The College Student’s Guide to Leaving Your House Safely Over Break

By Kelsey Tidball

Winter break is quickly approaching, and most of us are starting to think about being away from The Eug for a month or more. That seems like a long time, I know. Especially when half of your life and half of your belongings are now here, stored in your house or apartment. It can be tough to leave your second life behind for that long, but it can be easier when you know your home and your things will be kept safe during the break. Here are our top tips for leaving your house safely and happily over winter break.

Clean the house. Clean the house before you leave. Really deep-clean it. Do the floors and vacuum the carpets. I promise you’ll be so much happier coming back to a clean house rather than a dirty one.

Clean out the fridge. For the same reasons as before, be sure to deep clean the fridge. Spend the week before the break trying to use up any perishable foods you may have on-hand and try not to buy too much that you know you can’t finish. Coming home to spoiled food would just be the worst.


Turn off the heat. Make sure the heat is turned off before you leave. If no one is going to be home, why waste the money? Your housing company will thank you for this, too.

Lock up your bike. Make sure to lock your bike in a secure place, or, better yet, to bring it inside the house. You’ll want to discourage thieves as much as you can. U-locks can be found at REI, Walmart, Target or Amazon. They’re fairly expensive ($40-$100 depending on size and brand) but buying a good one is completely worth it if it saves your bike.

Close the blinds. Keep your blinds closed and your windows locked. This will further discourage potential thieves. If they can’t see in, they probably won’t be tempted to come in.


Leave on a light. Try to leave a porch or a hall light on. It will look more like you’ve been home if the house isn’t dark 24/7.

Stop the mail. Contact the post office and consider putting a hold on your mail. A month’s worth of mail can accumulate quickly and your mailbox may not be able to hold all of that.

Unplug Electronics. Unplug all electronics. TV, lamps, chargers, hairdryers, coffee makers, toasters. It will save you some money and help prevent against fire-related accidents.

Befriend a neighbor. Ask around to see if any of your neighbors are staying in town. If they are, ask them to keep an eye on things. Exchange contact info so you can check in every once in awhile or ask them to bring in that Amazon package you forgot you ordered until it was too late.

Leave the faucets dripping. It can get really cold in Eugene over winter break, and the pipes can freeze and cause all sorts of issues. To prevent this, leave your kitchen sink and bathroom faucet dripping just slightly while you’re gone.