If you have a problem with lunch money being stolen, find out if your school has a pre-pay option. Not all plans require that a person buy lunch every day, and it’s better that a card gets punched than you.
When dealing with electronic items, always record their serial numbers and keep those with your warranty cards at home. Leave the electronics at home, when possible. There are small GPS tracking devices sold by several companies, and these can be hidden in items such as expensive calculators or backpacks. Some electronics can be password-locked, which discourages theft and protects your information. Having your name or initials engraved can also prove ownership, but decreases resale value. A popular company named after crunchy fruit offers professional engraving as a service on some of their products, including their mp3 players.
There is also free or cheap software to protect items with wireless capabilities (cell phone, laptop). This software works by connecting to the internet and giving tracking coordinates.
With other items, your name, initials or an identifying code can also be attached. If it’s done in an easily-removable way, such as adding a sticker, the best way is to place it in a location that’s difficult to see. For example, if you think someone might steal your shoes, put labels or write your name under the insoles. If it’s a tube of lipstick, put a label or carve your name into the covering tube. If it’s a cheap calculator, put a label or write your name under the batteries. With clothing, sew in an extra tag. Jewelry can be professionally engraved. Permanent markers, labels from labelmakers and nail polish are all good ways to mark stuff.
If you’d prefer not to use your name, create a code (e.g. combo of numbers, letters, and symbols) and use that instead. A code would be perfect to put on sunglasses or other items that have no hidden spaces. Make sure that the teachers and/or people in the office know your code, and don’t use it for anything other than marking your possessions. Never use it as a password. And don’t act like you’re a tuxedo-wearing spy on a secret mission when you tell the teacher. The whole point of marking anything is to keep your reputation of not being a tattletale, while also keeping your stuff.
If you get something new and cool, don’t brag where the wrong people might overhear. If you don’t know anyone with a labelmaker, some print shops and stores that sell office supplies offer that service—just know the maximum dimensions the label can be. If you use nail polish or permanent markers, do test runs on cardboard. Leftover TP rolls are perfect canvases. If relatives see you painting a roll and start to panic while fearing for your sanity, just say, “School project,” and they’ll knowingly nod. Practice is important since you don’t want your signature to be a smudged blob of nail polish that looks like a neon booger.