Preparing for a natural disaster, famine, global war, or another pandemic is vital. As every survivalist knows, it’s risky to store your supplies where others have easy access to them, and keeping them under your floorboards ensures that they’re well-hidden. So, how do you hide supplies under your floorboards?
You can hide supplies under your floorboards as follows:
- Use an underfloor safe.
- Create false stair compartments.
- Construct a food storage container.
- Use old heater grates.
- Remove your underfloor hot water heater.
- Create a hollow floor storage system.
- Make a root cellar.
Read further to discover how you can make the most out of your underfloor storage space by using these methods. By the end, you’ll know how to hide your supplies under your floorboards safely and effectively.
1. Use an Underfloor Safe
Storing essential supplies under your floorboards is excellent because most people wouldn’t think of storing things there. However, this method is not foolproof; someone could still find your underfloor hiding place.
You should consider installing a safe under your floorboards because it will provide additional security and protect your most essential items. Should someone come across your safe, they’d find it incredibly challenging to figure out how to open it. Unless they figure out your safe combination or use explosives, your items will remain under lock and key.
Here are some items you can store in your underfloor safe:
- Important documents. A safe is perfect for keeping all your important documents, like your car, property deed, will, passport, and social security card.
- Weapons. During a disaster, it’s vital to protect yourself and your family. If you decide to get a gun for self-defense, it’s important not to let it get into the wrong hands, and keeping it locked away in a safe is a good idea.
- Cash. Credit and debit cards may not work everywhere if there’s a disaster, and keeping a wad of money in your safe could get you out of tight situations.
- In-demand items. During a disaster, some items may become hard to find; if you have these items, you might become a theft target. For example, if over-the-counter pain medication is unavailable in a disaster, you should store your supply in the safe.
2. Create False Stair Compartments
Creating false stair compartments to store vital supplies is an excellent solution if your home doesn’t have hollow floorboards or you don’t feel like messing with them.
The space under each step is typically hollow, and since most double-story homes have at least ten steps, you’ll have multiple storage compartments to help you organize your supplies neatly. You won’t be able to store large barrels of supplies in your stair compartments, but they’re ideal for canned foods, bags of rice, and other miscellaneous items.
Here’s how to create false stair compartments:
- Remove carpeting from the staircase, and inspect the underlying material for false compartment suitability. Your stairs are suitable for creating false compartments if they’re wooden, and it would be easy to remove the wooden top and create a hinged lid.
- Carefully lift off the wooden tops of each step, and clean out the inside of the step before measuring its dimensions for a lining.
- Create the lining by cutting correctly-sized plywood and nailing it along the inside of the step.
- Attach a set of hinges to the step lid and base, and fasten the lid.
- Your false stair compartments are ready to use, and you may consider placing a staircase runner over your stairs to fool people into believing that you don’t have storage compartments.
Creating hinged-top false stair compartments is the easiest way to store goods under your stairs. However, you could also make drawers underneath each step instead of making a hinged top.
Below is how you can make understairs drawers in your staircase:
- Remove carpeting from your staircase, and determine the best way to open each step. To avoid damaging the wood, use the gentlest tool possible to open the step.
- Remove the kickboard, and set it aside (this will form the drawer’s outer portion).
- Clean out the inside of the step, ensuring that there will be enough space for a drawer and that you don’t remove any structures that support the step.
- Take internal measurements for your drawer, leaving enough space to accommodate the drawer runners.
- Buy enough wood and drawer slides from a DIY store. Pine or oak works well for drawers, and you might consider treating the wood with varnish to give it an extra-smooth texture.
- Cut the wood, and nail the pieces together to form a box.
- Install the drawer runners inside the step and on the drawer box by nailing them in. Instead of installing knobs to open the drawers, consider leaving an inconspicuous gap on the kickboard so that no one will know you have staircase drawers.
- Your staircase drawers are now ready to use!
3. Construct a Food Storage Container
During a disaster, your home might be ransacked for food or essential supplies, but the ransackers may not look there if you have a large underfloor food storage container.
Now is an excellent time to construct an underfloor food storage container because you never know when disaster will strike. You can begin by finding the best place in your home for it, and below are some tips to help you along:
- Consider a place that doesn’t usually get a lot of sunshine or isn’t close to a heating vent, as this could affect the integrity of your stored items
- Select a place where you won’t be easily spotted from the outside
- Find a place over which you could place heavy furniture or a loose carpet to deter ransackers
Once you’ve found the perfect spot for your underfloor storage container, you’ll need to assess the floorboards’ condition to determine what tools you’ll need. Older floorboards have usually shrunk a little, making it easier to insert a narrow chisel through the gaps. If your floorboards are newer, you may need a chisel, a pry bar, and a lot of patience before lifting them.
