With the holiday season right around the corner, we thought it would be the perfect time for a home security refresher! You see, sneaky thieves are usually most active during the summer months, but just knowing that there are homes filled with yuletide gifts can be quite the tempting prospect for robbers.

To keep both your pad and yourself protected, we have 7 no-nonsense ways to stay secure—all without having to plop down a ton of cash on a tricked-out security system. Here are some of the top mistakes you may be making…

  1. Your home is dark

    Though burglars do tend to break in most during the middle of the day, they do check for one thing before finding their way in—lights. Think about it, it’s pretty uncommon to keep a lamp on if you go out for the day, but a small light near a window could force someone to think twice about breaking in. Simple yet effective!

  2. Your lawn is in need of some serious attention

    If you’ve ever sat through a sociology class, you’ve likely learned about the “broken windows theory”—the idea that unkempt-looking homes (i.e. broken windows, overgrown foliage, cars on cement blocks) could provoke neighborhood crimes, such as break-ins. Yet another reason to take care of that garden!

  3. Your social media posts are a bit TOO detailed

    It’s easy to forget that even the most casual of acquaintances can probably find out if you’re either in or out of town at this very moment. Sure, you may not be the type to make a post before the plane takes off, but that doesn’t mean mere pictures, tags, or check-ins from faraway places won’t tip thieves off to the fact that your house is currently empty!

  4. Your “hidden” key isn’t so hidden

    Let’s be honest; those hide-a-key contraptions aren’t fooling anyone—especially hardened criminals. Instead of resorting to using one, consider giving a spare to a trusted neighbor or friend. It might not be AS convenient as sliding a key under your welcome mat, but it sure is a whole lot safer!

  5. Your not-so-secret vacation plans

    Even taking a four-day weekend away could let potential thieves know that you are not monitoring your home. To play it safe, always have your neighbors collect your mail—that includes those Amazon boxes!

  6. Your trash can is full of pricey merchandise packaging

    This is an odd one, but it really does make a whole lot of sense! If you happen to make a big purchase, like a flat-screen TV or a fancy new gadget, make sure that you don’t let those boxes or receipts sit in your trash bins for too long. Sometimes your trash can reveal a whole lot about what’s in your home!

  7. Your lack of home security

    Ok, we’re not saying that you need a million-dollar security system to stay safe, but you would probably rest easier if you did some updates, like motion-activated floodlights or a doorbell camera. Couldn’t hurt!

Pretty sound tips, right? To get the full picture on how you can best implement these simple safety measures, be sure to click on the video below. Keeping your family protected has never been so simple!

We’d love to hear your thoughts on these burglar-scaring techniques. Do you follow any of these yourself? Do you know of any better ones? Do you have a frightening home invasion story that you’d like to share?