Going on Vacation? The 9 Tasks You Must Do Before Leaving

things to do before leaving for vacationVacations are fun to embark upon, especially when you’re taking your friends, family or loved ones along for the ride. You’ll not only see beautiful scenery and experience new things, but you’ll also be given time to recharge away from work and the daily grind.

Sadly, you can’t just pack your bags and run. You must take care of some very important tasks before you drive off into the sunset, otherwise you might come back feeling more stressed out and strapped for cash than you did before you left! Check out our list below of the 9 essential tasks you NEED to do before leaving for vacation!

*Stop The Mail – Before you leave, make sure you tell the post office to temporarily stop your mail, that way it won’t be left in a huge pile in your mailbox! Piles and piles of mail can also attract thieves to your home. If nothing else, you can ask a close friend or relative to take care of your mail while you’re out.

*Tell the RIGHT People About Your Trip – Taking a vacation is a very exciting event, and while you might want to shout out to everyone, online or in the real world, where you’re going and when, it’s a good idea to refrain from doing so. You never know who could hear the news and take advantage of your absence. Be sure to simply tell trust friends and family where you’re going and when so they can contact you in case of emergencies. Also, be sure to keep your emergency contacts up to date in case there’s an emergency on YOUR end while you’re gone!

*Pay the Bills – “Why do I need to pay the bills? I have so many other things to do!” you ask. Oh, trust us – you’ll thank us when you come home! When you pay your bills, you’ll feel more relaxed on vacation, and you won’t have to come home to any outstanding bills … or having your water or power shut off.

*Check Out the Fridge – Before you go, make sure that you don’t have any perishables in your fridge that will spoil while you’re out. You might also wish to turn up the fridge’s temperature a few degrees so you can help save a bit more money on your energy bill.

*Take Care of Your Plants – Don’t just take care of your house – take care of the living things inside (and outside) your home, too! Be sure to water your plants with plenty of water before you take off, and move them in the appropriate amount of light if you can so they won’t wither while you’re on vacation.

*Crank Up the A/C! No one will be around to enjoy the cool air conditioning, so why not turn it up a few degrees? You can save money and energy when you do this, and you can also take out some of the extra moisture in your home so you’ll discourage the growth of mold!

*Put Your Lights on a Timer – You should make sure that all of your lights are off before you leave, of course. But consider putting only a few lights on a timer to switch on and off at various times while the other lights remain off. Timers can help steer any possible intruders and thieves away from your temporarily vacant home.

*Unplug Your Electronics – Doing so will not only save you some more money on your power bill, but it will also help in avoiding any potential damage that could occur in the event of a power surge occurring while you’re gone! Feel free to unplug small appliances, too.

*Get a Good Night’s Sleep – Last but not least, be sure to get enough shut-eye before you leave for vacation (yes, even if you’re extremely excited about the trip). After all, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), driving while drowsy is a contributing factor in 100,000 accidents every year. So get everything done beforehand and get to bed earlier so you can get the sleep that you need!

Want more tips on how to protect your home while you’re out? No problem! Just give us a call at (618) 791-5024 or at (618) 791-9298 or check us out online at www.dianamasseyhomes.com to see what we can do for you! Be safe and have a great vacation!


Bringing a Furry Friend Home? Pet-Proof Your Home First!

home pet proofing tipsAre you bringing your very first pet home? Adopting another furry friend to keep your first one company? Then congratulations! Owning a pet is one of the most rewarding experiences, and you’ll find that you’ll have gained a best friend for life.

But if you haven’t found out by now, pets, like children, are very curious (albeit very lovable) creatures. When they first arrive at your home, they will investigate everything, and they will attempt to mark their territory (in more ways than one!). Before you bring your newest furry friend home, you should prepare for them properly by pet-proofing your home!

Not sure how to pet-proof your home? Check out the following 8 tips to help you ready your home for a new four-legged friend!

Get Down to the Pet’s Level – Stumped at where to begin? Then try getting down to your pet’s level to see what should be taken care of! Get on your hands and knees and look around you for anything that would attract a pet’s attention, especially a puppy or kitten. We’re talking about wires, electrical cords, toys (that aren’t theirs, that is), loose strings, paper, coins, any stray pills, and so on. Check for places in which vacuums can’t reach, too. You never know if a puppy or kitten can squeeze through and find something you don’t want them to find!

Keep Those Drawers and Cabinets Shut – Little pets have a large amount of curiosity. Try to put childproof locks on cabinets in case any curious little paws try to open them. Also, if you have a feline, be sure to check your closets, drawers, and even the washer or dryer before leaving. Cats like drawers and dark places, and it can be surprisingly easy to accidentally leave your cat in a dark enclosure unknowingly.

Say No To Chewing – When it comes to pets and chewing, anything’s game – your favorite pair of shoes, the corner of that fancy sofa, or that very important document that you needed for work. To prevent chewing, try to keep your closet doors closed, and keep your things off the floor. If your pet still insists on chewing put up child-safety games or try spraying pet-safe products with either a lemon or a bitter apple flavor (they tend to dislike those flavors!) on your tasty leather shoes or anything else that looks enticing to pets.

Guard Your Food – Your four-legged friend might look like he would love to chew on that piece of chocolate in your hand, but trust us, you’re better off keeping your food out of reach. There are several types of food that can be very harmful to pets; even consuming a little bit of certain foods can be lethal. Keep your food out of your pets’ reach!

Stop Scratching, Stat! If you adopt a cat, be prepared for scratching. Cats tend to scratch in order to exercise their muscles and tendons in their paws and also to claim their territory. While you can remove their claws, the easiest way to deter scratching is placing scratching posts close to where your cat eats and sleeps.

Pets + Plants = Disaster – You love plants. You also love pets. Sounds like a winning combination, right? WRONG. Many types of plants are quite poisonous to pets, and if a pet chews on or consumes certain plants, they can become ill or can even die. Keep your plants off the floor and in locations your pets won’t be able to reach. Research which plants are and are not harmful to pets before you purchase any plant.

Put the Lock-Down on the Lid – As gross as this might sound, your toilet looks tasty to many four-legged pets. They view it as an oasis that will quench their thirst, free for the taking. What they don’t know is that there can be chemicals from cleaning products that could still be lurking in the bowl that could make them ill, and well, it’s just nasty. Beat them to the punch and keep the lid closed. Add extra precautions by adding a lid lock or by keeping your bathroom door closed.

Train, Train, and Train Some More – Training a pet begins the first day you bring your furry friend home. It’s important to set healthy boundaries on what your pet can and cannot do or go. Always use positive reinforcement and praise when your pet does something good, and try to distract them from less desirable behaviors; NEVER strike your pet. Proper and consistent training can help eliminate most of the issues above, if not all of them. Just remember to be patient as some pets more quickly than others!

Now that you know what to do, you’re free to choose your new best friend and begin the fun process of training and owning a pet while protecting the home that you love from potential damage!

Want more information? Need a new home? Give us a call at (618) 791-5024 or at (618) 791-9298, or you can check out our website at www.dianamasseyhomes.com to see what we can do for you and your family!