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Staying in situ and hiding your stores

Reference the guest post by Skvez, society in the UK seems to be more about living in the suburbs than living in the country and we need to ensure that we consider that in our plans. I actually have plans to move away from here to a more remote location but looking at it realistically I believe I will have the same issues there. More so probably because where I think people will soon realise that there is little to be had in the suburbs there will be more in the remote villages or homes.

So, with this in mind, I spent some time over the weekend looking at my home with a view to work out what I could do to secure my stores and what I could do to secure my home in a worst case scenario.

I live in a quiet cul-de-sac on the outskirts of town, about 800 yards away from real countryside and farmers fields. My home is an extended semi detached house with what was a large garden but is now a garage, several sheds, a green house, a patio area and a small garden area.

It was a sobering exercise. Due to a magpie nature I have collected over the years a significant number of items that would be of benefit in a survival or self reliance situation. In fact they fill the loft, a living room, one bedroom, my garage and two of the sheds. Items like a lathe, drill press and a milling machine are difficult to store never mind the camouflage nets, the water bottles and the sleeping bags and tents. Then looking at the pantry, the kitchen and the washroom to find food, more water and all the cleaning and cooking gear. Some of the stuff like the lathe, the mill and the drill, is difficult to move and hide. Some of it, the garden produce and trees, just cannot be moved. The rest of it is portable but some of it, particularly the foodstuff, needs to be stored carefully.

In the end I decided I need to move a lot further than I intended and choose my land carefully. I cannot currently secure my house and grounds well and have nowhere really to securely store six months worth of food and material. Yet, I cannot move in the current economic climate. Ouch. I’ll also update the spreadsheets so that this is taken into consideration during the planning.

I’m going to start by making certain assumptions, which may or may not be valid. I hope I won’t find out.

  • Nobody is going to steal a lathe or any heavy machinery on their scavenge hunt for food.
  • The same with garden tools and furniture
  • The edible food in the garden, greenhouse and house will disappear.
  • Any movable pots with small food plants in will disappear.
  • Anything in the pantry or kitchen that is edible will disappear.
  • Anything portable and seen as valuable will disappear.
  • Doors will be broken down or windows smashed to gain entry to any room, homes, garages and sheds.
  • Looters will be armed, if not with firearms, at the least knives, axes and wood.
  • Any resistance with weapons or otherwise will result in injury or, more likely, death.
  • There will be several visits over a short period of time followed by delays before more sporadic visits.
  • Any discoveries of hidden spaces will result in the entire area being destroyed.

So taking Skvez’s three high risk times. I think I have the pre-disaster one covered. I keep myself to myself, only close family know I have any stores and my neighbours have no idea what is going on. They probably think I am eccentric and I’m not going to correct them (They may even be right)

The early post-disaster is going to be the most difficult time for the family. Having food and equipment but not being able to use it is going to be difficult but has to be done, if the fact that we are fed and warm is discovered then they would come and, at this moment, they would be able to take everything. Even armed I would be unable to stop them as they would wear me down and destroy the house. I need to find somewhere to store my stores and pretend to be in the same situation as them. Most people have food in their gardens, trees, veg or the like so having some will not make me stand out. Defending it is not worth it and if they take what is there, leaving the bare plants then that is the best I can hope for. I may have to plant my crop rather than use pots. As long as I could access the hidden areas quietly, without overview then I could stock up on a daily basis and live from day to day for the first few months. No luxuries, no light, no building or anything that makes us stand out.

The next stage, late post-disaster should be traumatic but less so than an earlier search. Hiding, or running away, would be a viable option and if the house looked ransacked already then the chances are it would simply get a cursory search.

So, I need somewhere to store my goods, hidden but accessible without being overlooked. I need to protect my assets and I need to lay low.

The first and biggest issue is where to store the goods. I need a largish room, protected from water and with a concealable entrance. Due to the shape of my house I could create a small hidden room about 1M deep at the end of one room. I could put enough stores in there, brick it up and leave it until the hordes are gone. This would cover a lot but not it all and I just cannot hide it all unless I go underground. It is possible to do that but difficult and how can I do it securely and how much space can I create?

My first thoughts are I could go under the house with the entrance in the hidden room just discussed. I could remove the earth from the room a bit at a time and dispose of the soil in the bins. Last time I did this it took me three months to dig out a floor space about a metre deep covering the entire floor area whilst I worked during the day. The intention is to then cover it with thick flooring, refurnish the room and then hope that nobody starts to dig (excuse the pun) too deeply into the makeup of the walls and floors.

I think that would cover my stock problem for the long term. I could also hide a smaller cache up in the loft behind the water tank, some buried in the garden area under different parts of the patio and one of the sheds, not much but enough for a weeks worth of items in each area. Which would enable us to eat but not have too much on hand before we needed to enter the storage area.

So pre-disaster, Bolt the lathe, mill, etc. to the floor and round the bolt heads. Move everything edible or interesting to the storage areas.

Early post-disaster though I think I would have to denude every one of my fruit trees, bushes and veg patches. So they just get a cursory glance and I get to keep them. Unlock every door outside and inside to allow access and make it look like there is nothing here. Get out when visited and run away or even join in pointing to your neighbour’s house.

Late post-disaster, set deadfalls and traps, seal up the holes, acquire a suppressed pistol or knife and willingness to use them if necessary on some poor sap just looking to live. Noise being a No No while you keep your head down. Move the family up the stairs into the loft, demolish the stairs and use ladders. Seal all windows for light so you can put the lights on.

Longer term, stay alive until you are rescued, or you get to the following summer where you can start rebuilding and looking for other survivors because no one is coming. Prepare for a new world. The rules for this one will be gone at that point.

I have been accused of sounding too apocalyptic but it is just they way it worked out in my mind. I have no doubts that we will tear each other apart if we find someone with food when there is none around and I have no doubt our lives, already considered low by certain members of society will be nothing to these people if they want what you have. We need to be very careful until we get ourselves back on our feet. There will be no law and order to help us and although you may think it is bad now wait till you see how man can treat others under these circumstances.

2 comments to Staying in situ and hiding your stores

  • Skvez

    I agree it’s unlikely that your lathe or other heavy machinery will be stolen on a food scavenge but your garden tools may be at risk.

    “There will be several visits over a short period of time followed by delays before more sporadic visits.”
    Perhaps not, I’m hopeful that once you’ve been raided you may not get raided again. In fact I was considering an article on “how to make your house look like it’s already been raided so it won’t be searched”. At least while there are other not yet raided properties, one that has been raided is less likely to be re-searched.

    I don’t think you are necessarily being too apocalyptic under *certain conditions*.
    If the country gets hit by a bad storm for a few days and the power goes out and people can’t make it safely to the shops I don’t think you will have your house raided by the neighbours.
    However in the longer-term scenario of a collapse in the global economy due to hyper-inflation and loss of trust in fiat money it’s a distinct possibility.

    It’s improbable but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t plan for it. Just as I don’t expect my house to burn down but I still have fire insurance, working smoke alarms and sleep with the door keys in a convenient location to the bed.

  • Skean Dhude

    Skvex,

    I was going on the assumption that there will be plenty of gardening tools around and you can’t eat them. So even if mine were stolen I could likely find replacements for the common ones.

    The main point being to minimise what is stored in the store rooms to essentials only.

    I have a lot of faith in my fellow humans but I do recognise a dark side and that will be the time it comes out.

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