How to Prep Your Apartment When Going Away
Going on vacation can be the perfect respite from the hectic life of New York. It’s important to take time off from work to recharge your batteries, explore other cities, or visit friends and family. It can be easy to forget small but important things like emptying the fridge or unplugging appliances while you’re busy packing a nice summer swimsuit or planning an exciting getaway. However, when you leave the city for an extended stay, it is necessary to prepare your return. A few simple steps can help you save energy, time and money while you’re away and help you return to a clean, relaxing apartment.
Apartment preparation tips
Save energy and money
Be sure to unplug as many small appliances as possible, while leaving larger ones like the refrigerator plugged in. Small appliances like toasters, blenders, lamps and chargers can all be unplugged to save power on standby. This will both improve the home’s energy efficiency and reduce electricity bills. When adjusting the house temperature, however, be careful. Although it may seem advisable to turn off the air conditioning or heating, even empty houses are not suited to being kept in extreme cold or heat. In summer, hot apartments can trap moisture in the air, causing wood to expand or form mold. In winter, wooden objects and furniture can shrink and cause cracks or breaks in the wood. While changing the temperature a few degrees is acceptable to save some cost and energy, try to avoid drastic temperature changes.
Clean up what you can
Travel can be stressful and coming home to a clean apartment can go a long way. Clean linens, vacuumed floors, and wiped down countertops will not only make you feel better, but also keep the space intact while you’re away. Although the refrigerator should remain plugged in, it’s a good idea to clean up leftovers or perishable foods. Last week’s fruits, vegetables, and takeaways are all things that will rot and cause unwanted odors in the fridge. If the apartment has a garbage disposal, it’s a good idea to let it run for a minute to make sure there’s no food inside. Dishwashers should also be emptied (dirty dishes with food residue very unpleasant over the course of a week!) and the washing machines also have to be emptied. Taking care of any dirty laundry ahead of time is an easy way to keep clothes and your apartment from smelling musty.
Watch out for furry friends
Making plans for pets in the household may seem like a no-brainer, but preparing to leave furry friends can be more complicated than just making sure they’re fed. Many pets will act unusual when left alone due to stress and isolation – some pets are prone to chewing or being destroyed when left alone. To avoid this, place all valuables out of reach of pets and consider turning sofa or chair cushions to the side or putting them away. Any stuffed animals or pillows can be placed in a closet or otherwise out of sight. Lock all doors to rooms where pets are not allowed, and make sure your caretaker knows what items or furniture may be “no go.” Be sure to store any pet food in an airtight container or in the refrigerator to prevent insects and hungry animals from trying to sneak in.
Nobody wants to come back from a trip to find wilted flowers and brittle leaves waiting for them. Especially if your trip is longer than a week, it’s crucial to make sure the plants have plenty of light and water when left alone. If a neighbor or friend is visiting to tend to the plants, you can make it easier by placing all the plants in one place to make sure none of them are overlooked. Be aware of the light different plant species may need, making sure plants are placed in front of windows or in bright rooms. If you can’t get someone to tend to your houseplants, self-watering devices like AquaGlobes can be placed in the soil of houseplants and help keep them watered until two weeks.
Notify building management
Especially in the event of a prolonged absence, it is advisable to inform your landlord or the management of your building of your departure. Some leases even contain clauses requiring tenants to notify the landlord in the event of an extended absence, as this may affect the building’s insurance policies. Management does not need to know your whereabouts details, but in the event of an emergency, building management should have an updated contact on file and know the departure and return date.
In the event that rent is due while you are away, you can set up an automatic payment to avoid stress while you are away. If you pay online, make sure you have all the information gathered on how to pay on time to avoid late fees or processing fees. Although the landlord can’t force tenants to pay rent before the agreed date on the lease, you can always write a check in advance to avoid headaches later.
In New York, many residents have mailrooms in buildings or a small front porch to catch deliveries. Before you leave for a long getaway, set up a hold mail service at your local USPS post office or ask a trustworthy neighbor to pick up the packages. Not only is this considerate to your neighbors, but suspending deliveries can also deter package thieves in the building. The United States Postal Service may hold mail for up to 30 days – requests can be made online or by completing a Hold Mail form at the local post office.
No unwanted visitors
Although the apartment may be empty, unwanted visitors may come of all kinds; You can protect yourself from pesky critters such as cockroaches or mice by plugging sink and shower drains to prevent insects from entering the pipes. Cleaning the space will also help deter pests – be sure to take out the trash before you leave and make sure there’s no food left out. On a larger scale, keeping a light or lamp on to make the space appear occupied can deter theft or crime in your absence. Some tenants even invest in doorbells with cameras or security cameras that can connect to phone apps, to monitor the space while it’s empty.
While no one likes to plan for the worst case scenario, renter’s insurance is there for emergencies. In the event of a storm, fire or other unfortunate circumstances, it is best to be covered while you are away. Check that your policy is up to date before leaving the apartment for an extended period. You can also check the forecast while you’re away to make sure you don’t need to prepare for storms or bad weather.
Preparation leads to relaxation!
When planning a trip, preparing the place you are returning to may seem unimportant, but careful preparation can lead to later relaxation and a peaceful return. Instead of coming home to rotten groceries and mold, it’s better to come home to a clean, tidy apartment. Fresh linens on the bed, clean linens, and happy plants and animals will ensure you have a wonderful return home.