Oh, if we all only had a whole finished basement to devote to storing our prepping supplies. However, for many of us that is just not the reality, so we have to get creative with what we have got. The last thing you want is to be disorganized and not know where certain supplies are when you need them. That is why the time to get organized is now, before the SHTF, or before a disaster strikes. Lots of people are getting organized this time of year, so it’s the perfect time to get your preps stored and organized neatly. Here are some tips and tricks to help you get started.
First, take stock of what you actually have. This is going to make a mess and be really overwhelming, but it’s the first step to getting organized. Pull out all of your prepping supplies and put them in a central spot. If you have a lot, this could take a couple of days or longer. It may not be a job that is done in an hour. But the end result will be so worth the hard work! Once you have it all out, start grouping it into categories. Medical supplies and first aid items, food/drink items, bug out bags, and the other miscellaneous items like blankets, tarps, extra batteries, extreme weather clothes, etc. This is also a good time to give your storage areas a good cleaning, before putting the prep items back inside.
Once you have you items sorted into categories, you can throw out or get rid of things that are expired, or not usable anymore, like extreme weather clothes your kids have outgrown. This will free up room for items you can actually use. At this point, your stash will probably look a little more organized and ready for storage. This is also a good time to make a list of items that you need to get, like more batteries, or snow gear in appropriate sizes for the family. Then keep this list in your purse or wallet, and as you run across good deals on these items you can check them off your list!
When it comes to actually storing these items, you can use all sorts of solutions. You don’t have to put all of your items where they would normally be in your house. For example, you don’t have to store your emergency blankets in with all of your other linens, but you can. You don’t have to keep all of your emergency food and water storage in your kitchen. You just do what works for you and your family.
Ideally, you would be able to store all of these things in large bins or crates, but we may not all have the space to store that way. You can make use of any and every storage space in your home to keep your prep items. Store items under the bed, closet shelves, under the bathroom sink, in a dresser or chest, all of these spots are great and out of the way places for items that don’t get much use!
If you store items in a basement or attic, label them accordingly and make sure they are easy to access. Try getting large rubber totes that you can store other containers inside, which will also help with keeping items organized. I recommend using vacuum storage bags for bulky items like blankets, snowsuits, and pillows. It will condense them down and take up far less room. Then you can place the flattened packages down inside a larger tote to get them out of the way.
Dressers make great storage spots, too. Plus, they are disguised as furniture, so they don’t look as out of place in most homes as a stack of rubber totes might. You can store anything from first aid items to extra bedding and clothes and they stay out of sight!
Stack your canned goods or other non-perishable food items in a large bin with a lid. If you store this in a basement, make sure it’s not in a spot where mice or other rodents can get to it, and that the lid locks and seals well. You can also store these items behind your clothes in a closet, or on the shelf above your clothes.
Your bug out bags should be easily accessible, stocked, and ready to grab and go. Some people hang these on a hook in their mudroom, or keep them in their vehicle. The goal here is that they are always available, since you never know when you might need them.
I read one tip that suggested packing a box with sentimental items that can’t be replaced, like baby pictures (even memory cards or photo CD’s), letters or books, keepsakes, and other family treasures. That way, if you need to evacuate, you will be able to grab this box quickly and go, too. It’s not a bad idea to throw in copies of insurance policies, passports, and other important documents in here, too, just in case the originals are lost.
Once you have your storage solutions in place and get your items packed away, you need to make a list of what you have and where you put it. If you write down the locations of all of this stuff, you will have an easy time getting to them, and directing others in the house to items as well. Make a note too, if you see that things are close to expiration or running low, so you know to replenish them as soon as you can. It would be awful to be in the middle of a huge storm and not be able to locate your flashlight and battery stash, or be unable to locate your first aid kit. This will be the occasion that you will be so glad you took the time to get all of your preps organized.
You might find that over time, your storage options and solutions will change. You might find a better way to store things if you move around furniture, or if you get a storage building. You also might downsize the amount of things you keep, or you may decide to store more. Again, you just find the storage solutions that work best for your home!
Do you have any creative storage solutions for prepping supplies?