There are few things worse than the moment when you realize someone broke into your garage and snatched some of your valuable belongings. If you’ve ever experienced theft, you know what this is like—you feel helpless and violated.
And when you’re preparing to move, there’s a good chance a lot of your belongings aren’t in their usual places and your house is a mess—you may not even notice something is missing right away.
Whether you’re moving, building a new house, or renovating the one you currently live in, here are some simple tips for storing your belongings to make sure they are secured.
- Find a good security system
You can’t be everywhere at once, nor can you keep an eye on your belongings at all times. One of the easiest ways to protect your belongings during a move is to install a security system.
- Hire a trusted storage company
If you need to stash your belongings in storage during your move or home renovation, make sure you work with a company you can trust.
Some places will pick up your belongings from your house and transport them to a private vault, where they’ll be secured until you need them again. When you’re ready, just give them a call and they’ll return your items.
- Always keep your doors closed
Lots of people will be coming in and out of your house before you move. You may also start stacking boxes in your garage as you pack. Though it sounds like common sense, always keep your doors closed when you’re packing or moving—even if you think you’ll be around the whole time. It only takes a minute for someone to pop into your garage and snag your flat-screen TV, so keep the garage door closed. Similarly, if your home is being renovated, consider keeping your most valuable possessions out of sight throughout the process. You can never be too protective of your belongings.
- Keep a close eye on important documents
We’ve all got a shoebox or a folder somewhere that contains important paperwork like financial documents, legal papers, and birth certificates. If you don’t have these important papers secured in a home safe or a safe deposit box at the bank, you’ll want to pay special attention to them during the moving process. Identity theft is at an all-time high and opportunists are everywhere—research indicates 15.4 million people were victims of identity theft or fraud in 2016.
Make sure you’re intentional about moving these documents—make a plan and stick to it. Know where these documents are at all times. The last thing you want to do is misplace them or not realize someone took them until it’s too late.
- Create a detailed inventory of your belongings
Though it may seem like a lot of extra work, creating a detailed inventory of your belongings is essential to ensuring that they’re all accounted for during a big move or a home renovation project. If you simply don’t have time to catalog all of your things, then at least include your most valuable possessions. This way, you’ll know if something is missing right away when you begin unpacking.
- Be careful with access
Be thoughtful about who you let access your home and how you give them access. This tip is particularly useful if you’re renovating part of your home and will have lots of unfamiliar people hanging around. If you’re going to give someone a key to your home so that they can come and go as needed, you’ll definitely want to consider changing the locks when the work is all done. Better yet, consider installing a keyless entry system for workers to use instead to make sure your home is secured.
- Make surprise visits
Another way to ensure your belongings are secure during a home renovation or new construction project is to make surprise visits. Drop in regularly, without letting workers know ahead of time. This may seem like a simple step, but it could help prevent any bad actors from taking advantage of you. If they think you might show up at any time and can’t discern a pattern to your comings and goings, they may be less likely to attempt to take your stuff.