This problem is uniquely Prepper. We tend to store all kinds of stuff, including food, water, equipment, bartering items, guns, ammo, and much more. Where do you keep it all? Do you have one big space for everything, or divide it up? Should your storage space be locked or hidden or both? Let’s dive into this problem.
If you have an apartment or a small house — or a good sized house that’s just filled to the brim with kids and wives — space is at a premium. You can’t wall-off half the house, or lock-down a whole floor of the house (or can you?). So the best storage strategy is going to be divided: a closet here, a cabinet there, some stuff in the attic and other stuff in the cellar.
For closet space, I use 5 gallon buckets, with the screw-on lids for a good seal. For food storage, I first fill the bottom of the bucket with table salt. That keeps everything dry, and it’s much cheaper than silica gel. Then I stuff as much stuff as I can fit into the bucket, and toss it in the back of a closet. Those buckets will also work find in a cellar, as the seal keeps out basement moisture.
The shelving at the top of a closet, especially toward the back ends, is good for boxes of equipment, such as water purification devices. One of my closets also has a set of those plastic stackable drawers. Clothing goes in the upper drawers, and supplies in the lower ones. Basically, the harder to read areas get the supplies that are used least often.
Kitchen cabinets can be organized on the same principle. The usual food stuffs go in the front of the cabinets, or in the ones at the most convenient heights. Then the back of the deeper cabinets, and the whole of hard to reach ones, get the long-term storage foods used for prepping. I have a lot of rice and pasta in the back of the deeper cabinets, forming what looks like a wall behind the regular foods. And there are plenty of cans and jars of food in the lower and upper cabinets too.
Attics tend to be hot, so only use that space for stuff that doesn’t spoil. You can buy some lightweight lockable bins at Amazon or any hardware store. The locks are not good enough for guns, ammo, or valuables. But they are fine for ordinary equipment, such as water purification or gardening tools. Toss a few of those in the attic and fill them up. Then tape a list of the contents to the side of each one.
Basements tend to have a lot of space. I have a set of plastic shelves along a couple of walls. All kinds of non-perishables can be set up there, in full view so you know what you have. Just remember to keep everything off the floor, if your basement gets wet in rainy weather.
Gun safes are an unsolved problem, in my opinion. The big ones are secure, but too expensive and heavy. The more affordable ones are too small or not secure enough. Butch C. (my co-author here) has one of those big heavy gun safes in his garage. I don’t need that much space, and can’t afford the price tag. Still looking for the ideal gun cabinet.
Butch C. also makes use of the area under one of his stairs for enclosed storage space. It’s not needed for ordinary household goods, so it can be filled to the brim with all manner of prepping supplies. An ordinary cabinet lock suffices for that kind of storage.
Should you have hidden storage in your home? That’s a tough one. Hiding goods is difficult, and the more you wish to hide, the larger the hiding space — which then makes it easier to find. Ideally, you need a couple of small to medium hidden spaces, with a secure lock. Again, the ideal locking storage eludes me. It should be difficult to walk away with, and hard to break into, but affordable.
Good hiding places can be found or made by walking around your home and considering any unused space that is not obviously accessible. Then make it accessible. It takes a little handy-man work and a few simple tools, but you can create a hidden closed space, and then perhaps place a small safe or lock box there.
I kind of wish I could take over a whole room in the house, just for prepping supplies. Then the whole room can be secured. The only additional need, then, would be some hidden space for a few prepping valuables. But that’s not an option in my current house. So I’ll settle for dividing my preps into various places.