Congratulations! You’re relocating! Whether you’re moving across town or to a new city, there are steps you can take before, during, and after your move that will make it easier to safeguard your belongings through every step of the process.
Before Your Move
Moving into a new space is thrilling but can also be stressful. Landlords need to show your apartment to prospective tenants and real estate agents will be bringing potential buyers to see your home while it’s on the market.
Before you move, the first thing to consider is securing your belongings and getting your financial information in order. Consider the following tips to secure your personal items:
- Invest in a small safe: A safe allows you to lock away valuables like heirloom jewelry or pricey portable electronics that contain a wealth of data, like the backup drive for your computer.
- Get a locking document box: A lock box will help secure passports, financial information, medical files, or anything else that contains private information that could be used for identity theft purposes.
- Invest in a shredder: Rather than throwing personal documents in a recycling bin, invest in a personal shredder to destroy the records, or securely dispose of them at a community-shredding event. These events are usually offered by your local waste management department or bank.
- Take the time to review any financial information: The IRS recommends you keep income tax records 3 years from the date you filed your return or two years from the date you paid the tax. Anything older can be destroyed.
During Your Move
Whether you’re moving yourself or hiring movers, it’s essential to know where your most important items are at all times. Your wallet, laptop, data backups, family heirlooms that could easily disappear, as well as tax, financial, and medical records should be personally handled rather than left to others to pack or move. Inform your movers ahead of time of any boxes you will be transporting, or if you’re doing your own move, make sure that once these items are packed, they’re not left sitting where they might be a temptation for others looking to steal them away.
After Your Move
Once you move into your new space, there are a few simple precautions you can take to secure your new home:
- Consider changing the locks: Once you arrive in your new home and get your new set of keys, ask when the locks were last changed. Based on the answer, you may want to have them changed right away. You don’t want the previous tenant or homeowner coming in or, worse yet, having their set of keys fall into the wrong hands and make your home and belongings vulnerable.
- Examine existing locks: Take a look at the locks on the doors and examine the length of the deadbolts and thickness of the plates in the doorframes. To prevent doors from being kicked in, longer deadbolts and thicker plates are an easy fix with parts purchased from your local home improvement store. Renters can ask the landlord to make this upgrade, or if you like DIY projects, ask if your landlord will reimburse you for supplies. Sliding glass doors can benefit from additional security thanks to a door bar that prevents the door from being slid open by an intruder.
- Invest in a home security system: Homeowners should also consider a home security system. There is a wealth of DIY options that allow you to customize a system of smart home products, or if you’re looking for an all-in-one package, look into the offerings by your phone/cable/Internet company. Often times, cable providers offer a base package with the ability to add on products like more door and window sensors or extra video cameras. This monthly fee is tacked on to your existing service bill after an installer comes out to set it up.
The process of moving can put your home and belongings at risk. Being thoughtful about the home you’re leaving behind, the new one you’re occupying, and the many belongings you’re taking with you can help protect you and the things you care about most.
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