Room isn’t something you have, it’s something you make.
Many urban preppers complain about the fact that they don’t have enough space to store their preps. If you live in a tiny apartment, there’s no doubt it can be tougher to find a place to store extra preps.
Using the standard storage locations, most people in small apartments will last for about a week with the food and water they currently have, but that’s about it.
But if you live in a tiny apartment, you can still stockpile. I’m going to give you a whole bunch of (new) ideas on where to store your preps. And in many cases, you can do it without anyone ever suspecting you’re prepping.
COMSEC isn’t an issue just because you’re vulnerable if people find out about your preps. It can be embarrassing for the average city dweller if someone looks behind the couch and sees stacks of food and supplies..
So, let’s see how to get creative in a tiny apartment to find extra storage space to hide your preps.
#1. Inside Deep Drawers
There’s unused space in some of those drawers that no one will ever think to look. A quick inspection of every drawer you have will quickly reveal which ones can accommodate part of your stockpile.
#2. Get Smaller Versions of Everything
You’d be amazed of how many survival items come in smaller sizes. Sure, they might not offer the same functionality and might not last you as long as their larger and more durable counterparts but if you’re worried about a disaster that would last more than a few months, perhaps living inside the city isn’t a good option for you to begin with.
Consider stockpiling the following items:
- folding knives instead of fixed blade survival knives (I know, I know, they’re less than ideal but the point here is to save space)
- smaller toothbrushes
- smaller compasses
- smaller flashligths
- a smaller signaling mirror
- smaller lighters (again, we’re assuming you won’t need be needing them long-term)
- one ply toilet paper, it’s less bulky
- a smaller inflatable canoe (if that’s what you set your mind on for your bug out vehicle)
- smaller nail clippers
- a tarp instead of a tent (though it won’t protect you nearly as well when you’re out into the woods)
- …and on and on and on
#3. Inside Your Car
Even the smallest trunk can store a lot of things but, if the trunk really small, you may want to consider getting a bigger car. Not the cheapest option but it’s definitely a place few people will look.
The downside is that you’ll have to carry those preps with you all the time. If something happens to your car, you could lose whatever is stored there so don’t put all your preps in your trunk!
By the way, you should check the backseat of your car, there might be some room there as well.
#4. Inside Your Garage
If you have one, surely you can put some shelves that go all the way up to the ceiling. That’s the last place people will be poking their noses into.
Store in boxes or containers labeled “Christmas decorations” or “Grandma’s old clothes” so if someone does break in, they won’t target those boxes thinking there are valuable items inside.
#5. Stockpile In larger Quantities
That sounds funny, considering I just advised you to get smaller versions of everything. But let’s take water, for instance. You could store dozens of plastic bottles inside your flat but you can actually save space if you were to store it in larger, 5 gallon BPA-free water bottles.
You see, when you stock up on them, there’s space between them. Not the case with larger bottles and barrels.
Some of the other things to consider in larger quantities include:
- hand sanitizer
- larger rolls of duct tape and/or electrical tape
- Ziploc and Mylar bags
Again, this goes somewhat against what we discussed earlier about getting smaller versions of everything, so you’ll have to use your best judgement.
For example, if you want hand sanitizer for your bug out bag, the smallest plastic bottle will do but if you’re looking to store it somewhere in your apartment, the biggest bottle you can find is better than 3 or 4 little ones.
You can always refill your smaller bottles from the larger one when needed. This will save you some money, too.
#6. Inside the Gap Between Your Books and Bookcases
If there isn’t a gap, you can try bringing all your books forward to make one. It won’t look suspicious as long as no one wants to read any of your books.
If you do have some avid book readers who visit frequently, consider using the very bottom and very top shelves to create that gap behind the books for your preps.
Chances are visitors will check out the titles at eye level first. Rotate the books so that when visitors return a book it goes to the very bottom or top shelves to encourage them to keep choosing from the middle.
#7. Behind Your Flat-Screen TV
Lots of room there, although those preps will be easy to spot. You need to be careful with what you store there because the odds of other people seeing it are big.
One way to improve your odds is to put old boxes from the stuff you bought over the years, such as your cell phone, your wireless modem, your iPad and so on.
