Prepping for Apartment and Condo Dwellers Part 1

Dear Fellow Survivalist;

627404_738915-20150423_porch001A sizeable percentage of the U.S. population lives in apartments, rather than single-family homes, and that trend seems to be rising. Yet the vast majority of information for preppers is written as if it is for people in suburbia or even living in rural areas. Yet for most apartment dwellers, the option of moving to suburbia and having the space of a single-family home isn’t possible. They’ve got to prep where they are, making the most of their situation.

This point has recently been brought to my attention by some of our readers; probably people who find themselves living in apartments, unable to rent or buy that house in suburbia. So, I’ve decided to dedicate my next few e-mails to them; sharing ideas of how to make it possible to prep, even while living in an apartment in the middle of the city.

The biggest problem with living in an apartment is lack of space. You don’t even have to be a prepper to run into this problem. But for preppers, it’s even worse. That makes it hard to find places to put your stockpile. So, let’s start by talking about what you can do to have a workable stockpile, even while living in that apartment.

The first thing I’d do is see if you can rent a larger apartment. Now, wait a minute, hear me out. From what I’ve seen, the difference in cost between a one bedroom and two bedroom apartment is usually not all that great. The same can be said for the cost difference between a two bedroom and three bedroom, if your apartment building has any three bedroom apartments available. If you can upsize, then by all means do, but you’ll probably still have a space problem.

The key then, is to use your available space the best you can. This can be difficult in an apartment, but there is space, albeit not as much as you might like. You can hide food:

  • Inside, underneath and behind furniture – many pieces of furniture have dead space in them, such as the space underneath the cushions on sofas. Flip it upside down, take off the dust cover and fill it with food, leaving space for the spring action. Then, cover the bottom with thin plywood, rather than the dust cover, before turning it back over. The same can be done with your bed’s box springs, which is really just an empty box in most cases.
  • Bookshelves – Most bookshelves are 12 inches deep, but most books are only 5 inches deep. Fill the space behind the books with boxes and cans of food. You can hide it even better by cutting panels out of Foam-core that are the size of the space between shelves and painting them.
  • Inside washers and dryers – There is dead space in the bottom of your washer and dryer (if you have one). You can access this space by removing the back panel, putting the food inside, then closing it back up. Just make sure that it’s not in the way of any moving parts.
  • Closets – Take the time to go through your closets. Most of us have things we don’t use and probably won’t use. The rule of thumb is that if you haven’t used it in a year, you probably won’t. Of course, that doesn’t apply to your prepping equipment and supplies. But make sure that you’re not wasting space in your closets, storing things you don’t need.
  • More closets – Speaking of closets, one of the best hiding places around is above the door on the inside of a closet. You can put a shelf there and hide weapons and other things you want accessible. But few people, including trained searchers, will ever look up to find it.
  • And yet more closets – Another good hiding place in closets is inside the wall. Now, you obviously don’t want to go tearing out walls and make your landlord mad at you. But there is space in the wall, on either side of the closet door. Just like above the door, nobody ever looks there. So, you could take off the drywall and build shelves in there, finishing them nicely, so that it looks like it belongs.
  • Toe kicks – The toe kick is the indented place under your kitchen and bathroom cabinets. It’s there so that your toes don’t kick the cabinet, when you’re standing there cooking or brushing your teeth. It’s covered by a piece of wood, which is usually glued and nailed in place. But if you take that piece of wood off, there’s empty space behind it. You could fill that space with food and then put the front cover back on.

So you see, even though you may not have as much space as someone who owns their own home, you do have space available. The trick is looking with different eyes, to see space that most people wouldn’t see. Be creative and make the best of what you have to work with.

If you can’t find enough space in your apartment, you might want to consider renting a small storage space somewhere within walking distance of your apartment, just to store food in. The nice thing about a space like that, is that you can stack it to the rafters. You don’t need to worry about ease of access or nosy neighbors wondering about the stack of boxes in the corner.

One of the biggest problems that apartment dwellers face though is water. If the water goes out, you have very limited sources that you can use. Not only that, but there will be a lot of other people who want to use that same water; some of whom will fight you for it.

The most common thing that people recommend for water storage is to fill one-gallon milk jugs with water and store them under a bed. If you put a few drops of bleach in them (no more than 8), it will help prevent anything from growing in your water. Be sure to clean the jugs out well first, so that you don’t end up with any milk spoiling in them.

A flexible emergency water storage pod, which fits in your bathtub, is a great way to store water, if you have time to fill it before the emergency strikes. This would usually require some advance notice or filling it as soon as the emergency strikes, before water pressure is lost.

But one of the best ways of storing a fairly large quantity of water in an apartment is waterbeds. A queen size waterbed will hold about 200 gallons. If you live in a ground-floor apartment or live in a high-rise with cement floors, your landlord will probably allow you to have a waterbed. Those 200 gallons of water will weigh about 45 pounds per square foot, which might be a bit much on an upper floor of an apartment building that doesn’t have cement floors.

So, there are a few ideas to get you started. I’ll get back to you next week with some more. Until then, keep your powder dry and your survival equipment close at hand.

Dr. Rich

Also, you can get ‘prepped in one trip’ with this.


  1. Pingback: Prepping for Apartment Dwellers - part 4 | Self-Reliance Association

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.