Sunday, November 24, 2013

Before You Liquidate: Where Elderly Parents Hide Money and Valuables

Where Do Elderly People Hide Money and Valuables In Their Home: Tips For Helping Parents Downsize and Move 

Recently it was reported that a New Haven, CT rabbi found $98,000 hidden in an old desk that he bought on Craigslist. This story reminded me of how often older adults hide money and valuables in secret places. Afraid of banks and hearing family stories about living through the stock market crash in the 1920s and Great Depression in the decades before World War II, many older adults grew up in times when hiding possessions was common.

Helping Parents Pack Up Their Home

If you are a baby boomer, you are probably dealing with helping older parents pack up homes to downsize or move into other residences. I can only tell you from both personal experience and stories I hear all the time that it is not unusual to find money and other valuables hidden in some really quirky places. It would be nice for older adults to share these "secrets" with their children, but that ususally does not happen for many reasons, death of a parent, dementia, mistrust etc.

So if you are involved in helping mom and or dad downsize their belongings it may be wise to review the list below:

Common Places Older Adults Hide Money And Valuables

1. Back of drawers
2. pockets of clothing (jcakets, pants)
3. socks, underwear or junk drawer
4. coffee cans, cookie jars, cereal boxes and canisters
5. cigar boxes
6. shoe boxes, old jewelry boxes, trinket boxes, old tins
7. freezer (ice cube trays, plastic containers)
8. refrigerator
9. medicine bottles
10. artificial plants, planters, flower pots

11. secret pillow pockets
12. file cabinet drawers

13. behind pictures/artwork (between backing and picture )
14. mattresses
15. toilet tank in a waterproof bag or bottle
16. buried in the backyard, garage, attic, under flooring
17. pages of books, newspapers
18. hem of curtains
19. lining of a suit

Readers please add your ideas to this list, I will update as I hear from you, thanks.



C. Dianne Zweig is the author of Hot Kitchen & Home Collectibles of the 30s, 40s, 50s and Hot Cottage Collectibles for Vintage Style Homes. She is also the Editor of Antique Online an actively growing internet based resource community for people who buy, sell or collect antiques, collectibles and art. You can find Dianne’s fabulous retro and vintage kitchen, home and cottage collectibles at The Collinsville Antiques Company of New Hartford, CT, a 22,000 feet antique emporium with an in-house retro café. To read more articles by C. Dianne Zweig click on this link: C. Dianne Zweig’s Blog Kitsch ‘n Stuff Email me at Visit my website, Dianne is a member of: The American Society of Journalists and Authors The Society of Professional Journalists
C. Dianne Zweig is the author of Hot Kitchen & Home Collectibles of the 30s, 40s, 50s and Hot Cottage Collectibles for Vintage Style Homes. She is also the Editor of


  1. My grandfather had money between newspaper pages and stitched into curtain hems. My girlfriend's father wrapped 3K in aluminum foil and put it above the garage door. Thankfully she had an honest garage door repairman find it.

  2. I remember hearing about a man who hid a large amount of cash in the lining of a suit; it was given to charity by his family.

  3. I just cleaned out an elderly aunt's home and didn't find a dime. Did get some neat old household stuff and some vintage clothing though.

  4. When my grandmother died inthe late 80's, no one knew where she had put her engagement and wedding band that hadnt fit her for years. When cleaning out her bathroom, the found them in a pack of denture powder.Check ALL boxes. Another relative had 30 grand in the freezer, marked ox tail. Luckily she had told someone she did that.