Hiding your life's treasures under your pillow or mattress won't safeguard them from a thief. However, this doesn't mean that a safety deposit box at your bank is the only place for them.

In fact, the traditional approach of keeping one's valuables in the home is an excellent idea, provided they are hidden in really secret places.

The ten following ideas of where to locate a secret compartment will offer maximum security. The first five, because they do require some construction to the house, are better for people who own their own homes. The second five ideas can be effectively used by apartment dwellers or renters.


1. WALLS

- because walls are hollow, there can be hidden space behind every wall in every room.

- the ideal spots are behind solid, fixed items, like coat racks, or boards along closet walls supporting the clothes hanging pole.

- remove the attachment and hollow out a compartment.

- make sure you camouflage your handiwork well.


2. BEAMS

- ceiling and wall beams are popular architectural features in homes.

- make one of the false beams (one which doesn't offer much support) moveable, and hollow an opening out of its top or back side.


3. BASEBOARDS

- one of the easiest-to-construct compartments is one behind a baseboard. These strips of wood that run along your walls next to the floor are so common, no thief would give them a second glance.

- choose a short section of board, and carefully pry it away from the wall with a crowbar.

- now hollow out a hole, and replace the baseboard.


4. PANELING

- wall paneling offers a method of opening large areas of dead space

- your best choice is behind actual boards nailed to the wall individually, not behind the four-by-eight sheets.


5. MIRRORS

- for a compartment offering little depth, but a large area of space, you can construct a hollow right behind a full-length mirror on your closet door.

- hollow out your compartment, then mount your mirror with sliding tabs.


6. FURNITURE

- complicated secret spaces built into furniture have for centuries been favorites.

- a simple approach is to remove the molding of a table or desk, and make a hollow.


7. BOOKCASE

- a common source of easily overlooked space is found at the base of a bookcase. The lowest shelf is usually raised above the ground level several inches, and this space is enclosed with a base-molding.

- if you can make the lowest shelf removable, you can attach your valuables to the underside of this shelf by means of magnets.


8. LIGHT SWITCH

- an easy and highly deceptive secret space can be constructed behind an electric outlet plate or light switch plate.

- make sure the electricity is shut off when you remove the plate to construct your hollow.


9. HOUSEPLANTS

- secret compartments can be constructed in the base of your plant pots: this will be especially effective if you have lots of plants.

- seal your valuables well in plastic if they can be water-damaged.


10. BURIED TREASURE

- finally, don't overlook the oldest hiding technique in history, of burying your valuables underground.

- make sure you have an accurate map of where your treasure is buried.

For maximum security in hiding your valuables in your own home, make sure your craftsmanship is flawless. And don't reveal your hiding place to anyone out of your own family.