Prepping For Small Spaces

apartment prepping

Now that you’ve read all of our articles on gathering preps (And learned to save money while you do it!), it’s time to find a good place to stash your stuff. We aren’t all fortunate enough to have a multi-acre compound with a series of concrete bunkers to store our hard-earned gear and preps.

With 80% of the United States population residing in urban areas, there’s a pretty good chance that you’re in an apartment or smaller house without a bunch of property or storage space. Let us show you how to store all of your preps effectively without cluttering up your entire living area.

How It Works

Think about packing up your BOB. When you spread everything out on the living room floor, the equipment seems to take up the whole room. Somehow, though, it all fits into that 35L pack. The same Tetris skills that make this little miracle possible can be utilized for large-scale storage all over your home. It’s all about considering the space and finding the most effective way to utilize it. Put away the Gameboy; this is for to pack a bug out bag

Special Notes On Apartment Prepping

  • When storing food and water, make sure to consider any concerns related to spoiling. Water stored in plastic containers shouldn’t be left near heaters or in sunlight, so as to reduce leaching of the plastic into the water. Food should always be boxed in pest-proof containers. The last surprise you need when hiding from the roving hordes of zombies is to break out your Pasta Sides and find them full of little worms or mice. Protein’s a good thing, but emotional distress far outweighs it.
  • Consideration should be given to storing firearms, medical preps, and edged tools. Think about local laws and the likelihood of underage visitors getting their mitts on these items when you’re squirreling them away.
  • Think about how much stuff you have that you never use. Getting rid of those extras not only frees up space for preps, but gives you an appreciation for what you can live without. If it comes time to break out those preps, that ability to survive without every possible amenity may just come in handy.


apartment prepping
Wouldn’t it be nice! Fortunately you don’t NEED acres of property to get prepared. Image from Lee Cannon.


Make It Happen

Take steps to get all your stuff squared away in your little space. Pay attention to these quick tips, and you’ll be well on your way.


On this site we’ve covered go bags, BOBs, INCH options, and bug-in preps. While these all have their applications, they don’t all need to be stored in the same place. For instance, you may want your go bag or BOB to be pretty handy in case of some quick emergency: A fire, tornado, or local riot. Bug-in food or medical preps, on the other hand, can be tucked away in a spot that doesn’t require quick and easy access.

Consider the convenient dead space in your place. Most BOBs will easily fit under a rack of hanging clothes or next to the vacuum in a closet. Since you see it every day, you’ll know exactly where your bag is in the event of a “get out quick” emergency.

Having your BOB easily accessible can also encourage you to think about your preps more often and trigger you to remember to replace those old batteries, toss in some zip-ties, or check the expiration dates on food packs.

apartment prepping
Beat the challenge of apartment prepping by filling empty spaces, like replacing the box spring with food storage buckets as seen on Prepared Housewives.


For long term preps, find all that real hidden storage. While it’s a fine idea to break up your preps into small caches, be sure to keep each cache complete enough to hold you for a day or two. For instance, don’t store a couple cans of food alone in a desk drawer. If you have an entire desk drawer that can be utilized, instead use it to store a large FAK, flashlight and batteries, and a radio.

Get Some Vertical

If you don’t have any shelving or other storage options above shoulder height, you’re missing out on about half of your storage space; but you’re sure not paying half the price! Tall, narrow shelving units are the bee’s knees for storing preps in small spaces. Most closets have space on either end that isn’t quite right for clothing, but is certainly wide enough to stack preps in narrow shelving units.

If you’re not opposed to the appearance, don’t forget about those hard-to-reach spots on top of your cabinets either. First ensure that there’s a good solid board or two for everything to rest on up there, then pull out your stepstool and start stacking. The amount of canned food and bottled water that can fit in the two feet between a cabinet and the ceiling will astound you.

apartment prepping
Storage boxes are a great way to utilize space above cabinets when apartment prepping. Image from Thrifty Fun.


Inside the Box

Boxes and bins are easily stackable, move and slide around with minimal effort, and are a great way to organize preps and gear. Check out your local big box store; for less than a Benjamin you can bring home all the storage options you could ask for. Look for the skinny plastic storage bins designed to fit under a bed; these are great organizers.

If you’ve already thought of this for storing winter clothes and Christmas presents, try pulling your bed out from the wall 8-12 inches. The gap to the wall provides a huge amount of storage space for stackable goods without detracting much from the overall room layout. The same thing goes for couches, chairs, or entertainment centers.

