|"If you need to hide jewelry from a robber,
or your stash from the man, this book’s for you, dude!"
– Anonymous made-up reviewer
How to Hide Anything by Michael Connor, published by Paladin Press (1984)
Your first clue that this book’s a bit dated might be the cover, showing a man hiding inside a freestanding stereo system with albums and stereo equipment secretly cut down to accommodate his crouching body.
Would a "stereo cabinet" full of record albums work as an effective hiding place these days?
This short book wraps lots of words around slight concepts.
It’s for the paranoid or adolescent mind.
It seems the author walked around his home, yard and motel rooms and said, "Hey, where do I think I can hide stuff?"
It could expand your mind and make you think about where you can deceive people by hiding things. But I wonder, wouldn’t the police or thieves – with more experience in actually finding hidden things – have a little knowledge about hiding places?
(And maybe they’ve read this book, too?)
The book throws all these hiding places at you, but doesn’t go into much detail about:
- What exactly are you trying to hide, because different items need different hiding places.
- Is it valuable? Can you lose it or can someone else throw it away by mistake if you hide it?
- If it’s illegal and found, can you plausibly deny it’s yours?
- How much do you need access to it?
- Will the searchers find any clues that you’ve accessed your hiding place?
But I quibble. If you want a quick overview of where to hide things, I’ve summarized all the hiding places mentioned in the book. (I make no claims that any of this is practical or will adequately substitute for a safe-deposit box or a home safe.)
Where to hide things in your home:
Put stuff inside false bottomed drawers (and use a magnet to secure false bottoms, and make sure you alter all the drawers in a dresser, not just one.)
Or stick it inside a curtain rod.
Don’t like furniture? Try inside wall electric light switches or electric outlets (You can buy fake products for this, too.)
Hide it inside a hollowed out book (a fun project my 13-year-old son accomplished, unaided by any other book, with a utility knife and a hot glue gun.) This might be useful if you have a library of books, because searchers would have to take out every single book to find it, and you know exactly what book your secret stuff is hidden inside.
More handy with tools? Try inside the wall (recovered with wallpaper), or behind paneling (with the paneling attached with screws.)
Are you in the kitchen? Try hiding it inside a frozen chicken in the freezer, or inside frozen drinks in the freezer.
Put it behind kitchen molding or kickboards.
Nobody would look here, but how would this work for you, if you placed it inside a pan of congealed fat, or inside a pot of food that’s cooking?
Stash it inside a hollow door (and most doors are already hollow), behind door molding (carve out a cavity), behind a false wall, or underneath the stairs.
Go outside and drop it to the bottom of a small outdoor pond.
Or put it inside a compost heap, or make a compost heap that breaks all composting and clean air rules and stick it under a heap of rotting meat. That attracts maggots, and repels searchers.
Put it inside a fish-tank of piranha fish.
(I am not making up any of these hiding places.)
Store it behind air vents, under the center of a rug (maybe dig a cavity into the floor), or between the backing of a carpet.
Go into the attic or on the roof and hide it inside a TV antenna, or underneath attic insulation.
If you want to be more elaborate, hide things like this:
Hide it inside fake or dummy pipes you construct yourself, or between inner and outer wall gaps.
Place it in the shed, inside the handles of garden tools or a wheelbarrow.
Cram it inside the elements of space heaters. (This one is so odd I can’t even think of a snarky comment.)
Hide it inside a water heater, in a vertical pipe that’s capped, or sunk into a crawlspace and covered with dirt.
Or hide it inside an actual vertical pipe, secured with a wire and attached to the pipe with adhesive, or inside an outside drain covered with a grate.
Hide it inside hollow fence posts, inside an outside drain pipe, or inside the panel of a refrigerator.
Make a hiding place behind a wooden wall-mounted coat rack, cut into the sheetrock.
Put it inside sash windows, underneath a window sash or ledge, inside a routed edge, or behind the veneer on a kitchen countertop.
Hide it underfoot, inside a trench routed inside a concrete floor (or burnt out with acid) and covered with a thin layer of concrete, or underneath a tongue and groove floor.
Put it overhead, inside a false ceiling.
In a dodge I know I’ve seen in a movie, mail items in a package sent to yourself with a false return address, or drop items into a mailbox and wait for the mail carrier and say you posted the wrong item.
You can hide it inside a hollowed out tree.
If it’s really big and breathing (such as people) hide them:
Inside a washing machine, behind a false panel in a wardrobe, behind drawers cut short in a dresser, or inside and underneath a couch or sofa.
Hide someone inside a large-rack music system, with the record albums and stereo equipment cut down to provide space behind (our cover shot!)
Hide them behind a false wall in a room, with a secret underground entrance or a small door hidden behind furniture
Create an outdoor underground "hide" with an entrance underneath a patio stone or an ornamental pool or turf.
And make sure to use a two-way mirror so the hidden room can monitor the actual room.
If you’re away from home, such as a motel or hotel, some hiding spots and ideas:
First, always bring a toolkit.
Hide things behind and inside wall-mounted speakers.
Go to the bathroom. Hide it underneath the sink, inside the toilet, inside the rubber ball-cock mechanism in a toilet, or inside the shower rod.
Again, hide it inside light or electrical sockets.
This one is intriguing – hide things behind the mirror or bathroom cabinet by unscrewing and removing the mirror or cabinet and carving out a hole in the drywall.
Put it inside a container of cold cream, or other gooey substance.
In a ploy similar to one used at home, hide it inside bed frames, behind drawers, or inside the mattress (if you include a staple gun in your toolkit.)
Put items on the top of an elevator’s escape hatch.
Finally, some bonus tips to leave you with:
The author suggests you leave something out for thieves to take, such as a few dollars and a cheap watch.
He also tells a story about soldiers searching a home and repeatedly not finding contraband that they knew must be there… until they finally searched inside a baby’s diaper and found… plastic explosives.
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