Moving into a college dorm room or apartment is such a unique season of life. If you haven’t moved a lot during your childhood, this may be one of the first big moves you will pack and prepare for.

When move-in day arrives, you’ll more than likely be moving all sorts of things: clothes, appliances, a laptop, electronics, furniture, cameras…the list could go on and on. Whether you’re stashing a bike or an awesome stereo system in your living space, it’s a good idea to think about how you’re going to protect your things while you’re away at school.

You’ll be living in close quarters with a lot of other college students, and there’s no promising that some of your valuables won’t disappear if you don’t have a plan to keep your things safe.

1. Record what you have

Take pictures of all your valuables. Whether it’s a gaming system or your smartphone or even something that’s extremely special to you, consider snapping a picture of it and storing it back at your home. Some colleges even have registering systems that are managed by campus police or student affairs, and you can store pictures of the serial numbers on your electronics there. While it may seem a little arduous to take the time and record all of these items, you’ll be happy when you can rightfully prove ownership of that missing laptop campus security found in the trash can yesterday.

2. Leave the super spendy stuff at home

While it might be tempting to keep Grandma Shirley’s emerald earrings in your jewelry box at school, storing extremely valuable things in your dorm room is a recipe for disaster. Unless you have a safe, consider leaving precious family heirlooms or your entire mega sound system back home.

Those items will feel even more special when you get to use them over breaks, and there’s nothing saying you can’t invite some friends over to your parents’ house for a movie night…then they’ll actually get to experience that sound system.

3. Always lock your bike up

It can be tempting to assume the best and leave your bike leaning up against a tree or on the back rack without a lock. Here’s our advice: don’t assume the best. Bikes are easily and often stolen if they’re not secured with a bike lock. Take the time and money to purchase a good bike lock, and make sure you store it in your backpack as you’re going to and from classes.

4. Make sure your door is locked

This goes for both your dorm and your car. Try to make locking both doors a habit every time you leave either your dorm or your car, and make sure your roommates are on board too. While unfortunate if you forget and something is stolen from your room, it really is up to you to make sure your belongings are locked away safely.

5. Consider a lockbox

Even roommates can be tempted to steal things. If you’re worried about your things getting stolen, even if your door is locked, consider a small safe in an inconspicuous part of the room, like your desk drawer. Keep the key or code on your person at all times, so no one can get into it. This will help you rest assured your items are safe.

6. Keep your I.D. and credit cards on your person at all times

A snatchy student can easily unzip your backpack if it’s hanging over the back of your chair at the cafeteria or sitting under your chair at the cafe. Keep your important cards in a lanyard that you wear around your neck or in a small purse that you wear close to your body. Your pockets are also good spots for cards like these, as long as you’re aware of them in bustling crowds and busy areas.

7. Lock your computer and create good passwords

It can be tempting to keep your computer unlocked, especially when you’re accessing it all the time. But an unlocked computer is basically a free pass to all your important files, banking information, photos, etc. Make your password a good one, and don’t share it with anyone. That might go without saying, but we all need reminders!