Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Home safe home - keeping your home safe while traveling

Whenever I go on a trip with my kids, there's a lot of preparation involved. Much of it has to do with what to pack, and what to buy for the trip, but there's also a list of preparations to keep our home safe and in good shape while we're away.

Our home away from home when we visit Sweden.

Here are a few things I try to do in order to prepare our home and make things more difficult for potential burglars.

1. Cancel the newspaper & maybe the mail
Cancelling the newspaper is usually easy enough, but if you're going away for a longer period of time, you might not want the mail delivered to your door either. Check with the post office how to do that.

2. Pull the curtains and close the blinds
Sure, it might make it look like you're away, but at least it makes it more difficult for potential criminals to check what and who is inside your house.

3. Get a timer for the lights
There are all sorts of timers from very simple to rather complex that you can plug your lights in to, and maybe a radio as well to provide some "background noise".
 
4. Secure doors and windows
Install some proper locks and maybe bars on your windows, especially those that can be easily accessed from a porch or balcony. Also secure all doors properly, whether you have an alarm system or not. Deadbolts, chains, and other types of locking mechanisms can slow burglars down and make it less likely they'll target your house.

5. Don't post on social media!
If no one is going to be in your house for an extended period of time, it's advisable not to make that publicly known on Twitter, Facebook or other social media. Send private messages to friends and family if you need to, rather than posting the information out in the open.

5. Turn down the thermostat
We have a central, programmable thermostat in our house, and when we're going away I turn it down to a much lower temperature. It's one way to save energy and money while you're on holidays!

6. Empty your garbage cans & fridge
From my own experience, I know that it's not a lot of fun to return to two-week-old garbage in your kitchen. Tie up your garbage bags and deposit where it won't make such a stink. Also go through fresh produce in your fridge, in your cupboards, and on your counters. Rotten apples and sour milk are no fun to find when you come back home!

7. Give someone a key & let them check up on your home
This can really, really give you some peace of mind. Knowing that there is someone who could go in, if needed, makes it possible for me to relax. Having someone drop by and check up on your home every now and then (even if they just check over the outside) can also help you feel safer.

For more tips and warnings, check out 13+ things a burglar won't tell you, from Reader's Digest.

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