We're getting close to that time of the year when people go "a-wassailing" - holiday parties, work functions, shopping, and trips to see family. This is great for your spirit, but the longer you're away, the more risky it can feel. It's dark earlier, and leaving your home empty can make you feel a little nervous. Additional people roaming the halls of your apartment can make your secure building feel a little less so. Not to worry, we've got some great ideas to protect what's yours while you're away spreading joy to the world!
What: Plan to Protect
When: 6 - 8 weeks before departure
As soon as possible, a few small investments in your home will help secure the exterior, and increase it's energy efficiency!
- Swap your outdoor light with one that comes on with a timer, or is motion detected. This will seriously deter kids and casual troublemakers from getting too close. You can even buy very convincing looking, fake security cameras if you don't want to spring for the full thing.
- Check the condition of your mail slot, weather stripping, garage door, and window locks, immediately removing the easy targets.
- Arrange someone to pop buy once or twice to gather mail, put out garbage, and check for footprints around the back of your house.
When: 1-2 weeks before departure
Just like this helpful list from the government of Canada puts it " If your house is completely closed off, it is going to look like no one is there. If you make it appear more normal, it is less obvious that you are away."
- If you normally decorate, do so. Maintaining your lawn and driveway the way you normally do is important.
- Minimize your social media evidence - advertising your countdown might get in the wrong hands. It's great to be excited, just keep the exact departure and arrival to yourself.
- Be a little extra sceptical of "accidental" buzzers. Consider giving your friends a funny password like "guacamole" or "isosceles" for entry.
What: The Final Overview
When 1-2 days before departure
With your bags packed and your tickets in hand, doing this last walk through will give you piece of mind that you've done everything you could to protect your home.
- If you have valuables that you're particularly concerned about, find a strategy to protect them. This might mean photos for insurance purposes, getting a safety deposit box, or dropping it off with a relative for safe keeping.
- Remove any spare keys you have hiding under mats, unplug your automatic garage door opener, and make sure no major electronics are visible from the street.
- Consider some lights, a radio, or other small appliance to leave on while you're out.
There's no reason to expect something to go wrong, but being one step ahead of the game is not paranoid, it's smart. I often say, "you don't insure your car once it's on fire." Take a moment to review your policy to make sure that you are covered for everything you think you are. Once you've dotted your i's and crossed your t's, you can relax en enjoy your vacation.