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Hiding Items At Home

3 Ways To Hide Valuables At Home

by Bill Rounds Esq. on January 10, 2011

Reading time: 5 – 8 minutes

We all have important documents that we need to keep track of. Lots of us have some things that are very expensive or even priceless that we never want to lose. You need to hide valuables somewhere.  Storing these items can be tricky if we want to make sure that they aren’t lost, stolen, or confiscated. If you hire someone else to hold on to them for you, you add an extra layer of risk that they won’t keep their promise.  A family Bible and old family photos are almost value-less in a damage calculation in a lawsuit. Here are some of the 3 best ways to discreetly hide your valuables at your own house.

Where NOT To Hide Valuables

Safe deposit boxes are a horrible place to keep your valuables. They have been known to be raided, and the contents sold due to nothing more than clerical errors, without informing the owners.

Keeping valuables “under your mattress” or in some other easy hiding place in your house is not a good idea either. Visitors might stumble upon your stash, burglars can find it pretty easily, even a search warrant could easily expose your hiding place.

Where You MIGHT Want To Hide Valuables

Some private vaults have a better reputation than most banks when it comes to anonymously and securely storing valuables.   There are even some offshore options if you want better asset protection.  You still have to trust a third party to honor the agreement and protect your stuff.  Most vaulting companies will limit their liability in their storage agreement to hide valuables.

There are some at home options to hide valuables that involve third parties that still might be worth exploring.  You could have a safe installed in your home.  If you hire a contractor, you are taking the risk of sharing the existence and location of the safe with a third party, even if it is a hidden safe.  If you go the cheap route and install a regular safe yourself, a burglar might find it, un-install it, and crack it later at their secret lair.

Hide Valuables At Home

Here are some alternatives that you can use to protect your stuff yourself and hide valuables at home.

1. Book Safe

Hiding in plain sight is a great way to throw off anyone who might be looking for your valuable documents or items. One of the most popular ways to hide valuables is using a book safe. They are easy and fun to make.

If you have gone “paperless” and don’t have many physical books anymore, you can use any object that you can mix in with others to hide your stuff. Hollowing out a Kindle seems a bit expensive, but maybe you can convert a box of Corn Flakes into a safe and stick it in your pantry, make a few hollow Christmas decorations and stuff them full of your precious coins and a copy of your will and stick them in the huge box with all of the other Christmas decorations. You can really use your imagination on this one.

2. Hidden Wall Compartment

Most homes are built with wood framing and drywall. This leaves a space about 15″ wide and 4″ deep and a few feet high between between wall studs and drywall. Poke a hole in the wall big enough to put your fire proof and water proof container with your priceless artwork and gold nuggets in between the walls. Most people have the skills to follow a simple do-it-yourself book on how to fix the hole in the drywall. A patch kit, some plaster and paint will cost you very little. Just remember that you can’t take these things in and out of the wall without breaking a new hole.

If you doubt your wall patching ability, you might choose a spot where the hole will be covered by a large appliance, or in some other spot where people won’t easily find it. The more creative the spot to hide valuables, the less likely it will be for someone else to find it, if they even know it exists.

If you are really handy, you might be able to build out a new wall to create more space or even a small room. Be careful whenever you are poking holes in the wall because there might be wires, pipes, and other surprises waiting.

3. Buried Treasure

If you are still not comfortable poking holes in your walls, you can pick up a shovel and play pirate with buried treasure. Use a solid, waterproof container to hold your valuables and bury them in the yard somewhere. To make it easier to locate later, put a clear landmark on top of it like a large rock or plant a bush. You can easily integrate that into your regular landscaping plans.

Be careful before you dig to check with the local authorities for any buried electrical, sewer, gas or water lines.  Hitting one of those with a shovel is not as much fun as finding buried treasure.

Conclusion

Protecting your stuff on your own property can be practical, but it has the added benefit of letting you use your creativity. The more creative you get to hide valuables, the better it will probably be hidden. The only bad thing is you can’t show off your creativity to the neighbors.

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7 comments

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Bill Rounds, Esq. is a California attorney. He holds a degree in Accounting from the University of Utah and a law degree from California Western School of Law. He practices civil litigation, domestic and foreign business entity formation and transactions, criminal defense and privacy law. He is a strong advocate of personal and financial freedom and civil liberties. This is merely one article of 123 by .
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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Freedom Offshore Services March 4, 2011 at 12:47 pm

Protection For The Asset Called Your Home

THIRTEEN THINGS YOUR BURGLAR WON’T TELL YOU

1. Of course I look familiar. I was here just last week cleaning your carpets, painting your shutters, or delivering your new refrigerator.

2. Hey, thanks for letting me use the bathroom when I was working in your yard last week. While I was in there, I unlatched the back window to make my return a little easier.

3. Love those flowers. That tells me you have taste… and taste means there are nice things inside. Those yard toys your kids leave out always make me wonder what type of gaming system they have.

