Ask Men’s Fitness: “Where should I stash my valuables in case my place gets robbed? Say, a hollowed-out book, or an old coffee can?” – Paul D., Chicago, Illinois
You have to think like a crook, says Thomas G. Martin of Martin Investigative Services in Newport Beach, CA. “Ninety percent of criminals head to the bedroom,” so that’s out, he says. His top spots: an empty can in the kitchen cupboard, or a “wall socket” that’s really a mini safe (available cheap online).
“No one will ever look there.”
Says PI and author Colleen Collins, “Never keep valuables under a mattress—or in a fat envelope labeled ‘Las Vegas!’” Better: in one of a stack of boxes marked “Bathroom” or “Old Clothes,” or a hollowed-out book in a big bookcase: “Burglars won’t waste time browsing titles,” she says. But thumbs-down on the coffee can idea: “Most coffee comes in paper or plastic now,” so metal could look conspicuous.
Other clever niches we’ve found: A medicine cabinet that’s been inset into a wall, and the door replaced or covered with a large painting or photo (brilliant, right?); the (new) bag of an old vacuum; and a tennis ball that’s been slit to insert small items.
But, warning: Keep track of your hideaways! List them in a secure digital file, and let a trusted relative or friend in on it, or your treasures could be goners.