Home, alone

You're off on vacation! To keep your home safe, leave it looking as lived-in as possible. Here's how.

Let a trusted neighbour know you’re going to be away. Give her your contact information in case she needs to get in touch with you. If it’s feasible, ask her to move your car occasionally (if it isn’t going with you).

Cancel your newspaper and hire a neighbourhood kid to pick up flyers and free papers – you don’t want a pile of yellowing paper on your doorstep. If your stay away will be lengthy, have the post office hold your mail (you can do this online at

Ask (or hire) someone to mow and water your lawn so it looks cared for.

Check your home’s security features. Now’s the time to trim back trees or bushes that obscure doors and windows. Put away chairs, tables or ladders that might make an intruder’s job easier. And if your doors, door frames or locks are less than sturdy, replace or repair them.

Invest in a few timers and set up lights and a radio to switch on and off. A random timer switches appliances on and off at slightly different points so it isn’t obvious that no one is home; a multiple-setting timer allows you to program lights to turn on and off throughout the day so your home looks as if people are coming and going.

Is your laundry room as effecient as possible? Check out these three tips for creating the most functional laundry room.