8 In CANADIAN CLUB/ Check Lists/ DIY/ Organize

Getting ready to leave this little piece of heaven.

I am sitting in my back lanai enjoying a beautiful breeze and a rye and ginger! I am SO going to miss this, aren’t you?

This lanai is on my radar for a complete makeover next season. I have started my storyboard so that I don’t lose focus. I will share it all next season:)

This post is not going to be full of pretty pictures…mostly just boring ol’ print!!! BUT it’s important….so read on….

Many of us snowbirds are getting ready to leave. I have about three weeks left here. Don’t get me wrong..I cannot wait to see my kids and my granddaughters but honestly this weather!!! A-MA-ZING right?

I was going to make a list of everything that we need to do to be prepared. I started to do some research online to see what the ‘experts’ suggest. It turns out there is a ton of information available on what you should and should not do. So instead of re-writing one or two of these lists I am simply cutting and pasting one here for you. At the end of this there is one more site about the importance of toilet and drain care. Be sure to read through that as well.

This particular list was prepared by  By Scott Kelsey on behalf of John R. Woods Real estate Company


Here is a handy checklist of areas that should be covered before your final departure:

  1. In case of summer storms or inclement weather, be sure to take photos or video of both the inside and outside of your home and take important insurance documents with you when you leave. These two actions will help with any storm-related claims should they arise. Also take pictures and/or video of the contents of your home as well.


  1. Who will you entrust with caring for your home in case an issue arises while you are away? A family member, a neighbour, a friend, or a company that specializes in this service? You’ll want to designate an individual or company to assist just in case.


  1. Whomever you choose, be sure to get expectations in writing. Choosing a company that specializes in monitoring and servicing homes is always a good option and will ensure that responsibilities and liabilities are clearly defined.


  1. While away, your home should be checked at least once a week. An air conditioner that quits at the height of summer could be a bad situation! An unattended leak, whether from your own home or the vacant unit above, could also cause significant damage!


  1. Make a list of contact information (names. phone numbers, etc.) of everyone who has keys to your home. This list should include homeowner associations, property managers, friends, family, neighbours, and service personnel. This is also a good time to review the list for any individuals who no longer need access to the home and consider updating your home’s access security, such as changing locks and codes.


  1. Also, make a list of all the companies and/or vendors that service your home. These companies include alarm/security companies (don’t forget the code and password!), air conditioning, cleaning service, electrician, plumber, pool and lawn maintenance, pest control and irrigation. Also include your handyman, window cleaner, and pressure washing company. Then, attach copies of contracts you have with these companies to your list. Now, duplicate the package. Leave one copy here at your home and take one with you. The package you leave behind is for those looking after your home. Should a problem arise, they’ll have the information needed to help resolve the situation. Take a copy with you because you’ll want the contact information at your fingertips if needed.


  1. Lastly, document all the settings of your home, including air conditioning and humidistat, light timers, sprinkler systems, etc. If your home loses power for an extended period, timers will need to be reset. Don’t forget to have timers adjusted to the changing sunrise and sunset times.


Here are a few more some important items to address…

  • Change all batteries and purchase backups where applicable: smoke detectors, thermostat/humidistat, alarm (main and keypads). The availability of additional batteries for the person/company monitoring your home ensures minimal downtime.
  • Inspect all plumbing fixtures and address potential issues before you depart. It’s easier to prevent a problem than it is to repair one when you’re 1,500 miles away. A professional home watch company will know what to look for and should offer to perform the inspection.
  • Ensure the security of your home by checking all windows and doors for defects. Are the locking mechanisms in good order? Are the alarm-monitored entry points working properly? Are you using locking pins on the sliding glass doors?
  • Electrical issues: Power surges, especially from lightning strikes, are a common occurrence in Southwest Florida. The surge can enter your home through phone, electrical, cable, or data lines and destroy electronics. You can either unplug everything or contact an electrician about installing a full-home surge protector. Florida Power and Light (FPL) offers their SurgeSheild program, which is a meter-located protector that, according to FPL, “protects your home’s major motor-driven appliances.”
  • Whether you chose to leave your refrigerator operating or not, always remove perishables and turn off the ice maker. If shutting down the appliance, be sure to clean the unit and prop the doors open to prevent mould from forming.
  • The control of your home’s temperature and humidity is a must. Keep in mind that a dark, cool, stagnate, and moist environment is prime breeding ground for mould. If your home is not equipped with a humidistat, consider installing one and set it between 45 and 55 percent. Your thermostat can be set between 80 and 84. Do not prevent all natural light from entering your home. Allow about 25 percent to filter through your window treatments. When it comes to overhead fans, turn them off.
  • Never turn off water to the water heater when power is off! Just prior to walking out the door on departure day, turn off the power to the water heater at the circuit breaker.
  • Give your home a good cleaning. This will help to minimize pests, as well as make it easier to open your home upon your return
  • Outside the home, be sure to secure all lanai and pool furniture. Store items in a garage or a lanai with hurricane shutters. You’ll then need to decide whether or not to install your hurricane shutters on remaining openings. If you don’t do them now, you’ll need someone who will do so in the event of a pending storm.

