What To Put in a Safe (and What Not To)
What To Put in a Safe (and What Not To)

People have been using safes to protect their valuables for over 3,000 years. A wooden safe buried in the tomb of the Egyptian Pharaoh Ramses II is the earliest known safe in human history. A lot of the technology in creating safes has changed in the past 3 millennia. But the primary purpose of a safe has stayed the same: keep your valuables protected from thieves or being damaged.

Owning a safe was a luxury that most people couldn't afford for the longest time. The best they could do was purchase a metallic box in the ground hoping that no one would ever find it. That would change on November 2, 1886, when the concept of the safety deposit box would be patented. Instead of purchasing an expensive in-home safe, a regular citizen could essentially rent one to store their valuable items.

Close to 150 years later, the debate about which one is better has continued. Both options are perfectly capable of protecting your valuables, but each has unique advantages that might make it a better fit for you than the other.

At-Home Safe vs. Safety Deposit Box

In a lot of ways, the only difference between an at-home safe and a safety deposit box is the location. A safety deposit box is a small metallic box securely stored within the confines of a bank or credit union. An at-home safe is a personal safe you keep at home. Here is a brief synopsis of each one and some of their key attributes and most important differences:

Safety Deposit Box

The way that safety deposit boxes work is pretty simple. You rent a box from the bank or credit union with which you have an account and are given exclusive access. Most of the time, you'll be given a key to access the box. With modern biometric tech, your fingerprints can now be used instead.

One of the best features of a safety deposit box is its location within your bank or credit union vault. Your valuables are about as secure as possible because bank vaults are challenging to break into. It is important to note that the bank or credit union is not responsible for anything that might happen to your safety deposit box. If you ever access it and notice that it's empty, there are no federal laws requiring banks to compensate you.

Another issue with a safety deposit box is the security isn't provided for free. You'll have to pay an annual or monthly fee determined by the lease agreement created by the bank. The exact cost can vary based on the bank and the box size you rent. On average, you should expect to spend about $60 annually for the cheapest options and around $175 for the most expensive ones.

The last thing worth mentioning about a safety deposit box is you'll have limited accessibility. You can only retrieve the items inside your safety deposit box when the bank opens. All banks are closed on federal holidays, have limited hours on Saturday, and are almost always closed on Sunday. That's not even mentioning the fact that most banks only operate between 9 AM and 5 PM. You'll simply have to wait if you ever need to access your security deposit outside these hours, on a federal holiday, or Sunday.

At-Home Safe

Pretty much every safety deposit box will be identical. That's not the case at all with at-home safes. You're probably picturing an old-timey, large black safe with a combination lock attached to the front of it. While that's technically an accurate portrayal of an at-home safe, there are far more options available than that.

Renting a safety deposit box only comes with one question: what size do you want? For at-home safes, there are several more questions that you'll need to answer first. Some of these include:

  • What is the purpose of your safe?
  • Where are you going to keep it?
  • How big do you need it to be?
  • What level of security do you want?

Buying your safe will cost more than renting out a safe deposit box. You can expect to spend at least a few hundred dollars buying a quality at-home safe. However, the higher initial price tag does provide a few benefits that aren't possible with a safety deposit box.

The main benefit is that you'll have access to the contents of your safe 24/7. No matter what you're storing, why, or when you need it, there are no limitations on when you can access your safe.

Another benefit is that you'll own your safe. Renting is the keyword in the phrase "renting a safety deposit box." After a few years, you'll have spent the same money renting a safety deposit box to purchase your own safe. Not only will an at-home safe pay for itself after a few years, but it will also save you money in the long run. That's a solid return on investment, no matter the situation.

The last thing to consider when owning an at-home safe is that you can store whatever you want inside. Banks have a lot of rules and regulations regarding the contents of their vaults and safety deposit boxes. For instance, keeping your passport, original copies of important documents, spare keys, or uninsured valuables in a safety deposit box is not recommended. On the other hand, it's flat-out illegal for you to store any firearms or liquids. Using an at-home safe means keeping whatever you want because there's no one to regulate the contents.

How To Secure Firearms

Properly securing your firearms is one of the essential parts of firearm safety. Every year, thousands of deaths and injuries among children are attributed to improper firearm storage. Children as young as 3 years old are capable of firing a gun and will be unaware of the potential consequences. Even if you don't have any children in the house, it's still an absolute necessity to secure your guns properly.