Remember that the more floorboards you can lift, the larger you can make your storage container.
After finding the perfect underfloor storage location, you can start constructing your food storage containers. Here’s how to do it:
- Attach the lifted floorboards to form a lid for your underfloor storage container.
- Clean out the space beneath the floorboards, removing dust and debris.
- Obtain the dimensions for your food storage container (you might consider making multiple containers to keep your items packed neatly).
- Visit your local DIY store, and buy enough wood for the storage containers. You will also need nails, a latch, and a few heavy-duty hinges for the storage container lid. You might also want to line the container with felt or wallpaper for a smooth finish.
- Using a jigsaw, cut pieces of wood according to your dimensions and attach them with nails to create a box.
- Insert the box in the space under the floorboards and fix it securely by nailing it to any vertical wooden structures surrounding it.
- Attach the hinge to the container and the floorboard lid, and fix the latch. For added security, you might consider a lockable latch.
4. Use Old Heater Grates
If you live in an older house, you or the previous owners may have upgraded the heating system at some point. Remnants of an old heating system could include an old heater grate, underneath which could be a space just crying out to be used.
Heater grates are typically easy to remove, and if you’ve found an ideal location underneath one, before starting to work on the space, ensure that the gas line surrounding it has been cut and remove any old heating parts. You might need to call a heating technician to help with this task.
If you feel uncomfortable having a heating grate covering your underfloor storage space, create a cover using spare floor planks or buy some new floor planks and varnish them in the same color as the rest of your floor.
As with the previous storage solution, you’ll need to cut some wood to find in your underfloor space and make a hinged lid (if you don’t use the heater grate).
5. Remove Your Underfloor Hot Water Heater
Is your water heater located under your floorboards? If so, you already have a readymade storage solution for supplies! This could be the ideal solution if you don’t want to lift your existing floorboards.
This method involves a lot of work as you’ll need to remove your current heater from its place underneath the floor, relocate it above ground, and reconnect it. This may involve enlisting the services of a water heater technician.
However, since water heaters are typically large, the space they leave behind is big enough to store plenty of vital supplies. Once you have cleaned up the space and lined it with wood, it would be ready to use as it already comes with a readymade lid.
6. Create a Hollow Food Storage System
Some homes don’t have floorboards and have carpet directly over concrete. If this is the case with your home and you still want to store supplies under your floor, you could consider constructing a hollow food storage system in your basement.
This involves removing the current flooring and replacing it with short vertical wooden support structures over which you would place the flooring. Your basement is the best place for constructing such a system because the raised flooring wouldn’t be as noticeable.
A hollow food storage system is ideal if you have a lot of supplies but lack storage space in the rest of your home.
7. Make a Root Cellar
In the previous sections, I discussed creative ways of storing supplies under your floorboards. Unfortunately, these storage solutions only apply to non-food items or non-perishable groceries. If you’re wondering how to store perishable groceries in a concealed way, a root cellar might be the way to go.
Before refrigerators were invented, people had to find creative ways to store fresh produce. One of the most popular methods was creating a root cellar, an intelligent underground storage solution that harnessed the soil’s constant cool temperature and humidity to keep perishable produce fresher for longer.
The following fruit and vegetables are ideal for root cellar storage:
The most convenient way of constructing a root cellar is to use the space under your basement or porch floorboards. After identifying your desired location for the root cellar, here’s how to construct one:
- Gently lift the floorboards over your root cellar location with a thin chisel or pry bar.
- Excavate a hole, ensuring you don’t damage the foundations or pipes under your home. You could ask a construction company for professional advice before playing it safe.
- Measure the dimensions of the hole and buy enough wood or metal sheeting to make a box.
- Cut your metal or wooden sheets according to the hole’s dimensions and attach them to form a box.
- Place the box in the hole, and create a hinged lid using the floorboards.
When filling your root cellar, separate each layer of food with some straw to promote airflow and to keep the temperature constant.
If you have a generator, you could bury a mini-refrigerator or freezer under your floorboards and hide the power cord.
Whether or not you survive a natural or manmade disaster can depend on how well you prepare and how well you hide your supplies. Hiding your supplies under your floorboards is an excellent option, and you can do it as follows:
- Using an underfloor safe
- Creating false stair compartments
- Constructing a food storage container
- Using old heater grates
- Making a root cellar
- Creating a hollow food storage system