Going Away Checklist

A checklist for keeping your home safe and sound whilst you are away.

Make Some Calls 

  • Tell your neighbors/property manager/landlord you are going away.
  • Give them your contact information.
  • Temporarily stop newspaper or other deliveries (or have a neighbor bring stuff in).
  • Have the post office hold your mail till you return.
  • Ask a friend or neighbor to bring in packages and move your bins in and out on trash day.
  • Contact your security alarm company; let them know you will be away and provide them with your contact info.

Unplug & Reprogram

  • Unplug the automatic garage door opener; double check the door is fully closed.
  • Unplug electronics and computers.
  • Reprogram the heater in the winter to keep heat above 55F to avoid freezing pipes.
  • Reprogram the AC in the summer to up to between 81F and 85F.
  • Put lights on a timer Put TV or music on a timer.
  • Ensure there are fresh batteries in all smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors Unplug your landline phone or send all calls to voicemail.

Clean & Clear

  • Clean out fridge.
  • Check all the toilets are fully flushed.
  • Empty the trash; ask neighbors to put out trash on trash day.
  • Move valuable furniture and upholstery out of line of direct sun to avoid fading.
  • Clear the waste disposal.
  • Do all dirty laundry and empty washer and dryer (leave washer door open to avoid mildew).
  • Clean the sink and wipe dry.

Pets & Plants

  • Water plants; Move all plants to one spot so house sitter/neighbor doesn't have to wander around the house looking for plants).
  • For longer trips organize plant/yard care.
  • Secure kennel or pet-sitter; leave out instructions, plenty of food/water.

Extra Security

  • Remove any hidden keys from their secret spots (under the mat, under the flower pot).
  • Leave blinds in their normal positions.
  • Park car in driveway.
  • Hire a house sitter or have a neighbor/friend drop in at irregular times on a regular basis.
  • Double check you have locked all doors and windows, especially in less obvious places like garages and basements.
  • Mark all your possessions with your own security mark.


  • Check that your insurance is up to date on contents value.
  • Compile a list all your possessions using photographs or video.
  • Record serial numbers and all other identifying information.
  • Check with insurance company to make sure there aren't any rules requiring that someone check in regularly at your home during your absence.


  • Keep important computer files backed up and hidden elsewhere.
  • Keep your keyholders list up to date.
  • No keys/valuables should be visible.
  • Lock away all tools and ladders.

Social Media

  • Keep your movements confidential except to those who need to know.
  • Do not announce on your voice mail message that you will be away for an extended period of time.


  • Make sure to adhere to all parking regulations (e.g., odd/even parking).