There’s nothing fishy about putting boxes that used to belong to your gadgets behind your T.V., and with a whole line of various size boxes, you can hide quite a few preps.
#8. Inside Shelves Made of PVC Pipes
I’m not talking about the pipes used to make the frame of the shelves, I’m talking about the shelves themselves. When you put PVC pipes next to each-other, you can stash stuff both on and in them.
You can create a cap for both ends of the pipes and just make a couple that come off at the back, so you can get preps in and out.
#9. Focus on Dehydrated Foods
Dehydrated and freeze-dried food takes up a lot less space than canned, but the downside is that you need to store extra water in order to consume them. If you think water won’t be a problem post-SHTF, as a backup plan, how about storing a few water filters along with your dehydrated food?
#10. Under Your Bathtub
I’m not sure what size and shape your tub is but I do know for a fact that some of them have a ton of free space underneath. Mine is no exception.
You can’t store food or medicine down there because moisture decreases shelf life, but I bet you can think about a lot of other stuff you can store that won’t get ruined.
#11. Switch to a Platform Bed
There’s no telling how much food and water you can store underneath your bed.
Even if you can’t switch to an actual platform bed, you can buy or make risers to put under each corner of your bed to create extra hidden space.
#12. Use Cans to Support Your Bed
Not everyone’s willing to go this far but maybe you are. But if you aren’t willing to trust your bed on cans, try putting your dresser or even a nightstand up on can risers. No one will notice and it will provide a lot of space for other things too.
#13. Get a Larger Nightstand
A nightstand that’s just a little bit bigger than what you need could accommodate a lot more stuff and no one is going to complain.
#14. Rent a Storage Container
That’s thinking outside the box, right? A storage unit will allow you to store as many things as you want and no one will ever know that you have it, let alone what’s inside.
Just make sure it’s one you can afford the rent on long term and even better, that it’s outside your immediate area so it can serve as a back up meeting place or even a temporary BOL in an emergency.
#15. On Top of Kitchen Cabinets
Not many people think about storing things up there. Nevertheless, you probably have a lot of dead space there. And if you’re worried people will ask what’s up there, you may want to replace your short cabinets with taller ones and use the top shelves inside near the ceiling for preps where they will be out of sight from visitors. .
#16. Into the Woods
Maybe you have a place with a nice view where you can park to stare out at your beautiful city. If that place is on your way to your bug out location, even better. Just make sure you carefully choose your place and keep in mind temperature variations if you decide to store any preps above ground.
#17. Get a Coffee Table. Or Two.
If you don’t have one, maybe now’s the time. If you do, a second one is even better. Just make sure the ones you choose can safely conceal enough your preps without raising any suspicions.
Hint: if you can get a coffee table that has little wheels underneath, it will be easier to move and, should someone else other than you move it, they won’t complain about how heavy it is and ask why.
Also, if you want to save money by doing a small DIY project. All you need is a cloth to cover the whole thing, plywood and #10 cans of food or ammo cans.
#18. Consider the Corners of Your Rooms
Every room has areas that aren’t directly in the path where you walk from day to day. Look around your bedroom, the den, or even the family room. See if there are any areas that are out of the way and unused where you could put boxes filled with goodies.
#19. Inside Your Suitcases
This assumes you don’t travel much but, even if you do, you can just empty them and leave the food in the same place, then put it back when you return.
#20. Under Your Desk
You may have to cleverly disguise them, but this is a great hiding place!
#21. Under or Inside Your Sofa and Armchairs
Of course. And again, you can use risers to raise your chair or sofa up just enough to create some extra space underneath for your preps.
#22. Install Floor to Ceiling Closets
This will give you a lot more space and you won’t have to put all your preps inside boxes on top of your current one.
#23. Inside Your Shoes That Are Out of Season
Since they’ll take up space, anyway, you can take advantage of that and store some of your preps inside those shoes you aren’t going to wear till fall or winter.
It only works for small things, unless you have some thigh high winter boots, but every little bit of space helps. A side benefit to doing this is that you’ll help your shoes maintain their shape when not in use.
#24. Install More Shelves
If you have a wall that looks too empty and a bookcase or built-in unit wouldn’t get in your way, consider filling it up with shelves all the way to the top. If you know what you’re doing, you can even make it look pretty.