Your final steps should be to discontinue mail, newspaper and other deliveries. Share your departure date with neighbours and friends – they’ll help monitor your home. On the day you leave, don’t forget to take important documents, such as new prescriptions and home insurance information. Turn off the water at the main valve. Turn off all unnecessary lights—leave one or two connected to timers. Set the alarm. Lock the door.


This is a really good site on toilet/drain care while away…

One Tip Every ‘Snowbird’ Should Know (Plastic Wrap Your Toilet)

I made the mistake of leaving decorations on my furniture for the summer season only to return to FL in the fall to find damage to the wood underneath. By decorations I mean lamps, books, etc. There must have been some dampness underneath these items. When I went do dust there were moisture rings around everything that was left out. Now when I leave all decor gets taken off the desk, dressers, tables, etc and sit on the floor.

Is there anything that you can share that wasn’t on this list? Please leave a message below and let us know.

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  • Reply
    April 8, 2018 at 11:35 am

    Hey maresy…..I will share. If you DO leave your fridge running, (we do) fill a zip lock bag with ice and put in freezer….upon your return…if the ice has melted and taken on a new shape, you know your power went out for enough time to ruin all perishables that you left in freezer.
    Also…leave leftover (but not expired) dry dog food in freezer in zip loc bag. Even if power was lost the dog food is still ok. We left dog food sealed in pantry one year….. came home to hundreds of moths.

    • Reply
      April 8, 2018 at 2:39 pm

      Good morning Mo!! Thanks for stopping by and making your comments. I would absolutely hate to come home to an infestation of moths! Good idea to put the dog food in the freezer. I freeze water in small Tupperware containers before we leave and put pennies on top of the ice. If the pennies are on the bottom of the container or half way down I know the freezer has defrosted enough to warrant tossing everything out upon our return.
      I cannot believe it is almost time to pack up and head home…it comes quicker every year!

  • Reply
    April 8, 2018 at 2:23 pm

    Adding to the fridge tips. Fill the fridge with bottled water (or whatever – vodka comes to mind) and freezer with blocks of ice. A full fridge and freezer is more efficient than a half empty one. Check to see if you have an “energy saver” option for your fridge.

    Our home watch people do put a little bit of bleach in the toilet before they saran wrap it so you don’t come home to the ugly water ring.

    Get an a/c tune up before you leave (change filters and batteries).

    Everything should be off the lanai. Anything left behind is a possible “projectile” in a big storm. Our neighbors’ garden pots broke windows and some ended up in the pool during Irma.

    Cheers to another great season. 😎

    • Reply
      April 8, 2018 at 2:35 pm

      Hi Linda…thanks for the great tips! I wonder if temperature changes will hurt the vodka? Maybe I’ll stick to water bottles. LOL….I have my AC company coming tomorrow to give all of my units a once over.
      Another thing to do that I don’t believe was mentioned is to REMOVE your batteries from any remotes. Toss them in a ziplock till next season. If you leave batteries in the remote they can leak battery acid and ruin it.

  • Reply
    Brenda Loomans
    April 26, 2018 at 7:50 am

    Great advice Mare, This can also apply to those of us that are skiers, we leave our chalets for the summer and also need to close them down for the season. Thank you to Mo , I am going to throw out the dog food too! A couple of years ago I had an infestation of moths and couldn’t figure out how that could happen. I think I now know the answer. The season flew by! Now we take out our sticks! (golf). Lol

    • Reply
      April 26, 2018 at 9:08 pm

      So true for you Eville women too :). I am sure cottagers have lots of great insight that can be shared too.
      Thanks for commenting!!

  • Reply
    April 26, 2018 at 7:55 am

    One more thing we do is put our internet, tv and phone on vacation leave, saves a few bucks! (more for shopping!)

    • Reply
      April 26, 2018 at 9:10 pm

      Absolutely. Those charges sure add up! I also stop my Cdn gym membership while in Florida. I stop whatever service I can in both US and Canada.
      And yes….all the more for shopping!! Lol.

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