I hear that excuse for not preparing often. Usually from folks who have large homes. I'm here to tell you that you do have room and here's why.
I live in a 1-bedroom apartment that measures a little over 500 square feet - about half the size of your average 3-bedroom rambler. There have to be a lot of people like me living in similar conditions. Now if you are one of those people who has to have the perfectly decorated living space then read no further. This is not for you. But if you are more interested in staying alive when things get really bad - and I have no doubt they will - then read on.
My living room couch is pulled out about 8 or 9 inches from the wall. Behind it are 2-liter soda bottles full of water. I will be laying a board or heavy cardboard across the tops of those bottles in order to stack another row on top. You can't tell that there is anything behind the couch. Water bottles also live in a corner behind my TV stand. More reside on a closet shelf. Water is important. You can live a while without food, but lack of water will kill you fairly quickly. When you have no room for the large water barrels, find another solution. This is mine.
My bedroom holds two heavy duty shelving units, each four feet long and seven feet high. These hold all of my home canned food. There is another smaller shelving unit that fits behind my bedroom door that holds all of my dehydrated food plus extra canning jar rings. My bedroom stays fairly dark and cool. This is important for the food stored there. Light and heat are the enemy of home canned foods. Light and moisture are not friends to dehydrated food. My bedroom will never make the pages of House Beautiful. I don't care. I will be able to eat tomorrow.
I have two closets in my bedroom. One is small but deep and that holds clothes and odds and ends in plastic tubs. I got rid of the junk. I don't need stuff. I need space. The other closet is a standard double door sized closet. The top shelf holds more water bottles. Because this is a rental unit, filling it with built-in shelves was not an option, so I bought several small, free standing, stackable shelves and set them against the back closet wall. There is space on one side of the shelves for buckets of sugar and flour. The shelves hold things like baking powder, peanut butter, powdered milk, etc. Even though it is not really handy, there is room in front of the shelves to stack boxes containing rice, beans, pasta, etc., so I bought cardboard banker's boxes and they work well. Yes, I have to move them to get to the shelves. I can live with that.
The one storage area that I can not use at present is under my bed. My spring and mattress sit on a wooden box frame so I can't access that space under the bed without lifting up the spring and mattress. Next year I will be ready to replace the bed. At that time I plan to use the space underneath for storing toilet paper, pet food, kitty litter, etc. Cases of store bought canned goods will also slide easily into that space.
If a person does home canning, there are always empty canning jars to deal with. I use my canned food almost daily and that rotates out the older food which is replaced with newer. But what to do with the jars. My cupboard space is extremely limited. What is here holds dishes, pots and pans and the items I regularly use for baking and cooking I bought three free standing units that are about six feet tall and 18 inches wide. Each has two small cupboards with doors and three shelves. These units hold everything from my cookbooks, spices, packages of jello, etc. I make a lot of my own seasoning like taco and chili seasoning mixes, and those are in jars on the shelves along with other mixes like for scalloped potatoes or gravy. Canisters for brown sugar, powdered sugar, coffee and flour are in those cupboards, handy when I need them. When I run out of something, I just go to my closet pantry and grab whatever I need to replace it. No running to the store.
Back to the canning jars. The only solution I have found is to neatly stack the jars in their original boxes. I have space beside the free standing shelves in the kitchen and the jars are stacked there. It may not be aesthetically pleasing, but they are neatly stacked according to size and they are clean. I need the jars for my survival more than I need a picture perfect kitchen.
There are lots of ideas for small space storage on the internet. This is just some of what works for me in my situation. I like to have things pretty, but I am way less concerned about house beautiful than I am about staying alive when disaster strikes. There are those who think the stores will always be there, full of food. We all saw a while back what happened when there was a glitch in the welfare system and EBT cards didn't work for a few hours. How long do you suppose it would take, should those cards be cancelled altogether, for the riots to start and grocery shelves to be cleared. If we don't remember the Katrina debacle, we should. The pictures of people looking in dumpsters for food after Hurricane Sandy are still fresh in my mind. So are the interviews of irate citizens complaining that the government wasn't there to take care of them.
I'll be damned if I will be one of those people. As long as I am able to care for myself, I will. I will endure the glazed look that appears on faces when I mention food storage. I will put up with those who ridicule my efforts, believing that nothing will ever change. But in the end, I will survive. And attain my goal. Which is to live long enough to be a problem to my children.
I think I am close to achieving that goal!
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