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Top Tips to Protect Your Home & the Valuables in It

shutterstock_195521444Manila folders, photo albums and plastic wrap—these were the typical methods used years ago to protect our sensitive files, family photos and cherished items. Of course, homes and their contents should be protected by lock and key, security systems and even a pet dog—but these may no longer be enough. Go further to protect for your family and your family’s assets.

Start With Common Sense

According to the FBI, there is one burglary every 15 seconds, which computes to more than two million annual burglaries in this country. The sad part is many homeowners make it way too easy for burglars to invade their homes. As much as 90 percent of break-ins are done with no forced entry at all. To protect your home and the things in it, start with these tips:

  • Get a home safe and lock up your valuables. Catalog your most-prized possessions, collect receipts and keep them in a secure place.
  • Flatten and separate boxes from new equipment, TV or electronic items you’ve bought recently. This will avoid leaving “crumbs” in your garbage that can tip off burglars of what kind of loot you may have in your home.
  • Stay unpredictable. If you are on a steady schedule of leaving and returning to your home, a studious burglar is going to figure it out.
  • Install alarms, light timers and flood lights.
  • Don’t let mail build up on your doorstep or in your mailbox.

Store Important Photos & Files in the Cloud

If you’re not taking advantage of the cloud to protect your important documents and family photos, it’s time to start. Data backup and file sync services offer cloud-based protection of your important files. Aside from the peace of mind knowing you have digital copies of everything stored in the cloud, these online storage sites make sharing the files easy. To begin, simply sign up for an account—Mozy has personal plans that start at $5.99 a month—and start uploading digital copies of your important files.

Preserve Antiques & Family Heirlooms

Whether it is a rare baseball card Dad gave you or a priceless Victorian-era chair, losing cherished family valuables is tragic. Time deteriorates everything, and how you preserve these items affects how well they’ll hold up. Don’t keep them in the basement or attic, as the fluctuation of cold and hot temperatures can damage old books and photographs. Keep them away from utilities like water heaters, which can burst and expose your valuables to water damage.

Figure out the best container for your heirloom or antique item. Glass will stand up to flood and fire, and a clean, climate-controlled space is ideal. Clean the item up before you store it. Clothing, pins and books should be stored in acid-free containers. Ask a local antique dealer for useful tips that will help, such as avoiding sun exposure. And again, photograph your antiques and heirlooms as it not only gives you proof of possession, but in case it is ever stolen, you at least have a photo that can be shared with future family generations.

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