'Licensed, Bonded, Insured'

DIY Home Checklist

Keep in mind Abigail’s Concierge provides a lot of these services initially and on an ongoing basis.

While every attempt has been made to make the following information helpful, relevant and accurate, responsibility and risk for the use of this data rests with you, the homeowner. The information provided below is a suggestion only.

  1. Move patio furniture indoors. 
  2. Bring in anything located outdoors that may blow around in a heavy wind storm.
  3. Empty and store outdoor flower pots and water hoses. 
  4. Clean outdoor grill.
  5. Lock patio doors. Install wood dowel in tracks to restrain sliding doors and windows.
  6. Properly dispose of any bags of garbage. Spray waste baskets and garbage cans with Lysol or other disinfectant spray.
  7. Dispose of items that have accumulated over the summer. Recycle those newspapers, bottles and aluminum cans. Take unwanted clothes to your favorite charity organization.
  8. Stop mail or have it forwarded. Cancel newspaper subscriptions. Ask neighbors to remove any newspapers, periodicals, etc., being placed in your entryway or front porch while you are away.
  9. Remove the vacuum cleaner bag and replace with a fresh one. Replace any water filters with clean ones.
  10. Notify your neighbors and local law enforcement if you have a security alarm and who your emergency contact will be TIP: Abigail’s includes alarm contact service for most Home Watch Programs or as an add on specialty service
  11. Set a tap to drip to reduce the likelihood of frozen pipes during extreme cold. 
  12. Exercise the water shut off valve before departure.
  13. Inspect or have inspected your roof for damage or leaks.
  14. Make sure your heating system is working properly and in good condition set the thermostat at 65 degrees.
  15. Some residents like to have a professional pest-control firm spray around the house before they leave. Others distribute the pesticide around the house themselves. TIP: Mothballs and dryers sheets can be spread throughout to deter mice from taking up residence
  16. You may want to shut off the gas main, but relighting the furnace and hot water tank may require help from the utility company if applicable.
  17. Make sure the stove is off.
  18. Make sure any food items that could rot or draw bugs or mice are thrown away.
  19. Clean your dishwasher thoroughly, paying attention to the edges of the door. Blot up any residual water in the bottom after you run your last load.
  20. Consider what to do regarding your phone. Some phone companies offer vacation service, which has the effect of disconnecting the phone but keeping the number active so it can be reinstated when you return. However, if you have a security system that automatically telephones the monitoring office when a break in is detected, placing your phone on vacation mode disables that part of your system. Another tip is to forward your home phone to your cell phone.
  21. Thoroughly clean all appliances. This means everything. Don't forget the toaster, blender, mixer, microwave oven, toaster oven, and range (including oven and broiler, as well as burners and drip pans). Any food particles or residue can attract pests.
  22. Remove all perishable food from refrigerator and disconnect the ice cube maker. TIP: Put a bag of ice cubes in the freezer, if you come back to a bag of cubes great, if not then somewhere along the line the power was out too long and frozen foods should now be thrown out.
  23. There are two philosophies on what to do with the refrigerator. One is to leave it empty, unplugged, making sure the icemaker water supply is off, and prop the door open. The second idea is to turn the dial to the warmest temperature setting and turn off the icemaker. Some who use this method recommend placing a dish of either activated charcoal or baking soda inside to absorb odors. If you decide on this option do not turn off the circuit breaker.
  24. Do not put bleach tablets in the toilet tank.
  25. Shut off the breaker for the hot water heater. Some water heaters also have a "Vacation" setting that you can use instead of turning it all the way off.
  26. Turn off breakers for all circuits not needing power. TIP: label breakers with stickers available at any office store. Green for needed, red for not needed
  27. If leaving a car behind prepare it for long-term storage or request someone start and run it on our visits.
  28. Make sure the washing machine is fully drained so mold will not grow.
  29. Make sure all curtains and blinds are closed to prevent anyone from seeing inside, and to keep out as cold as possible.
  30. Unplug TV's, any small kitchen appliances, stereo, DVD player, computer, power strips, or anything that has a "Sleep" mode.
  31. Put a timer on at least one light, set to come on and off to make the home appear occupied. And have someone check the bulb and replace if it burns out. Remember to leave the breaker for that outlet turned on.
  32. Make sure all windows are closed and locked.
  33. Consider creating a full inventory list of belongings and valuables with included pictures
  34. Call your insurance agent to discuss a possible change in coverage during your extended absence TIP: Hiring a professional Home Watch company such as Abigail’s should mitigate those changes.
  35. Some people recommend leaving ceiling fans on at the lowest setting, to promote air circulation.
  36. Clean all floor coverings and all surfaces to ensure that no food particles or stains attract bugs or cause mildew.
  37. Unplug TV and internet cables.
  38. Cover furniture with dust covers.
  39. Turn on security system
  40. Wrap heat tape around exposed pipes and cover outside hose bibs with insulating covers
  41. Have potentially destructive tree branches cut back
  42. Bring a list of important phone numbers local to your winter home, such as the management company, utility companies, and neighbors' phone numbers.
Check out our complete line of Home Watch Services.

Don’t forget to view our Button Up Your Home and Welcome Home pages for a truly leisurely departure or arrival. 

And our Girl Friday and Concierge services for projects big and small. 


  • "Our commitment is to doing everything in our power provide peace of mind, low stress and a sense of security by attending to every detail during our clients absence."
    – From Abigail's Concierge
  • "We will even serve as emergency contact during the owner’s absence. No one likes to get an alarm call at 3 in the morning, especially when they are thousands of miles away."
    – From Abigail's Concierge