Small Spaces Prepping Tips – Stockpile In A Shoebox

Trying to find space to build a stockpile when you don’t even have enough room to store your clothes can be a challenge, but it’s not impossible. It just takes a little creativity. Fortunately, we’re not lacking there, so let’s put our heads together and come up with some ideas about how to build a stockpile in an apartment or small house.

Small Spaces Prepping Tip 1: Think Compact

Water: Instead of storing 300 gallons of water, consider storing enough for a few days, then supplementing with purification tablets and a bathtub liner such as a Water Bob for each tub. This gives you an extra 60 gallons of water per bag that you can fill up right before SHTF, assuming you get notice. A good filter should be in your water kit, too.

Food: Instead of storing canned or boxed food, which can take up a ton of space, consider storing dehydrated food. You can buy actual food buckets that already have several meals’ worth of dehydrated packets in it, or you can dehydrate your own food, seal it in plastic bags, and make your own buckets.

You can also store your dry goods in the bags, too. A sealed bag of pancake mix takes up much less space than a box and stay fresh longer. You can get great 5-gallon buckets from local restaurants. Remember that even the best dehydrated or sealed food still expires. Rotate!

Small Spaces Prepping Tip 2: Utilize Every Inch of Space

If you open your closet doors, you’ll most likely see hanging bars, and perhaps one or two shelves. That needs to change, posthaste.

You have a couple of options here. You can either use stackable plastic bins or you can install shelving for just a few bucks. If somebody else has access to your home and you don’t want them to know what you’re storing, use the opaque storage bins. Most people will assume it’s clothing.

Other places that you may not have considered as storage spaces include:

  • Under the bed
  • Free-standing cabinets that you can pick up at yard sales or thrift stores
  • Overhead crawl spaces (be careful though because these spaces typically aren’t temperature-regulated. Store non-perishables and toiletry/hygiene/first aid items there.)
  • Behind furniture
  • Overhead shelving – if you have high ceilings, install some extra shelving and hide with pretty curtains
  • Allotted storage space – some condos and apartments come with an external storage unit. Carry your supplies to it in black plastic bags or in opaque plastic bins.
  • Sheds – If you’re fortunate enough to have even a postage-stamp yard, you have enough room for a small storage shed. Watch Craigslist and other local sources for used ones. Again, go with non-perishables here unless you seal it and control the temp and humidity
  • Medicine Cabinets. You’d be surprised how many tubes of toothpaste, antibiotic ointment, etc. you can stack in your medicine cabinet if you leave them in the box.
  • Paracord can be functionally stored as wearable bracelets, dog collars, light-pulls or blinds cord. Food buckets can be covered with pretty doilies or cloth and used as plant stands, etc. Be creative!

Small Spaces Prepping Tip 3: Consider a Storage Unit

22685151_sYou can get a decent-sized, temperature-controlled storage unit for around $30 per month. Get one within walking distance of your house and use it as a back-up facility.

This not only gives you a ton more space, but also gives you a back-up place to build a stockpile in case your house burns down or your building is destroyed or captured.

A couple of tips, though.

  • Use a combination lock for the added security, though it won’t help against a pair of bolt cutters.
  • Carry your stuff into the unit in bins or black garbage bags so that people don’t know what you’re storing.
  • Use sealed plastic containers to keep out rodents. 5-gallon buckets are great for this.
  • Get a unit that is accessible from the outside, if possible. If not, make sure that the facility has manual doors so that you can still gain access even if the power is out.
  • If you choose to use a unit that isn’t temperature and humidity-controlled, only store non-perishables in it and make sure that everything that you store is completely dry in order to avoid mold and mildew.
  • Store an extra docs box, weapons (if you want) and bug-out bag here, too.

Finding ways to build a stockpile when you live in a shoebox is tough but no impossible. Prepping in a small space just means that you need to carefully choose what you store and put a bit more thought into what you’ll actually need versus what you just WANT. Just as we tell everybody else, the worst thing that you can do is put it off.

It doesn’t matter how small your stockpile is right now – HAVE ONE and think of ways to build it!

This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia.

