The Prepper’s Storage Dilemma

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by Pat Cascio, Survival Blog:

Storage of your voluminous preps can be a real problem. We don’t live in a large house, it is only about 1,600 Square Feet. It has two bedrooms, one is extremely small, and is used as my office. The home we used to live in, on the dry side of Oregon, was quite a bit bigger, it was originally an earth-sheltered house, with most of it underground. And, at some point, in the 1970s, there was another level added and it became a more traditional house. However, the below-ground portion of the house was totally useable. Half of the “basement” was used for my office/dojo — I also taught martial arts classes in the basement. The other half was our oldest daughter’s bedroom, and a great storage room for our Preps. We miss having it!

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We live in a single-level house now, on our small homestead, and it is adequate for the most part. We have a small guest house next door on our property, and our oldest daughter lives in it, it only about 750-square feet – small, but she is single and not home all that often – she works all the time, but it suits her needs. We have a small outbuilding for storage, but it doesn’t hold a lot – it is pretty much full top-to-bottom most of the time.

We’re not much for socializing. We’ve been in this house for coming up on 17 years now, and very few people have been in our digs over the years. We just don’t host parties or gatherings of any type. I’m a very private person, always have been, and I sincerely cherish my privacy, no one needs to know my business – period!

We are almost full-time Preppers, to be honest. We’ve been at it for a long, long,  time. And, of course, living in a small house, doesn’t give us a lot of room for all of our Preps. So, it is always a challenge to find places to put our purchases. If you walk into our living room, it looks like we are still unpacking. Nope, just a lot of canned goods all over. One entire corner of the living room is covered with canned goods, in boxes, underneath an old sleeping bag, and other things. Another corner has cases of canned veggies and fruits, just sitting there. Under my wife’s desk, are more canned goods, as well as some #10 cans of freeze-dried foods, and we even some bookshelves with freeze-dried foods, as well as canned goods hidden under a small bookcase, behind some old cassette tapes.

So, storage space is limited, but we still manage to get everything put “someplace” in our house. So, one means of storage is cardboard boxes. It seems to work. Our utility room, with the washer, dryer, and huge chest freezer, is a total mess – there is just enough room to walk into it, to the back door to let the dog out into the backyard. Just this morning, my wife managed to knock over a lot of canned goods as she exited the utility room – that’s how crowded it is. We have Preps in cardboard boxes, as well as in some very large plastic bins.

Anyone old enough to remember the movie, The Graduate with Dustin Hoffman, will appreciate the scene, at a party, where a guest simply told Hoffman’s character one word: “Plastics”. He was telling him to get into the plastics industry for the future. Well, it might have seemed like strange advice at the time, but it was a great tip. We have big plastic bins all over the utility room, as well as in my office. Truth be told, you would hit your head on “something” in my office, if you fell down, before you’d hit a wall, since all of the wall space is covered.

I know many Preppers will agree with me now on the use of plastics. I remember when the first Glock came along – the Model 17, and the receiver was and is still made out of plastic. Everyone laughed and said the guns would never last, or blow up in your hand. It hasn’t happened, and every major handgun maker, produces some handguns manufactured out of “plastic” these days. Many call it “polymer” but whatever name is used, it is plastic of some sort. Personally, I only own a few handguns made with steel and Aluminum. I might be an old dog, but I learned some tricks along the way and plastic is the way to go.

When it comes to semiauto pistols, I have a rule, and that is I have no less than five spare magazines for each gun, in each caliber. Needless to say, you can’t get all those spare magazines in the box the gun came in. So, I used to just toss all the extra magazines into a cardboard box. While it helps solve the storage problem, it was time-consuming to find the right magazines for the right gun. Easily solved problem! I have quite plastic boxes a few that are of shoebox size. In each of these plastic boxes, I have spare mags. Each is a clear plastic box, and each is labeled and most of the boxes, have at least one holster that fits the gun it is labeled for.

I have plastic boxes for my two-way radios, as well as night vision and even batteries and some injectable meds that I keep on hand for when (not if) the SHTF. One corner of my office has more than 10 large plastic bins filled with Ramen Noodle soup packets. That represents a lot of meals. When things go south, we have enough noodle soup for several years, at one package per day, per person. We also have quite a few bins full of pasta, rice, and beans – a great way to store these types of things, and it keeps the mice at bay, too. Always a problem living in the boonies, lots of mice get into the house, no matter what you do – they always get in.

I have more holsters than I need, and I used to store them in two great big drawers in our bedroom. But I ran out of room. So, I have holsters stored in plastic bins in my office – and it is still a problem – whatever holster I’m looking for – it’s always in the bottom of one of these bins. That is a fact of life!

Our BOBs (Bug Out Bags) are in the closet in my office, as well as our A.L.I.C.E. gear. It is piled high on side of the closet, and on the other side, we have a lot of extra survival gear, including sleeping bags and sleeping pads. It is a chore to get that stuff out when we are adding more gear, but it is all in one spot. I also have several medic bags with our BOB bags, one is almost a complete ER in a bag, the second is a smaller Combat Medic bag. And presently I’m working on completing one more aid bag.

Under my workbench in my office – that I don’t have room to “work” on any longer, are ammo cans, and on one side of the workbench we have it plumb full of #10 cans of freeze-dried foods. We used to run practice bug-out exercises, and would be ready to leave within 20 minutes or so. But that isn’t ever gonna happen again. It would take us an hour to load up all our ammo cans, and firearms into our travel trailer, an SUV and a pickup truck these days. And just moving ammo cans in order to get to the #10 cans of freeze-dried foods would be a chore, just in itself.

It would take some monster of an emergency to get us to bug out. So our plan is to stay put, if at all possible. I’m 70 years old now, and my lovely wife is only a few years behind me. We figure we’ll probably sit it out or fight it out — whatever may come our way — instead of running. We are too old to bug out on foot, that’s for sure. And our oldest daughter is in her 40s. Our youngest daughter lives 200 miles away, so it is doubtful that she’d be able to make it home to our digs.

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