17 December, 2014 / Category: Blog
As the end of year approaches, many of us prepare to take a well-deserved escape. But while booking a hotel and packing your suitcase is pretty self-explanatory, getting your home organised can be a little harder. Who will check your mail? How will you secure your household goods? Will your vegetable patch survive? With so many things to consider, it can be hard to know where to begin. That’s why Infolio have put together seven tips to keep your home safe while you’re away this summer.
1. Hold your mail
Nothing says nobody’s home like an overflowing mailbox, or a huge pile of mail on your doorstep. If you’re going to be away for more than a few days, take a trip to your local post office and place a hold on your mail. Pausing your daily newspaper delivery is also a good idea. If getting the post office involved feels a little too formal, arrange for a neighbour or friend to check your mail daily.
2. Be an illusionist
The trick is to make it seem like someone’s home for the duration of your break. Beyond setting your lights on a timer, most television and radios can also be preset to create the typical noises and flickering lights of an average night at home. If all this sounds too obvious, you can get a little slyer. If you dare, leave a car in the drive, and (if you have kids) scatter a few toys in the front yard. Making sure your front garden is maintained is also a good idea; consider hiring a gardener or recruiting a friend to mow the lawn, water the plants, and trim the hedges.
3. Keep a secret
While broadcasting your getaway on social media may seem too tempting to resist, posts such as these could work to your disadvantage. Privacy settings on platforms such as Facebook are not guaranteed, making it difficult to determine what stays private and what may be leaked. If the wrong person hears of your departure, your vacant home could become a target. To stay on the safe side, try not to mention your trip until you have returned. This way you can share tales of your getaway accompanied with photographs.
4. Enlist a friend
It might sound obvious, but the easiest way to gain peace of mind while traveling is to enlist a friend (or a neighbour) to keep an eye on things while you’re away. This person should be entrusted with a key so that they can bring in your mail, feed the goldfish, and water your miniature herb garden. He or she should also have your relevant contact information and a copy of your itinerary, in case of an emergency.
5. Switch off
This may seem like an obvious point, but it’s a dangerous one if it’s missed. Unplug all unnecessary appliances (except those you’ve put on timers, of course) to protect your home from an electrical fire, or a deadly power surge. This is a general rule of thumb for all larger appliances, such as televisions and turntables, but it also applies to smaller machines such as toasters, coffee makers, and mix masters.
6. Remove the spare key
No, this doesn’t mean “hide it better” or “hide it in a more obscure place”. This means getting rid of it all together. If you pack your suitcase correctly, you shouldn’t need it to get in when you return home. If a criminal finds his or her way to your property while you’re away, you won’t be around to hear them rustling for your spare key. So reach above the doorframe, into the mailbox or beneath the garden gnome to remove the spare before you leave.
7. Keep things safe
You wouldn’t leave your valuables on the front lawn while you’re away, so don’t leave them in plain sight. If you know you’ll be away for more than a few days, invest in a fireproof safe and lock up any valuables that you’re not taking with you. And this doesn’t just include material possessions such as jewelry; the deeds to your house, your will, and your birth certificate will all need to be placed in a secret and secure place.
If you’re really nervous about leaving your valuables behind, consider installing heavy-duty locks on exterior doors, and investing in a good alarm system. At the very least, you can purchase an alarm company sign from eBay to stick on the outside of the house. The risk of such a sign being real could be enough to deter wannabe burglars from attempting to break-in. While this may seem extreme, the last thing you want is to come home to an empty house!
Whether you’re escaping for a weekend in the country, or heading abroad for a three-month hiatus, it’s important to make sure that your home, and your possessions, are all well taken care of. Infolio hope that these tips will give you a better peace of mind as you enjoy your well-earned getaway.