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3 easy ways to protect your home while you’re away

Remember the scene in Home Alone where Kevin rigs his house with every booby trap imaginable to foil two burglars?

Good news: You can “defend” your house just as well, with a lot less effort. (A major “yay!” when you’re like me and spend the night before a trip frantically shoving a bunch of “just in case” items into your suitcase, because you see you have extra room.)

These simple strategies will give you peace-of-mind when you’re away—and, hey, if you want to leave glass ornaments under a windowsill, too, go for it.

  • Discretion is advised—A full mailbox, Facebook updates from the airport, and a trash can that stays parked next to the garage on trash day all advertise: “Nobody is home!”The most secure way to handle mail and trash while you’re gone is to put someone you trust in charge—a neighbor, a friend who lives near you, etc. This person can also do quick visual checks. My go-to is my pet sitter. When she feeds my cat, she takes care of the other stuff, too—it only takes her a few extra minutes. And as hard as it is, stay mum about your travel on social media…at least until you’re back home. (Admittedly, I struggle with this one.) Even with strict privacy settings, any information you put online can spread beyond your inner circle.
  • Fake it (being home, that is)—Think about the little things you can do to make it look like “business as usual” at your house. It might cost a little extra—but it’s worth it to return to a home that’s just how you left it.Here are a few ideas:
    • Use timers for your exterior and interior lights.
    • Leave a radio or TV on, for noise (I like to think my cat appreciates this, too).
    • Turn down the volume on your home phone (if you have one), so no one can hear it ring from the outside.
    • Consider leaving a car in the driveway.
  • A little extra will go a long way—A few more precautions will put the icing on your home protection cake. To prevent water damage—which can be very costly—consider shutting off your water and putting your water heater in vacation mode. Then, leave your heat or air conditioning running while you’re out—just adjust the temperature so it’s a little higher or lower than usual.

So, there you have it. Three little to-do’s, and your home is as ready for your trip as you are—and you are, right? Quick, go check your suitcase. There’s always room for one more thing!

What are your home protection tips? Share them below.