How can I prepare my apartment for winter break?

Winter break is here again, and most college students couldn’t be more excited! Some much needed rest and relaxation await as soon as that last final is done, and many are headed back home for well-deserved time with family and friends. While a 3-4 week break sounds great when you’ve been working hard all semester, don’t get too wrapped up in the excitement and then forget to prep your apartment before you leave. Apart from packing clothes to bring with you, there are a few other things you may want to get done before you leave to save money and avoid the potential for headaches when you return for the new semester.

  1. Leave your heat on at least 65 degrees so your water pipes don’t freeze. You may also want to leave sink cabinets open so that some heat can circulate. Nobody wants to come home to inches of water in their apartment.
  2. Make sure all doors and windows are locked. Don’t make it easy for someone to get their hands on your stuff while you’re gone!
  3. Take your valuables with you, just to be sure, if the locked windows and doors don’t deter intruders. The last thing you need is to buy a new laptop for the new semester because yours “went missing” over break.
  4. Clean out your fridge and take out all trash. You don’t want a stinky mess when you come back from break!
  5. Unplug appliances like televisions, microwaves, toasters, and other items that draw energy even when not in use in order to save some on your electricity bill. No need to pay for it when you’re not there!
  6. Be sure to turn off (even unplug) those pretty holiday decorations! While they were pretty while you were at your apartment, there’s no need to waste the electricity and leave a potential fire hazard on when you’re gone.
  7. Pay rent for January! Just because you’re not there doesn’t mean you don’t have to pay. Either pay it before you leave or give yourself a reminder so it doesn’t get overlooked in all your relaxing time. Save some money by avoiding late fees.

Written by Brooke Shrewsbury, Consumer Economics Program Coordinator, University of Illinois Extension, 2018.

Reviewed by Kathy Sweedler, Consumer Economics Educator, University of Illinois Extension.