13 Sneaky Hiding Spots for Valuables (and 7 to Avoid)
A fully featured home security system (and homeowner's insurance) is your best defense against burglars in your home. But even the best home security system may not stop a determined thief. If a burglar makes it into your home, they'll be on a mad dash for valuables -- and it's in your best interest to make it as hard as possible for them to take off with your stuff.
Burglars want to make it in and out of your home within minutes. They need to find the valuables they're looking for and get out before a neighbor notices them or the authorities arrive. The fact is that burglars just aren't going to go through every nook and cranny of your home to discover every hiding spot. They'll hit the most obvious places, including your living room and bedroom, and split as soon as they've found what they're looking for.
We've highlighted 13 of the best places to hide valuables in your home. These spots aren't easily found by burglars, or they're simply too much work for a thief who only has minutes to find what they want. The goal is to make finding your valuables so tedious that burglars simply give up without finding anything you truly value.
Spread your valuables around these spots (don't forget where you've left them) and rest easy knowing burglars aren't likely to go to the trouble of finding them. Want to add extra assurance? Consider adding fake stashes for burglars to find and move on: we've included suggestions for fake stash spots as well.
- Hollowed out books: Thieves typically aren't on the hunt for first edition books they can sell on eBay, so it's a good bet they'll leave your bookshelves alone. Fill a shelf with several books and hollow one of them out.
- False household containers: A burglar probably won't bother rummaging through your cleaning supplies, so valuables hidden in a hollowed out or fake cleaning product bottle should be safe.
- Dog food bin: If you store your pet food in a large bin, it can double as a handy hiding spot. Wrap up important items and place it at the bottom of the storage bin surrounded by dog food.
- In your freezer: Burglars might do a quick check of your freezer for a wad of cash, but they're not likely to dig deep and go through all of the food in your refrigerator. Hide valuables in a bag half full of peas deep in a freezer drawer, and they're not likely to be discovered.
- In your pantry: Similar to freezer storage, burglars simply don't have time to dig through all of your food to find valuables. Put valuables in a canister with flour or sugar in the back of your pantry.
- Hollowed out areas: False air vents, hidden areas in your wainscotting, windowsills, steps, flooring, cabinet toe kicks, and other spots can be used for stealthy storage. Just make sure they're not easy to spot.
- Cardboard box turned safe: A safe can be a good place to store valuables, but so often, burglars just grab them and figure out the lock later. But that's only if they notice them in the first place. If you have boxes in your attic or garage, put your safe inside of an innocuous cardboard box among the rest and it won't attract attention. Take it a step further by covering your safe with typically stored household items like blankets or old toys before you close the box and it will be even more convincing.
- In a child's toy: You can hide valuables inside of stuffed animals. Simply cut along the seam, add items, and resew the animal back up. Of course, be sure that no children can get to the animal, and make sure all adults know that the animal has valuables in it to avoid selling it off at the next garage sale.
- Buried in dirt: Rarely do you see burglars sweating it out in a backyard with a shovel to find valuables. Consider putting important items in a container and then burying them in your yard. Just don't forget where you've put them! A garden is a good spot so that it is easy to find and access -- as long as you know where it is.
- Feminine hygiene products: Hide your valuables among pads and tampons, and burglars will probably give them a wide berth. Remember to keep actual feminine hygiene products in the box to cover up your valuables.
- Among sporting goods: Many balls, including tennis balls, can be cut open and stuffed with valuables. Placed innocuously among other sporting goods, they won't catch the attention of a burglar.
- Bolted down safe: While burglars will take off with smaller, more portable safes, secured safes are a better bet. Ideally, safes will be large, heavy, and secured to your floor rather than a wall (burglars will simply cut through drywall). And of course, the safe should be locked.
- Your bank: The best place to hide valuables is away from your home. Use a safe deposit box and store money you don't need immediate access to in your bank.
Places to Avoid Storing Valuables (Or, Good Places to Hide a Fake Stash)
There are smart places to store valuables and there are extremely insecure places to store valuables. Master bedrooms, dresser drawers, your living room, and jewelry boxes are just a few of the places you should avoid placing valuables.
Of course, an obvious "hiding" spot is a good place to hide a fake stash. Consider hiding small stashes in obvious places to satisfy burglars and throw them off the trail of the real valuables. Putting money in your underwear drawer, some important looking papers in a cheap safe in your closet, and a few pieces of convincing fake jewelry in a jewelry box may be enough to get a burglar to take what they've found and clear out of your house with their newfound valuables. Add a key labeled "safe deposit box," and they'll be on their way out the door and headed to the bank.
- Jewelry box: Burglars will always check your jewelry box, so never store any precious jewelry or family heirlooms in this area.
- Office or desk drawer: Your office may be a convenient place to keep important papers and cash, but it's a clear target for burglars.
- Anywhere in the master bedroom: No, your underwear drawer is not safe. Burglars know that master bedrooms and especially dresser and bedside table drawers are often full of valuables -- even ones you think you've hidden.
- Toilet tank: What used to be a smart hiding spot is now commonly checked by burglars.
- Locking box or file cabinet: Safes that aren't bolted down will simply be taken and broken open away from your home.
- Under a mattress or bed: Sure, burglars won't get to your valuables if you're sleeping on them, but they prefer to break into homes when no one is home. And your bed is one of the first places they'll look.
- Purses: Burglars know that ladies often hide valuables in spare purses and handbags. These are especially attractive, as they're easy to grab and can even be used to haul off other valuables. Plus, bags can be easily sold, making them a valuable on their own, especially if they are designer bags. Other items that have a value on the secondhand market, such as DVDs, are also a bad spot to hide valuables.
Photo by Flickr user chippenziedeutch