Tag Archives: house

Spring Cleaning Isn’t Enough: 3 Tips for Making a Household Inventory (Just in Case)

With spring fast approaching, the urge to clean follows close behind. Sure, you throw out clutter and unwanted clothes, but what do you do with the stuff you’re planning on keeping? This is where a complete inventory of your home comes in handy. In the event of an emergency, an up-to-date household inventory may save you thousands of dollars in insurance claims.

For new homeowners, itemizing all your possessions may only take up a single afternoon. Yet for those of us that have been living at the same residence for many years, a home inventory can be intimidating and easy to keep putting off. Don’t get overwhelmed! We’re here to help: Check out these 3 tips to overcome your inventory insecurities.

One: Starting With The Basics
Narrowing your focus to one room of the house at a time is essential. Giving your attention to only one contained area, such as a bedroom closet or a bathroom, can break up what seems to be one large task into several smaller tasks. Once you’ve begun organizing items room by room, it’s important to make sure to include relevant information like estimated value or the make and model of the item. If you know where you purchased the item, be sure to include that as well. Start with closet or room, and don’t move on to the next one until that first one is done. Soon, you’ll have worked your way through your whole house!

Proving With Pictures
In the digital age, our phones can do a whole lot for a homeowner’s day-to-day peace of mind. Creating and saving a photo library of your items could help immensely with replacement in the event of a fire, theft or other disaster. Make sure to include these images with the notes you took while itemizing everything.

Habits for Your House
Now that we have a more complete and compiled list, there’s no reason to let it go to waste. Get into the habit of recording any new purchases and your household inventory will stay up-to-date. Storing receipts and recording serial numbers will also do you a world of good in keeping proof of value. If you happen to purchase a new item that is particularly valuable, it might be a good idea to have the item appraised so you have proof of the estimated value. Practicing these habits now may even help your family members to do the same later, and soon it could become second nature to update your inventory.

Although no one wants to think about a potential theft or disaster and the insurance claims that will follow, it’s best to be prepared. If you’re not sure where to start even after these tips, check out this list of different home inventory apps you can use right from your phone. Most importantly, don’t get discouraged. An entire home inventory may seem daunting, so don’t be afraid to piecemeal the list and leave it incomplete if you need to step away from the clutter. Let’s welcome spring more organized than ever before!

Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash

Don’t Come Home to a Stench! 8 Ways to Prepare Your Home Before Your Vacation

Getting ready for your getaway? Good for you! But first, make sure your house is ready for you to be gone. We’ve talked before about preparing to be away, with a post on five ways to make your house look occupied while you’re gonein order to deter burglars. Those tips are:

 

  • Tip 1: Get a house sitter
  • Tip 2: Leave a car in the driveway
  • Tip 3: Hire someone to take care of your lawn and yard
  • Tip 4: Keep the electronics going
  • Tip 5: Keep your vacation to yourself

And of course there are the obvious tips like put your mail and newspaper subscription on hold so papers aren’t piling up and screaming “this house is empty!” to interested passers by.

But there are other precautions to take before you go to besides making it look lived in, steps you can take to make sure you’re not neglecting important tasks or leaving behind a potential mess you’ll have to contend with when you get home. Definitely follow our advice to make your house look occupiedwhile you’re on vacation, but also do the following so your homecoming can be as pleasant as can be:

1) Tell a trusted neighbor you’ll be gone. If you have a house sitter lined up, make sure your neighbor knows so they’re not wondering who the stranger is. It’s also nice for your house sitter to know there is a neighbor to reach out to should something happen. If you don’t have a house sitter, you’ll want that neighbor to keep an eye on your house while you’re gone. And if you’ve arranged for lawn care or something while you’re gone, make sure that neighbor knows it’s okay for those people to be on the property!

2) Make sure the bills are caught up. I get so caught up in getting ready to get away—like trying to get ahead of work or shopping for last minute items—that I sometimes forget to keep up with the regular household duties like paying the bills. Try to be mindful of anything that will be due while you’re gone and take care of it ahead of time.

