[This article is part of a series. Did you complete the “Hiding Stuff Interview” last time? If not, you may want to do that first.]
As I mentioned, when it comes to protecting your preparations by “keeping quiet” there are three real options: hiding things at your home, hiding things away from your home, and hiding your preparations by not discussing them. Today we’ll look at each.
Hiding Stuff in Your Home
The first option is to hide preparations at your home. You may already be doing this. If you have a very large home with plenty of cupboards and closets, or a good basement, it may be quite easy to hide your preparations. If you live in a small apartment and you have a lot of preparedness items, it may be very challenging to conceal them. Here are a few things to think about:
- Your preparations will be easy to access (for rotation, non-emergency use, or emergency use).
- Usually minimal cost for hiding things.
- Your preparations may also be easy for “bad guys” to access.
- Bulky items may be difficult to hide.
- If you choose to purchase specialty items for concealing preparations, they will cost extra.
Remember to think about temperature control; this may be one of the limiting factors when you try to hide items in your home. In other words, if your garage is not temperature controlled, think twice before you store food or water out there. Food intended for long-term storage must be kept at a cool temperature, and if it is exposed to summer heat in your garage, it will not last nearly as long as you expect it to.
For some specific items, there are special products that you can purchase to help conceal your preparations. For example, you can buy hollow books, or clocks that hide guns handily, or even furniture that hides cases of food storage. If you’re handy, you can design and build all kinds of furniture (or false kitchen islands, etc) to disguise preparations.
Depending on how thoroughly you’re hiding things and how much space you have, you may need to utilize any space you have. For example, all of the beds in our house are sitting on cases of food storage instead of bed frames. Otherwise, we wouldn’t have enough space in our house for it.
If you’re hiding precious metals, it’s usually a good idea to hide them near other metal things. The idea behind this is that someone using a metal detector would believe the detector was responding to the larger, obvious metal object and not your precious metals. Some metal detectors are more sophisticated, and they can distinguish between various types of metal, so you’d need to be more careful about your hiding spots if you wanted to protect against someone specifically looking for metals.
Hiding Stuff Away From Home
For most people, if you’re hiding things away from home, the goal is to maintain control of your items while minimizing the risk of someone stealing them from your home.
- Diversification. If someone loots your home, you will probably not lose everything, since not everything will be at your home.
- Preparation items will not clutter your home or require a lot of space at your home.
- Hiding things away from home often costs money, but in some cases it will be free.
- Difficult or impossible to rotate supplies, or access them very quickly.
- You may lose control of your items if you are not able to access them, or if you trust the wrong people.
- Most places that you could hide things away from home will cost money.
Again, the things to consider are going to be temperature control, expense, and location. Some common places that people “hide” things outside of their homes include:
A storage unit.
Especially when it comes to large or bulky items, a storage unit may be just what you need. Keeping items at a storage unit will diversify your risk, because someone who shows up at your home looking for food isn’t going to know about your storage unit. One downside is that storage units have monthly storage fees. If you’re storing food you’ll probably need a temperature-controlled unit, and those are significantly more expensive. In an emergency, it is totally possible that mobs could loot storage centers, or you may have difficulty accessing (or retrieving) items from your storage without people knowing.
A safety deposit box.
For smaller items, you may consider renting a safety deposit box at a bank. The benefits of using a safety deposit box are: security (these spaces are well-protected against natural disasters and looters) and diversification. If someone loots your home (or it is destroyed in a disaster), you’ll still have this stuff. A safety deposit box may be a good choice for protecting precious metals, with two caveats: first, although gold is easily stored in a safety deposit box, silver takes much more space, so depending on how much you have, you will either need to rent a large box or think of another way to hide some of it. The second problem is that historically there have been times that authorities have confiscated the contents of (or allowed limited withdrawals from) safety deposit boxes. So, there is the possibility that your items may not be safe from the government. My husband and I have multiple safety deposit boxes, at different banks. We have found that safety deposit boxes are a great place for the storage of documents and computer back-ups. (We have multiple external hard drives, and every few months or so we back up our computers and swap hard drives at our safety deposit boxes.)
Someone else’s home.
Particularly if the space at your home is inadequate, you may wish to “hide” your preparations at someone else’s home. If you choose to do this, it will be important to store your items with someone that you trust completely. The benefits of this are that it is likely a low-cost option, it will diversify your risk, and your friend or family member may have more space or be better prepared to defend stuff. The drawbacks are that your preparations will be out of your immediate control (which means they will be harder to rotate and harder to access if or when you need them). It will be harder to assure that they are well concealed and kept out of hot temperatures.
eFoods Direct warehouse.
This is also an appropriate place to mention the eFoods Direct 1 Year Stowaway Program. I have not participated in the program but, by all means, especially if you don’t have much space and you are not concerned about an immediate threat, this program may be for you. The advantages are that it helps you build up preparations without requiring you to have all the space you need right when you order. As I have mentioned, it is very important to keep your food storage in a temperature-controlled location, and of course eFoods Direct takes care of that for you. There is also no extra charge for storage, so compared to the cost of a climate-controlled storage unit, this could save you a lot of money if it is what you need.
Hiding Stuff By Keeping Quiet
I know that there are some programs on TV about people who prepare. Don’t be like them. If people know that you have preparations, they may be more likely to come for your things when times are tough. When people are hungry, they do things that they wouldn’t normally do. The opposite of this is also true: if people don’t know that you are prepared, they will be less likely to come for your stuff. Blend in! Of course there is a careful line between encouraging others to prepare (which is a good thing) and not letting them know what you’re doing to prepare. Even if you only tell people that you trust, anyone you tell could tell someone else. Be very careful about this. It is hard to un-tell people.
Now, review your list from last time. What can you hide, and where can you hide it? How can you encourage your friends, families, neighbors, and others to prepare without accidentally inviting them to depend on you in an emergency?
If you have any other ideas or suggestions for hiding preparations, feel free to share them in the comments below.
Next time, we will discuss the second major strategy for protecting your preparations: sharing them, or reducing risk.