The old hollowed-out-book trick
The Family Handy Man MagazineWe've all seen the hollowed-out book, but there's not much room in one of those. Instead, 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. (After all, books are just a form of wood.)
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. The disadvantage? You can see inside the box on low shelves, so you need to display it so the opening is above eye level. Try these other clever tricks to outsmart criminals.
Right out in the open
The Family Handy Man MagazineIt 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. These are the things a burglar won't tell you.
The Family Handy Man MagazineCut 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
The Family Handy Man MagazineIt 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. Make sure that your house isn't vulnerable to being robbed.
The Family Handy Man MagazineRoll 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.
The Family Handy Man MagazinePick 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. These are secrets a home security installer won't tell you.
Kid's room hideaway
The Family Handy Man MagazineNo 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. These are the world's dumbest criminals.
The Family Handy Man MagazineBetween 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.
The Family Handy Man MagazineThere'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.
Garage door opener shroud
The Family Handy Man MagazineBelieve it or not, you can hide items like passports and cash under the shroud that covers the garage door opener.