3) Clean out the fridge. Now we’re moving into the territory that drives my husband crazy. He doesn’t understand why I have to clean out the fridge before we go away. But if I don’t, we risk coming home to stinky spoiled food that will have to be thrown out anyway—leaving behind a stench! Or produce that’s gone slimy that I won’t want to touch. Or milk that has soured. Ugh! It also helps to keep the grocery shopping to a minimum ahead of time or plan to eat up leftovers or have your own episode of “Chopped” in order to use up what you can before leaving. Even if we have a house sitter, I will toss food rather than assume they’ll eat it.

4) Wash all the dishes. There are two things that can be left in the sink when we leave: a water glass and a coffee cup. Even if it’s the last thing I do before walking out the door, I’m washing dishes. Otherwise I not only have stink to come home to, but the equivalent of cement to chisel out of that bowl or pot. Is that something I want to take on after a restful get away? No!

5) Take out the trash and the recycling. Like cleaning out the fridge, emptying all garbage cans and recycling bins will cut down on possible stench when you get back. Yes, recycling too, because that trace of milk in the carton or dogfood in the can will probably stink after a few days, even if you’ve rinsed it out. If the cans need to go to the curb while you’re gone for pickup, make sure to arrange for that.

6) Run the garbage disposal. Not having a garbage disposal, I’m not sure about this one, but I have read that you should pour ½ cup of vinegar and some water into your garbage disposal and run it—again, to avoid coming home to a stinky house.

7) Do the laundry. You’ll probably come home with lots of dirty laundry, so having those laundry baskets empty before you go will be much appreciated when you come home. But dirty laundry can also hide stench in the making, which is why you want it all clean ahead of time. We’ve had that happen with only a weekend getaway, coming home to a stinky house because of a kitchen towel used to clean up who knows what that was left sitting in the basket. Ugh!

8) This last one is optional: Clean! I don’t usually have time to clean the house before we leave, but I want to, because the last thing I want to do when I come home is to tackle housework! For me, it’s like giving myself a gift to clean the house before leaving so I can ease back into the daily grind rather than jump back into. But—it’s optional.

However you prepare for your time away this summer, stay safe, be smart, and enjoy your well-earned rest!

8 Ways to Make Your Home Safer This Summer—Before the Guests Arrive

What does safety mean to you? For some, it means eliminating accidents and for others it’s synonymous with home security and keeping intruders out. Regardless of your definition, being safe is always a concern, whether you’re at work or at home, at school or on the road.

But we tend to take safety in the home for granted. After all, it’s our home, our sanctuary, our place to get away from the pressures of the outside world. How can it not be safe? Sadly, in lots of ways!

So let’s change that. As the pace of life slows down for many with the end of the school year and summer stretching out before us, let’s take a little time to review our homes and make sure we aren’t overlooking any hazards—especially because we might have summer visitors we also want to keep safe!

  1. Test smoke alarms on a regular basis, at least once every few weeks. Yes, keep changing out the batteries twice a year, but make sure the batteries are still good in the meantime. During the summer, people tend to be away from home more often and might not even know a battery has died if they weren’t there to hear the beeping noise it makes when it needs replacing.
  2. Have an escape plan in case of fire, and ladders to get you safely from second-story rooms to the ground outside. It might seem awkward, but go over the escape plan with your summer guests—to be on the safe side.
  3. Speaking of fire, if you have a fire pit outside, have safety rules for everyone who sits around the fire but particularly for little ones who could be running around and end up getting burned. Adhere to these rules! And make sure kids aren’t unattended by the fire.
  4. Check for lighting inside and out to make sure you’re eliminating trip hazards by making them visible. Think about people making their way to the bathroom in the middle of the night or walking up to your front door while it’s dark outside. Consider putting lights on timers or programming your home automation system so lights are always on when needed.
  5. Also check for trip hazards, such as hoses outside and throw rugs inside. Even if you’re used to stepping over them or treading lightly so you won’t slip, think in terms of company coming over and someone unaware taking a fall because they didn’t know to tread carefully on or around that rug. If you have stairs or other uneven footing guests won’t be aware of, consider putting down colorful tape so it’s easier to see.
  6. Make doubly sure anything poisonous is well out of reach of little ones, even if your kids are older or grown and gone, since you could very well have a young visitor. This applies inside and outside the house, if you have lawn care or gardening supplies stored in your garage, for example.
  7. Make kitchen safety a habit by keeping sharp and hot items away from the edges of countertops and tablecloths that can be pulled down. If you’re barbecuing outside, follow the same rules, keeping sharp and hot objects out of reach of little ones.
  8. Double check window locks and latches, to make sure kids can’t inadvertently get a window open and possibly fall.

