50 Secret Hiding Places Thieves Will Never Look
No one ever expects to get robbed, but it certainly doesn’t hurt to be prepared. Your home is actually full of secret hiding spots thieves will never look.
Which Paint Can Contains the Gold?
Fake Plumbing Pipes
Slit Open a Tennis Ball
Kitchen Cabinet Cache
There are tons of ways to hide stuff in a kitchen cabinet. Bury a zipper-top bag full of jewelry at the bottom of a half-full oatmeal box. Open a cereal box at the bottom and shove in some cash. (Pick a healthy cereal that no one will touch.) A “smooth-edge” can opener cuts through the top in such a way that the top often fits snugly back in place. Plus: These inside-the-cabinet storage ideas will help organize your everyday kitchen items.
Not IN the Drawer
Drawers don’t go all the way to the back of a cabinet, and there’s typically a little space on the underside too. Put cash or important papers in an enve- lope and tape them to the back or underside of a drawer. Plus: Watch this video to learn how to make a secret hiding place out of a stack of old books.
Right Out in the Open
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.
This Outlet Isn’t What it Seems
A Shelf with a Secret
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.
Time Well Spent
Store a few small items in a wall or mantel clock, as long as the clock itself isn’t worth stealing! Tape them to the back or put them in any open cavities. Steer clear of these hiding places, because that’s where burglars always look first!
Learn how to build a shoe rack here.
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.
Hidden Safe Pillow
Slip a Box Inside a Box
Store a container of valuables inside a larger bin full of unappealing stuff. Label it accordingly.
I always keep a spare key hidden somewhere on my vehicle. I don’t use a magnetic key box because it can fall off, and it’s not easy to find a place big enough to stick them to mostly plastic modern cars. Instead, I bolted my spare key to a magnet, the kind with metal on one side and a hole in the middle. It fits perfectly in a little nook near my rear bumper, and it’s been there for years without falling off.
Put small containers of valuables in a tub of cat litter (unused!) and then pour the cat litter back into the tub. Here’s another odd-but-useful way to use kitty litter at home.
Who’d Suspect an Ironing Board?
Many ironing boards have tubular legs with plastic caps on them. Pull the cap and you’ve got yourself a perfect little hidey-hole. I slide in a wad of paper towels first so my secret stays near the opening and doesn’t rattle around.
Good Venting Is Key
Stick a magnet to a spare house key using hot glue, and tuck the key up out of sight inside the dryer vent hood. If your vent hood is aluminum or plastic, glue a magnet to the inside of the hood as well as the key. If you hide your keys in these spots, you’ll likely get robbed.
Secret in the Ceiling
I like to stash my treasures above the suspended ceiling tiles in my basement. At that height, would-be thieves can’t get at them without a ladder. Keep your goodies in a plastic container to protect them from bandits of the rodent variety. And don’t stash anything heavy that could cause a ceiling tile to sag.
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. You can store approximately $2.4 million in gold bullion under two average-size cabinets—provided the floor is strong enough to support it.
Stow a Key in Your Yard
If you have an irrigation system, install a phony pop-up sprinkler head near the front door and hide a key in it. You could dismantle an extra sprinkler head or buy a fake one designed to hold a key. They cost less than $5 at home centers and discount stores.
Garage Door Opener Shroud
Believe it or not, you can hide items like passports and cash under the shroud that covers the garage door opener.
Hide a Key in the Keypad
It takes hours, not days, for my younger kids to lose their house keys. My solution was to install a remote keypad for the garage door opener. That worked great until one day we lost power and my 12-year-old son was left out in the cold … literally. I discovered that my key fit right behind the nine-volt battery inside the keypad. A key in a keypad—now that’s ironic.
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 for plastic.
It’s Magic, All Right
Pop the end cap off a marker and remove the ink cartridge. Just right for a spare roll of cash. Want more?
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.
Stick a flat box of tissues in a full-size tissue box holder and you’ve just created a convenient little hiding spot. You could buy a one-size-fits-all box like this, or a regular box holder and set the box of tissues on a couple of blocks. The box shown is made by and costs around $23 online.
Pick up a spare wheelbarrow wheel and tire (about $20 at a home center). Deflate the tire, tuck in your goods and reinflate it. Plus: Check out these 13 inexpensive ways to theft-proof your home.
I keep a list of my passwords on a sheet of paper near my computer. I protect my list from bad guys and nosy coworkers by putting it in a file folder. I lay the folder flat on the bottom of a file cabinet drawer under the other hanging folders. For an extra level of security, you could label the file “Proctology Exam Results” or some other title to ward off prying eyes.
The Old Hollowed-Out-Book Trick
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 for the secret compartment to fit the opening and glue the book parts to the box with construction adhesive. The disadvantage to this hidden compartement? You can see inside the box on low shelves, so you need to display it so the opening is above eye level.
Oversized Art Storage
Hole in the Door
Editor’s Note: If you want to do this trick on a hollow-core door, 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.
Secret Cash Stash
Keep some emergency cash rolled up in a clean, empty sunblock tube. Tuck it in a drawer or medicine cabinet where you can easily grab it when you need it. Don’t forget about the garage! Learn how to secure your garage and prevent theft.
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.
Hide a Safe in the Wall or Floor
Don’t Kick This Ball!
A soccer ball makes a perfect spot for little items. Let some air out of the ball and cut one of the seams using a utility knife. After inserting your items, tuck the seam back into place.
False Top (or Bottom)
When you build a piece of furniture, build in a stash spot. For example, when you assemble 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.
An unoccupied birdhouse makes a handy spot for a spare key. Screen off the bird entrance to keep out tenants. Plus: These 25 homes are hiding secrets you need to see to believe.
Hidden Bookcase Storage
Make a Treasure Map
Having several hiding places makes sense…unless you forget where they are! Avoid this misfortune by making yourself a map of your various treasure sites. That way you only need to remember one location—the place where you hid the map. Want more? Check out these 50 extraordinary uses for ordinary things in your home.