Food Storage: Should I Hide It?


Although a solid food storage inventory is becoming slightly more ‘mainstream’ (more people are realizing the benefits to having more than just a few weeks of food), when some people discover that you store more than just several weeks worth of food, or have a food storage inventory beyond what most people consider to be ‘normal’, they tend to look at you in a different way. I would dare say that some of them will think you’re a bit ‘nuts’. This is an unfortunate reality (their misconception), and one which will be difficult to change in a modern society in which food is plentiful – where people cannot understand your motivations.

That said, if you’re a preparedness-minded individual or family who has a food storage of say, 3-months, or more, you might want to consider the potential risks (and stigmas) associated with others knowing about it. Perhaps you’ll want to hide it.

UPDATED for your new comments and opinion…


Will others think you’re ‘nuts’ for having food storage?

Possibly, yes, because they are afflicted with normalcy bias. They simply cannot comprehend your motivations to store all that extra food because there is no way (in their own minds) that you would ever need that much (because of their belief that the world will always be filled with plenty and grocery store shelves will always be filled with food or that they will always have the ability to procure the food they need).

When people observe the behavior of others, and if that behavior does not fit within their own sense of what’s normal, then the other person is labeled as ‘different’ or odd. That’s just normal human reaction for most. Since most people have no idea of the potentially serious risks that we face – many of which could compromise our easy availability to food – they therefore cannot understand your motivation for food storage beyond their own ‘normal’.

‘Just In Time’ JIT Food Supply Disaster Is Looming

Additional reasons (for others believing you’re ‘nuts’) include the mainstream media who have successfully stereotyped preppers as a bunch of oddball kook’s. Many ‘sheeple’ people therefore look upon the notion of prepping and preparedness-minded people as weird – thanks to TV-shows negatively portraying the most extreme of the bunch and the consistent misleading messaging. Although like I said, I do perceive and believe that this is slowly changing (the misconception).

While there are plenty of folks who would not consider a plentiful food storage to be abnormal, the fact is that ‘most’ sheeple people will not understand you and your reasons. Therefore, you are cautioned to consider that fact as you go about your daily life.


Loose Lips Sink Ships.

It is a natural instinct for most humans to impress others or boast about their accomplishments. However boasting to others rarely will do you any good in any real way. Often, it is done only to make you feel better about yourself. Even to validate what you’ve done, as though you were unsure to begin with… Or maybe it has to do with keeping up with the Joneses.

On the other hand, you might find it refreshing to ‘play down’ or de-emphasize (be humble) about one’s own successes, and even hide some of them from others. Live ‘under the radar’, not drawing attention to yourself. It’s actually liberating in a way…

So – having said that, it is true that loose lips sink ships because people will remember the exceptional or outrageous things that you say (as interpreted in their own minds), and these things may one day come around and bite you in the arss. In other words, keep your mouth shut…


Do I need to hide my food storage?

You’ve heard the saying, “Out of sight, out of mind”. What good will it do for you if you leave your food storage in plain sight for others to notice? Answer: None whatsoever.

Knowing the way that many people will think about it should motivate you to keep it under the radar. Showing it off is only bragging – asking for trouble.

Here’s the thing… IF we ever experience a situation or period of time in which we will actually need to draw down our food storage resources due to disaster or collapse, you will be in a very minority group of people who actually have the luxury of such food storage. Think about that.

You’ve heard this saying too, “Desperate people do desperate things.” so why enable a potential desperate act by allowing others to know what you have?

During such a collapse scenario, terrible decisions will have to be made and life will be cruel. If you decide to share your food with others, that will be your own personal decision – but should not be a decision that others make for you.

The cold hard fact is that under certain conditions, others WILL take it.


There are laws in place to confiscate your food storage.

One plan for confiscation (under certain ‘national security’ conditions) is contained within the “War And National Defense Production Act Of 1950”.

In order to prevent hoarding, no person shall accumulate (1) in excess of the reasonable demands of business, personal, or home consumption, or (2) for the purpose of resale at prices in excess of prevailing market prices, materials which have been designated by the President as scarce materials or materials the supply of which would be threatened by such accumulation. The President shall order published in the Federal Register, and in such other manner as he may deem appropriate, every designation of materials the accumulation of which is unlawful and any withdrawal of such designation.