This is only a partial list of tips for improving the safety of your home with summer and guests in mind. Obviously other outdoor items such as swimming pools, trampolines and even play equipment require strict safety rules that you’ll want to adhere to. But these tips above should serve as reminders that it’s safety first, even within the sanctuary of your home. If you’d like a much more comprehensive list of safety tips, Real Simple offers a detailed room-by-room guide.

Burglars Getting in Through the Garage? Yep! It’s That Easy

Some time back, a YouTube video showing how to break into a garage in 6 seconds went viral. Then videos showing how to prevent such a break-in proliferated, including this Texas news clip.

The idea is that a burglar quickly and easily gets into your garage, then shuts that door and gains effortless access to your house. Yes, an open garage door is noticeable, but if it is then closed quickly, chances are it won’t be noticed. And the burglar is in. Even if the door between your garage and house is locked, the burglar is now able to take his or her time breaking through that door to gain entry. A home security system would set off an alarm, but most burglars are fast, in and out of a home in between 8 and 12 minutes, which gives them plenty of time before the police show up.

Although the garage door is not the most common way to break into a home—thieves use the garage to gain access to a house 9% of the time—you as a homeowner want to prevent any kind of access point to decrease your chances of becoming a victim. And much of the advice for preventing garage break-ins is the same as general home security advice. So we offer tips below that are specific to your garage and your house both…

Make your house less appealing
Burglars don’t choose houses at random. They know exactly what they’re looking for. Decrease the appeal of your house and garage with these tips:

  • Cut back trees or shrubs by the road that give burglars a place to hide while they break into the garage. If you have a tall fence curbside that provides cover, consider replacing it with something shorter that neighbors and passers-by can see over.
  • If you have a detached garage and a burglar might be tempted to steal from that, not your house, don’t keep expensive equipment out in the open where it becomes an invitation to break in.
  • Make it look like someone is home. Keep the spare car in the driveway, not parked on the road. Use your home automation system to have lights turn on and off automatically. Have packages delivered to your workplace rather than left on your doorstep.
  • Make sure your home security system sign is clearly visible from the road.
  • Double check your lighting by going out at night and looking at your house and garage from the street. Does your lighting leave shadows where a thief could hide while breaking into your garage?

Practice prevention
Sometimes the old sayings are the best sayings, and in this case, a pinch of prevention is worth a pound of cure definitely applies.

  • Even if you won’t be gone long, keep your garage doors locked, both the large door on the front of the garage and any regular doors used to access the garage on foot, either from the outside or from the house. Use heavy-duty locks. Also make sure any garage windows also have better locks than the factory-installed kind.
  • Take advantage of the remote capabilities of your home security system to double check that the doors are locked when you’re not at home.
  • Install home security cameras in obvious places where a burglar can see they’re going to be seen while trying to break in.

Much of this advice applies to other outbuildings too, even if no one can gain access to your house through an outbuilding. They can still steal expensive tools and violate your property while erasing any sense of security you once had. In that way, home security measures should be comprehensive, taking into account more than your house to include any part of your property that is vulnerable—including that sturdy looking garage.

Three More Ways to Keep Older Adults Safely Living on Their Own

They say America is aging and statistics show that to be true. By 2050, the number of Americans over 65 years of age will reach 88.5 million. That’s twice the number in 2010, meaning in just 40 years, our country’s older population will double.

