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Author Topic: Creating hidden storage  (Read 8575 times)

Peregrin

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Creating hidden storage
« on: February 20, 2013, 09:19:54 am »

Hey all...I'm trying to find ways to create hidden storage (for money, food, water, medicine, etc) in my house.  I have a couple of ideas, but I'm not sure if they're feasible (nor do I know how to create them myself), so I'd love some input.  I've tried internet searches and haven't come up with much, but I know you guys often have good ideas.

1.  My home has a crawlspace foundation.  I was thinking of creating a trap door in the laundry room and putting some kind of box (metal?) underneath it.  Alternatively, would it be possible to dig out some kind of safe room/basement/storage room under my house?

2.  I have a three-step staircase that needs to be remodeled, also over the crawlspace (it goes down to the garage).  Would it be possible to incorporate some kind of storage (box under the landing, or drawers in the steps) into my remodeling plans?  If I were to do drawers for food storage (apples, potatoes, etc), what kind of materials should I use?

3.  My front entry floor is 3 inches lower than the dining room floor that it connects with.  I plan to build up the entry floor to the same level as the dining room.  Would there be enough space in between the current floor and the built-up floor to store anything?

4.  I have an unused, but still wired, junction box in my kitchen.  What would I need to do to get it out of the wall safely?  I don't know if there's power to it or not; the door was fastened shut when the new junction box was installed in the garage.

TIA for any advice you can give!  :)
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Peregrin

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MamaLiberty

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Re: Creating hidden storage
« Reply #1 on: February 20, 2013, 09:38:02 am »

Unfortunately, I suspect that all of those places would be the first target of anyone serious about finding stuff, especially "contraband" things. Remember that the "enforcers" are perfectly happy to burn your place to the ground... and you in it.

So, it would seem that the place to start is to make a list of what you think you need to "hide."  And from whom are you hiding it?

Different answers to different questions. :)
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Clip Johnson

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Re: Creating hidden storage
« Reply #2 on: February 20, 2013, 10:09:17 am »

Hey all...I'm trying to find ways to create hidden storage (for money, food, water, medicine, etc) in my house.  I have a couple of ideas, but I'm not sure if they're feasible (nor do I know how to create them myself), so I'd love some input.  I've tried internet searches and haven't come up with much, but I know you guys often have good ideas.

1.  My home has a crawlspace foundation.  I was thinking of creating a trap door in the laundry room and putting some kind of box (metal?) underneath it.

Short answer, yes, you could build a trap door, but the question is what is the finish floor material and how to make the door as unnoticeable as possible?

Quote
Alternatively, would it be possible to dig out some kind of safe room/basement/storage room under my house?

Once again, yes, but it would all depend where you propose to dig in relation to the existing foundation, as well as the structural integrity of the foundation and the bearing capacity of the soil. If nothing else, stay as far away as you can from the foundation whereas not to compromise the capacity of the foundation to safely transfer loads down to solid footing (depending on bearing capacity of soil). You don't want to set up a situation where there is now a surcharge from the exterior grade. Of course, gutters with downspouts that lead to a drains system, or simply directing water away from the house for at least 10 feet would help.

Quote
2.  I have a three-step staircase that needs to be remodeled, also over the crawlspace (it goes down to the garage).  Would it be possible to incorporate some kind of storage (box under the landing, or drawers in the steps) into my remodeling plans?  If I were to do drawers for food storage (apples, potatoes, etc), what kind of materials should I use?

Personally, I like the idea of implementing a pivoting stair case, as seen in the following link:

http://www.finehomebuilding.com/how-to/reader-tip/pivoting-porch-stairs-conceal-storage-space.aspx?nterms=65820

Quote
3.  My front entry floor is 3 inches lower than the dining room floor that it connects with.  I plan to build up the entry floor to the same level as the dining room.  Would there be enough space in between the current floor and the built-up floor to store anything?

Yes, of course what you're proposing would also involve a modification of the front entry door and accompanying threshold. You want to be sure to do this right in order to prohibit water/moisture infiltration. Also, you would have the same considerations as above (laundry room) concerning the finish floor and how to make something inconspicuous.

