You know that old saying that everyone’s got something to hide except for me and my monkey? Well, nowadays even my monkey has something to hide, so we put up today’s article about DIY safe house projects.
When speaking of things to hide, I am not referring to your dirty past, but valuables, stuff like jewelry, cash, sensitive information/documents or even gold which may very well be subject to confiscation.
It was in the past, if you remember the good old pre-World War 2 days and 1933’s Executive Order 6102. If you don’t remember, well, it’s time for a reality check, because history has a bad habit of repeating itself, whether you’re a scholar or just the average Joe Public.
Now, regular folk tends to keep their valuables in a bank safe box or at home, under a cipher lock or something similar, in case they can afford such luxuries.
However, keeping your stash in a bank safe deposit box is not the best idea in the world, if you’re familiar with the notion of bank runs or the aforementioned confiscation policies, in which case your valuables will disappear like fresh driven snow in the Kalahari Desert.
The other option is to keep your valuables at home, in a classic safe box, but these things tend to be really expensive and also they draw attention, if you know what I mean.
Another thing to contemplate if you’re a proud safe-owner is that a burglar who was tipped that you have such an abomination on your premises will be perfectly able to force you at gun point to open it; you know what I’m talking about, right?
Basically, could be pretty hard to maintain OPSEC when you have installed a safe-box in your house. I’m not trying to downplay the notion of safe-boxes, they sure as Hell have their uses, but a smart prepper (especially a prepper on a budget) should look at alternative means to hide his/hers valuables.
Now, from what I’ve learned about the psychology of a home invader, whether he’s a police officer or a burglar, I discovered a modus operandi which can be summarized in three basic rules: home invaders first look for openly displayed valuables, after that they look for juicy-looking (as in appealing) storage spaces (like classic safe boxes) and after that they’ll look at any other type of place which may be harboring valuable things like cash and jewelry.
Basically, all home invaders follow this simple algorithm for maximizing their chances of success, given the fact they only have a limited amount of time to spend in your home.
And here our DIY safe projects thingy comes into play, as they look inconspicuous generally speaking, making them the ideal choice for storing your valuables, sometimes even in plain view. And you know, stuffing money inside your mattress is getting old, get over it and keep reading.
The Lego Safe Box
My first project is about how to build a safe box (yes, you got that right) using your old/left-over Legos, thus turning them into a hidden/secret/magnetized/whatchamacallit safe. It sounds pretty darn’ interesting, doesn’t it?
The beauty of this project is its “in your face” simplicity. I mean, who would think that you’re hiding cash or jewelry inside a Lego block? All kids have Legos and that means you’ll draw next to zero suspicion hiding your valuables inside a Lego-made safe box, right?
Another cool thing about this project is the fact that you’ll not require spending lots of money on materials and tools and you probably already own a Lego set. It doesn’t get any better than that, believe me folks.
Now, just take a look at this video and learn how to turn your left over Legos into a magnetized safe. By magnetized I refer to attaching a bunch of magnets to your safe, making the secret drawer accessible only if you already know where the internal magnet is located.
The general idea is that you’ll be creating a Lego structure which features a hidden drawer inside, the perfect place to hide some cash or your engagement ring (use your imagination, ok?). The magnet gizmo makes the secret drawer to open only when using another magnet.
Video first seen on HouseholdHacker.
Pretty cool concept, don’t you think?
Hidden Wall Safe
Moving along with the article, the next DIY project is a secret/hidden wall safe. You may be familiar with the concept or not, but just take a look at this cool instructable video below and you’ll learn how to securely hide your cash/other valuables almost in plain sight via an easy to make wall-safe box which comes handy for storing even things like guns and ammo.
This particular project uses a fake wall-socket which masks a relatively small safe-deposit box behind, the perfect spot to hide some money and jewelry, but the limit is your imagination when it comes to hidden wall safes.
You can make them as big as you want, for example building a secret (and very big) compartment behind your TV using the same principle.
Video first seen on PostmasterPrepper.
The Fake Air Vent Safe Box
Another idea is to build a secret compartment/safe box using a fake air vent as a cover. The idea is basically the same, making for a clever and inexpensive way to hide your valuables in plain sight.
