Many of us would love to stockpile supplies in preparation for emergencies and disasters, but don’t have the luxury of some sprawling estate—or even a single-family home with a yard—in which to do it. If you live in a small apartment, an RV, or some other modest-sized domicile, it’s true that storing survival gear and provisions can be a challenge. It’s not, however, a prohibitive challenge. Limited space storage solutions abound. Anybody, no matter the physical footprint of their home, can take steps to prep for trouble down the line. All too often we use a constraint such as limited space as an excuse for (let’s face it) laziness: Rather than make the effort to gather the resources we might need to comfortably weather a SHTF scenario—even the resources we might need to all-out survive it—we just dismiss the whole endeavor by saying, “Well, I just don’t have the room for that kind of stuff, unfortunately.” Not long ago we reviewed the many options those on a tight budget have for assembling emergency preparedness supplies. Time to take a similar approach for those whose square footage is a little bit lacking!
Depending on the dimensions of your apartment, house, trailer, and/or yard, you may not be able to store years' or even months' worth of prepping supplies. That’s OK, though: Even just having the basics of a 72-hour disaster kit is something. The same goes for a bug-out bag: This is meant to contain what you need to live off of as you get yourself to a more secure, long-term haven. Virtually any person has the space for such barebones—but still incredibly valuable—emergency readiness kits.
The first step’s the most important, right? And when it comes to prepping in a limited space, the first step is doing a walkthrough of that space with a scrutinizing eye. To assess what your options are, look for wasted space: those nooks and crannies left empty, or given over to unnecessary clutter. Treat this walkthrough as an opportunity to purge—those unused pots and pans, those unread books, that broken stereo system you never got rid of. Lightening your load can free up an awful lot of closet, cabinet, and shelving space. Look closely and creatively, and you’re bound to see possible prepping storage space scattered all around your house: under the sink, under the couch, behind the books on your bookshelves, on the tops of high cabinets, beneath the stairwell. More likely than not, you've got more room to play around with than you first thought.
Evaluating those potential alcoves as storage for prepping supplies, it’s important to keep a few things in mind. You need to be more demanding selecting storage space for your foodstuffs: You want to avoid damp or humid environments and extremes of temperature. You can be less exacting for your extra clothing layers or backup flashlights. As you’re likely to be scattering your supplies wherever you have room, consider making a list or even a crude map in case you need to quickly refresh your memory as to an item’s location. On a related note, it’s definitely important to maintain an updated list of your food stores so you’re keeping track of expiration dates and rotating in fresh reserves as necessary. (You can learn more about emergency food storage principles by reading this earlier blog post of ours.) The same goes for water, which can't be stored indefinitely. (And maybe it goes without saying, but: Given their best-in-the-industry 30-year shelf life, Mountain House emergency food supply kits really recommend themselves as survival provisions.)
Through the fairly simple procedure of raising your bed a few extra feet off the floor, you’ve given yourself a nice swath of extra and out-of-the-way space for prepping supplies. You can also create some new “furniture” by stacking plastic bins or buckets packed with emergency essentials, then throwing a tablecloth over them. Then you can use that covered structure as a side table, a flowerpot base, or for some other both decorative and practical purpose—with all those SHTF supplies neatly hidden away from your visitors. In a closet, say, you can also similarly pack bins or buckets in single or multilayer, then roof the topmost containers with a board to create a stable shelf for canned goods, bottled water, and the like. And speaking of shelving, you can easily add that to many cabinet and closets, dramatically increasing their storage capabilities. Besides rigid installed shelves, you can also use shoe organizers, over-the-door hanging shelving, stacked crates, and the like. If you have a yard, you might also consider burying gear and non-perishable goods in a suitably sealed container.