Quote
4.  I have an unused, but still wired, junction box in my kitchen.  What would I need to do to get it out of the wall safely?  I don't know if there's power to it or not; the door was fastened shut when the new junction box was installed in the garage.

I would venture to guess that the panel left behind is covering wire splices, as per code. If this is the case, one would have to back-up all wires to attic or crawlspace and install all wire slices in properly sized junction boxes with covers. I would not recommend undertaking this task unless you were adequately familiar, and comfortable working with electricity. But, yes, it certainly can be done.
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Clip Johnson

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Re: Creating hidden storage
« Reply #3 on: February 20, 2013, 10:45:27 am »

Oh, I forgot to mention my all-time favorite, the hidden bookcase door:

http://www.thisiscarpentry.com/2012/05/11/hidden-pivot-bookcase-katz/
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DPR 2006

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Re: Creating hidden storage
« Reply #4 on: February 20, 2013, 11:37:38 am »

I am so sorry.  When you said, under the staircase, I could not help but think of Spot, the Munster's pet dragon.



 :laugh:
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Julio

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Re: Creating hidden storage
« Reply #5 on: February 20, 2013, 07:33:08 pm »

under the house?
make it big enough for you and the family, and everything you want to store.
and make it fire prof. you do not want to get wacoed.

Dawg
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Peregrin

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Re: Creating hidden storage
« Reply #6 on: February 20, 2013, 08:51:51 pm »

Thanks everyone!  I figured it would take a lot of work if I chose to do something like this, and I'm pretty sure I'm not up to the task for under-the-house stuff.  The laundry room currently has a low-pile carpet, which could cover up a trap door, but it may be a pain to mess with it every time I need something from the stash.  I'll skip the junction box too--don't wanna mess with electricity like that!

I may try some kind of modified stairs/landing (the pivoting stairs *does* look interesting, but I can't see the drawing very well and it pixelates when I zoom in...), and possibly the entry way storage (the floor and doors need to be raised anyway, as part of the installation of a handicapped ramp outside).  I'll keep doing research.

I *love* the idea of a swinging bookcase, I just don't have any place to put something that cool!  :D

And DPR...you nearly gave me a heart attack!  I've never watched the Munsters, and now I'm gonna have nightmares of that creepy dragon!   :laugh:
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Peregrin

If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.  --John 8:36

O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is...  --Psalm 63:1

Clip Johnson

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Re: Creating hidden storage
« Reply #7 on: February 21, 2013, 12:39:11 am »

If you're interested in pursuing the pivoting stair thingy, I will try and attach it to this post, which I hope will work well enough to at least see the information. Also, you can modify this project to make it work for interior stairs. using the free Google sketchup program will help in finding the exact pivot point.

And as far as the hidden bookcase is concerned, if you notice in the above linked article, the builder (Gary Katz) simply used an existing closet door opening.

« Last Edit: February 21, 2013, 12:51:22 am by Clip Johnson »
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LdMorgan

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Re: Creating hidden storage
« Reply #8 on: February 21, 2013, 01:35:00 am »

In many houses "dead space" is accidentally created by the architect. The builder  just closes it in per the plans, and everybody goes on about their business.

Search your house for dead space. Use what you find. 

Look into secret latches--hidden releases that are operated by pushing in a wire, turning a screw, or applying a magnet to a special spot. They can be lots of fun!

Understand that there is nowhere in you house that you can hide anything from a police search. At best you can merely conceal something from a casual intruder.

The cops (and the Feds) use radar. They don't have to bust the drywall to see what you have hidden between the studs. Or in the attic. Or in the basement.

The Feds will bust up your drywall anyway, just to be Imperial Assholes. It's what they do.

One useful trick to do is to pick a convenient spot on a painted wall, go the the back side of the wall, and route out a hole that leaves just the painted paper on the front side of the wall.

Install a revolver (best for the long term, as it has no magazine springs in compression) and then repair the hole on the far side of the wall.

In a last-ditch emergency, you can just reach through the paper facade of the hidey-hoie and come out shootin'.

Other than that, hiding things where they can't possibly be gidden is the best hint, but use no hiding place that has been suggested on the internet. Those places are all outed.

Each person invents their own hiding places as best they can. Put some serious thought into it.

