A major issue and a hot topic of conversation for all preppers is storage space. Until the time comes when the invent a storage room like the TARDIS from Dr Who then we will always be fighting for more space and looking for ideas for making better use of our existing space.
I’ve live in a larger than average place in the UK and there is plenty of storage space but I have been prepping for years and have built up comprehensive stores of food, water and tools so I don’t have much free space now. I would guess my food and water stores would be no surprise to anyone as they are standard foodstuffs just a lot of them in one place. As I am still adding to them I am always looking for more space for storage.
I’ve been around my house and built little cupboards all over the place, under the stairs, under the beds, in the loft and outside in some cache space, the sheds and the garage. I’m currently building a bigger shed for my outside items as well. Even so space is soon used up with everyday living as well as prepping gear. So how can I improve my use of space?
I could rent space in one of the many rental locations available but I don’t want to because I may not be able to get to them after an event and even if I can they may be raided by scavengers or even Plod. They are out of my control and I don’t like that.
Without a TARDIS the only option I’m left with is making more efficient use of my current space. I’ve several plastic boxes that can be filled and then stacked up. They are really handy but don’t really save space they just make it look neater. The only tool I have for actually reducing space is to reduce the size of the stores themselves which sound counter intuitive. Reduce stores for more stores. How does that work?
I can do this in two ways;
The first way is to remove all the items from the cartons they come in. Many items are in boxes much larger than the contents, it is a marketing thing to make them look bigger. Taking the items out of the boxes while still leaving them sealed in their plastic bags allows them to be packaged in a much smaller space. You can get a lot more in the stackable boxes this way.
If you want to you could go further and remove the contents from the plastic bags but you must then repackage them in air proof and moisture proof containers yourself. Using this technique you can reduce the storage space significantly. Don’t forget to label things though and make sure they are protected from moisture and bugs.
Another way is to vacuum pack things. This is especially effective on clothing and bedding where it can reduce items to one fifth of their uncompressed size by removing all the air and compressing the items. Vacuum packing clothes with the bags designed for this don’t even need any special equipment as the bags are purged of air by an ordinary vacuum cleaner attached to the valve.
For other items a vacuum packer can be used to reduce storage space and aid in preserving by removing air and sealing plastic bags. I’ve shrink wrapped some items to keep them together in my EMP box. Two PMR radios, batteries and a charger all in one shrink wrapped pack. You don’t forget anything that way. Just pick up the pack and go. I’ve done the same with underwear and socks for emergencies. I’ve a whistle, compass, knife and water filter wrapped as well. I’ve also a complete change of clothes. Shrink wrapped and waterproof they will be dry when I need them just by opening the wrap. This is also the way to store stuff in a cache. Shrink wrapped gives it that extra layer of protection as well as keeping it all in one place. No more picking up an item and then searching for the rest of it to make it work. Also handy for storing ammunition if you are out in the wet. Shrink wrap them in small batches and access as required.
I’ve also put some items in the PressItIn tins I bought. A complete emergency fire starting kit in a tin. Tinder, matches, cotton balls all in one place. Another tin has soup, tea, coffee, milk, etc. for a warm drink. Yet another soap, toothpaste and a cut down toothbrush. I try to get one kit in one tin and use bigger tins if necessary sealed with varnish if the tins doesn’t seal by itself. Remembering some silica gel as necessary. I’m also going to do this with an emergency radio kit if I can fit it in a reasonable sized tin. 12V power, UV3R and an extended antenna all in one tin. Can’t put batteries in as they won’t keep a charge that long and I can’t fit a solar charger in easily and keep the size down. Remember that the tin is also doubling as an EMP cage for this item whilst out and about.
There are a multitude of things you can shrink wrap or store in tins to keep them together which helps when you have to grab something and run.
Until the TARDIS comes along or I move to a big barn. This is about the best I can do for my storage space.