Planning a holiday is exciting, and that excitement grows as the day for departure draws closer.

A list of what to take helps maintain calm when packing: but there’s also a lot to do to prepare your home for your absence. Stay in your happy holiday mood with our checklist to keep your home looking lived in, and prevent any last minute worries that you’ve left the iron on…

Suspend mail delivery – if you’re going to be away for a while, consider contacting the post office to ask them to hold your mail while you’re gone. Royal Mail Keepsafe takes five days to set up, and will be delivered to you on the day you chose the service to end.

Set timer plugs – maintain a visible presence in your home with lights, radio and television all on plug timers and set to come on, and go off, at different times.

Get rid of perishables – who wants to come home to a smelly home? Check the date of your food and get rid of anything that is likely to decay while you’re away. Any whole or unused items could be donated to a food bank.

Adjust thermostats – you can save money while you’re away by lowering your heating. A closed-up house will increase in temperature so adjusting your fridge thermostat from super cool to cool will decrease the amount of work it has to do.

Pull curtains and blinds part way – this will minimise the opportunity for people to peer into your home while it’s empty, and has the added bonus of keeping the house cooler by keeping the sunshine out.

Turn off plugs and switches – obviously avoid any timer or essential plugs but a quick trip round each room to switch off anything that doesn’t need to be in use will save you money and reduce any risks associated with leaving electronic items plugged in and on standby. Unplug anything you can for added peace of mind.

Plants – gather them together and place on towels in baths and sinks. Run sufficient water to saturate the towels and create a shallow pool. This should keep your plants quenched until your return.

Empty bins – a no-brainer for anyone who wants to return to a pleasant smelling home. If bin collection is while you’re away, you may wish to ask a trusted neighbour to put out/bring in your outdoor bins.

Lock doors and windows – this may sound simple, but in the excitement and enthusiasm to get away it’s been known to be forgotten.

Safe place – a spare set of keys with someone you trust will help you relax on holiday, knowing that they can access your home if they need to. There’s the added bonus that they can get bread and milk or other essentials in for your return too, so you can enjoy a nice cup of tea before you start to unpack.

Enjoy your break!

For more packing help read our tips on packing for the beach!

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