I’m sure we all know the disadvantages of living in a city or a heavily populated environment. People. However, there is one advantage that living in those areas gives you. Material and housing from those people.
After an event we all know that people will be dying off through lack of food and the cold, depending on the season at the time. The cold may be longer in coming but it too will add to the toll. This will leave lots of houses empty, except for a few corpses which you must deal with.
It is very unlikely that any food or water will be in those houses as they are likely to be eaten by those there or emptied by scavangers hunting for food to eat. So you will probably be out of luck although you should always look especially in places like pantries and garages where people store spare tins and packets. You may come across bottles of water or juice but beware opened and unlabelled containers, you never know what is in them.
What you will easily come across though is plenty of abandoned clothing, bedclothes, gardening tools, machine tools and other such items. There will be abandoned cars, motor bikes and even pedal bikes and fuel because people will be looking for food and not wanting to go anywhere. Car batteries coupled with the solar panels on roofs and solar heating systems will be there for the technically minded. Every house will be a treasure trove to us while we scavange. We may even come across weapons and other illegal items which we can add to our stores. Don’t forget items like water butts, swimming pools, bricks, piping and other building materials. Keep your eyes out for chemicals, fuel, oils, etc. they are always handy. Not forgetting items such as toys for the kids and you never know, toilet paper and paper towels.
Don’t forget to keep your eye out for plants that you can move. You may come across fruit trees that can be uprooted or cuttings taken, raspberries, gooseberries, etc. as well as potted plants that will provide food as well as packets of seeds, seedlings in greenhouses or sheds that may have been missed.
I’d suggest that you get out there and scavange what you can as soon as the event occurs. Better stored near you than for someone else to get and take home although you must reduce the risk and let someone else get some stuff so you are not compromised. As this is likely to get us all our requirements except for food and water you should consider concentrating your resources on food and water, burying what you can, and making do with what you can scavange from your local area.
I’m intending to remove a few roofs as well. After a few months when everything will have been searched and this will enable me to grow food in houses and nobody walking by will know. They will look in open gardens or greenhouses. If there are some out of the way gardens or greenhouses I’ll be using them as well. The gardens in houses will be easy to maintain especially if I keep them close and the only clue will be a missing roof. Look around for any flat roofing on offices, they won’t get too many scavangers after the initial few months but the roofs can be used for water collection as well as growing and storing food. Spreading the load also reduces risk as it provides spare capacity in case one place is discovered. As well as that I will have the pick of the local houses when mine springs a leak, or burns down or simply when we want to spread out a bit.