Secret Hiding Places -- Ways to foil thieves at home
|Secret Hiding Places
Ways to foil thieves at home
|The Old Hollowed-Out-Book Trick|
There's not much room in one hollowed out book. Instead (or in addition to), use several books with a plywood box attached to the back. If you have a band saw for cutting out the pages, great. If not, you can use a jigsaw. If the sides of the books will be visible, fold back the covers of the books on the left and right sides of the assembly before cutting. Build a plywood box to fit the opening and glue the book parts to the box with construction adhesive. Keep in mind you can see inside the box on low shelves, so you need to display it so the opening is above eye level.
|Right Out in the Open|
It doesn't have to be an old vacuum cleaner. Any common household item that has a cavity will work. Think old printers, computer towers, children's toys, etc. (Just be sure family members know about it so your valuables don't get donated or tossed!) For easy access, choose an item that opens instantly, like a vacuum cleaner bag compartment. For more security, choose an item with a cover that screws shut.
|Air-Return Stash |
Cut out a stud space opening to fit a return air grille. Cut off the grille screws and glue just the heads in place. Run four drywall screws into the corners of the opening so they fit just inside the rim of the grille. Then glue rare earth magnets to the back of the grille so they line up with the screw heads.
|False Stair Tread |
It takes some effort, but if you can, free a tread from your stairs. Then attach a piano hinge to the back. It'll be almost invisible and you'll have a good place to stash valuables.
Roll up some cash, stick it in a medicine bottle or any other watertight container, and bury it in a potted plant. For quicker access and to keep dirt from getting under your fingernails, place a stone or pine cone over it. Not many burglars are going to be excavating around your houseplants. (Kitty litter came to mind here too, but we won't go there.)
|False-Bottom Drawer |
Pick a deep drawer so the depth change won't be obvious. Cut 1/4-in. plywood 1/16 in. smaller than the drawer opening and rest it on a couple of wood strips that are hot-glued to the drawer sides. Then hot-glue some item you'd expect to find in that drawer to the bottom so you have a handle to lift the false bottom and reveal the booty.
|Kid's Room Hideaway|
No burglar worth his salt looks in a kid's room for valuables. It's just full of useless junk. So find somewhere in there where the kid won't find it either. A false bottom in a toy chest would work well.
|Cabinet Hidey-Hole |
Between almost every pair of upper cabinets, there's a 1/2-in. gap. Take advantage of that gap by hanging a manila envelope containing, oh, I don't know, about two grand in hundred-dollar bills? Hang the cash with binder clips that are too wide to fall through the crack.
|Toe-Kick Hideaway |
There's an enormous 4-in.-tall cavity under all those kitchen cabinets behind the toekicks. It takes a few carpentry skills, but you can pull the toe-kicks free and make them removable. Most are 1/4-in. plywood held in place with 1-in. brads, and they're pretty easy to pull off. If you have a secondary 3/4-in. toe-kick, you'll have to cut it out at both ends. An oscillating tool works well for that task.
Stick both halves of round hook-and-loop self-adhesive tape to the toe-kick. Then push the toe-kick into place. The adhesive will stick to the cabinet base and leave half of the hook-and-loop tape in place when you pull it free
|Counterfeit Containers |
Go online and type in “secret hiding places” and you'll be amazed by how many brand-name phony containers are available. Comet, Coca-Cola, Bush Beans—whatever. But you can craft a homemade version too. This mayonnaise jar had its interior spray-painted with cream-colored paint made for plastic.
|The Appliance Caper|
Fridges and dishwashers have a snap-off grille in the front. Well, there's a lot of secret storage space under there. Ask yourself this: How many burglars will be thinking about cleaning your refrigerator coils? But before you stuff treasures under a fridge, take a peek to see where the coils are. On some models, a stack of cash might block the airflow. That will make the fridge work harder and could even damage it.
|Pocket Change |
How many thieves are going to go through the dozens of pockets in your closet? Put cash in the pockets of your old pants and suit coats. Just be sure the clothes don't get donated!
|Which Paint Can Contains the Gold? |
Next time you use up a can of paint, save the empty can and fill it up with valuables. Then put it back on the shelf with all your other cans.
|Fake Pipes |
Install a fake PVC pipe complete with a cleanout plug somewhere it looks like it belongs. Unscrew the plug and there are the goods.
|Hole in the Door |
Drill a hole in the top of any interior door. Size it to fit a cylinder such as an old film container or a cigar tube. Roll up some bills and keep them there. You have to stick close to the outside edges. Look at the door from the top and you'll see how wide the solid internal frame is.
|Hide a Key In Plain Sight|
Say you want to hide a key—other than under the rug or over the door. How about mounting a phony plastic LB fitting? Screw it to the wall and run a bit of 1/2-in. conduit to the ground so it looks official. Cut the head off the bottom screw and glue it in place. That's it. Swing the cover aside and there’s the key.
|False Top (or Bottom) |
When you build or assemble a piece of furniture, build in a stash spot. For example, with a dresser, put a piece of 1/4-in. plywood just above the top drawers and install a piano hinge on the top. Now you have a spot to hide precious items.
|Spread Your Wealth |
Use lots of hiding places. You could keep cash between pages in books, tape an envelope behind your headboard. Or to be more elablorate, a headboard is a good place for extra thickhess hiding storage without being obvious.
A shallow tray under your keyboard could work, or just keep an “extra” keyboard with hidden storage in your office closet with your other leftover computer stuff.
This shelf looks like an attractive display item when it's closed, but the visual depth not only looks good, it hides storage.
|Most of these ideas came from The Family Handyman. I would ask if you have any other ideas for cheap or free hiding places, but then if a burglar ever found it, I’d be your prime suspect….
Anyway, I hope these helped you. I’m sure you can see some variations on them that might work well for you, plus some that maybe no one else has thought of but you.
By the way, if you would rather buy a new house so you can get some of these ideas built in, I would love to help you! Just let me know.
Please visit my website jimatthetop.com for a wealth of information and how-tos about buying and selling real estate, Houston area communities and neighborhoods, financing, mortgage resources and more.
JIM AT THE TOPJim Pedicord RE/MAX Top Realty
713-773-3700 x 2537 Office
2911 S. Sam Houston Pkwy. E. Houston, TX 77047