As our population ages, we are most of us likely to fall into one of two categories: the “older adults” who want to stay independent, and the children of those older adults who are trying to support their parents in their independence.

We’ve written about keeping seniors safely living on their own before, in our blog post called Keeping Seniors Safe: 6 Tips to Keep Your Parents Independent Longer. In that post, we talked about ways to make sure the kitchen and bathroom are safe, coaching our elderly relatives on safe social media usage, ensuring the lighting is good, and installing a home security system.

We’ve also written about how a home automation system can help senior citizens to stay in their homes.

In this post, we build on that previous advice to add three more nuggets that have come to our attention with additional research into keeping seniors safe when living alone.

Prevent falls when you put things within easy reach
I’m not yet an older adult, but I still make my husband cringe when I stand on a chair or jump up in the air to reach a bowl on a top shelf. In his mind, his accident-prone wife is only asking for an injury, and he’s right. For our older parents and relatives, it’s imperative that they can reach what they need to decrease the chance of a fall. I’m not suggesting your 77-year-old mother will climb on a chair, but you never know. Mine would! (Maybe that’s where I get it?) Those things they are likely to need should be easy to reach, neither too high nor too low.

Have groceries delivered to cut down on driving
Driving is one act of independence older adults really struggle to give up, it seems. And perhaps they still drive just fine, but their reaction times have slowed and the drivers around them don’t know it, putting everyone at risk. Statistics show older drivers tend to be in more accidents. If you can have groceries delivered, you can cut down on the driving—plus the chances of a fall in a grocery store or parking lot. (If you need guidance in talking to an older relative about driving, the National Highway Traffic Safety Association offers excellent advice.)

Make sure they are getting social interaction while staying safe online
Speaking of driving, once seniors either drive less or stop driving, their degree of social interaction can decrease significantly, leading to loneliness and depression. Some older adults will turn to social media for interaction. If that’s the case, make sure you go over safety guidelines with them. Talk to them about passwords, identity theft and safe social media usage. Then be sure they are getting real-life interaction as well, through activities and family time. Yes, you’re busy. But this is part of keeping older relatives safe, because seniors living in isolation have a higher mortality rate.

With the population of Americans over age 65 doubling in just 40 years, chances are we will either be in that group or taking care of that group. Knowing ahead of time how to help ourselves or others to stay safe later in life while still enjoying our independence can be a huge help in preventing accidents and their long-term consequences—that make independence

Phone, Wallet, Keys… How Do You Lock Your House When You Leave?

When you leave the house, do you check to make sure any back or side doors are locked, and then lock your front door on your way out? When you’re home, do you triple check that all the doors are locked before you head to bed?

If this doesn’t sound like you, you may be part of the 7% of Americans who don’t lock their doors when they leave, or the 23% who leave their doors unlocked while they’re home. This YouGov poll found that many homes across the country are unlocked throughout the day, especially while someone is home. That means over 22 million people leave their doors unlocked when they leave the house. We find that number shocking!

For the rest of us who think about home security and therefore do lock our doors when we leave as well as when we’re home, locks are a big deal. But not every lock is created equal. Read up on types of locks and what they’re good for below…

Knob Locks
Knob locks are the kind built into the door handle. Most homes have a knob lock in addition to a deadbolt on exterior doors. These locks should never be the sole security on a door, since the lock is within the knob itself and not in the door like the deadbolt is,  making it easier for someone to break in. Instead, knob locks are better used on interior doors that don’t need as much protection, for example a bathroom door you’ll lock for privacy.

Lever Handle Locks
Lever handle locks are easier to open than knob locks, which is useful if handicap accessibility is a concern. These locks have a large push down lever instead of the turning knob, but a similar lock style to the knob lock. As with knob locks, these are not recommended for sole security on exterior entryways, but can be helpful indoors if someone in your home has difficulty turning knobs—again, think bathroom privacy.

