Brought to you by security expert, Elli:
If you’re in college, packing up and moving to a new dorm or apartment is not an unfamiliar task. But with final exams and papers demanding your attention right up until the end of the term, you may be distracted and not focused on how important safety is during your move.
Because the moving process can present unique concerns, here are some tips to help you safely navigate your move, whether to a dorm or your first apartment.
1. Before you move, choose safe housing.
Make sure you do your homework on a place before you commit to live there. Come prepared with the questions you want answered when you go to speak to a leasing office or property owner. Does the electricity work properly? Are smoke detectors properly installed? Is it easy to escape in the event of emergency? Is there campus security or apartment security that checks in on the building?
2. Pay attention to the furnishings.
Appliances and furniture are not typically resident property in student housing, so make sure everything is in living order before you move in. Past residents may not have reported damage to furniture that could make it unsafe, so check pieces for damage and request the property management company or property owner make any necessary repairs. Also, make sure the electrical items are working properly and that there are no exposed wires or anything that could be a fire hazard.
3. Don’t underestimate the value of what you own.
When moving, it is important to keep yourself and your property safe. You might not own as many expensive things as your parents do, but that doesn’t make you less of a target. Computers, phones, and other electronics are expensive to replace, as are bikes, clothes, and books. You’re likely on a tight budget and don’t want to replace these things that aren’t only valuable to you.
4. Be aware of all unlocked doors.
When you are packing up and moving things from your room to your car, you will be making several trips back and forth. Reports show burglars usually spend less than 60 seconds breaking into homes and approximately one third enter through unlocked doors. Even if you will only be away for a moment, don’t open yourself up to the risk of being a victim of a robbery. Get in the habit of locking up behind you.
5. You might be the threat.
Keeping your valuables safe while moving is not only about keeping them safe from others. It is easy to break things while moving, especially if they are packaged carelessly. And it is likely that others whom you live with are moving out, too; you can lose property by letting something get lost in the shuffle between roommates. You can reduce the risk of property damage by being careful and organized throughout the moving process.
6. Keep your digital belongings safe, too.
Your belongings that are worth keeping safe during a move are not entirely physical: digital files like purchased media and personal work should be backed up before you move your computer to a new place. If you drop your computer along the way, you won’t be able to get it back.
7. Avoid injury.
College students may be known for scrappy improvising when it comes to quick meals, but when it comes to moving heavy objects, be sure to use proper equipment to avoid injury. Wrap sharp corners in blankets (this also avoids damage to the objects), use a dolly, and make friends with packing tape and rope. Secure all drawers and shelves before lifting them. And don’t overstuff a small car. If your belongings make visibility when driving a problem, rent a truck. Many moving companies offer great deals for same-city moving trucks.
8. Move with a group.
You might not have a lot to move, so it may seem doable to handle it all by yourself. But inviting a few friends to help do some lifting after you’re all packed can make the process easier, as well as safer. Plus, having more trusted eyes on your belongings as your move them between places helps increase the odds nothing will go amiss.
Moving may not always be convenient or fun, but by following these tips for safety, your moving experience will be significantly less stressful.
Elli Bishop is the head of outreach at SafeWise.com, a community-focused security organization that is the source for everything safety and security. SafeWise helps you compare security providers so that you can best protect your home the way you want to.