When the summer starts to wind down, our to-do lists start to get longer. We treat our sunburns, start getting our fall wardrobes ready, and mentally prepare for the end of the long days and warm weather. However, there’s one crucial summer wrap-up task that vacationers often forget about: closing up their summer home. The good news? With just a few simple steps, you can keep your home and possessions safe until you’re ready to head back next summer.
Put away your valuables: You may have some extra security between potential intruders and your front door in a Manhattan luxury condo, with a doorman keeping out unwanted guests. However, most summer homes don’t offer such protection, so it’s always in your best interest to put away your valuables before you close up your home for the summer. While you should take any particularly sentimental items and put them in your safe deposit box, any other valuables should be hidden in your safe or on high shelves within locked closets.
Close the curtains: You don’t want it to appear as though your house is uninhabited for the better part of the year, so it’s important to keep your curtains shut when you’re closing up your home as summer wraps up. For your best bet, opt for insulated curtains—not only will they keep your home warmer, they’ll also prevent the sun from fading your art and textiles.
Lower your thermostat: There’s no need to keep your home toasty warm for months at a time when you won’t be there. When you’re planning to close up the house for the summer, set the thermostat to 60 degrees—it will keep your home warm enough so that pipes are unlikely to burst, but will limit the amount you’re paying for electricity or heating oil.
Set lights on timers: One of the best ways to make your home appear occupied while you’re away is to set your lights on timers. Using either a smarthome device or a small plug-in wall device, you can easily time your lights and electronics to turn on and off at certain times of day, making it appear as though people are using the home, even if you’re miles away.
Set your alarm: Before you leave your home at the end of the summer, make sure you set your burglar alarm. Burglar alarms—and yard signs that announce their presence—are excellent deterrents against intruders, and more sophisticated systems can also alert you to other dangers, like smoke and carbon monoxide, giving you peace of mind when you’re out of town.
While closing your house until the warm weather returns can be nerve-racking, it doesn’t have to be difficult. Armed with the right information and a little time, you can successfully pack up your home for the season and enjoy peace of mind for the rest of the year—and a clean house to return to when summer rolls around again.