Sec. 2072 – Hoarding of designated scarce materials

Translation: The President can simply decide what is ‘reasonable’ and then order an impound on the excess (for ‘fair’ redistribution – and/or to themselves).

Another way (to confiscate your food storage) is within the recent Executive Order (EO 13603),
National Defense Resources Preparedness, signed by President Barrack Obama during 2012.

The executive order grants control of all US resources – and the ability to seize, confiscate or re-delegate resources, materials, services, and facilities as deemed necessary or appropriate to promote the national defense as delegated by the following agencies: the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Labor, the Department of Defense and other agencies.

Translation: The government can ‘go all the way’ if it wants to, and seize any resource – including your food storage at home (if it ever comes to that degree of collapse).



While it is nearly unthinkable that we would ever (really) enter a time in which collapse and desperation create widespread hunger among us, the fact is that it certainly is possible (have you really examined the ‘real’ economy lately, and the gargantuan debt that the nation and world is in? – as just one example…).

Whatever food storage that you have accumulated should be considered a precious and possibly secret asset, only revealed to whom you choose.

You might consider methods to hide some of your food storage from prying eyes. Maybe you store your excess food storage in different areas, different places. Cover it. Be creative. Here’s an idea – build a false wall with a secret door ;)

Isn’t it sad that we even have to talk about food storage like this?
This is reality. This is operational security.


  1. I like the idea of a false wall with a secret door. Unfortunately, I am 70 years with NO carpentry skills. If I hire someone to build it, then that person will know about the secret storage space.

    I do have one sort of secret cabinet. It is on the living room side of the peninsula that separates my kitchen from my living room. I had been living here a few months before I noticed it. (Actually, I originally thought it was just the back side of my pots & pans cupboard.) It is about 3′ high, 2′ wide and 2′ deep.

    Anyway, I have taken the handle off the door so that it is less noticeable. I have a 5′ long love seat that will fit across the front of the peninsula, and that will hide the door from a casual observer. For now, since I rotate my food, it is not blocked, but it is not very noticeable.

    I also have two very large bookcases and one smaller bookcase — all filled with books. I plan to hide some cans and boxes of food behind the books when it becomes necessary to hide food.

    Does anybody have any more good ideas? I have a basement, but no garage, and digging a hole in my back yard is not an option. I am not physically capable of that and besides I have a very nosy neighbor next door.

    1. Daisyk

      how about some big old piece of furniture which has had the “guts” taken out, and front fitted with hinges…Storage inside..

      -Big old t.v.
      -Big old set of stereo speakers
      -old golf bag
      -broken down hide a bed– remove bed, insert various boxes, put sheet of wood on top, replace cushions

    2. The Big Book Of Secret Hiding Places: Jack Luger … I have this book it’s very good. I did an estate auction for a “prepper” several years ago me and my crew tried to move an old console TV/Record Player stereo. It was heavy as heck until we removed 4 – 50 pound bags of junk silver dimes/quarters & Halves. To look at it you would have never known. If you live near a storage company with heated units when things start to go haywire rent a unit and find a set of dirty mattresses. Put your goods into the unit and wedge the mattresses in the door. No one will enter.

    3. Remove the box spring mattress from the bed. Get a sheet of plywood cut to the same size. It will cover buckets placed in that space.
      Think of how many buckets of food you can be sleeping on.

    4. There is a pantry cabinet on wheels that is only 10″ (56″ tall 23 1/2″ long would slide right behind a bookshelf or in a small gap. It’s called a venture horizon VHZ storage pantry. That might work for you. Make sure you have wood glue as you must assemble & it doesn’t come with enough. Easy assembly. Good luck!

      1. Looks like poorly constructed garbage. Nice idea though. For that kind of money you can get a can rotation system from Shelf Reliance. Shop around, the prices vary a lot.

  2. Full buckets can be disguised to look like a couple of buckets of joint compound. Put a couple of sheetrock tools on top of the buckets to further solidify the elusion.

