Secret Safes: How to Store Your Valuables in Plain Sight

(Psst: The FTC wants me to remind you that this website contains affiliate links. That means if you make a purchase from a link you click on, I might receive a small commission. This does not increase the price you'll pay for that item nor does it decrease the awesomeness of the item. ~ Daisy)

By the author of The Prepper’s Guide to Post-Disaster Communications and The Cartoon Ham Exam Handbook: A Complete Ham Radio Technician License Study Guide

When it comes to protecting the things that are precious to you, camouflage is a fantastic option. This is likely the reason that you’ve put money into camo ponchos for family members, why you try to live “gray” on a daily basis, and why you keep all of your food supplies out of sight when you have guests over.

It’s because you understand the importance of camouflage.

Through past interactions with some people, I’ve learned that a lot of crime is crime of opportunity. Just the presence of something in view was too much temptation, and it resulted in somebody – if they didn’t think they would be caught – committing a crime and stealing something.

To add to matters, when a lot of thieves go about stealing something after breaking and entering a house, their anxiety levels go through the roof. They want to get in, make a score, and then get out as fast as they can. What’s in sight and valuable is what they grab real quick before heading out.

But if we can camouflage the things that are valuable, we can keep valuables in plain sight and protected.

Maybe it’s great grandma’s old jewelry, a bit of emergency cash you like to keep on hand, some Krugerrands, or a list of your passwords. Whatever it is, you want to better protect it.

You can make your own secret safes for all of this if you’d like, but there are commercially available options out there as well that you may find of interest.

Fake Coca-Cola

This one is my favorite of the secret safes. It has the same weight and looks as any Coca-Cola can out there. The only difference is that the top of this unscrews, revealing a small storage space inside. The top of the safe is about an inch wide, slightly opening up once you get into the compartment, making this a good space to hide your password list, safe deposit box key, or something else of the like.

Even if somebody does know about fake Coca-Cola cans, nobody is going to take the time to sift through every can in your house to make sure that they may have grabbed a camouflaged safe. And by itself, a can of soda is worth about 75 cents. Nobody wants to go to jail for stealing less than a dollar. This is a cool-a way to hide something, is what I’m saying.

secret safes

I’m using a Kershaw Leek pocket knife as a constant source of reference throughout these pictures, just so you know. Also, check out how tight the seam is at the top of this Coke safe.

Fake sprinkler head

I personally think that these secret safes only work if you already have several other sprinkler heads scattered throughout your yard. I guess that was one of the things about locksmithing – I learned the spots where people liked to hide their keys.
If there’s one random sprinkler head right beside their front porch stairs, it was a pretty good sign that it wasn’t part of the sprinkler system. There’s no rubber seal on the inside of the screw cap here either, so the only thing I would feel comfortable hiding here is a key. Make it a brass key too. You don’t want it to rust.

secret safes

(Hey, by the way, none of these are Amazon links. If you’re looking to starve the beast after reading our free QUICKSTART Guide on the subject, purchasing from The Home Security Superstore is one of the ways you can do so.)

Fake rock

You would only want to hide a brass key in this thing, as anything else would get soaked and ruined. Hidden amidst an area where you’ve put down rock for your landscaping, I can personally attest to how difficult these things are to find, even if you know what you’re looking for. There’s a small plastic clip underneath here to hold everything in place too.

secret safes

(It literally looks and feels just like a rock. The weight is spot-on.)

secret safes

(No, the knife doesn’t fit, but that’s not the point. This is just to keep things in scale for you.)

secret safes

You can see here that it doesn’t match the rocks where I’m at, but if you landscape with river stones, this would blend in wonderfully.

If you bury the side a bit with other similar-sized rocks, you make this one just about impossible to find unless you know exactly where to look. For those who are interested in secret safes for hiding a spare key outside of their home for guests or whatnot, and if you have a lot of other rocks in your area that are rounded, I do recommend checking this one out. It has the same weight as an actual rock and is fairly convincing.

Book safe

One of the things that I’m always worried about with hotels is who has access to my room when I’m gone. The answer? Literally anybody on staff. If they see you walking in with a lot of bags that make it look like you have really cool stuff, that may just be too much temptation for somebody.

(That’s actually a real book, by the way. Lots of good reviews too.)

The catch is that you don’t want to necessarily pack everything out with you every time you leave the hotel room. I think that a book safe would work wonderfully in this regard. Disguised as a forgettable book that your mom would read at the beach, the book safe opens up to reveal a cavity that can hold items up to the size of your phone.

