Thank you to everyone who helped last week with free things we can do to be better prepared. We ended up with quite a list. When you find an idea that would help your household write it down. I really need to put things into my diary and plan to do them or just do them straight away or they kind of evaporate!
I did think to add that if it is relevant to your children's ages... if they are parted from their phones do they know how to call home? Do they know the numbers?
This week we are taking a look at finding space in our homes for increasing our pantries and preparedness supplies. Almost everyone feels they have a space issue. I wrote about this in my 2015 series but I think I have learned a lot since then.
Many ideas are not a solution in themselves but added together you can be amazed how your house has places for all kinds of supplies.
I began with cleaning out my kitchen pantry. There were things in there that made me think my pantry was full but it wasn't. Many things were nothing to do with the pantry! Re homing non related things and having a clean out left me with more room than I thought.
Repackaging things is an immediate space saver as anything in packets is usually about half full only when you look inside of it.
If there is a lot of space above your rows of shelves then more shelves can go in. There are booster shelves and under self baskets as well that you can get for this. Places like IKEA have them and they are brilliant and not expensive.
There are often spaces that just seem useless. Chloe had a fake cupboard in her kitchen that is very shallow. She converted it into a spice and oils cupboard with a stick on spice holder that cost her $3!
After the big clean out and re arrange I worked on actually filling my pantry!
Next Andy built me a long shelf in the kitchen that holds a lot of really big jars. I got all the jars for free and make labels for them. They hold a lot of dry goods like pasta, rice etc.
We added more shelves on an empty wall as well. I have a row of baby formula tins that I decorated and they are full of bird seed and chicken food as emergency back ups.
I began to realise I should count laundry and bathroom supplies in my pantry too. I found a giant old trunk on the road side and did it up to become my blanket box.
This gave me empty shelves in my linen cupboard and these became my stash of shampoos, conditioners, soaps and so on.
Many things were like this... I moved, cleaned up, cleaned out and re arranged myself into more pantry space.
In the last series we had the story of Mel S's Grandmother. She had saved soaps and lined her drawers with a layer of them. When WW2 hit her big supply of soaps supplied the family and she used them for gifts and to barter with. Those soaps had become gold! They didn't take up any noticeable space due to the way she did it!
Later we added risers to the bed and now I slide underneath low storage tubs which contain all kinds of supplies. Back up cans, dry goods, you name it!
Then I found the IKEA cube shelves, made them over and filled them with baskets that act as drawers. This looks so neat and you would never guess it is a back up pantry!
The idea to use baskets as drawers can also apply to under cupboards. Cupboards with legs have a space underneath. If you can find baskets to fit that space they can pull out as drawers do and look so nice as well.
Space across the top of cupboards can also have a row of baskets. Not for things you need everyday of course but I keep emergency stuff like spare toilet paper, paper plates and cups etc in places like this.
I asked Vicky what her ideas were especially for those with small spaces...
Preparedness and small spaces......
When you live in a small place and space can be limited, but you still want to be able to prepare there are a few things that need to be considered. Basically the size of the spaces you will be using and the items you will be putting in them. It is possible to build up a good stash of emergency supplies or nice sized pantry to get you through or to take advantage of good bargains that you find. Really if you don't have the space to store 500 pounds of beans and flour and barrels of water you can still have supplies just on a smaller scale. And if you don't have space at some point on an item enough is enough. You don't want to store 100 tubes of toothpaste when you don't have room for them and would never use that many anyway. Think more along the lines of variety.
I do know people who have small places, but don't prepare in any way because it doesn't go with their décor and they think of it as clutter. It can be, but it doesn't have to always be an eyesore, be creative with your spaces, look up and down and under and over! There is actually a lot of places we can store things if we really want to and in emergencies the more you have to work with the better off you will be in being able to take care of yourself and family or whatever circumstances you may find your self in.
First- Packaging takes up space! And cardboard can harbor bug eggs that in the right environment can hatch so by removing some things from the packaging you can fit more in a small space and help eliminate pantry bugs. When you have a box of something and half of the box is air that is just a waste of space. Plastic shoe boxes are fantastic for storing and stacking. Just keep the directions if they are boxed mixes.