Deadbolts
For real home security, you need deadbolts. Deadbolts are typically installed on household exterior doors. The most common in American homes is the single cylinder deadbolt. These locks secure your home from the outside, but if someone can gain access to the inside of your home such as through an open window, the deadbolt only requires a turn of the thumbturn to open the door. That’s why you want to make sure windows are secured as well when you leave for the day.

Locks of the Future
As you might expect, technology has taken on locks too, making even keys obsolete. From keypads to Bluetooth-enabled deadbolts and even biometrics with fingerprint recognition, the locks that will soon be commonplace will powered by technology and accessed by devices such as smart phones. In addition, home security systems today will let you lock and unlock doors remotely, should you forget to lock the door on the way out or should you need to let the electrician in while you’re at work.

Whichever kind of lock you choose, check the level of security you can expect by checking the rating given by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). ANSI has three grades for door locks to help you know which will provide the most security.

Maybe you’re part of the 93% who lock their doors when they leave, the 77% who lock their doors when they stay, or even a part of the 7% who are (or should be) rethinking their home security habits. No matter which category you fit into, knowing your options on locks can help you make informed decisions on how to keep you and your home safe and secure.

How Safe Will You Be in Your Home During an Earthquake?

From forest fires to hurricanes, there is no doubt that the natural disasters have been hitting the U.S. hard the last few months. And now Mexico has just suffered two devastating back-to-back earthquakes. The second was a 7.1 magnitude earthquake hit that Central Mexico on September 19th, the anniversary of the 1985 Mexico City earthquake that killed 10,000 people.

Although many places in the U.S. have advance warnings of earthquakes, that warning is usually only in the seconds to minutes, leaving little time to prepare. That means the best time to prepare is before an earthquake hits.

Watch out for falling objects!
Most of the danger from earthquakes comes from objects in your home falling: furniture, decor or even your family members. Falling objects can hurt or potentially kill people. However, there are steps you can take to keep you and your family safe the next time you feel anything as small as a tremor.

As you look around your home, what furniture do you see? Make sure to lift your head a bit to look at the taller objects in the room because they pose the biggest threat. Bookshelves, TV cabinets, armoires, dressers, standing lamps, refrigerators and upright freezers are all at risk of toppling over during an earthquake. Anything heavy sitting up high on top of these can be risky too, so check for stereos, computers, sturdy books, or even your TV in the entertainment center.

Redecorate for safety
Now that you’ve identified those risky furniture pieces and objects, a little redecorating could save your home or your life. Especially in the bedrooms, where something could fall while you sleep, check to make sure nothing will fall on to someone if it topples over. Move bookshelves away from the bed, or your armoire away from the doorway, so you don’t get trapped in your room. Arrange your shelves so that heavy items go towards the bottom, and lighter, less risky items go on the top shelves.

What’s hanging on your walls can pose a threat as well. Although you might not have to move anything like with rearranging the furniture, ensure that paintings, mirrors and other hanging fixtures are securely fastened. Try to keep the ceiling space above your beds clear of anything, as that can pose another sleeping threat. Closed hooks are the best bet for keeping hanging objects where you want them, and if something might pose a risk if it does fall, then move the item to another wall. Better safe than sorry, even if it messes with your aesthetic!

Safety steps that won’t irritate your interior decorator
Other ways to keep your home and family safe are less about where items go, and more about keeping objects secure. You won’t have to redecorate to take these three precautions, but you will make your home safer:

  • Make sure the water heater is strapped to the wall.
  • Install latches on cabinets to keep them closed.
  • Use museum putty to attach smaller objects to shelves.

Although earthquakes may not come to mind as a common threat to your home, natural disasters seem to be occurring more often, preventive steps can help keep you and your family safe in the event of an emergency. You can also find what to do during and after an earthquake, plus find lots of great advice and resources, on the FEMA site. And, hey, redecorating your home may make even feel cozier, if not at least safer, and give you and your family some peace of mind.

