10+ Tips for Keeping Your Belongings Safe and Secure While Moving

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Moving all your belongings from your old home to a new one is always stressful. It takes careful planning so the move can go as smoothly as possible and everything can arrive safely.

It’s important to plan ahead of time regarding security. You’ll need to take steps to protect your valuables and other items that are meaningful to you. We talked with theft expert Dr. Ben Stickle to bring you these safe moving tips.

1. Don't advertise your move

Don’t publicize what you’re moving or when and where. You don’t know who sees what you post to social media—even if you think your account is limited to just friends. You don't want people to know when and where a bunch of items will be conveniently boxed up and ready for the taking. Wait and show off your new place at a housewarming party after you’re settled in.

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Expert tip: Don't call it a moving sale

"When selling items at your property, don’t advertise a 'moving sale' which could signal to thieves your house may be unoccupied.

"Rather, just say yard sale.

"Also, be sure that during the sale you don’t display items that might be tempting for some to steal. Often leaving a garage door open lets people know the items you have that are not for sale and makes it tempting to come back for more later."

—Dr. Ben Stickle, criminal justice and theft expert

2. Label boxes with care

Label boxes with the name of the room it’s destined for, as opposed to what’s in it.

For example, writing "PlayStation" on a box makes it super tempting for someone to just grab it and run. "Family room" makes the box's contents less eye-catching. 

3. Store what you can

If there are small but critical items you won’t need right away, consider putting them in a safe deposit box or self-storage unit until you’re settled into your new place. Important papers and expensive or sentimental jewelry that would be heartbreaking to lose can be safely locked away, giving you less to worry about on moving day. Or you can leave those items with trustworthy family or friends.

4. Keep valuables with you

*Amazon.com price as of 8/25/2021 at 12:30 p.m. (MT). Read full disclaimer.

Alternatively, the small stuff that is important—papers, medicine, jewelry—can stay in your vehicle with you. Carry them in a bag and don’t let it out of your sight.

If you lock items in a portable safe, make sure that safe is always with you. There are also locked containers for moving artwork or other valuables that operate with a key, and others that use a remote device to open. Ask your moving company for more details if you’re interested in these.

5. Take inventory in advance

It’s easy to lose track of things during a move, and it can take a while to unpack and find everything again on the other end. When it comes to valuables, this can be a problem.

Make a list of valuables ahead of time (there may be some you want to get appraised before the move) and take detailed photographs so you have proof of ownership. If something is lost, stolen, or broken, you’ll need these pictures for insurance purposes.

Make a simple spreadsheet with columns for the name of the object, the box number, when and how it’s getting moved, its condition upon arrival, and more.

There are apps for this too. Check out Sortly, an easy-to-use app that helps you keep track of everything you’re moving, attach photos, and add notes (a serial number, perhaps?). You can even print out labels with QR codes you scan to see what’s inside a box.

6. Get moving insurance

Check with your home insurance agent to see what your policy covers during a move. If you are moving especially valuable items, consider taking out additional coverage for those pieces. Many moving companies also offer coverage. Take the time to investigate what is available, so you are protected if something goes wrong.

7. Pack your security system last

Leave your home security system or security cameras installed and armed until the very last day. If someone takes advantage of your house being empty, the alarm system should scare them off. Camera footage could help you recover any items they do grab.

When you arrive at your new home, set up your security equipment as soon as possible. 

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Expert tip: Research your new neighborhood

"Conduct a neighborhood assessment to determine the types of crime that occur in your area so you can be prepared for them.

"Once you know the likely risks (i.e, theft, package theft, assault, burglary, or robbery), evaluate your home to see what is needed to protect it.

"Depending on the circumstances you might need a fence, burglary alarm, motion-activated lights, or to trim back shrubs trim shrubs to increase visual surveillance."

—Dr. Ben Stickle, criminal justice and theft expert

8. Consider a tracking device

GPS tracker
$18.88 + $19.95

*Amazon.com price as of 8/25/2021 at 12:30 p.m. (MT). Read full disclaimer.

Tucking a small, inexpensive GPS tracking device into a box can show you where your valuables end up. The different types of trackers have various limitations so you’ll want to do your research. Our round-up of the best GPS trackers for vehicles is a good place to start.

But for a really simple device, we like the Tracki. It's small and affordable, but it does require a hefty monthly subscription.

9. Buy the right lock for the moving truck

*Amazon.com price as of 8/25/2021 at 12:30 p.m. (MT). Read full disclaimer.

Invest in a disc lock, which can’t be cut off with bolt cutters, for the back of a moving truck. They can be a little more expensive than padlocks, but it’s an expense you might not want to skimp on. The moving company can tell you what size lock will fit the truck you are renting.

10. Safeguard your moving truck

When you stop at a restaurant, make sure you lock all the truck’s doors as well as the back. Park where you can watch it from a window.

At a hotel or motel, park the moving truck near the front of the property where there is better lighting and more visibility, and make sure all doors are locked. Other best moves: back the truck up to a building or wall, and if you have another vehicle with you, consider parking it in front of the truck.

After you've moved in

Print out our handy checklist, grab a pencil, and conduct a room-by-room safety and security assessment of your new home:

The Complete Home Safety and Security Checklist

Though moving is always challenging, proper planning can both help you keep your valuables safe and also relieve some of the inevitable stress.

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Cathy Habas
Written by
Cathy Habas
With over eight years of experience as a content writer, Cathy has a knack for untangling complex information. Her natural curiosity and ability to empathize help Cathy offer insightful, friendly advice. She believes in empowering readers who may not feel confident about a purchase, project, or topic. Cathy earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Indiana University Southeast and began her professional writing career immediately after graduation. She is a certified Safe Sleep Ambassador and has contributed to sites like Safety.com, Reviews.com, Hunker, and Thumbtack. Cathy’s pride and joy is her Appaloosa “Chacos.” She also likes to crochet while watching stand-up comedy specials on Netflix.

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