Obviously, you can use all these different ideas for keeping your stash safe, as in “don’t put all your eggs in the same basket”. Redundancy is the name of the game.
Check out the video and you’ll learn how to install your fake air vent securely using just a hot glue gun, screws, a jig saw and sheet rock saw, it’s a fairly easy project which may be completed in a couple of hours.
Video first seen on DIYeasycrafts.
The Floating Shelf Safe Box
How about a floating shelf featuring a secret compartment? I know, the idea is not new, I’ve already seen dozens of movies in which the hero draws a gun from a secret compartment inside a shelf and stuff like that, but that’s hardly a problem.
Video first seen on Moy perez woodshop.
I mean, can you think of a house where there are no shelves around? Shelves are ubiquitous, they’re an intrinsic part of the American culture and way of life sort to speak. And that makes them the perfect place to secretly store your valuables, don’t you think?
The Hollow Book Safe Box
Another idea for secret compartments to stash your valuables/guns or whatever is also borrowed from the movies: a hollow book (usually a Bible) and this one is a true classic. And the best thing is that you can find a hollow book for sale almost anywhere, they’re that popular.
However, here’s a video about the DIYing just in case.
Video first seen on Von Malegowski.
The Keyboard Safe Box
Now, if you’re a PC owner, you can create a small secret compartment in the unused portion of your keyboard, the Number Keypad respectively, as per this video. This is as cool as it gets, the bummer is the space is relatively small.
Video first seen on kipkay.
The CD Safe Box
Last but not least, this is one of my all-time favorites: how to build a secret safe using old CDs. Provided you’re old school, just like yours truly and you’re still using CDs, you can easily make a secret-safe-hidden-in-plain-sight by using a cake box full with DVDs or CDs, whatever you have lying around the house.
The idea is to cut their inner hole and then glue them together, thus creating a secret hiding space inside where you can keep diamonds, rubies or some cash.
Video first seen on Shake the Future.
Try one (or more) of these clever methods to protect your cash or your valuables, use your creativity and get back to us with a comment in the dedicated section below.
This article has been written by Chris Black for Survivopedia.
radarphos | July 5, 2016
Rather than suggesting various places to hide caches (that any burglar can also read for “tips”), it would be better to provide the rule-guidelines of caching and let people figure out there own hiding places in their own unique living situations. There are many rule-guidelines depending upon whether you pick an indoor or outdoor cache location.
Even before talking about rules or guidelines to follow, everyone must identify the type of cache s/he is considering. There are quick-catches and long-term caches. Long-term caches are usually big and growing in value, and tend to be places you may go to once a year (or longer). An example is a farmer, who in the mid 1920s, may have sold a crop for $15,000 cash that he later converted to gold coin at his local bank. This would be a long-term cache intended to be used for emergency purchases of seed or whatever. It might be visited once a year, if some of it was needed, and if not it would be retirement money stored away. Long-term caches are similar to “savings accounts”. Quick-catches are usually small and less valuable. Quick caches are similar to checking accounts–places you may make a deposit often or weekly, until your cache size accumulates to where you may decide to make a “savings account (long-term cache) deposit. Quick catches implies that you could visit this cache site often, even impulsively. But long-term caches contain items you do not intend to use anymore on any sort of regular basis.
Another thing you have to consider is how many people live in your household, and whether they are also “secreting things” away in hiding places. For the record, many decades ago during the pre-1950s especially, husbands often Quick-Cached “whiskey money from extra-$ they earned that they did not tell their wives about. And wives tended to Quick-Cache extra-$ also (egg $), and often hid it in a container in a never used kitchen cupboard or pantry. Teens do this too! They may hide extra-$, porn magazines, fireworks, herbal substances, etc. The point here is that depending upon your family size there may be more than just you looking for a good hiding spot; and you want to consider hiding places in locations where other family members rarely go.
1) Implicitly, you need a location that others in your home won’t stumble upon.
2) You need to quickly be able to get in and get out of your Quick Cache, so you need a location of privacy, in a place where you regularly go, so that if someone is looking for you and finds you, you can pretend that you are somewhere doing something that is part of your regular weekly chores, when you say, “Oh, I was just checking the ….”