4. Yes, I really do look for newspapers piled up on the driveway. And I might leave a pizza flyer in your front door to see how long it takes you to remove it..

5. If it snows while you’re out of town, get a neighbor to create car and foot tracks into the house. Virgin drifts in the driveway are a dead giveaway.

6. If decorative glass is part of your front entrance, don’t let your alarm company install the control pad where I can see if it’s set. That makes it too easy.

7. A good security company alarms the window over the sink. And the windows on the second floor, which often access the master bedroom – and your jewelry. It’s not a bad idea to put motion detectors up there too.

8. It’s raining, you’re fumbling with your umbrella, and you forget to lock your door – understandable. But understand this: I don’t take a day off because of bad weather.

9. I always knock first. If you answer, I’ll ask for directions somewhere or offer to clean your gutters. (Don’t take me up on it.)

10. Do you really think I won’t look in your sock drawer? I always check dresser drawers, the bedside table, and the medicine cabinet.

11. Here’s a helpful hint: I almost never go into kids’ rooms.

12. You’re right: I won’t have enough time to break into that safe where you keep your valuables. But if it’s not bolted down, I’ll take it with me.

13. A loud TV or radio can be a better deterrent than the best alarm system. If you’re reluctant to leave your TV on while you’re out of town, you can buy a $35 device that works on a timer and simulates the flickering glow of a real television. ( Find it at … http://www.faketv.com )

8 MORE THINGS A BURGLAR WON’T TELL YOU

1. Sometimes, I carry a clipboard. Sometimes, I dress like a lawn guy and carry a rake. I do my best to never, ever look like a crook.

2. The two things I hate most: loud dogs and nosy neighbors.

3. I’ll break a window to get in, even if it makes a little noise. If your neighbor hears one loud sound, he’ll stop what he’s doing and wait to hear it again. If he doesn’t hear it again, he’ll just go back to what he was doing. It’s human nature.

4. I’m not complaining, but why would you pay all that money for a fancy alarm system and leave your house without setting it?

5. I love looking in your windows. I’m looking for signs that you’re home, and for flat screen TVs or gaming systems I’d like. I’ll drive or walk through your neighborhood at night, before you close the blinds, just to pick my targets.

6. Avoid announcing your vacation on your Facebook page. It’s easier than you think to look up your address.

7. To you, leaving that window open just a crack during the day is a way to let in a little fresh air. To me, it’s an invitation.

8. If you don’t answer when I knock, I try the door. Occasionally, I hit the jackpot and walk right in.

Sources: Convicted burglars in North Carolina, Oregon, California, and Kentucky; security consultant Chris McGoey, who runs http://www.crimedoctor.com and Richard T. Wright, a criminology professor at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, who interviewed 105 burglars for his book Burglars on the Job.

2 Jay Marx September 14, 2012 at 5:21 am

How about freezing small plastic bagged valuables inside innocuous “home cooking” plastic containers (hopefully unappetizing to a thief) “mashed potatoes” “lima beans” “vinegar marenade”” dog biscuit dough”, etc, but use real food, not just labeled containers, so if opened, will not be found out? (NOT recommended If you are elderly or ill- “Surprise, Gramma, I got rid of all that spoiled ol’ food in the freezer and bought you some steaks!” –” Well, you’d better run to the the dump with a shovel- those maple leafs were your college fund!”)

3 Opal September 15, 2012 at 4:07 pm

Pantry’s are great storage places – nobody ever bothers anything labeled TOFU

4 Ed September 19, 2012 at 6:45 pm

If you bury, do it on higher ground. Otherwise, the ground water will push it to the surface.

5 Claire January 21, 2013 at 11:56 am

My house was broke into 2009, I din’t expect it as I had neighbors both sides, all neighbors knew I was not at home. They broke a window entered the house, pulled out every drawer and dumped it, took all pictures down, threw all the contents from fridge and freezer on the floor while checking it all, all cloths in closets searched and threw on the floor. dressers pulled out and tipped over, beds tossed, bathrooms completely searched including toilet tanks. As close as anyone can guess there were 4 of them, one stayed in the van in the drive way (a neighbor thought it was a service vehicle) 3 in the house for a total of about 10 min, they made off with approx $5,000.00 jewelry and money, to this day the police has never detained anyone.

6 Trace Mayer, J.D. January 25, 2013 at 11:47 pm

Claire, that is a horrible story. Thank goodness you were not at home. Hopefully you had hidden the more valuable items so that it would raise the cost in terms of time for the thieves. That way they would be less likely to get them.

7 Storage in Australia February 5, 2013 at 2:21 am

This are really simple and very DIY-friendly suggestions and is really helpful for those that are living in small spaces. Although I suggest that if you are looking for bigger space, or if you have more valuables to store, I think that its is better if you look for a storage company. Nonetheless, I think that everybody should learn a thing or two about how to store their valuables.

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