As a poor college student, you would imagine that I don’t have many articles of value. You would be correct in this assumption. However, this has the inverse effect of causing constant paranoia about the safety of the valuable things I do own—namely a pair of amethyst earrings, a pearl earring and necklace set, and a pair of Chanel espadrilles gifted to me by chance.
After moving first into the dorm and then into my own apartment, it quickly came to my attention that I might need to protect these things from both the people I lived with and intruders. Similarly, living in Houston in the current aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, many of my designer clothing items were ruined by sudden ceiling leaks. As my once small collection of valuables slowly grows larger, I use a variety of security measures, both thrifty and not, to keep my valuable jewelry and wardrobe safe.
Really good hiding places are a top choice for people operating on a budget or perhaps looking for more inconspicuous security solutions—A lockbox in a dorm room might attract unwarranted attention or otherwise. I use a locked mirror vanity like this one. A solution like this is multi-purpose, providing a sleek solution for both securing valuables and dressing up the corner of your closet. Another option that I used when I had a roommate was a book safe. It’s just as it sounds—A book hollowed to make room for a box or safe. Since I didn’t want my roommate to necessarily know I had valuables or possibly insult her by insinuating she might steal them, this provided a cheap, inconspicuous option. These are easily DIY-able or can be found in certain retailers. Other great hiding places include in a freezer bag in the freezer, inside a sock in your drawer, or in an flower pot with a false bottom.
My current apartment wasn't equipped with any kind of security system, but my roommates and I quickly invested. I’m a big fan of security systems you can connect to on your phone. Mobile apps allow you to keep an eye on your home at all times, notifying you immediately if there are any break ins. If you already have ADT or are looking to invest in it, the ADT Pulse app is how you connect to your home security system. From the app you can do anything from arming and disarming the system to controlling the security cameras.
It’s a good idea to keep all the trappings of your designer bags and clothing—certificates of authenticity, garment bags, etc. I use the dust bag my Chanel espadrilles came in to protect them from dust while they sit on my shelf. Paying attention to the care instruction of your items is absolutely vital! Leaving leather out in a sunny spot can cause discoloration, and washing clothing items incorrectly can lead to shrinkage, runs, or discoloration. I always make note of the care instructions for my designer items, and try to ask as many questions as possible at the time of my purchase. It’s also important to keep anything you might need to verify your purchase—a lot of places will service your designer items for free. I.E. Chanel stores will often resole your shoes if the hand sewn material begins to rip. It’s important to be able to verify your purchase on occasion to prove that you bought the item and keep you eligible for a free service such as this. However, if I don’t think I will need to take the item in for servicing, I occasionally cut the designer clothing labels out of my clothing. It sounds a bit odd, sure, but this has saved many of my designer items from being scooped up after I have left them unattended at a restaurant or airplane. People are more inclined to turn in lost items they don’t imagine to be valuable. Similarly, burglars might skip over clothing items that appear mundane.
Though it sounds obvious, there are a few things you can do to help protect your valuable items in case of a break in. For example, keeping an accurate photo record of your things can help speed up filing a claim should something happen. It’s also important to update the value of your things with your insurance company, since things often appreciate and depreciate in value. You want to be assured that you’re insured for the full value of your items. Purchase jewelry insurance to be sure that your items can be repaired or replaced, and, if you’re a renter like me, make sure you have renter’s insurance in case of a natural disaster—I.E. If your ceiling begins to leak during Hurricane Harvey and drips down onto your rack of designer clothing. Learn from my mistakes.
You can, if you feel the need, purchase a large or small safe for your valuable jewelry and clothing items. Depending on what you want to store, I would recommend not purchasing something that can simply be picked up and carried away. You can also find safes that are fireproof and waterproof—further protection in case of a natural disaster.
One of the most vital times to protect your valuable jewelry and clothing is while traveling. For the items you leave behind, you can use your ATD Pulse app to connect to your home security system and keep an eye on things while you’re away. You can also invest in a light timer, that switches lights on and off and gives the appearance of someone being home while you are away. It’s also important to protect the valuables you might bring with you. You can invest in a bag with pick pocket protection: zippers that can be locked and material that cannot be slashed. I like to keep my valuables with me when I travel, packed away in my carry on to prevent their loss should my luggage get misplaced. I also think traveling is a good time to get even more inventive with you hiding places. Emptied sunscreen bottles or food jars are easily passed over and portable.
I’ve covered here just a few ways to protect your valuable jewelry and clothing in case of damage and burglary, in your home and on the go. I personally find that less is more with my security. Living in an apartment on a budget, I find it more economical and efficient to seek out clever nooks for my items rather than splurge on heavy duty safes. However, a home security system is definitely an area in which you should not attempt to be “thrifty”. A good security system with cameras near the entrances to your home and a mobile component are essential to keeping an eye on your belongings. In summary, it’s also important to think about protecting your items in all scenarios—against intruders and accidents alike. Spilled liquids and sticky substances can be just as devastating as any break in, so try to utilize airtight storage for your jewelry and clothing both domestically and abroad. While these precautions may seem unnecessary, when it comes to your jewelry and clothing items, it is infinitely better to be safe rather than sorry.