Home Alone Again? Guidelines for Setting Expectations When Kids Are Home Without You

Although the number of latchkey kids has dropped dramatically in recent years, there are still kids coming home to empty houses, if not every day, at least on occasion. Those days of kids home alone can be particularly stressful for the parents. Yet parents can worry a little less if they can be sure they’ve gone over rules and scenarios with their children in advance. But what should those rules be? What unknowns should be covered?

Every family has a different situation with kids of varying ages and capabilities, so it’s unreasonable to make a set list of rules or guidelines that every family adheres to. However, we can suggest what your agreement might include, based on research and personal experience.

Here’s our summation below. Perhaps your family can draw on these suggestions to create a written document that parents and kids agree to and sign, to make sure everyone is clear on expectations and no one can claim “I didn’t know.”

  • Being on time: If your child has a tendency to dawdle on the way home from school, you might want to have a set time by which they need to be home and checking in with you.
  • Checking in: In what way should your child let you know they are home?
  • Neighbors: Which neighbors can/should your child go to and under what circumstances?
  • Protocol: Once your child is home, what should the safety routine be? It might be lock the door, set the alarm, turn on the porch light, put the dog out, and let mom/dad know they’re home, for example.
  • The thermostat: Is your child allowed to turn the heat or air conditioning up or down?
  • Doors and windows: Can any doors or windows be left open on hot days or for another reason?
  • Kitchen: What is your child allowed to do in the kitchen? Use the microwave? The stove? What are the expectations about cleaning up after?
  • If something goes wrong: What should your child do if there’s an emergency? Where should they go? Whom should they call? What counts as an emergency?
  • Chores and homework: Which chores are to be done and by when? What are the expectations around homework?
  • Fun: Is your child allowed to go to a friend’s? Can a friend come over? What are the rules regarding video games or computer time, or even time spent screwing around on their phones?

In addition, make sure you have all necessary phone numbers printed out and easy to find, like next to the phone or on the refrigerator. I don’t know about your kids, but mine are constantly telling me their phone died, so they need access to phone numbers without their cell phones too, just in case.

Also hold yourself accountable as the parent. If you’re going to be in a meeting and unavailable from say 3:30 to 4:00, for example, or you’re going to be late getting home from work, let them know. You’ll be giving your child peace of mind, but being a role model for how this arrangement should work as well.

And if your kids are sometimes home alone, now might be the right time to get a home security system, for more peace of mind than an agreement can provide.

4 Ways a Home Automation System Can Help You Enjoy Summer More

With summer in full swing, we were thinking about all the ways a home automation system can help to keep summer time an easy time. Here’s our list of the top four ways a home automation system can help you get the most out of your summer.

Temperature control
During the cold winter months, a home automation system can keep the heat turned down while you’re away at work but then turn it up before you get home, so your house is toasty warm when you get there—but you don’t waste energy (or money) heating an empty house while you’re gone.

During the summer months, your home automation system can regulate your air conditioning in the same way, saving you money on your energy bills and making you a greener homeowner.

Knowing when doors or windows are open
The kids are out of school! That means doors and windows will be left open as they’re running in and out or opening the window to yell outside for something. Your home automation system can let you know when doors or windows are left open so you can make sure they’re closed when they need to be—like when the air conditioning is on and you don’t want that nice cool air heading outside to be wasted, or when you’re leaving for the evening and you want to make sure the house is secure.

Speaking of secure…
Many people spend more time away from home during the summer, either traveling for vacation or taking day trips to the beach or pool. With a home automation system, your time away doesn’t have to put your property at risk. Even if everyone ran out the door in a hurry to catch the train, you can use your smart phone to make sure everything is locked up and alarm-ready from afar. You can also check on your home using video cameras from clear across the world (as long as you have an Internet connection).

And then there’s the lighting
Summer is kind of funny when it comes to daylight. We have our longest day of the year at the very start of summer, then days get shorter as summer goes along. That makes keeping up with lighting tricky! At our house, we spend a lot of time outside trying to take advantage of every bit of the evening light, and we can easily forget that the house is dark until it’s time to go in and we’re fumbling around for a light switch. This is admittedly a bit jarring because we’ve just gone from a lovely soft evening light into a dark home that’s suddenly brightly lit. A home automation system ensures your lights come on when you want them too, both inside and out, easing the transition for you.