Size matters- sometimes smaller is better. Example: a can of tomato paste is very versatile and is very small so takes a lot less space than a can of tomato sauce or a jar of pasta sauce, etc. Dehydrated foods can be vacuum sealed flat or even store bought items like oats. This takes up much less space than the containers they came in and makes storing more far easier.
Do you have a closet? Closet walls behind clothes are a perfect place to put the hanging organizers that have pockets. There you can store all kinds of things. Alternatively if the closet has a higher ceiling an extra rod up high or a shelf can help maximize the space.
Under tables, beds, mattresses, behind furniture, in decorative trunks or hat boxes even a cleaned out junk drawer can yield space for something. Not everyone has a huge walk in pantry to fill, but as always we can make do.
I use hat boxes and the extra space on the TV stand to store dried beans and vacuum sealed dehydrated veggies.
Do you have shelving where the spaces in between are quite large? Consider adding more shelves in between them to maximize that space and keep it more organized. If there is a foot of air space between each shelf that is a waste of unused space.
Trunks are great storage. Have room under a window or the end of a bed or even as a coffee table? You can fill trunks with lots of things even if it is a smaller size.
I have a lot of spices, but instead of them all being in a cupboard I put some of them in Ziplock bags and roll them up and have them in a small drawer. For me it takes up a lot less real estate since I only have so many cupboards in the kitchen.
No matter how small your space is you can still store a good pantry and emergency supplies. We just tend to overlook space that could be utilized in a better way.
Vicky's use of the above the door space is brilliant! You will start looking at wall space and glancing around with new eyes!
I have seen whole spare rooms converted into a pantry, hallways lined with built in shelves, a whole wardrobe converted with shelving. Decluttering to make room for more important things can possibly also finance your emergency supplies. Decluttering is not the same as minimalism. We all end up with stuff that is outgrown, no longer useful etc and a clean out can create space.
If you have a car this can be a surprising place to keep quite a bit of your preparedness. We will have a post about what to keep in your car.
If you have a shed then this can also be part of your preparedness storage. Ours is full of tools and things that are in reality really useful and prepare you for anything. Also fuel, our generator and so on.
Rachel sent me a picture of her overhead storage space in her shed. She uses this to store things that she doesn't want mice or anything else to get into!
We have a similar set up in our shed and all kinds of stuff goes up into that.
Rachel also made the point that your fruit trees and veggie garden are kind of part of your own personal pantry supplies! This is true!
Most houses I have lived in I end up with a gap between the fridge and the wall. In this house I have a gap like that in the laundry as well. About 5 or 6 inches wide. Take a look at this...
Roll out pantry.
This idea could apply to any space like that. It looks neat and is just the right width for jars or cans. It fits a lot! I am seeing ready built roll in and out narrow shelving units online now. They are fantastic!
Also there are so many clever added storage shelves i.e. over the washing machine or toilet shelving units that can then store supplies.
Then there are back of the door storage systems and shoe storage hangers. In my last home on the inside of the pantry door I had a shoe hanging system and I kept all my herbs, spices and packet mixes in that. I have more shelf space and could also see what I had so easily!
My bed side drawers hold torches. I love that many emergency basics really don't take up much space at all. I have a mini torch (flashlight) on my keyring as well.
I hope we have given some ideas that you can use. Like everything else it is a case of little bits adding up. Even in a really small space there are things you can do to improve your situation.
Jes has started a preparedness course at Strangers and Pilgrims on Earth. I am in! The first post is here... Proverbs 31 Preparedness Series.
I am printing up my binder as I find I like printed copies of things and to write things down. This is worth thinking about. This is why I have printed copies of all of Laine's Letters. (and thanks to Helen) What is on the internet can be here one day and gone the next. Keep printed copies of water is important to you.
If you have some clever or interesting places to store things please share! If you have a storage problem let us brainstorm for you! We love to help!
Have a good week! xxx