As great as university life is, it’s always nice to return home for the festive period. While you’re making plans to catch-up with family and friends, it's important to think about how you leave your Sheffield student property safe and secure while it’s empty.
Today, we're here to help students get ready for Christmas with a checklist of helpful tips. So, while you're packing your bags and wrapping presents, take a few minutes to prepare your property for when you're away.
Hide Away Your Valuables
Sadly, thieves will see the festive period as an ideal opportunity to strike vacant student homes. People who leave doors and windows unlocked and valuables in plain sight are the most likely to be targeted while they're away.
As you're packing for the holiday trip home, be sure to tuck away anything of particular value in your student housing. If you can’t take phones/tablets/cameras/consoles and laptops home with you, then hide them somewhere out of site before you leave.
If you're keeping valuables like jewellery in the house, you could hide them in an inconspicuous tin and store it amongst the other food in the kitchen cupboard.
Don't Tell Everyone You're Going Home
Of course, it's okay to share your festive plans with close friends, but don't spread the word too far that you'll be away from your property over Christmas. Loose chat over the phone in a public place could make you a potential target for burglars.
Lock The Windows
Whether you have one window to lock or half a dozen, do the rounds in your student accommodation. Then double-check to make sure that they are locked, it’s far better to be safe than sorry!
If a lock doesn't work, don’t chance it - contact your landlord. We also recommend that you draw the curtains or blinds so that it's not apparent when you are away or what is inside your house that’s worth breaking in for.
Empty The Fridge
Even if the Best Before date suggests otherwise, never assume that food will keep while you're gone. Whether you're leaving for a few days or a few weeks, empty your fridge. Clear out leftovers and use up ingredients in the last few days that you are home. A frugal tip: challenge yourself and your roommates to some creative cooking with whatever needs to go before you leave for the holidays.
Most importantly, don't leave anything that can potentially spoil and become an unpleasant surprise when you return. If you want to do yourself a real favour, clean the inside of the fridge with antibacterial wipes. You’ll thank yourself in the new year!
Big Cleaning Blitz
While you're cleaning the fridge, it's a good idea to give your entire property a good once-over.
After all, when you come back from visiting the family, it's safe to assume you'll be exhausted - what with all the food and festivities, plus the travel back to university! Just think how nice it’ll feel to start the new year in a nice clean student home.
So, tidy everything away, wash all the dishes, give the floors a quick vacuum and wash any laundry you’re leaving behind. It’s the perfect time to do it as you’ll be in high holiday spirits!
Set the Thermostat to 5°C
One of the biggest risks when leaving your student home in the winter is cold temperatures and frost. If you turn off the electricity and boiler in your home, then pipes could freeze and even burst, causing a huge amount of damage.
The best thing you can do is to set the heating to 5°C, just above freezing. This will ensure that pipes won’t freeze up and that damp won’t creep into your home. It won’t add an awful lot to the heating bill and is worth it to not have the nightmare of arranging for a plumber when you first return.
Open the Sink Cupboards
The next step to pipe freezing and bursting is to open the cupboard under every sink. This will expose the pipes under the sink to the small amount of heat in the house.
Another savvy way to prevent winter pipe explosions while you're away is to wrap them in insulation. Pipe insulation tubes are inexpensive and available in most DIY stores. Failing that, just using some bubble wrap will do the trick.
Lights on Timers
An effective way to deter burglars is to give the impression that you’re in your student home by having the lights on at certain times in the evenings. You can do this by setting a couple of electric timers (an inexpensive purchase from most DIY shops) on your table/floor lamps so that they switch on in the late evening for 2-3 hours.
Unplug all other electronic appliances and chargers, to ensure nothing can spark while you're gone.
Lock the Door
Finally, as daft as it sounds, when you leave the accommodation with your luggage and presents, set the burglar alarm (if you have one) and lock the door behind you! If you have a back door, lock that first. If it's a sliding door, place a rod, plank, or even a broom handle into the door track. Remember to latch both the door handle and the deadbolt.
If you’re driving home for Christmas, remember these top tips to keep your student accommodation secured with the utilities turned off to ensure that no disasters happen while you're gone. This is especially important if you're leaving some of your belongings behind.
The Claypenny Team wishes all Sheffield students a very Merry Christmas. Stay safe on the roads home.Share