My largest and safest cache of .50 cal Browning machine guns and C4 is buried in the back yard of the local Chief of Police.

(Hey--would I lie about something about that just to get his yard dug up? Shirley not!)







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Rarick

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Re: Creating hidden storage
« Reply #9 on: February 21, 2013, 08:16:24 am »

search Cache and you will find a lot of threads here on the topic.   Ranging from false beaver ponds to derelict vehicle and outhouse accesses.......
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Clip Johnson

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Re: Creating hidden storage
« Reply #10 on: February 21, 2013, 02:42:56 pm »


Each person invents their own hiding places as best they can. Put some serious thought into it.

Exactly! As in the above given example of a, interior stair, one might have an enclosed box behind one, or more, of the stair riser/s, which is affixed to the stair stringer (framework) with pieces of velcro. One merely has a way of getting the riser board (solid piece of lumber) off, which may be with a small pry bar to easily lift it out of place. The imagination can be very helpful here.

Quote
My largest and safest cache of .50 cal Browning machine guns and C4 is buried in the back yard of the local Chief of Police.

(Hey--would I lie about something about that just to get his yard dug up? Shirley not!)

 :idea1: :snorting: :thumbsup:

And what was the reply given in the movie "Airplane" - "and don't call me Shirley."
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Silver

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Re: Creating hidden storage
« Reply #11 on: February 22, 2013, 09:21:46 am »

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DiabloLoco

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Re: Creating hidden storage
« Reply #12 on: March 07, 2013, 07:03:04 pm »

Looks like JWR still checks in here at TMM once in a while. This was just posted on http://www.survivalblog.com/ in the "Odds 'n Sods" section today.

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I noticed an interesting ongoing thread over at The Mental Militia forums: Creating Hidden Storage
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DIM TIM

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Re: Creating hidden storage
« Reply #13 on: March 08, 2013, 05:56:16 pm »

My first thought on the staircase was the same as these linked ideas. If the staircase is a fairly small one (36" or less), then I would probably have used a heavy duty set of strap hinges like the ones used for barn doors, or a heavy duty piano hinge.

My first thought with the crawl space storage was to make a set of pans below the floor with some left over HVAC duct work between the floor joists.

Not too sure on the others, but as to possibly making a dug out spot  below the floor in the crawl space...it can be done, just don't get too close to any load bearing support under the center of the house. If there are any close by, I wouldn't get any closer than 4-5' when digging near one. This would be to prevent any shifting that might disturb the structural integrity of the ground containing the support's footer. If you are forced to get any closer than that, then you need to start thinking of retaining structures (pressure treated timbers, filled cinder blocks, and poured concrete), to keep the support from shifting towards the dugout location in the heave of the freeze and thaw cycyle throughout the year, because even a crawlspace has these.
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Bear

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Re: Creating hidden storage
« Reply #14 on: March 08, 2013, 06:57:56 pm »

Sometimes hiding things in plain sight is the best approach. The following story
comes from a novel, Maleville, but it sounds plausible enough that someone
has probably tried it.

In France, and elderly man without children left his entire estate to his
nephew, a lawyer in Paris. At the reading of the will, there was a hand
written list of obscure words. Neither the nephew nor the executor knew
what it meant.

When the nephew entered the library of the home he inherited, he saw his
uncle's Larousse Encyclopedic Dictionary (A French dictionary in 10 volumes).

Remembering the list, he pulled the Will from his pocket and began looking
up the words. On each page was taped a $1,000 Franc note. On the last page
was a note from his uncle, explaining that he thought the odds of someone
stealing a Larousse Dictionary was extremely small.

His uncle had done this so that he could pass some money to his nephew with
having is savaged by the French tax code.

The fictional uncle does have a good point - thieves want items that are valuable
and easy to carry. The Larousse is not very popular, would be hard to sell, and
not valuable unless you steal the whole thing, which would be a lot of work.
Even if the thief KNEW that something was hidden in it, it would still take time
to find it, which makes it less attractive than stealing something simple and valuable.

Libraries often have book sales where old books can be bought by the grocery bag full.
It wouldn't be hard to buy a bunch of uninteresting looking books which could be hollowed
out to hide things "in plain sight" without having to resort to carpentry.

Bear

Just 2 cents...
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