We're not all granted the luxury of living on a farmhouse estate, with acres of space and a network of underground bunkers to store all of our preps and gear. The reality for many Americans is that we live in an urban area (at least 80% of us anyway), which means that ‘home’ is more than likely a cramped apartment in the city, or a tiny house that simply doesn't have enough space for everything you want to prepare. The good news is that being prepared doesn't need to take over your home and your life, and today the team at APE Survival will teach you the common mistakes most apartment preppers make, so you can ensure your survival, without sacrificing your home or driving all of your family up the wall.
Not using your space wisely
Have you ever thought how it's possible to fit 72 hours worth of supplies into your bug out bag, yet when you pull everything out it spreads over most of your living room floor? The first step is to use a ‘Tetris-like’ approach to storing your gear and supplies, and with a little planning you can fit a ton more into your apartment that you may initially realize. Before you get started, have a think about the different areas you can use for storage, and also so you can keep certain items together. Here's a few of our favorite storage ideas to get you started, and this list is by no means comprehensive.
Closet. The space at the bottom is great for water and cans can stack on the shelf at the top.
Closet doors. Hanging ‘shoe holders’ can be used to store small items like first aid supplies.
Tension rods. Use these to hang extra cleaning supplies (spray bottles) under the sink.
Drawers. If you have large cupboards use drawers to organize and save space.
Under-bed boxes. Use storage boxes to store items under your bed, TV cabinets and sofas.
Walls. Bookshelves and baskets are a good DIY solution, you can even use heavy-duty wall hooks to hang your bike.
Above doors. Add a shelf above each door for more storage area.
Coffee table. Use a chest to double as a coffee table and storage space.
Kitchen stools. Instead of chairs, find enclosed stools that can store supplies as well.
Forgetting your inventory list
Just because you have considerably less items to store, it doesn't mean you'll remember before they go bad, and eating spoiled food is nasty and can make you terribly sick. Not a solution you want when you're dealing with a crisis. Make an inventory list that details where you've tucked every item away, and note down the expiry date so you can rotate through the items as needed. The inventory list also helps to keep you efficient, so you don't wind up buying multiple packs of things you don't really need.
Failing to store water properly
A broken bottle in an apartment can create a mini-flood, and because of the space issues many apartment dwellers neglect to keep enough water for a disaster. When I lived downtown I used water bricks in my closet, because they were sturdy, held 3.5 gallons each, were BPA free and stacked together like lego. You should also keep a water bob on hand, which is essentially just a rubber lining for your bathtub which you can use to store water in the tub if there's a weather emergency issued (before the mains supply shuts off of course). Water is essential, and don't also forget to keep a few different methods of purification on hand should your supply ever become tainted. Once the SHTF and the taps run dry everyone is going to be going crazy looking for water.
Overlooking space or rules before making a large purchase
If you're living in an apartment building, there is usually a strict set of regulations that details what you are (and are not) allowed to have within your apartment. A generator is a fantastic prep because it lets you lead a more normal life with the power out, but many buildings do not allow their tenants to have these in an apartment. Often the same goes for a BBQ, so do your research first. Before buying any big ticket items, always think about where you're planning to store it, ask yourself if there is enough room, and do a quick check of your building's rules - before making the purchase.
Not staying private
Keep your supplies hidden and out of sight as much as you can. There is far less privacy in an apartment block when you're sharing your walls, floor and roof with neighbors (who are probably wondering why you keep hauling bringing bulk containers of grain up the stairs), and you're probably not even the only one with a key to your room. Maintenance workers and the building manager should contact you before they come into your room, but this isn't always the case, especially in an emergency. Keeping your supplies tucked away and out-of-sight makes it far less noticeable how much you actually have packed away.
Neglecting to make an exit plan
After a major collapse you could stay in your apartment, but we really advise against it if you have any other options. So many people concentrated in a single area paints a target on your back, as desperate neighbors, looters, and everyone else who is going hungry seek out supplies to keep their families alive. Make a bug out plan, with redundancies if you aren't able to drive, or need to evacuate on foot, so you can get to a more residential area and ride out the crisis.
Being too lazy to setup a plan B
In addition to ‘getting out,’ we also recommend keeping a storage locker with a backup cache of supplies within walking distance of your apartment. At a minimum it should have a bug-out-bag, a change of clothing and sturdy shoes, some items for personal defense, and a store of water, food and first-aid items. If the SHTF or there's a crisis and you're not able to get into your apartment, having a second location for supplies may just save your life. Even if you can stay in your apartment, if a crisis strikes you may only have a month or two of supplies, and your storage locker can be used to supplement your stores so you aren't going hungry or thirsty.
Not reading your insurance policy
This one is common sense, but it's amazing how many people fail to spend 30 minutes to understand the details of their rental insurance plan. Everything you own, especially the high-ticket items must be covered by your policy, and ensure you keep detailed records and receipts so if there is a fire or your home is destroyed in a disaster you are able to get reimbursed. It happens more than you would think, and knowing the amount you can claim (some policies have upper limits on high-value items, like guns) means you are never facing a situation where $10,000 of firearms are destroyed and you are only able to claim $2,500 back. The key to prepping in your apartment is to stay organized. Clutter is your enemy, and everything you have inside your room needs to serve a distinct purpose and have an appropriate place to be stored. It takes a little more planning, but there's nothing stopping you from being prepared, no matter where you live, it's always been up to you. So what will you start organizing today?