    You can fill a PVC pipe and secure it to look like a sewage pipe.

    Buy new trash cans and make a false bottom, then fill it half way with food and cover it, then fill it with non-food type garbage, maybe scrap construction material that would not hold any value to anyone. Scuff up the outside well enough so people won’t think they are worth taking.

  3. This is one of my largest concerns. My basement is lined with preps in a nice orderly rotational manner. I have a good system that serves me well. The downside is that my furnace, HVAC, breaker box, cable/Internet, and just about everything else that makes my house run are down there too. I try to put blankets and tarps over what I can when I have to call a service person but I can’t cover everything. I try and stay down there while they’re working and make small talk or tell ask them about how I could have prevented the issue they are fixing but you can’t stop them from seeing what you have. My only saving grace is that they also see my gun workbench and safe and think twice about scoping the place with my back turned. Additionally I’m betting on the odds that they will forget what they saw and where they saw it by the time anything actually happens.

    1. I will be starting my storage in the same exact basement area.

      We are planning to set up shelving and place most of our supplies in colored plastic bins. The bins could be full of clothes or old VHS tapes as far as strangers are concerned.

  4. SteveO

    I also wonder about the folks on the t.v. prepper shows.

    I can’t believe they would go on t.v. and tell the world, where to shop if shtf.

  5. I’ve always wondered about the people on the prepper shows, too. I’m sure that some just want to brag about what they’ve done. It’s hard to feel so good about everything and not be able to tell someone! I hope, though, that at least some of them do it with the idea of encouraging others to prep. They may have decided that it is worth risk for them to be able to help save others. As with all “reality” shows, though, I’m sure the producers choose the most “crazy” statements that people make, and repeat those segments repeatedly. The person on the show can be mostly sane (is anyone completely sane?), and only say one awful thing during the week or so that they are filmed, but that one thing is shown on every commercial. It’s too bad that a show that could actually be instructive and help so many people ends up making preppers look completely nuts.

  6. I was just talking to a friend this past weekend about the stigmas of prepping in general. We both agreed that five or six years ago you’d be considered a loon, but it’s almost mainstream these days. Sure, some small-minded guys still can’t see the bigger picture, and sure some of the (real) foil hat guys make prepping look nutty still, but these days I don’t think it’s that big of a deal.

    Nothing meant to take away from the article though, which makes some valid points.

    1. I prep for my own personal SHTF scenario. Being a 1 income household we are only 1 lost job away from TSHTF in just our own life. That was a good wake-up call. Storing food is as good as money in the bank. Not having to buy groceries for an extended period of time will extend our cash reserves and only makes sense (especially as the cost of food continues to rise and the value of the dollar drops).

      You don’t need to be a one income household to plan for your own personal economic disaster. In fact, I think if more people did this (as well as saving money instead of living in the fast lane) they wouldn’t need our government to bail them out when they lose their job.
      If the fan does get covered in poo- I will be ready for that too.

      1. I am single income and already had my personal disaster. I was relatively prepared and it made a huge difference since I prbably would have lost my 5 acres w modest home. It matters! I am restocking now and adding things I wished I had. I am well pleased.

    2. Careful who you tell… they want to move in if it all cranks. I never mention my one year food supply but everyone knows my garden.. and all feel entitled.

  7. First question: Do you really trust your government – actions speak louder than words? The “media” thinks preppers are a strange lot or weirdos…this is the same media that only puts out what the administration wants us to have. We subscribe to “going about our business” in a very quiet but normal way. Someone mentioned about the government buying all the ammo – this has happened only since ’08. Keep shopping while we can folks.

  8. “potential risks (and stigmas) associated with others knowing about it.”

    yup. do it anyway.

    I think you are being generous (to the masses) when you suggest they might think one is odd for storing more than a few weeks.

    My experience with relatives has been if I mention stocking up on more than a week they think that is VERY weird.

    There was a big flu outbreak locally, and I mentioned to a relative (hoping to encourage them to pick up at least some extra soup/juice in case they got sick etc) that I thought I would be picking up few extra things like soup,juice,tp, etc, in case one of us got sick so we wouldn’t “have” to go out.

    she thought that was silly.

