No one wants to think about what might happen if someone breaks into their home, but it does happen, and being prepared is the best way to protect your valuables. You don't have to keep everything locked up in a safe or, more dramatically, in a safety deposit box at your bank. Here are some quick and easy ways to protect your valuables at home.

Purchase a Safe

OK, we did say you don't have to lock everything up in a safe, but that doesn't mean you can't benefit from purchasing one. You've got a lot of options, but if you're using a safe to protect your valuables at home, you want to make sure you can secure it to the floor or the foundation so enterprising thieves can't walk off with it.

Small, portable safes can also be useful if you need to evacuate and want somewhere to secure valuables and essential documents, but for now, we're going to focus on home protection, so if you choose a safe, make sure you can attach it to the floor.

Invest in a Home Security System

One of the smartest things you can do to protect your valuables at home is to invest in a home security system. All the safes in the world won't discourage a thief from breaking into your home and stealing anything they can get their hands on. Contrary to popular movie and TV depictions, most home break-ins happen during daylight hours. A home security system is the best protection - 83% of former thieves surveyed took the time to determine if the house had an alarm system. If it did, only 13% of them said they would attempt a theft.

Make sure you've got the security system signs and stickers in plain sight once the system is in place. Most thieves are opportunistic. They're looking for an easy score where they can get in and out without getting caught. A security system puts a massive wrench in those plans, so they'll leave your home alone and move on to greener pastures.

Hide Them in Plain Sight

If a safe is too obvious and you can't install a security system, you can always hide your valuables in plain sight. Stick an envelope of emergency cash to the back of a drawer, or roll up some bills and hide them inside your toilet paper holder. Turn an air conditioner vent into a storage space, as long as your valuables won't block the airflow.

Try to avoid places that might damage your valuables, like storing essential papers in the toilet tank or something similarly ridiculous. It's not as effective as you might think, and you're just asking for trouble.

Protect Yourself and Your Belongings

None of us want to imagine our houses getting broken into, but burglary is a fact of life. The best thing you can do is to prepare. Invest in a home security system, consider purchasing a safe or take the time to hide your belongings in plain sight. Other than a barking dog, a security system is probably the most powerful deterrent to keep errant thieves from making off with your hard-earned money and precious belongings.

Scott Huntington is a writer from central Pennsylvania. He enjoys working on his home and garden with his wife and 2 kids. Follow him on Twitter @SMHuntington