3) It is best to make sure that your quick-cache is “fire-proof”…that a house fire won’t burn up or melt your cached items. Further, if a fire caused your house to cave-in, how would you find your hiding-container in all the debris?
Is your hiding place also rodent proof, insect-proof, and/or moisture related mold proof?
4) Put your valuables in a container, in a container, and if you can in another container (3 containers), and with a cabinet or closet counting as one container. Further seal your valuables so they stay-put should someone pull out your container and throw it to the floor. Burglars often “trash” houses looking for things, they will sweep out of cabinets everything to the floor, looking for anything that may ‘pop out’ of a hiding place. They may shake a container to see if anything is hidden inside of it (by hearing or sight). Fasten your valuables to its final container. TV shows have shown police doing this also. A container in a container in a container implies that someone must now check every possible possibility, which will be highly unlikely for burglars except in the master bedroom (the burglars’ most carefully explored place, where they spend the most time to make a careful search).
5. Avoid hiding things in walls. Infrared cameras can picture heat and cool inside walls. IR-cameras are cheap these days (under $2,000) and can portray things hidden behind drywall, and brick, etc. I’ve seen it with my own eyes with my own equipment. On the other hand, the fake light-switch or receptacle outlets are one container (the electrical box) in another container (in the wall). But there are cheap electrical gadgets (<$20) that can determine if a switch or outlet has power running to it. This suggestion of using a fake light switch or wall outlet has been around for a long time, and will fool only an impulsive teenager-burglar. Don't go that way! Read the Electrical Codes that tell how many outlets and how far apart are required in various rooms and hallways. An informed person could spot something out of the ordinary and check it out in one minute with a simple screw driver and find your stuff, since they know to check for this suggestion.
4) If you want any of your family members to become heirs to what you have hidden, you have to find a way that they can find out about what you stashed (and why you chose to stash it), should what we all wish would never happen, does happen and in a sudden and untimely way–to you!
5) Consider hiding your cache in something no one would want to touch.
In this response I am only addressing "indoor" caches (that I consider to be predominantly quick-caches). There are at least a dozen more guidelines for outdoor caches (without mentioning examples), for the simple reason that many people have intentionally hid outdoor caches and were later unable to find them because they did not pay attention to the details of the cache burial (or take notes).
Lastly, there does exist in the type of "stuff" I read, stories about people searching for historically mentioned caches (such as in diaries) to which there is no record of the buried stuff ever found, even though equipment exists today that could find the buried cache if one where to dig everything (but even that is laborious) and rarely done with equipment in hand. The point of my saying this is this–if it takes a lot of effort to find a secreted item, that alone helps ensure that the item will not be found (without your directions [such as to heirs] about where to look).
Brum | November 5, 2016
Your comment is excellent. Thanks for posting. Brm
G. Lee Kelley | July 6, 2016
None of these videos address a fire resistant/proof method of protecting money/valuables/confidential articles. The only way to cover this requirement (outside of burying outside) is to use a fire resistant/proof box. We have a crawl space under the house so this opens up a host of possible scenarios to address this requirement. I will propose two methods I have used.
1. In the laundry room I cut a rectangular hole next to the back wall a little larger than a fire resistant lock box which is the size of a large floor regulator . I built a wooden box the size of the hole and took it under the house and mounted it under the hole with screws. The lock box fits snugly in the box and the regulator hides the hole. It is easy and quick to access in about 30 seconds.
2. I went to a local maker of septic tanks which also makes distribution boxes. I asked him to make me a distribution box without the lateral line holes; just a plain concrete box with a removable concrete lid. After several strange looks and shaking his head, he agreed. Cost, $50 bucks. I took the box under the house and (with great exertion). I finally got the box over to the corner right under our bed. I buried the box to a depth equal to the height of the box with the lid plus a half inch. I put our valuables in waterproof 1 gallon jars and coated the lids with roof tar. The box will hold six 1 gallon jars (lots of room for most any collection of money and valuables. You can also use vacuum sealed plastic bags if you a have a vacuum sealer, which most people have. I use both to moisture protect our valuables I put the concrete lid on the box and sprinkled a half inch of dirt on the top just to make it impossible to differentiate it from the area around.
