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Building Secret Compartments in the Office and at Home – Save Your Stuff

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By Guest Blogger, Terry Wood

I think everyone plays with the idea of having secret places to stash stuff. More often than not, that something is of great monetary or sentimental value, like precious jewelry, rare stamps and coins, family history, heirlooms or even love letters from long ago. It could also be a gun for self-protection or a stash of cash that is being kept aside for a rainy day.

Obviously, the proverbial safe behind the painting may keep most people out but its kind of cliché’ and in a robbery, they will be looking for that kind of thing. So, this article is about concealed compartments that no one can find!

My grandfather squirreled away, in a secret compartment he built into a wall, some time capsule family history/journal notes. They were discovered 50 years after he hid them away, just after his death. They were super fun to find, added to the family history stories and clarified some issues for settling his estate. I thought it was funny that even my grandmother didn’t know anything about it.

There are literally hundreds of places in your house of office where you can hide these valuable items that will frustrate even the most determined of professional thieves or it can protect your things from disasters. All it takes is to learn how to build secret compartments. Of course, depending on what you want to hide, the secret compartment will vary in size… maybe it will be a secret room!

Take for instance the hollow spaces in walls, which are typically sheetrock nailed on 2″ x 4′” studs that run vertically from floor to ceiling and are spaced 16 inches apart. Even with little practice, you can find where these spaces are by tapping along the wall. Then, with a coping saw, you can carefully cut a hole to create a suitable stash between the beams. Just remember that the hole must be smaller than the object that you will use to cover it, like a line of shelves, a picture frame or a gun rack. Here’s a fun video to show you how:

If the item you want to conceal is thin like a few thousand dollar bills, shares of stocks or treasury bills, then you may want to make a false bottom in one of the drawers of your favorite desk. To make a false bottom drawer, cut a liner from a suitable material. But in doing this, remember that the measurement must be exact and you must use the same kind of wood because things cannot look altered. If you cannot find the same kind of material, you will have to repaint or revarnish the whole desk and every drawer. Then, glue a washer at the center and at each corner of the real bottom as well as to the false bottom. When the false bottom is inserted in the drawer, the washers will line up and create a secret compartment of desired thickness. Lifting the false bottom can be made through the use of a strong magnet or inserting a pen in a small hole at the bottom of the drawer to push up the false bottom. Here’s a video about that process:

Other common items that can “double” as secret compartments are books and even the heel of your shoe. An old dictionary, for instance, can be turned into an innocent-looking secret compartment for your hand gun. All you need is a knife to cut out the space in the inside pages for the hand gun, tape the compartment and you’re done. On the other hand, the simplest way to turn a heel of a shoe into a secret compartment is to lift the heel pad from the inside, then carve out a space using a drill and a sharp knife. Insert the object, glue back the flap and join James Bond in his top secret missions. Fun… and useful!

Of course, secret compartments are a great way to keep your valuables safe. But you should also consider other methods such as an insurance plan for art, collectables or heirlooms. Another “plan” would be to keep duplicates of ownership documents, appraisals and the such at another location (a sister to states away from you?).

For more about how to save your stuff, CLICK HERE

Author bio:

This post was written by Terry Wood.  Terry is an insurance expert with US Insurance Net, a site that provides life insurance reviews.

Editor’s note: What can be done to “modify” one of these super secret hiding compartments to make it “archival”? Archival means that materials of the storage container will not add to the deterioration of what is stored inside. This would be important for paper items like letters, certificates, old photos. Here are some tips:

1. line the hidden drawer or box with an acid free paper – several layers.

2. store items enclosed in a zip lock baggie or Tupperware container

3. Don’t make your hidden compartment where it will get extra hot or extra cold.

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