If you don’t want to walk around downtown Memphis with $500 of your vacation cash in your pocket but also don’t want to leave it out in the open in your hotel room, this could be a great way to keep it out of sight.

Fake Ajax can

I’ve never met a thief who took the time to stop and clean the bathroom tile floor in the midst of robbing a place. It’s for this reason that I think you could safely stow away something inside this Ajax can with zero fear of anyone ever finding out about it. The weight is right, something dusty sprinkles inside the can when you shake it, and it looks exactly like a can of Ajax.

secret safessecret safessecret safe

(Check out that seam. It’s incredible.)

The only catch is that the bottom of it screws open to reveal a fairly large container that could hold all kinds of stuff. Money, jewelry, precious metals, they would all fit in here just fine. The only catch with hiding heavy stuff in camouflaged safes that are designed to even mimic the weight and sounds of an everyday item is that you then are left with solely visual trickery (I just want ya’ll to know how excited I am to use the word “trickery” in an article.)

All that being said, though, I think that the chance a thief would open up under your kitchen sink and sift through your cleaning chemicals is pretty low.

Fake electrical outlet

secret safeOut of all the secret safes here, I think this is the one that would have almost zero accidents. I can potentially see the (small) probability that somebody would open your hollow book, decide to pop open a Coke or find your fake rock. I don’t think any thief is going to take the time to search through every electrical outlet in your house, though.

The catch here is that this is the most labor-intensive safe on this list. You’re going to have to find a spot in your wall without a stud near the floor, saw a hole in your drywall with the enclosed saw blade, push insulation out of the way, and then insert this safe into its hiding space.

You can hide a lot of stuff in this type of safe, but aside from sawing a hole in your wall, you’re going to have to doctor up the safe a bit if you don’t want it to stand out. For starters, the screw in the middle is a very noticeable gold. I have never ever seen a white electrical socket with a prominent gold screw smack dab in the middle of it. That would arouse curiosity from anybody if it’s hidden somewhere noticeable. If you placed this behind the headboard of your bed, nobody would see it, so that screw wouldn’t really matter.

You can take the faceplate off of the safe to try to match it with another face plate that better coincides with how things look in your home, but you have to get a different screw, or it’s just not going to look real.

It’s not a normal-looking screw, either. You’re looking at a flathead brass screw that is half screw and half rectangle of metal. You have to have the rectangle shape in order to grip the metal locking bar too. Just trying to swap out the metal screw thing with a regular screw won’t cut it. If you screwed a nut on the screw, put on the locking bar, and then screwed on another nut, you might be able to get enough purchase to move the locking bar without needing a specialty screw, but given that you have to use rotation to open the thing and screws use rotation too, I’d be somewhat concerned that you could end up loosening or tightening the nuts making it so you couldn’t access your safe contents anymore.

So if I was going to put this in my wall, I would opt to stick with the original components but to hide it behind a piece of furniture somewhere.

So what are my thoughts on the most useful of these secret safes?

The book and the Ajax can are the clear winners, in my opinion. There are no design flaws, they look perfect, and nobody would be liable to mess with them. I love the look of the Coke can, and it is my favorite of the secret safes, but it’s too easy for me to picture a family member walking by and thinking, “Ooo, I’m thirsty,” and ruining my cool hiding spot.

But what are your thoughts on all this? Which of these do you think would be the most effective? Have you seen any other cool places to hide valuables? Obviously, we don’t want you to tell us your secrets for safety reasons. But share ideas with us! Let’s discuss it in the comment section below.

About Aden

Aden Tate is a regular contributor to TheOrganicPrepper.com and TheFrugalite.com. Aden runs a micro-farm where he raises dairy goats, a pig, honeybees, meat chickens, laying chickens, tomatoes, mushrooms, and greens. Aden has four published books, What School Should Have Taught You, The Faithful Prepper An Arm and a Leg, The Prepper’s Guide to Post-Disaster Communications, and Zombie Choices. You can find his podcast The Last American on Preppers’ Broadcasting Network.

Aden Tate

Aden Tate

Leave a Reply

  • Giant magnets under a piece of furniture will hold a small handgun, knife, or a small metal box with money in it. we have them all over the house. Above the closet door (on the inside) no body looks there, put a small shelf up there and you have a place to store extra ammo etc. Good article Daisy!

  • You don’t mention shelves with hidden storage, but those “floating” shelves are so well known that it feels a little too obvious. What are your thoughts? I also think that a working lamp with a hollow base is a great option. It functions and is “real” but you can conceal a ton of stuff in one if needed. I also would mention that padding things that jingle or rattle would be a good thing, because IF someone knocks something over and it makes noise that it should not, that is a dead give away.

