If you’re heading out of town for vacation you’re probably thinking about how fun you’ll be having, not about preparing your apartment to be left alone. However, if you don’t take the time to prep your apartment, you could come home to a less than ideal situation. Not a great way to end an exciting trip. For peace of mind while you’re out of town, follow this checklist to secure your apartment and avoid any unfortunate situations. Check the Weather If you’re going away for more than a week the weather report won’t be too accurate. However, if it’s just a few days you can check the forecast and prep your apartment accordingly. If you are leaving for more than a few days, you should prep your apartment according to the season. In the winter, make sure you leave your heat on and open the cabinet doors under the sink. If the temperature drops this will protect your pipes from freezing and bursting. In the summer, bring in any patio furniture or umbrellas that could get damaged or cause damage if a storm rolls through. Clean Out Your Fridge Coming home to a fridge full of rotten food is never pleasant. Eat or freeze anything that will spoil while you’re away or see if a neighbor may want it. Who would say no to fresh fruit or vegetables? Take out the Trash Forgetting to take the trash out will result in a smelly apartment. Take out the trash and recycling right before you leave so you can come home to a fresh apartment. Unplug Your Appliances There’s no reason to keep your computer, television, or toaster plugged in while you’re away relaxing on the beach. Unplugging them will lower your energy bill as well as reduce the risk of a fire. It only takes a minute or two but will save you a decent amount of money. Check the Washer and Dryer If you have a washer and dryer in your apartment, make sure there are no wet clothes left from a load of laundry you never finished. Leaving wet clothes in a small, dark space leaves them prone to mold, creating an unpleasant situation upon discovery. Hold Your Mail You can hold your mail for up to 30 days by visiting the USPS website. Request to hold your mail up to 30 days in advance or as early as the next scheduled delivery day. Everything will be help at your local Post Office and delivered once you’ve returned home. No need to worry about your mailbox filling up or someone stealing your mail. Set up Animal Care If you have a cat don’t forget to find care for them while you’re away. Have a friend come over, drop them off at a family member's house, or board them. If you’re only away for a night or two they may be okay with just extra food and water. Any longer than that though and you will need to find someone to care for and keep your cat company. Lock Everything Before leaving, check that all windows and doors are locked and secure. A secure apartment will ensure a worry-free vacation and allow you to enjoy your time away from home. For more on apartment living, check out What to Include in an Apartment Emergency Kit and the Pros and Cons to Getting Rid of Cable TV.