least one light in your house on a timer.
- Install a motion-activated sensor on an outdoor floodlight. Burglars hate outdoor lighting.
- Make sure your lawn stays trimmed.
- Alert a trusted neighbour or friend that you’ll be away
If something is suspicious or amiss, it is sure to be noticed early when you are away. Big disasters or loss can be averted in this way.
ADT, 30 October 2018, “Jingle Bells, tinsel, already? Yes only a few weeks to the festive season”, https://www.adt.co.za/jingle-bells-tinsel-already-yes-only-a-few-weeks-to-the-festive-season/.
Iron Curtain Security, 10 November 2017, “Holiday Home Security Tips”, https://ironcurtainsecurity.co.za/holiday-home-security-tips/.
Kate Desmond, 2016, “7 Ways To Get Your House Clean And Ready For The Holidays”, https://www.simplemost.com/7-ways-to-get-your-house-clean-holidays/.
Nationwide, n.d., “Keep your home safe with this vacation checklist”, https://www.nationwide.com/preparing-your-home-for-vacation.jsp.
Roy Berendsohn, 16 Nov. 2018, “15 Things to Do Around the House Before the Holidays”, https://www.popularmechanics.com/home/interior-projects/a3739/prepare-home-holidays-thanksgiving-christmas/.