  • I actually had someone steal a book from the hotel room where I was staying. I’m glad I didn’t have my valuables stored there. I think if I were to go to the trouble to hide things, I would create a fake wall and have an area where it holds a lot of stuff, but that’s just me.

  • I like and have used the rock. It’s best half covered with dirt with other rocks around. The Ajax can was excellent too. To me, the book looks inviting to toddlers to grab and I don’t keep books. Good article!

  • Another strategy is to a acquire a side-cutting can opener (marketed as “safe cutting) to make reusable lids for your selected food cans. Avoid the “Mainstay” Walmart brand since the hand-crank handle on one I tried crumbled into pieces after only a few months. In contrast, the Good Cook and Farberware brands have both proved to be reliable for me.

    Such side cutting manual can openers produce a reusable lid on most all sizes of tin cans by cutting into the side of the top rim instead of into the top of that rim like traditional can openers do … which leave very jagged, dangerous, and non-reusable lids.

    Part of the trick to using such side-cut lids as security vaults with their can bodies is to leave the food labels completely intact … so any casual glance makes them appear as “fresh from the grocery” and containing nothing other than the original food contents.

    Another issue is to store such stealth modified cans alongside other groceries whether in your fridge or in your pantry.

    A final strategy might be to use two magnets on the underside of those lids, 180 degrees apart, that also touch the inside of such cans. That is just backup to what would be well-fitting reusable can lids that you made.

    It would be a good idea to get some practice using that side-cutting can opener. It’s possible to botch that process … which a little practice can prevent.

    Another issue is the occasional problem that pop-top cans sometimes create. So I avoid such cans.

    A final thought: this process works for almost every side of can from the smallest of bean cans to the full size #10 cans. Just remember to store them in a location (whether fridge or pantry) that is not out of place such to destroy the illusion.

    –Lewis

  • This must be the first time you’ve even delved in to this subject. Those things have been around for decades and your personal determinations of which ones ‘you like’ aren’t based on knowledge, just from the little bit you read in order to scrape this low-info article together. Next time, better to know your subject before telling people what is good or bad. You’ve no idea.

    • So if you have information based on experience, would you please share?
      Criticism without some direction isn’t very helpful, and I’m sure we would learn something useful from your comments.

  • Empty paint cans; under a potted plant in a larger planter; cash sewed into the hem of a curtain; in a box of Miracle Grow, under the bag of powder.

  • Hide a credit card in a pair of socks. Jewelry in a package of Depends? Fake plants. Tape an envelope with a few large bills on the underside of a bird cage. I think it is important that the hiding place looks cheap, not worth stealing and/or isn’t likely to be thrown out.

  • My favorite is the Ajax, but I worry that if anything happened to me my kids would throw it away without realizing it holds a secret!
    Ideas that spring to mind…
    What about a house plant pot within a plant pot? The bigger one has your secret spot in the bottom, and the smaller one is a self-watering pot with an actual plant growing in it.
    Inside a guitar could hold something smallish.
    Documents could be concealed in the backing of a framed picture too.

    • Exactly! My sister, Mom & I had the same issues when we were thinking of hiding spots for her gold! Most everyone has gone to Escape Rooms & so they know the obvious hiding spots!!

  • Not quite the same, but this reminds me of the guy who hid a $3,000 engagement ring for his girlfriend in a coat pocket, and then forgot and donated the coat to Goodwill. I don’t think he ever got the ring back.

    On the bright side, he had quite a story to tell for the rest of his life! (Of course, his girlfriend may have thought he was too stupid to marry!)

    Moral of the story: Don’t forget where you’ve hidden things!

  • Wear a cloth money belt under your garments. It’s light weight and flexible. If you might get sweaty, then use a thin, zip lock sandwich bag inside the cloth money belt. Use it while out and about and while you’re in bed sleeping in a motel or wherever. Put your Passport and travel documents in there, too.

  • My grandmother had an extensive collection of porcelain dolls. When she moved to an end of life care facility, the family started cleaning out her home and selling many of her things. The dolls had mostly been sold when she asked if we had been checking the dolls’ underwear first. Apparently that is where her cash was hidden, lol!

  • the book can be quite easily made and the coke can,with a little effort.
    i’ve made both. i used to be on the drug scene when i was a youth!!

  • You Need More Than Food to Survive
    50-nonfood-stockpile-necessities

    In the event of a long-term disaster, there are non-food essentials that can be vital to your survival and well-being. Make certain you have these 50 non-food stockpile essentials. Sign up for your FREE report and get prepared.

    We respect your privacy.
    >
    Malcare WordPress Security