Alternatively, fill up some decorative baskets or trunks and hide your stuff in plain sight. That idea crosses over to filling up empty suitcases, shoe boxes, or dresser drawers.

Dense Thinking

Get the most bang for your storage buck. For food preps, think high-calorie, nutrient-dense food. Soups are cheap and tasty, but don’t have the caloric density of canned meat or protein bars. Noodles are a great idea, but rice has just as many cooking options and is wildly more calorically dense and easy to store.

apartment prepping
Make the best of your space by choosing nutrient dense food items for your apartment preps.


Anything that can be made smaller should be. Putting clothes in vacuum-sealed bags can reduce their bulk by three-quarters, while at the same time making them more manageable to stack or stand vertically. Rolls of paper towels or toilet paper can be squished flat. Many new items come in bulky and difficult-to-arrange packaging. If it’s not going to spoil, pull it out of the packaging; just remember to save any necessary directions!

Keep It Close

Storage facilities, family farms, and other off-site storage facilities can be pretty tempting options for apartment prepping. Before committing to these, consider the reality of your situation. For one, do your preps really require that much space? Are you sure there’s not some more room at home? Also take into account the difficulty of getting to your storage location in an emergency. If it’s not an easy walk, it might not be a good solution.

If your apartment comes with a separate storage area, use it. Just don’t use it for preps! Keep in mind that even if it’s tough to see into, these storage areas are rarely particularly secure. In the case of an emergency where you’ll be using your preps, you’ll likely be quite vulnerable while you’re making trips back and forth with all your stuff. Consider using that storage space to hold other excess from your apartment, thus making room inside for your valuable preps. For more info on bug-in supplies, CLICK HERE.power grid failure

For Those with More Space

Even if you’re in a small house with limited property, you likely have a lot more options. Attics, crawl spaces, under-stairs spaces, and garages all present a multitude of storage options. Stick with the rules above; they’re still applicable. It can’t be stressed enough to go with lots of shelving.

Also think about the hidden storage in guest or spare rooms. Before you get too excited about your attic or basement, do be wary of the heat that can build up in attics and the moisture that can accumulate in basements or crawl spaces. An attic fan or a dehumidifier or silica desiccant cartridge is a great investment for keeping unwanted heat or moisture away from your preps.

Take It Outside

If you have a yard or private outdoor space, don’t dismiss the idea of outdoor storage. While leaving things piled under a tarp probably isn’t a very good scenario, small storage bins or outbuildings are relatively inexpensive and can be tremendous space multipliers. As with apartment storage units, consider moving yard tools and excess house junk into these spaces and leaving the preps safe inside.

Google It

Like we do with everything else we’re unsure of in this day and age; just use Google. Images and ideas abound for storage solutions of every possible kind. Some of them will be perfect for you to copy, while others might just give you the right kind of inspiration to delve into a project of your own. If you come up with a good one, make sure you’re fair to the other preppers in small spaces and remember to upload photos of your own ingenuity. Here are a few videos that make good use of space for preps:

Your Thoughts?

Hopefully this has given you a few ideas and some inspiration to get cracking on storing your preps properly. Do you know of any good spots we’ve left out? What do you do to maximize your small space? Let us know in the Comments section below.


Chris Ruiz

My name is Chris and I created this site to help ordinary people prepare for the uncertainties of the modern day world. I believe that a well-prepared society is the best safeguard against any natural or manmade disaster.

4 comments on “Prepping For Small Spaces

  1. Swell of a great article there my new best friend. Our box spring mattress, the one on the bottom, was already old when Moby Dick was a minnow and is worn out to say the least. I would have never in a million years thot of using 5 gallon food storage buckets as a substitute. Saved me some bucks there pal, and increased my prepping space significantly too. thanks

  2. Thank you for your great advice. There were a few things I had scratched my head about a bit, but; it really made me think of how to create more space. I have a small apartment and with a low-income apartment or any other place, there are a lot of rules. So, I am going to try and think of a way to ask my landlords how I can better use my space for prepping, without them knowing I am prepping. Building shelves and using my porch for a garden are a few places to start; I also will be seeking another place to do more gardening.
    Do you have any good ideas to store water? Are there stronger, more durable containers than others? I would have to stack them up, versus flat in a lot of my space. I remember hearing about a ‘bladder’, for the bathtub. I am going to look into purchasing one for myself.
    Oh, yea. I live just blocks from the Pacific ocean, can you use the ocean water in any way, possibly?
    Thanks, Bunches
    Cynthia Wells

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