You’ve just finished up the holidays at home and you’re ready for spring semester. You return to find that your apartment has a musty smell, you’ve got a few weeks’ worth of mail in your mailbox and there are fruit flies in the kitchen from that banana you left on the counter during exams. Instead of going to watch that Big Ten match-up you were looking forward to, you’ve got to spend the next few hours cleaning your apartment. Don’t get caught in a mess and take these 7 steps to prepare your apartment before you leave for a month.

Step 1 – Clean up your kitchen!

Or anywhere there may be bits of food. By cleaning the fridge, freezer, sink and garbage disposal you mitigate the risk of having any odors (or bugs!) appear. Use a mixture of 50% water and 50% vinegar to clean all the surfaces of your kitchen and fridge to make sure things stay fresh until you’re back. Throw out any old food and check expiration dates on anything you plan on leaving. Remember those leftovers that exploded in the microwave? Use the same water/vinegar mixture to take care of it, add vinegar and water to a microwave safe bowl and heat until it’s boiling. The steam will help release the caked-on food and you can just wipe it clean. Or you can look into the Angry Mama, a cleaning tool as helpful as it is entertaining, to take care of those stuck on microwave messes.

washing dishes with gloved hands in kitchen

Step 2 – Take out the garbage

It may seem self-explanatory, but you don’t want garbage sitting around. Garbage left for a month can produce serious odors, or even pests. Do a quick scan through your entire apartment to ensure that bedrooms, bathrooms, common areas and the kitchen are debris-free. Once you’ve got your garbage out, spray a disinfectant such as Lysol in the garbage cans to keep things even fresher.

Step 3 – Unplug electronics and appliances

Have you heard of phantom energy? It’s the energy that is used by appliances and electronics when they’re turned off, but still plugged in. Do yourself a favor, unplug your alarm clock, coffeemaker, cell phone charger, lamps, TV, gaming consoles and any other appliance that you won’t be using for the next month. You’ll be surprised how much those little items have an impact on your bill.

Step 4 – Turn down your thermostat

Just like unplugging your electronics and appliances, turning down your thermostat will conserve energy and help keep your electricity bill down while you’re gone for vacation. Set your thermostat to the approved temperature for your building before you leave, and you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the effect it has on your heating bill if you’re used to keeping your apartment at 72 degrees. Be on the look out for an email from J. Michael regarding the correct temperature to keep your thermostat set at while you’re away!

Step 5 – Contact the Post Office about holding your mail

Nobody wants their mailbox overflowing when they come back from break, and you don’t want to be worrying about the location of any packages that you may have had delivered. Simply fill out a mail hold form from USPS and they’ll keep your mail at the post office instead of delivering it. Just remember to pick it up once you’re back so you don’t miss any important communication.

faucet with running water

Step 6 – Check your faucets

Don’t waste water while you’re gone, turn-off your faucets tightly to conserve water. Did you know that having a dripping sink can waste gallons of water everyday? According to the drip calculator from the U.S. Geological Survey one faucet dripping 1 drip of water per second results in 5 gallons of water down the drain daily.

Step 7 – Do your laundry

Just like the garbage sitting around your house, dirty laundry produces bacteria that can stink up your apartment when the air is stagnant. Even if you don’t have time to do laundry before you leave try your best to get all laundry corralled in a hamper or laundry basket instead of all over the floor of your apartment to minimize odors.

Use these steps to help prep your apartment for an extended stay at home. If you have any maintenance issues, please let the J. Michael maintenance team know by contacting us here or calling our offices at (608) 233-4440. As always, we wish you a safe and happy holiday season and cannot wait to see you when you come back next semester. Thank you for such a great fall and we look forward to what 2019 brings!



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