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Theresa Crouse is a full-time writer currently living in central Florida. She was born and raised in the hills of West Virginia, where she learned to farm, hunt, fish, and live off the land from an early age. She prefers to live off the grid as much as possible and does her best to follow the “leave nothing behind but footprints” philosophy. For fun, she enjoys shooting, kayaking, tinkering on her car and motorcycle, and just about anything else that involves water, going fast, or the outdoors.

Latest comments
  • According to a video I bought on Amazon regarding food storage, you can store a year’s supply of food for a person under a twin-size bed. So, each person in your house can store his own year’s supply of food under his own bed.

    If anyone’s interested, the video is named “Sensible Food Storage” by Wendy Dewitt. The best thing about that video is that she gives you a plan for easily preserving & storing meat, not just veggies & fruit. Through her plan, you don’t need No. 10 cans a big garden (or any garden) and you don’t even need to hunt (although I think both are recommended if you want long-term survival). I found Wendy’s plan much more doable than any other plan I’ve seen. It makes total sense and isn’t even that expensive.

  • Freeze dried foods are excellent, but the Manurachn noodle soups come in 6 plus flavors at around 58 cents each and with a gallon of chopped onion and some dried granulated garlic and a few bottles of jalapeno flakes, you can doctor them and get a bit of variety. They run about 300 calories each so 4 a day should handle most peoples caloric needs. Be sure to get the ones which come in a foam plastic cup. You can heat the water in a solar oven or small amounts with candles.
    You should be able to last until things quieten down or you can join a bunch of others.
    There will always be a top dog take over, and if you have a talent that he needs, join up and let him protect you (here is where a gold coin or two can get you through his guards and possibly an interview with him). Anybody can kill people, but a good mechanic, medical, electronics repair, weapons maintenance people should be needed. Any skill that they can and will need could be a life saver on your part.
    There was an article recently by a Chechen survivor of their war. They lived like rats in the sewers and wreckage, going out only at night and staying off the roads. He states that you will need weapons, food and shelter, but there will always be a top dog come along with more men, firepower, etc. than you, so try to form a large enough group of neighbors to repel him or be able to join up with him.
    In the 1960’s Howard Ruff wrote the newsletter “Ruff Times” and I believe several books. He foresaw TSHTF and I read and tried to follow his ideas. Move to a small town rural area, be inconspicuous, keep your house far enough back from the road and vegetation coverage, try to get off the grids, water, electricity, mail, etc. I had enough in the Y2K era to feed, 5 men and their families for 30 days, arm the men with military rifles, .45 acp pistols and their wives with lighter weapons. I still have the water filters, propane canisters, lamps, small propane stoves, etc. Most of the MRE’s and canned foods I gave away to battered women’s shelters, the church pantry, etc. Last year I opened an MRE ham slice dated 1997 and it made a pretty good sandwich. I sold half of my guns and some ammo and bought wife and I each a new car in 2007 with the money.
    I am 79 and do not think I could do very well cross country, but my neighbors tease me and call my house “The Fort”. The walls are one foot thick masonry, inside and out, windows are side sliding thermal – two to the opening 5′ to 7′ off the floor with bars. Doors open out and are steel with steel triple hung frames. The roof, rafters and joists are steel with a steel sub roof and all ducting and wiring running in the 18′ dropped ceiling space. 3′ of blown in fiberglass ceiling insulation and 3″ expanded polystyrene and then stuccoed outside. I moved in in 1980, and didn’t get a $100 electric bill until 1999, when I replace the thermal window units with bullet resistant lexan. When Y2K didn’t happen I reinstalled the inner thermal window and left the outer lexan in place.
    Most of my Y2K men moved off or died, so I do not plan much resistance other than trying to keep the various stray ones at bay, and I have a 1,500 gallon water tank and food for another 4-8 neighbors
    Oh yeah, an “update” on water. The Peace Corp went to Africa and taught the to dig wells, not so today. They teach them to take 2 liter cold drink bottles ( I use the sparkling water ones) and you can strain basically any kind of water through an old shirt, etc. tighten the top and lay them on a level surface for a couple of days in the direct sun light and have safe water to drink. I am going to take a bottle out of my 1,500 gallon tank last filled in 2006 (I think), process it and take it down to the local college had have it checked out.

