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Housekeepers have access to your most intimate items, from your underwear to your financial documents. They sort of have to, or else how would they keep your home clean and organized? But that also puts them in a position to take advantage of you. You want to be a trusting person, so you give your housekeeper a spare key and let her go about her business, unwatched. But there are ways you can tell your housekeeper is untrustworthy, without breathing down her back while she works. Odd items on receipts You might send your housekeeper to run errands for you, like pick up groceries, or grab new cleaning supplies. Check receipts for any odd items, or items that you know didn’t end up in your home, or being used to clean. You should also take a moment to make sure the change you got back is correct. You might toss it into your wallet, and by the time it’s mixed in with your other money, you can’t accurately go back and see if the change is all there. Untrustworthy housekeepers… Read more

You may have toyed with the idea of buying a gun. “I’ll keep it safely locked away,” you’ve told yourself and, “Only I will know where it is.” But here is the truth: having a gun in your house doesn’t increase your chances of survival or your safety in your home. In fact, it puts you more at risk for gun related deaths under several circumstances. And there are several other ways to protect your home that don’t come with the risks of owning a gun. Here are some reasons you don’t need and shouldn’t keep a gun in your home, and how to protect yourself without one. Statistics: why you shouldn’t have a gun Having a gun in your home puts you and your family at a higher risk of homicide, suicide and accidental death by gun. Domestic murders by gun make up a huge chunk of all the homicides in the country. Most homicides by gun began as altercations in the home over matters like finances or relationships, and take place between people who know each other. In… Read more

If your home has a large garage but you have one or no cars, or there is plenty of street parking, you can easily turn that garage into an extra bedroom. This is an increasingly popular renovation because using your garage is much more affordable than building an entire new addition to the house. However, there are precautions you need to take: research has found that the majority of carbon monoxide leaks in homes come from the garage, either originating in the garage, or seeping in through the street. And since a garage door is not as sturdy as a real wall, a garage-turned-bedroom is naturally not as protected as a regular bedroom. Here are some tips for safely turning your garage into an extra room. First of all do get a permit You may think you’re saving money by skipping getting a permit, but it will cost you more money in the end if you are fined, or even sent to jail, for illegally turning your garage into a bedroom. And there’s a reason for that… Permits aren’t just… Read more

A smartphone can make you feel closer to everything in your life, like your family via apps like Face Time, your business through conference call technology, and even your home through a wireless home security system. If you haven’t switched to a smartphone yet and you have a wireless security system, you aren’t getting the most out of that system. Here are the many ways a smartphone can help you optimize your automated security system. Arm and disarm your systems If you leave your house and realize you forgot to arm your security system, you can simply do so from your smartphone. But what’s more is that you can disarm the system if need be. You can get alerts to your smartphone any time an alarm goes off in your home. Then you can check in on your surveillance cameras in real time, from your smartphone, to see if there is anything to be concerned about. If you can see it was just an animal that set off a motion sensor or a broken window that swung open, you can… Read more

Spotting a stranger or someone doing suspicious activity on your street can be a confusing moment. You worry that if you report them, you could be reporting someone who was doing nothing wrong at all, landing an innocent person in the police station. Then you worry that if you don’t report them, you could be the one person who could have stopped your neighbor’s home from being broken into, or even stopped an attack on your own life. So what should you do when you spot a stranger on your street? Personal safety If you are walking and you fear that someone is threatening your safety, the first thing you should do, if you can, is go into a nearby business. If there isn’t one, make a sudden sharp turn down another street, or cross the street. The person following you doesn’t want it to be obvious he is following you, so this will set him back. If he is in a car, change direction because it will take your follower much longer to turn the car around than for… Read more