Thursday, January 23, 2014

Emergency Prepardeness - Getting Started

A great question was posed to me by a friend who I sent a quick emergency supply "check list" to the other day. 

"Where do I put everything?!"

Space for your supplies is a very important consideration!  You can only stockpile what you've got room for, right?  I mean, none of us have a 3,000 square foot underground bunker, do we?  In California, most of us don't even have a basement or an attic.  Keeping your supplies in an off-site public storage place is not realistic. 

So what do we do to make room?

I've seen people get pretty creative with ways of finding storage space for their supplies.  From making "secret" compartments under their floor boards to buying a steel shed for the back yard, the possibilites are endless. 

I've installed cabinets in my garage and overhead hanging storage racks.  The storage racks are readily available at Lowe's or Home Depot, cost between thirty and a few hundred dollars, and are pretty easy to install yourself with a stud finder and a drill driver.  The best thing about these racks is that they create space where none was before.  And they can hold from a couple hundred pounds on up!  See link

Granted, in an earthquake they may fall down, but yet the whole house may fall down, so why let that stop you?  Store items overhead that are relatively bulky but unbreakable and you should be okay.

Aside from creating storage out of thin air, consider you supplies in general  For instance, if storing 300 gallons of water in 1-gallon jugs is not possible, try a 300-gallon tank instead.  Its foot print is much smaller than 50 cases of water!  If you can't fit a 300-gallon tank in your garage, try the Water Bob.  The Water Bob is a 100-gallon, food grade, plastic reservoir that you can keep under your bathroom sink and fill up in case of an emergency.  You can buy direct from the manufacturer or any online store such as Amazon.  See link;jsessionid=A5966BCE451BB93834E3C32606EDD99A

Perhaps you don't have a bathtub.  Maybe you live in a small condo with just a shower stall.  You can always buy a ceramic filter kit and a couple 5-gallon buckets and use those to filter water as you need it!  In an emergency, you can use your condo complex's swimming pool(s) and filter that water!  See link for an example

Almost all every day items can be found in small or compact sizes.  And remember, packaging takes up a ton of space as well.  Remove items from their bulky boxes can containers.  I'm sure if you look hard enough you can find some pretty ingenius ways to store your supplies. 

There are organizers that hang off the backs of your closet or bedroom doors that you can use to hang canned goods.  How much space is wasted under your beds with junk only the dust bunnies ever use?  Do you have a small crawl space in your attic?  Maybe you can throw down some plywood over the rafters and use that space as storage?  Even things like MRE's can be broken down (we called it "field stripping" in the Marines) by opening each pouch, removing the stiff cardboard packaging, and folding the soft pouches in half.  You can put double the amount of MRE's in the box that 12 initially came in. 

If you have a pretty decent sized backyard you can put a shed outside to store your cooking gear and other bulky items.  Voids under stairs and "junk drawers" are easily repurposed for storing more essential items than old bills and throw pillows. 

The point is, I'm sure if you really start to look, you'll identify many wasted square feet in your humble abode that can be cleared out and used to store your life saving emergency supplies.  Consider cleaning out the boxes of old DVDs, books, TV sets, winter clothes, old shoes, and all the other stuff we tend to hang onto without realizing it and put THAT stuff into a small public storage unit.  If an earthquake hits, you're not going to miss your DVD box sets, snow boots, childhood little league trophies, etc. 

Once you clear out and set up your storage areas you can begin filling them up again with food, water, and other essential supplies and equipment! 

I hope this was helpful to all of you who previously thought you had no room for prepping! 

Please feel free to leave all questions or comments in the comments section below!

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