  • Lowes sells 5 gallon food grade buckets with rubber gaskets for about $6 locally. YMMV … I’m in North Carolina. You can find Mylar liner bags and oxygen absorbers on Amazon. Pop your food inside, toss a couple of the oxygen absorbers in with it, squeeze tight and heat seal with a household iron. Golden. In fact, you should end up with a vacuum seal as the oxygen is drawn out of the air inside — keeps the wee beasties in check and keeps oils from turning rancid as fast.

    • Oh, go slow with your preps if you must … but don’t stop and don’t neglect the creature comforts. In my food dehydrator book I found a recipe for cordials … a sweetened alcoholic beverage. It would take a lot of it to sponsor a rip roaring drunk, but a couple ounces is relaxing. Don’t forget that a little taste has been putting colicky babies to sleep for centuries and is useful in disinfecting instruments and wounds.

      The recipe is simple: 1 cup ordinary brandy, 1 cup sugar, 1 pound dried fruit (I used cherry flavored craisins to great applause by our guest) and 1 bottle of chablis or other inexpensive white wine. Stir until you are sure the sugar is dissolved, dump in the fruit, cover and let sit for about 6 weeks.

      The MREs Mr. Bonds got were probably the real thing. Those are not legally available today. According to my Marine son, the ones you can buy today look like the real thing, but have only about 1/3 the calories of the genuine article. So many of the real thing were getting poached (or just kept to turn in for money) that the armed services have clamped down on the online sales. Be governed accordingly.

      More than that, the 1,200 calorie diet Mr. Bonds mentioned is only adequate if you are not exerting yourself, not very large and it’s not very cold. If you are active (humping to get to a place of refuge) or cold, you’ll need more … up to about 3,600 calories a day. Budget 3,600. If you need less, all well and good … you have some to share. Set aside some hard candy to go with the hard tack. A little treat now and then will keep your spirits up. Protect the candy from moisture in a sealed container with a desiccant pack stuffed inside.

      As i think and rethink the matter, I’ve come to the conclusion that I need to have some to steal, as well as some cached. To that end I am now of the mind that I should have a good water filter … in fact the wife and I each have one … but I should also have a straw type filter secreted about my body or someplace nearby where I can grab it while I am figuring out how to take my good one back. :~)

      A filter that is good for 30 gallons of water might not sound like much … but that is 30 days of life while I come up with something better. You can get the Frontier straw type filters at two for $20 and they are good for 30 gallons. They weigh one ounce each, so it is easy to carry several so as to assist others in need (and perhaps avoid being killed by desperate people).

      My house is comfortable but not showy in a semi-rural area near the top of a hill. It’s exposed, but there are two springs less than 100 yards away and I have plans to collect rain water. i already garden each year and have begun growing mushrooms on logs the county cuts alongside the road. (If you talk to the guys decently, they’ll probably be willing to leave you a few logs too long for fireplace wood. I asked them to leave me the 4″ to 12″ logs cut about 3′-4′ and when I came back an hour later, there they were … a pickup truck load of hard maple and hickory. If they cut them shorter, folks around here will snag them for firewood.)

      However, I have no intention of re-enacting Custer’s Last Stand from my front porch. At the first twitch of a general collapse of civility, my wife and I plan to saddle up and get out of Dodge. It’s okay if we have a few false starts … they will just make us better prepared for the one time that matters.

      Please note that I am not affiliated with any vendor … but if I know where to get something at a reasonable price I try to pass that information along, too.

      • Hey , Bill in Lexington , since you are just one state about me and a fellow prepper , I’ll clue you in on a good deal ! Reluctantly I don’t usually tell when I find a really good deal ,HMMmm…maybe its got to do with people buying up ALL the .22’s ammo in the country !! Anyway , Amazon is selling Sawyer Mini water filters (that can filter 100,000 gal. of water) and this company has been around for years! If I had the money ,I would have bought tenn of them !! There you are , and Good Luck !!

  • My husband added shelves in a small hall closet and it is now my panty for rotating my food stores. I am thinking of having a false ceiling put in the closet for hiding money, silver, guns, anything worth stealing. I believe we could make the ceiling out of wide boards and therefore by removing one, you have an easy opening. Not sure how many robbers would look up in a food pantry to check out the ceiling. I believe the storage space would be about 31×30 and 15-18 inches high.