Is Hiding Food and Gear in Your Home a Good Idea?
We here do not have the answer to this question. It is up to you to answer it based on your situation, but we will put forth some thoughts on the subject and point out some pros and cons.
There are hundreds, if not thousands of articles on the Internet about this very subject. There is a difference in finding storage places for your emergency stockpile, and hiding your food so others cannot find it, however.
Storage is always a problem unless you have unlimited space, and who has that, so you do have to get clever, and be organized when it comes to storing emergency supplies. How much effort should you put into actually concealing your supplies in hidden walls, and fake countertops and so on, are actually the real questions.
If no one knows you are a Prepper then your home would only be a random target for looters and others. If everyone in the area knows, you are a Prepper then whatever effort you put into hiding your supplies will be for naught because desperate people will essentially tear your home down to find your food supply, because they know it is there.
Practicing Operation Security (OPSEC) will help you hang on to your supplies once the SHTF.
If you were to follow some of the advice being put forth on the Internet, you would need a degree in structural engineering, thousands of dollars, and the time to do all of the work involved. Not practical for most people.
You have heard the saying locks are for honest people. Locks, for the most part, prevent crimes of opportunity. If a safe door, for example, is left wide open and there are bundles of cash stacked inside some may look closer or even grab a stack of bills, (an opportunity presented itself). Conversely, if the door is locked, the person that may have grabbed a stack from the open safe may not give a second thought to trying to crack the safe, not a real opportunity. A serious professional thief, on the other hand, would not be deterred from trying to open the safe.
If you pile your gear and food in the living room for anyone that comes to the door to see, you may find some of your supplies missing from time to time as people come and go from your home. If it is organized and put away out of sight essentially, then the shrinkage goes away, but that does this all mean that you have to build fake walls or cut holes in the floor to hide stuff.
Guns, Ammo, cash, jewelry and precious metals or stones should be locked in a safe that cannot be hauled off. People will see the safe, see that it is locked, and if it cannot be carried off it will be left alone, because your average and even above average thief cannot typically crack a safe, despite all the Hollywood movies to the contrary.
Thieves would probably haul an unanchored safe away so they could attempt to open it at their leisure in a safe place. Any safe can be opened, of course, if someone had the right tools, experience, and the time. A safe is rated on how long it would take to open it, but even the simplest ones take some effort and time, and often the project is abandoned after a few days of cursing and after a few smashed fingers.
If a rogue gang of Preppers, for example, went off script and started pillaging in the community they would tear your home apart after they ran you off or shot you dead. They would know where to look. You are not the first person to hide something behind a fake wall, in fake bottoms in drawers, or under the floorboards. If Martial Law is in effect and the government decides to start a redistribution program with your supplies they will know where to look. Sheetrock walls will not stop them.
Hiding Supplies off Site
Off-site means out of the home essentially, and close enough so you can resupply in a hurry if you have to abandon your home. You can stockpile supplies in a storage container buried in the ground, or use smaller containers and cache supplies in various places close to the house.
Shipping containers can be used, but you must be careful, you cannot just bury one and call it a day. The container has to be fortified to withstand the weight of the soil piled on top, and you have to, of course, provide a way to get to your supplies. Even a few inches of soil on top could cause the container to collapse.
You want your supplies well organized and put away out of sight from casual guests in the home. You don’t want to advertise you are a Prepper. If you cannot avoid piling gear and food all over the house in plain sight, then you do need to consider off-site storage such as caches in the ground.
If someone takes over your home during a crisis, he or she will find your supplies regardless of how well the supplies are hidden. If someone breaks into your home while you are out shopping and your supplies are organized in the pantry or garage, then yes you may lose some if not all of your supplies, and yes, if they were hidden better maybe the thieves wouldn’t spend too much time looking.
You could harden your home to keep thieves out while you are out shopping, but again you won’t keep them out during a crisis. If they want in, they get in. You do have to decide what is best for you, but it seems that spending money and time to come up with complicated hiding places in some cases may not benefit you all that much in the end.