Maintaining Your Apartment While On School Breaks

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  • Whether you’re heading off to Daytona Beach for spring break, or back home for Thanksgiving, you’ll want to take some basic precautions to maintain and protect your campus apartment while you’re away.

    Everything from cleaning your apartment before setting off – rather than having to deal with it when you get back – to asking a friend to drop in every once in a while can help ensure you return to an apartment that is spick-and-span and as you left it.

    Here are some helpful tips for maintaining your apartment during your next break from class.

    1. Get Rid of Perishable Foods

    This one should be a no-brainer: if you have any perishable foods, be sure to eat them or get rid of them prior to your trip. The last thing that you want to come home to is rotting food stinking up your refrigerator – or worse, your entire apartment. Some perishable foods can be frozen of course, which means you don’t have to throw out all of your perishable items. But if you have any fresh fruit – bananas, for example – it’s probably best to simply eat them or discard them. Not all perishable foods are created equal when it comes to freezing!

    2. Take Out the Trash

    Don’t leave an open invitation for cockroaches or ants while you’re away! If you have trash in any of your trash bins, get rid of it. Not only will you be keeping the creepy crawlies away (though here’s hoping that you don’t have any!), but you won’t have to worry about coming home to an apartment that smells like the local garbage dump. And I think that we can all appreciate that.

    3. Consider Keeping the Air Moving

    A closed apartment can start to feel pretty stale after a while. To keep your air feeling fresh, consider keeping the air moving with a small fan, or run your air conditioner while you’re away (assuming your apartment has air conditioning, of course).

    To avoid expensive electrical bills, set the temperature a bit higher than usual – not so high that the air conditioning never comes on, but not so low that it’s on all the time. The goal is for the A/C to come on just often enough to move the air through the place. You may also consider getting a humidifier if you do live in a humid environment, as this can help prevent mold and mustiness.

    4. Close the Blinds

    If you plan to be gone for a week or more, don’t telegraph it to the neighborhood. Close the blinds so that prying eyes can’t see inside. An added benefit is that this should help moderate the inside temperature, which is great if you intend to run the air conditioning while you’re away.

    If the temperature jumps by 10 degrees or more every afternoon because of solar gain, you may have quite a shock when the utility bill arrives. But even if this isn’t a worry, it’s still a good idea to keep away prying eyes, so that you don’t invite thieves and home burglars while you’re out.

    5. Enlist a Friend to Housesit (or Stop By)

    One of the best things that you can do if you’re going away for a week or more is to enlist help from a friend. Ideally, you should look for a house sitter, but if there are no takers (or there’s nobody available), ask a close friend to drop by the apartment at least once or twice while you’re gone.

    They can open the windows to circulate the air, check to see that the place is safe and secure, and make the apartment seem lived in, which could deter any lurkers. And they can also check the mail for you, though this shouldn’t be necessary, as requesting a mail hold is quick and easy.

    6. Get a Home Automation System

    With home automation systems, like those offered by ADT, your apartment can basically run itself while you’re away – and allow you to monitor it from afar, providing invaluable peace of mind. Home automation systems leverage the Internet of Things and a suite of various different connected devices to automate many of your daily tasks in the house.

    This may include setting and controlling the temperature in the home through a smart thermostat, monitoring the house via security cameras, or even locking and unlocking the doors via electric power locks. If you’re tech-minded and enjoy the role that technology plays in your life, then a home automation system may be right for you.

    Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff!

    Leaving an apartment behind may feel a bit nerve-wracking, especially if you’re traveling for the first time since moving in, but it doesn’t have to be. Remember, your parents have been doing it for years. Lock up, clean house, empty the refrigerator and trash cans, enlist a friend to help, and keep the air circulating (and the lights on – timers help here), and you’ll come home to an apartment that is just as you left it. Whether you’re going home for the holidays or spending spring break with friends, enjoy, and don’t sweat the small stuff!

    Off-to-College reference:

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