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15 DIY things to do to increase home safety

15 DIY things to do to increase home safety

Each year, we make resolutions to improve our health, increase our savings and spend more quality time enjoying family and friends. But what about maintaining and improving our home safety? With a burglary occurring every 20 seconds, home security, safety and maintenance should be a top priority for everyone. Set some time aside over the coming weeks to conduct a home safety assessment.

The first thing to do when beginning a DIY home safety and security effort is to identify which areas of your home need to be inspected and where you have weak points. Follow this checklist and you’ll increase the safety and security of your home. By preventing future disasters, you’ll save yourself time and money.

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  1. Prevent water from freezing in your pipes so they don’t burst. Make sure pipes that are turned on stay above 32 degrees Fahrenheit by adding extra insulation or keeping cabinet doors open for better airflow.
  2. Get a 72-hour kit for your home and car in case of an emergency.
  3. Test carbon monoxide and smoke detectors monthly by holding the “test” button until you hear the loud siren. If it’s silent, replace the batteries or purchase a new detector.
  4. Add fire escape ladders in all second-story and higher rooms. In case of a fire, make sure everyone knows the safest and quickest escape route.
  5. Inspect your fire extinguisher’s pressure gauge to see if the needle is in the green, and replace or service it if it’s outside this zone. Also, examine the hose and nozzle for cracks, because you’ll need to replace your fire extinguisher if the locking pin on the handle is missing or the handle is broken.
  6. Ensure electrical outlets are covered and not overloaded. Add protective coverage if children are in the home.
  7. Install a water alarm in your basement to prevent flooding.
  8. Know where your gas and water are measured and where the shut off valves are in case of a leak.
  9. Inspect your outdoor lighting to see if any lights need to be added or replaced. Well-lit homes deter burglars and prevent injuries from falling on black ice or from other accidents. You may consider adding smart lights to your home so you can control when they are on and off using your smart phone.
  10. Clean out your medicine cabinet and dispose of expired medications properly.
  11. Research security cameras and systems and add them to your home’s exterior before peak burglar season begins in the summer. Burglars are 10 percent more likely to rob homes in the summer months. Indoor and outdoor cameras are a great way to deter porch theft, and they’ll allow you to check in on your pets, children and home when you’re away.
  12. Check your roof for ice dams and icicles so that snow and ice don’t strain your roof, cause leaks, break gutters, or damage shingles.
  13. Post a safety resource contact sheet on your refrigerator. The sheet should include phone numbers for your doctors, the local police and fire departments, poison control, and emergency contacts. Being able to access this information quickly in an emergency is vital to your safety.
  14. Update and replace your home locks. Avoid placing the spare key under the front mat or in flower pots, as this is an obvious place for burglars to check. Instead, give your spare key to a trusted neighbor.
  15. Maintain your yard regularly. Trim shrubs and cut back large branches. An overgrown and unruly yard gives burglars lots of hiding places.

These 15 simple steps can significantly increase your safety and can protect your family and property from break-ins and disasters. Each step requires minimal time, and most are free. Your home should be a safe haven, and this DIY checklist is a great way to ensure your home is safeguarded and adequately prepared for an emergency.

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Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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Sage Singleton

Outreach Strategist

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Last Updated on July 10, 2020

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

Boundaries are limits

—they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

1. Self-Awareness Comes First

Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

  • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
  • When do you feel disrespected?
  • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
  • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
  • When do you want to be alone?
  • How much space do you need?

You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

2. Clear Communication Is Essential

Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

Sample language:

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  • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
  • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
  • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
  • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
  • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
  • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
  • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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Final Thoughts

Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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