Home & Garden

The one thing you need to do before you leave for vacation

Add this to your checklist

Stove Credit: Bernhard Lang/Getty Images

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Your bags are packed, the plants have been watered and the spare key for the house-sitter has been slipped under the mat—a.k.a you are finally ready to enjoy the vacation you've been dreaming of for months.

Until, on day two, you're lounging on the beach and suddenly wonder, "Did I ever turn the stove off?" Yes, you reassure yourself, you definitely did. But wait, maybe you didn't. No, you're sure you did. Or you're pretty sure. Or you're a little sure. Or... Suddenly your relaxing getaway has become anxiety-wrought, as you imagine your house going up in flames while you're thousands of miles away.

That's not exactly how you—or anyone—want to spend your vacation. Fortunately, one person has come up with a brilliant hack for never having to worry about whether or not you turned off the stove (or any appliance, really) again.

How to ensure a stress-free vacation: Take pictures

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A picture is worth a thousand words (and a lot less stress).

Before you walk out the door, take photos of your stove dials (turned to the off position, of course) with your phone. That way, when you're on vacation and wondering if you actually turned off the stove, you'll have proof—and peace of mind—that you did.

And it doesn't just apply to your stove. You can use this hack for anything you fret about when you're away from your house for an extended period of time, like your oven, the thermostat, or even your main water supply.

Does it work?

For the majority, likely yes. After all, it's tough to stress over something that you have photo proof of. But what's even better than the actual pictures themselves, our Major Appliances and Home Design Editor Cindy Bailen says, is the fact that the process of going through and taking photos helps you develop the habit of checking the important things in your home before you leave.

And if you're worried that you'll forget to take pictures among the stress that is prepping for travel, Bailen recommends, "Put it on a checklist and have Alexa or Google Home read it to you before you go."

What else do I need to do in my home before vacation?

Credit: Zoranm/Getty Images

Lights off, please.

"A whole-home walkthrough, for sure," Bailen says. She also suggests installing smart devices in your home, which can be incredibly useful when you travel. For instance, smart lightbulbs can be set to go on at different times to make the house look inhabited while you're away. And a smart doorbell can let you see who's coming to the door when you're not there.

And one more tip from Bailen? "I always check the washer—leaving wet clothes in there for any length of time guarantees you'll come back to a stinky mess." Good to know.

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