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Heading home for winter break is a weight off your shoulders. You’ve taken care of your midterms and finals, you’ve turned in all of those last-minute projects, and you’re ready to relax with friends and family back home before a new semester starts. Whew!

Before you head home, however, there’s one more project you should consider: what you need to do to your home before you leave. With this vital what to do before you leave for break checklist, you can ensure that everything will be ready to go when you get back. 

1. Clean out the fridge.

If you’re going to be gone for more than a couple of days, take the time to clean out the fridge before you go. Take along or get rid of anything that you know will expire or go bad before you get back. The last thing you want is to have to take care of that clean-out when you get back–after the milk has already spoiled and your fruit has taken on a life of its own. 

2. Turn down the heat.

Right before you head out the door for winter break, turn down the heat. You want it to stay above freezing in your home so that you don’t accidentally freeze the pipes while you’re gone, so don’t turn the unit off entirely! Turning down the heat, however, will reduce your electric bill while you’re gone. It will be back up to your preferred temperature within a few hours of your return. 

3. Tidy up.

Now that the stress of finals is off your shoulders, you might actually see the mess you’ve made for the first time. During busy seasons at school, you may let many of your cleaning tasks go. Now is the time to tidy everything up so that when you return after winter break, you don’t have a mess to deal with. 

4. Pour a little bleach down the drains.

If you’ve let the dishes pile up in the sink–or even if you haven’t–pour a little bleach down the drains before you leave for break. This will kill fruit flies that could be living in the drains, preventing you from coming home to an infestation. You can also pour vinegar and baking soda down the drain, followed by boiling hot water to help clean everything out without bleach.

5. Turn off the water, if needed.

Boulder winters can be incredibly cold, and pipes can freeze fast. That can create quite the mess for you to come back to! If you know that pipes frequently freeze in your area, talk with your landlord about turning off the water while you’re gone. Simply turning off the water can prevent you from coming back to burst pipes. 

6. Install timers on your lights.

If you live in a building filled with students, potential thieves may know to watch the properties during this time of year. Consider installing timers on your lights, which will turn them on at a specific time of day. Modern timers can be set to turn lights off and on at different times so that they don’t hit at perfectly preventable intervals. 

7. Ask someone to keep an eye on the place.

Do you have a trusted friend or neighbor who will be staying in town over winter break? Talk with them about checking up on your home while you’re gone. If you’ll be gone for several weeks, it can be beneficial to have someone bring in the mail, check on your property, and make sure that everything is all right with the apartment. 

8. Tuck away your spare key.

Since you’ll be out of town, there’s no chance that you’ll need to get in with your spare–and you don’t want thieves or other individuals to sneak in using it. Put your spare key away or give it to the individual you’ve asked to check on your apartment. 

9. Check your renters’ insurance.

Did you remember to pick up renters’ insurance coverage when you moved into your apartment? If not, winter break is a great reminder that you need this important coverage. Renters’ insurance can cover your possessions against theft or damage while you’re gone. Make sure your policy is up to date and that you’ve included any expensive possessions. 

10. Tuck away cash, jewelry, and other clearly valuable possessions.

Since you’ll be out of town for a while over winter break, make sure you tuck cash, jewelry, and any valuables out of sight, if possible. You don’t want to visibly change the appearance of your home or apartment, but you do want to make sure that those items aren’t clearly visible from the windows or easy for a thief to grab in a hurry. 

11. Make arrangements for your pets.

Are you taking your pets home with you for the holidays? Boarding them with a local facility for a few days? Leaving them at home with a friend to check in? Before winter break begins, make sure your pets are up to date on all of their shots. Write out clear instructions for anyone else providing their care. If they’ll be traveling with you, make sure their tags are up to date and clearly displayed and that collars fit well. Check to see that you have an adequate supply of food and other pet supplies, especially if you must leave your pets behind during break.

12. Seal up your food. 

Do you have food boxes or items that often sit out on the counter? Take the time to clear those items away or close them up to prevent them from attracting bugs and rodents. You should also seal up any pet food. Sealed containers can help keep out unwanted pests as well as keeping food fresher for your return.You’re eager to get home for the holidays and enjoy yourself with friends and family. Before you leave, however, it’s important to be sure that your apartment is taken care of which is why we created this what to do before you leave for break checklist. Want to learn more about Boulder rental properties or ask questions about how to secure your property over winter break? Contact us today.