Small Space Safe-Keeping: How to Store and Hide Valuables in a Tiny Space

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If you live in a small apartment or dorm room, you may find it challenging at times to stow away your personal valuables. Yet, this is especially important if you bunk with others, have room-mates who like to snoop, or reside in a building that lacks security. Having a spot to hide personal and valuable items should be a priority.
Fortunately, there are some clever options that work great in small spaces, for keeping your personal items safe and out of mind…even in plain sight.

coke can safe

  • Tiny Safes: If you have a small room or space, get a bookshelf safe that doesn’t look like a safe. Retail stores now sell tiny safes that look like soda cans, books, picture frames, and flower pots. Look for those that include a key or combination lock that is concealed in the base. Use them on your bookshelf, a nightstand, or other area where you can keep an eye on it.
  • Under the Bed Lock Boxes:  It can be convenient to keep valuables under a bed, which can be effective for maintaining safety in cramped spaces. Choose an under bed lock box or trunk made from metal or wood with a sturdy padlock. There are many excellent styles that can also fit into the bottom of a closet or under a dresser too.
  • Laptop Locks:  If you are using a laptop for personal or school work, it’s best to keep it locked up when you are away to prevent the loss of your personal data. Get a laptop locking cord that loops through the laptop case itself and always include a security password on your device. Or simply lock the laptop inside your desk when you are not using it.
  • Electronic Safes:  When personal paperwork and small electronics need to be kept safe in your place, an electronic safe can be the solution. Place the safe near a bed and cover with a sheet or inside a closet under clothes over top to disguise it. Maintain a safe that includes a sound alarm if someone unauthorized tries to open it.
  • Bike Chain Locks:  While they are perfect for locking up your personal mode of transportation, your bike, a bike chain lock can also be used for other security measures. For example, you can chain up cabinet doors, wrap it around your entertainment stand, or use it to secure items to your bed frame. They also come in handy for items on the porch, like grills and patio furnishings.
  • Safety Deposit Boxes: The best way to prevent theft of your personal valuables is to rent an off-site safety deposit box from your financial institution. Many offer a variety of sizes for an affordable monthly or yearly rate, with access during normal business hours. Your college may also provide temporary safe rentals, if you live on campus.

Keeping your valuables safe from prying eyes and thieves is important no matter where you live. Use common sense and never leave valuables out in the open where they could tempt someone to steal.

Marty Reardon is a writer for Next Door Self Storage, a company that provides storage in Naperville. When he’s not writing or working, Marty likes photography and trying new vegan recipes.

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  1. I think bike chain locks are fine to keep a not-too-costly bicycle secured when you’re inside a store for a few minutes or keep a patio grill from easily walking away, but they aren’t something I’d recommend using in the home. A lock chain is a sure sign to an intruder that whatever is inside the chained box/cabinet is valuable. Better to hide valuables than to draw attention to them.

  2. Thinking that a burglar might be in a hurry and take the just first cache of goodies he comes upon, would you advise splitting your valuables into two or more piles and hide them separately? An argument against this tactic would be that that the burglar has more opportunities to find at least part of your stuff.

    — Sam

    1. It might be a good idea to have separate piles, as the burglar would be in a rush to leave and may not find them all, as opposed to having them all in one place. Plus the longer he/she takes, the better chances of getting caught

  3. Good advice. But I take great exception to the safety deposit bit. When the SHTF, it may likely (but not entirely) be the result of an economic collapse. I would definately think twice about trusting anything in the hands of your bank, and that goes for a substantial amount of digital savings in your account(s), or any valuables in a safe deposit box. It’s simply naive to think that anything will remain if and when you’re allowed access to your institution. Keep the savings PHYSICAL, and keep the valuables in a safer location.

    1. Hey John, agreed- If there were an economic collapse it may be difficult to get into the bank premises, as there may be pandemonium with people trying to get what they can of their money. Thanks for sharing advice.

      1. You’re welcome. The other concern would be THE BANK ITSELF doing as they please with your valuables/money, even if you WERE allowed access (a big if). In such a scenario, ethics and honesty will go right out the window, even from institutions we’ve been taught to trust.

  4. You could even place valuables inside the bottom of a box of food placed at the back of your pantry. Of course, then you need to remember not to eat that last cookie and toss out the box!

  5. Here’s an idea for hiding money or small valuables: Purchase a solid colored plastic toat or kitty litter pan (not see through). Fill it with a healthy amount of CLEAN, UNUSED kitty litter. Puchase fake “cat poop” on eBay or Amazon, made from rubberized plastic. This is usually sold as a gag gift, is cheap, and looks like the real thing. Scatter the partially buried “poop” throughout the pan. If you use a toat with a cover, you can write the words “used cat litter storage” (or something of that nature) on the cover with a permanent marker. Put your valuables in small containers and place deep within the litter.Guaranteed, no one will stick their hands in that litter looking for valuables!

  6. IMPORTANT! Forgot to mention in my last post that if you actually have cats running about, DO NOT USE A CAT LITTER PAN for hiding your valuables (for obvious reasons). Use the tote with cover. Sometimes the obvious isn’t so obvious!

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