You'll need to consider several things when looking into a gun safe. Some of the most important factors include:

  • Size
  • Location


It's a simple fact that storing a rifle inside most standard safes is impossible. For larger guns, you're going to need a bigger safe. For example, the Biocube Professional is an at-home safe that stands 57 inches tall. You'll be able to comfortably hold your collection of longer firearms, bullets, and attachments.

While a safe that size can quickly meet your gun storage needs, it's quite a large safe that doesn't exactly fit in everywhere. Ideally, a safe should be stored in the garage or basement. But what happens if you need a gun during an emergency?


That's where the concept of location will become a significant factor. It's widespread for people to want to store at least one firearm in their bedroom in an emergency. For that purpose, you might want to opt for a Biocube or Biocube Mini instead. These safes are more than capable of storing smaller firearms and pistols but much easier to keep in your bedroom, closet, or drawers.

The last key point in securing your firearms is restricting access to your safe. You need to ensure that the only people who can open your safe are capable of handling a gun.

How To Protect Important Documents

The average person will accumulate tons of essential documents throughout their life, including:

  • Birth certificates
  • Social Security cards
  • Passports
  • Living wills
  • Marriage certificates
  • Ownership deeds
  • Tax returns

Each of these documents contains sensitive personal information and is very valuable. While they can be replaced in most cases, the process can be time-consuming and expensive.

The good news about these documents is that most of them aren't the primary target of thieves. They usually stick to cash, jewelry, guns, or whatever they can sell to make a quick buck. While not the primary targets for thieves, these documents still deserve a place in a secured location, preferably a fireproof one.

It doesn't take long for a small fire to spread beyond the control of you or firefighters. You'll risk losing the people you love the most and everything you own in just a few minutes. It's no question that your first thought and primary responsibility should be to protect your family above all else. Focusing on them is much easier when you know that your important documents are safe.

Where To Keep Emergency Cash

Keeping a stash of emergency cash at home is always a good idea. You never know when you might need it, but you'll be thankful that you planned if you do. Chances are you've had a hidden supply of cash dating back to childhood. A piggy bank, sock drawer, or mattress is an excellent spot to stash your allowance and birthday money. As an adult, you'll want to consider using more secure methods.

Cash is one of the easiest things to store because it can fit anywhere. You don't need an extra large safe as you might with a rifle, and you don't necessarily need your supply close at hand. That goes the same for any other physical items of value such as gold bullion, jewelry, wallets, purses, or whatever else.

The thing to remember is that these items are typically the ones most sought after during a break-in. You should consider a few extra steps if storing such expensive items at home. There is no such thing as being "too safe" when storing your valuables.

How To Protect Sentimental Valuables

Few things are truly irreplaceable in the modern world. That just means the things that are will need to be protected even more. Items with sentimental value might not mean much to other people, but they can tell everything to an individual. Family heirlooms, photos, yearbooks, baby clothes, and travel souvenirs can bring back cherished memories of the past. They can also be lost in a flash.

Most people would be upset about losing their passports and birth certificate in a fire. But losing precious and irreplaceable items would be legitimately devastating. People might be inclined to risk severe injuries or even their lives to save some of these items. Using a fireproof safe would mean that you wouldn't have to entertain the idea. There's no need to risk any injury whenever you have a trusted safe protecting your precious items from the fire.

A Safe Place for What Matters

There are many reasons for what you should consider an at-home safe or a safety deposit box. Everyone has at least something they want to protect, and it's your responsibility to accomplish this goal. A safety deposit box is one method for protecting your valuables, but it's not the best.

The exact safe that you choose will largely depend on your specific needs. There are many options for buying a safe, and you might not nail it on your first try. The good thing is that here at Mycube, you can enjoy a 35-day free trial with free shipping. If you don't think the safe you've bought is the right one for you, you can get your money back and try another one. Any questions about your safety? The customer service line is available 24/7. It's just that simple.

You have nothing to lose by buying a safe but everything to lose by not buying one. Visit Mycube today to browse our selection of safes and get started on protecting your valuables.


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Financial Documents: What To Save And What You Can Throw Away | Forbes Advisor

Gun Safety | Nationwide Children

Safe Deposit Boxes: Store This, Not That | Investopedia

Are Banks Open Today? Here's a List of US Bank Holidays for 2022 | Business Insider

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Safe Deposit Boxes Aren't Safe | The New York Times

What Is A Safe Deposit Box? | Forbes Advisor

Safe-Deposit Box | Encyclopedia.com