The Secrets to Hiding Preps in Plain Sight

Running out of space? Here are some tips on hiding your preps in plain sight

With homes getting smaller, family members moving in together, and money getting tighter, many people are wondering where on earth they’re going to stash a stockpile. After all, you don’t want everyone who peeks inside your living room to see that you have food and gear everywhere. Never fear! Here are the secrets to hiding your preps in plain sight.

Why You Need to Keep Your Supplies on the Down-Low

First, a word about OPSEC (operations security). As times get more challenging, it’s especially important not to look as well-stocked as the nearby supermarket. Hungry people who are desperate to eat will remember where they saw food. And those with children will be particularly desperate.

Don’t make your home a target by being careless with who sees your supplies. At best, you’ll have to say no to the family next door and send them away hungry. At worst, that family will gather up some friends and come back and take your supplies by force. (Or at least, they’ll attempt to do so. Mileage may vary.)

Cut the problem off at the pass by not making it obvious that you have a stockpile. In a smaller or crowded space, this may mean that you have to become accustomed to hiding preps in plain sight.

Hiding Preps in Plain Sight

In a perfect world, we’d all have a secret storage room, a spare bedroom, or an enormous walk-in pantry for our survival supplies. (Of course, if the world was perfect, we wouldn’t need to prep at all.) But since it’s not, many of us have chosen to get creative with where we stash away our stockpiles.

The keys to hiding preps in plain sight are to either make them part of your decor or make them unremarkable.

How to Make Preparedness Supplies Part of Your Decor

You might wonder how on earth you could make prepping supplies look presentable, let alone decorative. It helps to have a country-style decor if you’re going to do this.

An assortment of jars filled with dried goods is a great way to hide preps in plain sight

Jars: You can make a beautiful display of dried goods like rice, other grains, and beans in Mason jars on open shelving. The same method works well if you buy (or dry) your herbs in bulk quantities. Save money and make it a little more eclectic by saving all the jars you get that contain food, soaking off the labels, and filling them with supplies.

Old-Fashioned Appliances: Old-fashioned appliances such as wood-fueled cookstoves, washboards, cast-iron oil heaters, and wringer-washers all look like charming vintage-style additions to your home. But if you keep them in good working condition, they’ll be ready to use when the grid goes down. You’d be surprised how many of those older treadle sewing machines you see still work! Hang some old-fashioned manual gadgets in your kitchen. Think potato masher, hand mixer, ice crusher, and more! No one wants to be caught without a manual can opener when SHTF hits.

Baskets: Nice-looking baskets can look like a collection, especially if they’re of similar styles or colors. Save money by getting your baskets at thrift stores and yard sales, then breaking out the spray paint to make them all the same color. The different shapes add interest. Fill them with supplies and put these on top of kitchen cabinets, on the fridge, wedged into bookcases, and slid under pieces of furniture that have open space underneath.

Closed Storage in the Open: If you have bookcases or an entertainment unit, make use of some of that space. Hanging decorative curtains over some areas, and you can hide preps behind them in the middle of your living room. Some ottomans and coffee tables are designed with internal storage, too.

Oil Lamps: Instead of using them for decoration, make sure that they are equipped with fuel and wicks for an easy light source when the power goes out. Many have an indent in the bottom where I recommend storing a lighter or pack of matches as well.

Hiding Preps in Plain Sight by Making Them Unremarkable

Another way to hide your preps in plain sight is to make them unremarkable with a little mental sleight of hand. If you have an area that maintenance or repair people access, that doesn’t mean it’s off-limits for preps.

Boxes: Get some cardboard moving boxes and label them in a code that you and your family understand. For example, T for toilet paper, F for food, P for power outage supplies. This would certainly be unremarkable in a basement. You can even store your 5-gallon buckets in boxes to make them less obvious.

Toys: Is there a playhouse or toy kitchen your children have outgrown in the basement or utility area? Fill it with preps.

Old furniture is great for hiding preps

Old Furniture: After making sure the drawers are operable, pick up those old dressers you see on the curbside on garbage day and lug them down to the basement. Fill the drawers with supplies. These are better for lightweight supplies like medications, bandages, and extra winter clothing, as things like heavy cans of food might break the drawers. Blanket chests or old steamer trunks at the foot of the bed can hold quite a bit, too.

See what I mean? None of those things would be unusual to see in a basement, but they can all be bursting with food and other gear.

Use Every Nook and Cranny

Another small space storage tip is to use every nook and cranny. I’ve already talked about sliding baskets under raised furniture, but don’t forget the bedrooms. Unless you have a platform bed that is totally enclosed, under each bed is a wealth of storage area. And that area can be increased by multiple square feet by making a small investment in bed risers to provide just a bit more room.

Don’t forget the backs of closets, shelves you need a step-stool for,  and crawl spaces (for items that are not temperature, pest, or humidity sensitive.) Also consider linen closets, bathroom closets, and laundry room shelving. Trust me – you have more space than you realize.

How Do You Go About Hiding Preps in Plain Sight?

Do you live in a home where space is at a premium? How do you store your stockpile? Do you have any tricks for hiding preps in plain sight that I haven’t talked about here? Let us know in the comments.

Additional Resources

Here is a link to tons of products with secret compartments.

Here is a link to how to build your own false bottom items.


The Secrets to Hiding Preps in Plain Sight

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Ash Duncan

Ash Duncan and family live on the edge of the Blue Ridge Mountains, where they enjoy hiking with their dogs, spending time outdoors, and watching apocalyptic movies.

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  1. Bellen on February 9, 2022 at 6:12 am

    Live in Fl so no attic or basement. We have a ‘guest’ bathroom and I store most of the cleaning supplies, TP, garbage bags, paper towels in the tub – closed behind the shower curtain, no one can see it. And we rarely have overnight company that would use the shower.
    Only 2 of us so I hand wash dishes – in the dishwasher I store wax paper, foil,paper napkins, paper plates, plastic flatwear, empty glass jars & plastic containers. This leaves pantry/closet space for anything that needs to be stored in a dry environment.

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