Keep the whereabouts of your valuables on lock with these secret storage ideas
Many homeowners rely on a secure home safe to keep important documents and small amounts of money or jewelry under lock and key. But you may not realize that the security of your possessions depends as much on where you store them as what you store them in. Leaving a safe in an obvious location ups the odds that thieves will find it and nab it during a burglary, so it pays to park it in an inconspicuous, inaccessible place. These clever suggestions for hidden safes can thwart burglars and keep your safe safe.
Secure Your Safe Out-of-Sight
1. In a Second Fridge
Holding on to an underused fridge? Place your safe in an opaque bag and stow it in the freezer compartment. It’s common to stash a second fridge in the garage or basement to store surplus beverages, so thieves are unlikely to poke around inside for valuables. But for extra security, put a lock on the freezer door. Consider an adhesive fridge lock (e.g., CRANACH Fridge Lock, on Amazon for $15.99) that has stick-on application to avoid damage to the appliance.
2. In a Vent
A dead ringer for a vent, this sneaky safe won’t stand out from any of the other air supply and return grilles already in your home to help regulate air flow. The Home Self Defense Products Quick Vent (from Amazon for $219.99) can be mounted to virtually any wall in a speedy five minutes and features an RFID locking mechanism; just wave the included RFID card, key fob, or token across the top of the safe to open it instantly.
3. Beneath the Floor
With basic woodworking skills, you can create a built-in floor compartment for your prized possessions. Cut out a small area of your hardwood flooring free from plumbing and wiring, preserving the cut wood for use as the lid of the box. If you are feeling ambitious, build a wooden box to house your safe and secure the box to the floor joists with screws. Finally, attach a cabinet pull to the lid and drop the lid into the floor opening. Tuck the safe inside this new secret hiding place and cover the lid with a rug or piece of furniture.
4. In Fido’s Food
Pet lovers are bound to have kibble containers at home, so the Birch & Forest diversion safe (from Amazon for $29.97) makes a wise disguise for a safe. It conceals a pry-bar-proof, keypad-entry stainless steel safe masquerading as a dog food box to keep creeps’ paws off your property. Two included bolts let you mount the safe to the floor, the wall, or even a shelf so discerning thieves won’t be able to scoop it up and scram.
5. Under the Mattress
6. In a Wall
While a safe mounted on the wall can be pried free with a little muscle and the right tools, one mounted inside the wall isn’t going anywhere. The Homax steel wall vault (from Amazon for $44.58) mounts flush with interior walls between two studs spaced 16 inches apart. Its slim design means you can install it in a cramped closet or even in a high-traffic spot like the hallway and then conceal it with a mirror or framed artwork.
7. In a Book
This safe resembling The New English Dictionary is ideal for cash, passports, and other personal effects. Available in two sizes and three colors, the Jssmst book safe (from Amazon for $13.95) comes with a three-digit combination lock, so there’s no risk of losing keys. And at only two inches wide, it’s slim enough to park on a bookshelf or nightstand or inside a desk drawer alongside the rest of your reads.
8. Inside Stair Steps
This safe storage solution turns a step in your staircase into a compartment big enough to fit a small strongbox. After removing an existing stair tread, slip your safe inside the step, and re-attach the tread with a piano hinge so you can lift or lower the tread. Or, if you’re feeling especially handy, you might consider removing the riser and turning it into the front of a drawer. Either way, as burglars prowl the premises, they’ll never think to check underfoot!
9. Under the Stairs
Creating a stealth opening in the walled-in space under the stairs is a more involved DIY project than the previous idea, but the larger space can secure a bigger safe. Install a door or drawers in the opening, and discreetly stow your safe behind or inside them. Bonus: In the event of a home break-in, a crawl space beneath the stairs doubles as a small panic room where you can hide until the threat has passed.
10. In a Shelf
While guests are glued to what’s on this floating shelf, you’ll be the only one who knows what’s inside. The QuickSafes QuickShelf safe (from B&H for $235) is a 24-inch, birch-veneer floating shelf with a built-in compartment in the base that unlocks through hack-proof radio-frequency identification (RFID) keys. Simply attach the safe to the wall with the included mounting hardware, wave the RFID card over the shelf to open the base, pop in your most precious items, and close the safe shut. The spring-loaded hinges let you adjust the angle of the safe’s opening from 30 to 90 degrees for even more control.
11. Behind the Mantel
Thwart thieves by hiding your safe behind cleverly designed mantel trim. The center panel of this mantel designed by Covert Concepts doubles as a door to a secret compartment that will fit a small safe. The hinged door opening makes for quick and easy access.
12. Behind a Sliding Door
If lack of closet and wall space necessitates leaving a safe in plain view, park it in an unused nook and provide some cover. Installing a sliding door in front of the area that houses your safe is an easy way to bolster security and style. A barn door like this one moves horizontally along a track above the door, keeping a safe stored behind it within arm’s reach but out of eyeshot.