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Closet Safes & Drawer Locks

How to Adapt Your Custom Closet System as a Place to Secure Valuables Using a Closet Safe and Drawer Locks

Many people will use a safe deposit box for important documents, seldom used pieces of jewelry and even small family heirlooms. This provides the highest degree of protection because safety deposit boxes are stored inside a large, permanent, fireproof vault in a bank. No one besides yourself can access the box, because you keep one key and the bank keeps the other. Both keys are required to open the box. Although very secure, safety deposit boxes can be inconvenient. If you need frequent or even daily access to some of your items, having some sort of in-home security is a worthwhile investment. Installing good quality locks for all your doors and windows is the first step to any type of home security. Monitored alarm systems can be added to further deter theft. However, you will still want a central, secure location within the home to keep your valuables. This is where drawer locks and home safes come into play.

Although any location in the home can be used, the master closet is a convenient place and the preferred location for securing small valuables like jewelry, or even extra cash for many homeowners. In order to use your custom closet system with its drawers, shelves and cabinets as as a place to store valuables, you should outfit your space with drawer locks and safes specifically designed for use in the closet. The best ones will combine the desire for convenience with the need for security. Although no home safe or drawer lock can provide the level of security offered by a bank safe deposit box, closet safes and drawer locks do provide a strong deterrant to theft. They are a popular feature in many custom closet systems.



The closet safe is not meant to replace the safety deposit box, but rather to add to your overall security strategy by providing another safeguard for the papers and valuables better kept inside the home due to necessity or convenience. Important documents, firearms, and special pieces of jewelry are always more secure when under the protection of a safe. There are many closet safes on the market. They are usually made of steel and are offered with two types of locking systems — mechanical locks that use a key, or battery operated electronic locks. You'll get the highest level of protection from a safe that uses both types of locks. The more things you need to lock up, the larger your safe will need to be. Home safes come in many sizes, but those designed for specific use inside the closet are typically small. Standard closet shelves are 14 inches deep, and a good closet safe will fit comfortably on those shelves with enough room in front so that a cabinet door can be added to cover the shelves if desired. This means the outer depth of the safe should be no more than 13 inches including keypad. You are better off purchasing two small safes designed specifically for closet use, than going with a larger one that might hang off the shelf.

An electronic keypad on the front of the safe will allow the lock to be opened with a unique code chosen by the homeowner rather than with a key that is easily lost. The keypad is usually powered by batteries. The best closet safes will also have a keyed mechanical lock that can be used to open the safe in the event the batteries fail. Your safety deposit box can be good place to store this key, since it is for emergency use only and won't be needed very often. If you do this, however, do not keep your safety deposit box key in your closet safe because if your batteries go dead you will not be able to access your lock box to retrieve the emergency closet safe key.

Because closet safes are small and relatively light weight, you should make certain that your safe is securely bolted to the wall studs and closet shelf. Mounting holes are usually provided in the safe for this purpose. Be sure to use them.

closet safe
The Closet Works closet safe weighs 31 pounds and at 16 inches wide, it is sized to perfectly fit on an 18 inch wide closet shelf. Easy to operate, the double motorized locking bolt system is controlled electronically with a keypad, but also allows for emergency access with a key in the event of battery failure. Mounting holes allow the unit to be securely bolted to the wall and shelf. Steel thickness is 2 mm body, and 4 mm for the door. Operating procedures to program the security codes are simple and easy to follow.
closet island



Most cabinet doors and drawers can accept some type of drawer lock. There are two main types of drawer locks available — keyed and keyless electronic/hidden locks. The electronic hidden lock a good choice when you don't want to point out where jewelry or other valuables are hidden. The lock is completely invisible from the outside and is released by keying your personal security code into a remote control. This type of lock relies on batteries, and they should be replaced regularly to prevent failure of the release mechanism. If you let the batteries go dead with this type of lock, you will not be able to open your closet drawer or cabinet.

Keyed locks are the traditional choice for drawers and cabinet doors, and are still very popular. You have probably experienced this lock at some point in your desk at work, or on a file cabinet. Each lock usually comes with two keys. Both types of locks work well and are themselves made of metal. However, the overall strength of any locking system will be derived partly from the material the drawer or cabinet is made from. Furniture grade products will work better with these types of locks than drawers and cabinets made from lesser materials.

Electronic Stealth Lock for drawers
The electronic Stealth Lock® and the mechanical keyed lock for closet drawers are both offered by Closet Works. The Stealth Lock is operated with a remote hand held keypad. The presence of the lock is completely invisible to the naked eye. It can be a good choice when you don't want to point out where your valuables are kept. The keyed lock is an economical alternative to the pricier Stealth Lock, but it will still hinder sticky fingers from lifting with your valuables by making access much more difficult than if no lock were used. Both types of locks can be used on either closet drawers or closet cabinet doors.
Closet drawer with keyed lock



To increase security, the closet safe and/or jewelry drawer can be hidden behind a cabinet door that is integrated into the custom closet system. The same locks used for drawers can also be used on cabinet doors, including electronic locks. Each layer of security that you add to your closet increases the overall protection of your valuables, making it more difficult and cumbersome for a thief to access anything.

To further confound the would be burglar, your locked cabinet door does not necessarily need to look like a door at all from the front — it can be disguised as something else. This makes it more difficult to locate where the valuables are hidden. Most of us have seen this tactic used many times on television where the door to a wall safe is disguised as an oil painting. Similar in principal, turning your cabinet door into a mirror or set of shelves is one of the best methods of how to hide a safe in a closet. If they don't realize that there is a cabinet there in the first place, why would anyone even try to discover what is behind it?

Closet hutch with jewelry drawer
The full length mirror in this closet conceals a secret cabinet door that hides a closet safe and several locked jewelry drawers. When closed, it looks like any other ordinary mirror.

Once you've made the decision that you need a closet safe or locking drawers, you will find that there are many choices available. When you purchase your safe or drawer lock system, keep in mind that, as with most things, you usually get what you pay for. Cheaper is most likely not better and it is generally best to go with the most protection you can afford. You are making this investment to help protect some of your most valuable items. Select drawer locks and closet safes that can get the job done, with an eye towards purchasing something that will last many years to come.