Hiding in Plain Sight

Everybody has something to hide, right? Sometimes it is merely something sensitive that shoudn’t be left for prying eyes to find. All of us have a few items or papers we would like to keep private; things that are quite moral, legitimate and legal. Sometimes it is cash you are going to take to the bank as soon as it opens after the weekend or holiday. Sometimes it is your mother’s last will and testament or the key to your sister’s cottage at the lake and sometimes…

But, whatever it is, there’s always the question of where to put it—either temporarily or more permanently. Enter the concept of hiding in plain sight! The same person who is attracted by a lock will ignore what appears to be ordinary. I suggest that you find a place that is so obvious that it will be overlooked by family members, friends, and the people looking at your house with the real estate lady as well as untold numbers of surprise visitors, plumbers, electricians, and, yes, especially by intruders.

Let’s face it. If somebody breaks into your home with the idea of stealing, they are going to trash the place until they find something worthwhile on their to get list. They are going to turn out all the pockets of your off-season clothes, dump desk and bureau drawers out on the floor, look under the table for something that might be held there by duct tape, check behind the pictures on the wall, check the toilet tank, look for plastic lettuce and hollow soda cans in the refrigerator and, of course, flip the mattresses. How do intruders know where to look? They have looked in those places before. They have had repeated success. Why? People are predictable.

Since burglars know all the good hiding places, you need a place that is better than good, a place that appears so boring and mundane that they won’t notice. Or, better yet, a place they think they have already looked.

It’s a very old idea from days gone by, but there is currently a resurgence of companies that offer new furniture with hidden compartments; clever hiding places that are built right into the furniture. If you’re worried that anything offered on the web is going to be known by everybody, take heart. There’s at least one outfit that custom designs and builds furniture with secret compartments so nobody but the person who orders them knows where they are. False Bottom Productions on shows a range of different pieces of furniture as thought starters but builds to suit each customer. The locations of the hidden compartments are not disclosed on the site, privacy of customers is protected and pricing is competitive with similar handcrafted furniture without hidden compartments.

But how do you tell if you have found a piece of furniture with a good hidden compartment rather than one with a compartment that can be easily found? First, it will look and function as a normal piece of furniture. Second, it will not employ design tricks such as fake drawer fronts to conceal the area devoted to the hidden compartment. Next, the hidden compartment will be surprisingly easy to access for those who know how while, at the same time, there will be little or no danger of anyone opening it accidentally. And finally, it will stand up to the wear and tear of everyday life. Over time, the furniture will not separate unnaturally or wear and allow the hidden compartment to become obvious due to frequent use.

We’d all agree that there’s no such thing as a perfect hiding place, but hiding in plain sight where those looking to take what doesn’t belong to them think they have already looked certainly comes close.

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