    1. Your relative will probably be someone who won’t survive a week after a widespread SHTF event – unless you’re feeling generous.

  9. re hiding it

    if you make a nice square / rectangular sort of stack, or even stack cans and put a piece of plywood on top, drape a blanket or table cloth over top and it pretty much looks like a covered piece of furniture.

  10. My wife thinks I’m being very wasteful by spending, even the little bit I do, on a back-up food supply. Ive been preping alot longer than she thinks, and it’s not just for me, but my kids and grandkids. I just ignore her when she goes off on me. Would be nice to have her on my side now, but I love her and she is one hell of a gardener, weaver, and bee keeper so I’m gonna keep her around.I keep most of my stuff locked up in a metal cabinets…mostly to keep her out of it.Lately I’ve been going the bucket route..30 lbs of rice in mylar in buckets with oxy packs..same with wheatberries, beans ect. Easy to tote and prtty easy to bury if I have to down the road.

    1. Wheat berries have a lot more limited life span even with oxy absorbers because of the oils, ground coffee and coffee beans too. Keep a sharp eye on your dates and rotate.

  11. Anonymous, your wife and my wife must be sisters with respect to prepping at least until recently. My wife grew up on a ranch which she inherited. Guns were all around the house she grew up in. She thought guns were just part of any well run house. Recently, she saw something on gun confiscation on television and and she became afraid that something is going wrong in our country( We live in Texas). I told her a lot is wrong with the direction our country is going and I did a lot of explaining of what is wrong. Now, thank God, she understands and is in this prepping with me. What a blessing that is. I pray that your wife will stand by your side on prepping. But until then keep up the good work and be patient with her. Be well!

  12. The thing is that my grandparents farmed and would store food for a year or longer as grocery stores back then were not what people would rely on for there needs. So it just seems odd that today people don’t take into consideration that bad things can happen, and not being prepared for what could happen.

    1. yes droughts and crop failure was very real and to not think ahead could cause one the loss of their livelyhood

  13. I am a big fan of the hidden room behind a false wall. Gun safe is back there too. It can double as a hidey hole if needed, but doesn’t have a fortification needed to warrant the title “safe” room.

    I have a few weeks of food out in the open, and what I consider to be “deep storage” in the hidden room.

  14. It is a sad state of affairs in America when we have to discuss “hiding” ones, food, mags, guns and ammo…..

    1. don’t know about “sad state of affairs”..

      I recall back from years ago in grade school learning about wars and civil unrest in other countries. Most often, the only ones who survived were those who managed to hide “something” from the officials looking to feed the military and government officials, and the marauders.

      it is “just common sense” to keep something hidden for an emergency.

      don’t know if any of you ever grew up hearing this, but years ago, young folks were always advised to hide cab fare/phone box money in their shoe/belt, so they were never “stuck”.

      same idea.

      1. yes it was called mad money. in case you were out on a date or with friends and someone got mad or drunk and left you stranded. or you needed to get out a bad situation quickly

  15. With the equipment available now to see through the walls in our homes, it may be somewhat difficult to conceal any goodies behind a false wall.

    1. Actually, preventing thermal imaging from ‘seeing through’ a wall is not that difficult. Aluminum backed insulation, aluminum on both sides or two layers of aluminum backed closed-cell foam insulation, will diffuse the IR image to the point that discerning what one is seeing ‘through’ the wall will be quite difficult.

      Closed-cell foam insulation is fairly inexpensive and easy to install. You can also do a builder a ‘favor’ by removing the cutoffs at a construction site, asking first of course. The generic thickness is 1/2 inch. One can put a lot of aluminum barriers in a standard 3.5 inch wall. Generally 7 layers. Which will make the “R-value” about 22 to 25 for the wall.

  16. It is the size of the problem that makes it difficult. I have a stash of food in the garage in 5 gal buckets and #10 cans that is literally equivalent to a cord of wood in dimensions. Then I have a large 6′ tall cabinet in the laundry room full of home canned foods. In addition I made a hidey hole under the stairs that I can get to fromthe closet with another 20 or so 5 gal buckets. And of course my kitchen cabinets are full as well. It’s not easy to hide a large amount of food. If TSHTF I intend to hide it all better and to distribute it around to more places to prevent the possibillity of being taken from me. But in general it is really difficult to hide a year plus supply of food.