#25. Install Fake Air Vents
The closer you can put the it to the ceiling, the less likely that anyone will accidentally check what’s inside. The only thing to keep in mind is that the air near the ceiling is hotter than the one form the rest of the room and might compromise your food or meds.
Heat is one of the enemies of food storage so think carefully about what you store near the ceiling or in an attic.
#26. Get Rid of Your Junk
OK so, if you’ve been reading about survival and prepping for a while now, you probably know that almost nothing should be thrown away because you never know when you might need it. However, if you live in a tiny apartment, your emergency essentials are more important.
Consider taking all your stuff out from every room of the house so you can see what can be thrown away and what can be reorganized. Prioritize what you have according to importance and ease of obtaining it in an emergency.
#27. Reorganize Everything
Even if you don’t want to throw away anything, you can still reorganize your stuff to take up less space. Just take it all out and ask yourself: what should I store where, in order to save space?
Take things out of original packages or boxes, tape the instructions to the item if you’ll need them. This can save space. You can also save space when storing blankets, clothes, and pillows by using vacuum sealable storage bags.
#28. Underneath Kitchen or Bathroom Sinks
A great place to hide preps is underneath your kitchen or bathroom sinks. Visitors won’t likely look there, and neither will most criminals. Move all your cleaning supplies to one lower cabinet with a childproof lock. Then store your preps under the other sinks. Be sure to lock any cabinet doors that might contain items that could harm small children.
#29. In Your Linen Closet
If you are lucky enough to have a linen closet in your hallway or bathroom, rearrange it so that most of your frequently needed items are on the middle shelves. Use bins and baskets to reorganize items so they take up less space or can stack on top of one another.
Take advantage of vacuum sealed storage bags for blankets and sheets that aren’t used often to make more space. Use your topmost shelves and the lowest ones that are harder to get to for storage of your preps.
#30. Over the Toilet Shelving
Another area where you can create extra storage space, even in small bathrooms, is over the toilet. If you don’t already have an over the toilet stand, you can buy one at Walmart or just about any department store that carries bathroom accessories.
Use it to store your preps, that aren’t susceptible to dampness or moisture, in closed bins or boxes. If you don’t want your preps over the toilet, clean out other bathroom storage areas and put those things over the toilet so you can store your preps under the sink or in a cabinet.
#31. In Empty Coolers
Just about everyone has one or two empty coolers stored on a shelf in their garage or utility room. Coolers take up a lot of space, but we need them, especially in the summer months. One thing you can do to store your preps the other 7-9 months of the year is to put them inside those empty coolers.
I do this with my preps. Anything I have that I would use for outdoor cooking goes into the empty cooler. Fire starting materials, zip lock bags, tin foil, lighters, metal cooking utensils, etc. are all stored in that empty cooler.
#32. On a Bookshelf or in a Cabinet in the Laundry or Utility Room
When you start reorganizing your belongings, you may discover that you can get rid of a lot of things or that you can find space for them elsewhere. If you end up with an extra bookcase or if you can pick one up cheap at a flea market, put it in your laundry room or utility room for prep storage.
Bookshelves are great for canned goods, boxed food, and other small items in your stockpile. It will be out of the way and out of sight. If you’re truly concerned about someone snooping, use a tension rod or staple gun to hang a piece of cloth over the front of the bookcase to hide your preps from sight.
#33. On Top of Your Refrigerator
Believe it or not, the top of your refrigerator can be great storage for your preps if you live in a tiny apartment. If it’s already full of stuff, pull it all down and figure out if that stuff should be stored somewhere else or if you even need it!
If you’re anything like me, most of the stuff on top of the fridge is stuff you were trying to keep from your kids when they were little. You probably don’t even need half of it anymore, if they’re old enough to know better now. Clean off that space and use it for your preps.
Last but Not Least: Get Creative!
A careful inspection of your apartment will reveal all sorts of places you can hide your stuff. But if you’re having a hard time doing that, I highly recommend this other article full of hiding places that are mostly suitable for suburban and rural preppers. Enjoy!
updated by Megan Stewart 09/18/2019