For all you Southern folks who live in a concrete slab foundation house, the only way to accomplish this is to rent a jackhammer and cut a hole in the slab to insert the concrete box and cover it with the concrete lid and a throw rug.
Hopes this helps Y’all out there in Survivalist Land. (Smiley Face)
radarphos | July 6, 2016
Gee, Mr. Kelly, you forgot to provide your address! Just kidding!!! You got a container (glass jars) in a container (cement box) in another container (crawl space location with concealment); and you met the criteria of creating access difficulty with the crawlspace. Plus, when I lived in the deep south (FL, GA, TX, AR) crawl spaces, even when enclosed, are not at all “fun” places to explore (ask Orkin or any of your local Pest Control companies): there are OK and the bad spiders, crawly things, often small critters, sometimes stinky stuff left by critters; and its dark, full of cob-webs; and in many of these places it is very very cramped, and much of the year very sweaty-humid, with no breeze.
On the other hand, one must always be aware that everything that “you do”, leaves a report (“report” is a military term for the sound that a gun or canon fire makes–so a report means evidence that someone bothered to “be there” in some sort of way, which then raises the question: “why this way?”). When the Yankee’s invaded the South they went looking for people who rapidly buried-outdoors necessary (e.g., foods) or valuable (e.g., coin/cash) items. Maybe you can guess what sort of clues they were looking for (and they were searching as if everyone was caching something (probably most often, outdoors, for fear that their house might be torched); and maybe you can guess what types of tools they may have used to test-explore the ground without digging. I mention this latter thought, only because “anyone who tells somebody–“a valuable secret” runs the risk that a careful searcher will carefully search, if given enough time. Really, there are tools/gear that will find most anything if given enough time to make a careful search; but no one would bother with a careful search unless someone told something to make such a search potentially worthwhile.
Dirt that blends is great. But if someone ever finds your “hatch door” that person is going to be thinking “Why would someone go to all this trouble just to have access to a dirt crawlspace floor?” Can you do something to answer the question for this person? No teenager would go to that trouble, so putting a couple of Playboy Magazines in a box on the dirt, should not work (though it could, if the home is older and maybe the kid found a hatch door created by some former owner). Perhaps laying a glass jar on its side, with the cap off on the dirt will suggest that your location was “once” used, but no longer (and especially if the glass jar is dusty). Adding rat poop and some nest material in the jar will suggest that a new caching-entity (the mouse evidence) has found a use for an abandoned hiding place. If you make yourself an animal “track” stick that you can touch upon your crawlspace dirt you will create the appearance or illusion that this hole was only once used to set a container “on top of the dirt”, but is no longer being used, except by the mice. If anyone ever found your access floor-door, such as if the hatch door might be weaker than the floor so that a foot can feel the flooring sink inward when stepped upon, or if only that area creaks like wooden floors often do–that is a dead give away (arousing curiosity) to explore further. My comments here are based on the principal of “reports”–that activity was once performed here. But again, if you intend to leave your “goodies” to heirs…be sure to tell them to search beyond all of your carefully created disguises that you put into place that were intended to fool or trick anyone who might accidentally discover your trap door. BTW, infrared cameras DO NOT SEE INTO WALLS (or floors). What they do is read “surfaces temperatures” (and some IR cameras can color code those temperature differences down to 1/10th of a degree-F). Home Inspectors often have them. Just setting a box on the floor over your hatch door will prevent an IR camera from finding your hatch door in your home, indoors. But if you don’t do that, and your hatch is made of wood (that absorbs humidity from down below thereby the hatch door will have a moisture related temperature difference (possibly) from surrounding flooring…then it may be discovered as something unusual to investigate further. A throw rug may not be sufficient. Enough said. Radarphos
Cindy | July 11, 2016
Your very good, but I’ve found living in Florida has it’s difficulty’s in finding good hiding places for larger items ex. food, guns etc. It’s so hot here, I don’t see how you can hide anything especially long term food storage. Did I understand you correctly, that there are meters to read the thickness of your wall? To me, a hidden small area with air routed to it would be the only way to keep your stuff good. The government will have every tool at their disposal. Any ideas? please e-mail me