    1. Just storing 3 month of food storage is hard to hide. and also water. my gallons of water are sitting out in the floor of back bedroom.

      1. Try putting your water in larger containers…put a piece of flat wood, etc on top, hang a cloth over to reach the floor. Place beside bed as night tables.

        1. Thanks will try that. also have issue of hiding my weapons,(rifles–which were my fathers & grandfathers)

      2. storing water is difficult enough, hiding it even harder. If you have a well, invest in a hand-operated manual pump like at

  17. disposing of garbage unknowingly may alert others of what you may have more of.

    store food stuff in containers that can be repurposed.

  18. I have enough for one person. Even one other person would halve my ability to survive. I would only consider it for my son and grandchildren. I have extra beans flour sugar for that. But it would be grim. Everyone knows I garden and all figure I could feed them from my garden… but I don’t have large enough. I planted smaller fruit trees and bushes just for more variety and longer season. Still, a 24 inch blueberry bush won’t feed a lot of people. I have 6 tomato plants 4 chili peppers. Small but varied. I have 5 acres of pinons and that could be an occasional cash crop. Only knowing about my garden… people are looking at me specutively. I have chickens.
    On the other hand I have got a half dozen beginner Gardners budding. I started a couple on super easy native edibles! One is having a 4th of July wild edible salad party for a dozen folks. I will bring a couple things. I think STFU is best. As for gardening… I have lots of wild things that are not recognizable. Take the tomatoes if you must even tho I love them dearly.

  19. i am blessed to live near a small chain of discounts stores that sells outdated and or damaged food items. i get some great deals there and since i try to eat all organic/GMO free i can find affordable items there and can keep stocked up on the things we need and enjoy eating. I also am not afraid of eating packaged food slightly past the out date and find that 90% of the packaged food which is out date by 6 months or less does not have comprised taste or quality. even those far outdated are still very edible. so i am not sure how necessary it is to keep our supply of packaged food rotated. often i buy things by the entire banana box full and i get tremendous discounts. i have hundreds of pouches of pureed food most of it labeled for babies and toddlers but some labeled smoothies and super food. it is all organic and it tastes good. i think it would be a life saver in an emergency. easy to store and easy to “bug out” with.I like it cause it gives me energy and my requirements of fruits and veggies for the day. i store my excess food in buckets with lids and also keep other things stored in those buckets so there is plenty of reasons to not realize there is food stored in them. i can get almost 200 of these pouches in a 5 gallon bucket.

    1. Canned food does eventually start to have problems. We’ve found that the “cutoff” date is apx 5 to 7 years. This seems to be when the cans themselves start to deteriorate, affecting the food inside. Some brands won’t last this long, but it’s really trial and error. I have about 20 bulging cans of beans on the table that are from 2012 and 2013, all of them from the same brand. Other vegetables from the same time period are fine if they’re not that brand. We have cans from 2011 and have no problem with them, but we still try to eat the oldest first.

  20. Although my folks always had an emergency supply as I grew up, my hubby & I are relatively new to having an emergency food supply and have been slowly building it up. I’ve talked casually with a couple of friends about food storage in general (trying not to freak anyone out) and so far only one is also working on her family’s food supply. Most cannot fathom needing more than a few odds and ends outside of what’s in their freezers. Most use few canned goods, so I’ve tried a soft approach just saying my folks always had emergency supplies so I keep some basic emergency stuff on hand “just in case”. Maybe it will at get a couple people thinking about it. For us, we have limited space, but have a couple of cupboards in our garage with canned/packaged food storage (doesn’t get too hot)and in an emergency I would redistribute the food around the house – would never keep it all in one place in a disaster. LOVE everyone’s ideas about clever places to stash food in a real emergency. Thanks everyone!

  21. I think the government (ATF, FBI, CIA, etc.) already know how many guns you own.

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