Every once in a while we’ll get a note from one of our customers saying something along the lines of, “I’d love to stockpile all the different things you recommend in order to prepare for an emergency. But I live in an apartment (or a very small home) and have a limited storage area. What should I do?”
As you might guess, the key is to stockpile the most important things for which you have room. Eventually, if your living space becomes larger or you are able to secure a storage area outside of your apartment or small home, you can add to your emergency supplies.
But that’s just part of the answer. The other part is figuring out what you can creatively do with your small space to make every inch count.
Let’s tackle those most important items first. Here’s a list of 10:
- Survival food. The more you have room for, the better. Seventy-two hours’ worth is a minimum. Aim for a week’s worth, then graduate to a month, three months and a year.
- Clean drinking water. Because it takes up so much space, you can limit yourself to 72 hours’ worth if you also purchase some water purification straws and pills.
- Flashlights and plenty of batteries. Knowing where you keep these items will be helpful when it’s dark in your apartment.
- A weather radio. This will help you keep up with what’s going on even when the power is off.
- A multi-tool. You don’t want to be rifling through drawers looking for a variety of tools, so keep this item in a place where you can grab it quickly.
- Manual can opener. Nothing electric will work in a blackout, and you may want to open a few cans of food or other canned items.
- Portable power bank. This will enable you to keep your cellphone and other important electronic devices charged for a while.
- First-aid kit. In addition to all the basics, include an extra supply of over-the-counter and prescription medicines.
- Whistle. This needs to be loud. It could be what draws attention to you if people start panicking and try to take your supplies.
- Gun and ammunition. Of course, this weapon will provide greater protection if you ever need it. Remember, a crisis can bring out the worst in people.
There are many more items that could help you in an emergency, but the focus here is on the most important ones due to space issues.
Now, for the creative part. The key is to determine which areas of your apartment or small home you are not currently utilizing. Under the beds is a pretty obvious one. If the only items you have under your beds right now are clothes you’ve kicked under them from time to time, clean them out and use those spaces for long, rectangular totes containing survival food.
If you’re living in an apartment, chances are you don’t have a garden. But that doesn’t mean you can’t grow some of your own food in order to stay self-sufficient. Small container gardens allow you to grow a variety of vegetables, fruits and herbs that do well in an indoor setting.
It’s more difficult to conceal your preparations in an apartment than it is in a house, but you can still prepare covertly. Don’t talk about your supplies with anyone other than family members and trusted friends. And when you do have company over, try to put as many of your preparedness items out of sight as possible.
Living in s small space such as a typical apartment doesn’t mean you need a smaller bug-out bag than folks who live in a house. But you should still be smart about what you put in it. Stick to the necessities, and be sure to include items that have multiple purposes.
Finally, know your neighborhood. If a crisis forces you out of your apartment, you should know exactly where you’re going to go and what route you will take to get there.
It’s also a good idea to get to know shop owners in the neighborhood. Their stores may be structures that are better suited to weather a storm than your apartment is. If they know and like you, they may let you ride it out in there with them.