There was a nuclear war about ten years ago. Now, people are coming back and stripping InsertCityHere of useful supplies.

I want to know what they could get from the average American suburban house.

They're mostly looking for things useful in car maintenance, defences, and weapon/armour construction. Let's say they cannot scavenge food and water as it's no good, but anything else is okay.

For reference, the society is mostly small groups of scavengers and farmers. Things are pretty disorganized, and there are no real towns or cities. Most people keep to themselves, and there is very little trade.


closed as too broad by kingledion, elemtilas, jdunlop, L.Dutch - Reinstate Monica Sep 20 '18 at 5:03

Please edit the question to limit it to a specific problem with enough detail to identify an adequate answer. Avoid asking multiple distinct questions at once. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    $\begingroup$ If the fallout series is anything to go by, a bunch of ammunition, bottle caps and some lock picks. I don't want to sound evil, but the simple answer would be everything that they left in the house. Clothes, pots and pans, jewelry, toys, computers/laptops, furniture, tv, fridge, washing machine, dryer, dish washer, dishes. Is there any reason you haven't searched for common household items and appliances? $\endgroup$ – Shadowzee Sep 20 '18 at 0:31
  • $\begingroup$ i'm trying to get some of the things that i wouldn't think of, and things that google won't either $\endgroup$ – AzaleaGarden Sep 20 '18 at 0:34
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    $\begingroup$ What can't you scavenge from a modern American house? Listing everything in my house would take a book; so I think this is too broad. $\endgroup$ – kingledion Sep 20 '18 at 0:36
  • $\begingroup$ Question is a little broad: can you narrow down some pertinent facts, please? What is it you actually want to do? What kind of "civilisation" is left? How long after the war? $\endgroup$ – elemtilas Sep 20 '18 at 0:38
  • $\begingroup$ i'll edit it to specify that i'm looking for things that really stand out $\endgroup$ – AzaleaGarden Sep 20 '18 at 0:38

Start with the bones of the house... Take the pipes and wires out of the walls, the sheet metal from the air ducts, some of the wall studs and solid wood doors. If the house has a metal roof, take it as long flat sheets of metal can be very useful for rainwater harvesting. Same for closet shelving, gutters and window panes.

Next, look at the appliances... More sheet metal from the covers, motors and heating elements from inside. The water heater is worth taking intact as it can server as a water container. Magnets from the microwaves. There is probably a barbecue grill and maybe a generator in the garage. Don't overlook the ceiling fans, lamps (with light bulbs) and extension cords.

Chemicals! Soap is always welcome, but bleach and ammonia are potential weapons. Bug spray can be used like mace. Raid the liquor cabinet, medicine cabinet and any cigarette stashes for trading supplies. Check the garage and shed for fertilizer and if there is a pool, find the chlorine tablets.

Firearms This is America after all! Butcher knives, lighters, carpentry and gardening tools can also make effective weapons. Don't rule out the possibility of finding decorative swords, bows and crossbows. Keep your eyes out for ammo, bolts and arrows. Look in the cars for snow chains, tow chains and gasoline.

Sundries Warm Clothing, blankets, towels and sheets (for bandages), first aid supplies, paper, pens, scissors, cutlery, cooking pans, toilet paper, toothbrushes, deodorant, mirrors (for signalling), batteries, vitamins.

Obscure but Possible Check the back yard for fruit trees and berry bushes. mason jars and canning supplies, free weights and portable exercise equipment, scuba equipment, camping supplies.

  • $\begingroup$ Imagine an open world game where you could loot everything like you described....there wouldn't be any houses left. $\endgroup$ – Shadowzee Sep 20 '18 at 1:58
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    $\begingroup$ I had a lot of fun writing this answer... just walking around my house looking for hidden treasures. Could have gone on all night\ $\endgroup$ – Henry Taylor Sep 20 '18 at 2:31
  • $\begingroup$ Forget the decorative swords. They're worthless in anything like a fight. Unless, of course, you've got a real sword (or just about anything else) and your oppo thinks he's cool with his decorative Conan sword! $\endgroup$ – elemtilas Sep 20 '18 at 3:35
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    $\begingroup$ I'm not so sure about decorative swords being useless. Yes, they are garbage metal and are initially dull, but they can be sharpened pretty easily and although the edge won't last long with regular use, they would be devastating immediately after sharpening. The power of a long sword's reach shouldn't be underestimated. $\endgroup$ – Henry Taylor Sep 20 '18 at 13:12
  • $\begingroup$ Start with the bones of the house - in medievel times for example raiders took the metal clips, holding the city wall together, or even the very stones of old castles $\endgroup$ – Cee Mon Sep 2 at 15:48

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