Automated lighting can be a bonus outside too. We don’t have anything fancy like a pool or fancy deck…yet. But in the future when we do, I can foresee wanting the outdoor lights to come on automatically without my having to stop what I’m doing to turn them on once it’s dark enough.

A home automation system offers countless benefits year-round, and it’s easy to see that it earns its keep during the long, warm days of summer just as much as it does during the short, dark days of winter!

Easy Ways to Secure Your Home Before You Leave on Vacation

You’re leaving soon on that long-awaited vacation, planning to get some much-needed rest and relaxation. But don’t get so relaxed pre-trip that you neglect to protect your property before leaving. Although a home security system is one of the best ways to protect your home year-round, there are many easy ways to make your home less appealing to a burglar in the first place.

Make it look like you’re home
You’ve probably heard it said a hundred times: Stop your mail delivery if you’re going to be gone. But an overflowing mailbox is not the only indicator that no one is home. Yes, if no one is getting your mail for you, by all means put delivery on hold. But you should do much more than that.

An empty house is a tempting house. So give the appearance that someone is home—even when you’re not.

  • Keep a car in the driveway, even if that means borrowing the neighbor’s clunker because you need to drive yours to the airport.
  • Put your lights on timers or—better yet—get a home security system with home automation features that let you put lights on timers. An extra bonus with the home security system: You can change the timing of the lights remotely while you’re away, so it’s even more convincing that someone is in your house.
  • Make sure you don’t have any packages coming and—if you do—that a neighbor can get them off the front porch for you. Or have packages sent to an alternate address, such as a friend’s or your office.
  • Have someone mow and water so the outside of your house gives the appearance of being taken care of.
  • Put a hold on your newspaper delivery.
  • Ask someone to check your house for any unexpected leave-behinds, such as door hangers from the local pizza joint or those phone books full of ads that show up on the front porch unbidden each year.
  • If you have to leave the garbage can by the curb because pick-up day is while you’re gone, arrange for someone to put it away for you later.

Hide away any temptations
Do you keep tempting items within view of the street, like bicycles or that nice BBQ grill you got last summer? Although you might feel safe leaving these things vulnerable when you’re home every day and night, you should stow them out of sight before you leave. It’s not just that the bike or BBQ might disappear; it’s that someone could come on your property to steal it and discover your house or garage is worth breaking into while there.

This applies to things inside your house too. If someone could peer through a window and see something worth stealing, move that something worth stealing out of sight for now.

Do a quick home security review
You perhaps haven’t thought about home security for a while, because it can be an out-of-sight-out-of-mind thing. So take a look around now. Make sure all outdoor and security lights are working. Double check locks on windows and doors. Cut back any shrubs or bushes providing hiding places by first floor doors and windows.

Remember to double check the security of your outbuildings too, making sure that doors and windows have strong locks, lightbulbs are fully functioning, and you haven’t left any expensive tools visible through your garage or shop windows.

Keep your vacation to yourself…for now
As much as you want to share the fabulous photos from your trip with your Facebook friends, try to wait until you are home before you do so. Your vacation photos will tell your friends you’re not home—and you’ll pass that information along to people who aren’t your friends too: According to one study, more than 78% of burglars use social media to find victims.

Sure, you have a long to-do list to get ready for your trip and this only adds to your list. But won’t you enjoy your trip more knowing you took steps to secure your home before leaving?

View all of our security plans and features!

Customer Reviews

I feel so much better knowing my family is protected! I spoke with SafeStreets USA in the evening and a technician was able to come install the system for me then for my parents first thing the next morning. Very impressed with his knowledge and care!

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We had our ADT system installed by SafeStreets USA and were really impressed with the service we received from our technician. He was very friendly and answered all of our questions on the system and how it worked. He set everything up in a couple of hours and was a real pleasure to talk with []

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