Where To Store Emergency Supplies

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As you begin putting back extra food and supplies in case of an emergency, you’ll undoubtedly be faced with the question at some point or another of WHERE to store all of this stuff? Most of us live in modestly sized homes, and don’t have a lot of extra storage space to spare.

A dry basement would be the ideal place to stash your extra food and storage tubs of non-food items, such as medical supplies, personal hygiene products, lamps and candles, batteries, etc, because of it’s steady cool conditions. An attic, on the other hands, wouldn’t be suitable for much other than extra blankets and warm clothing due to the extreme heat it would likely experience during warmer months.

If you are like us, however, and you don’t have a basement in your home, you’ll have to get creative with what space you do have available to use. I know, I can hear you now, “But I don’t have ANY extra space in my home!” If this is you, there’s one very important thing you need to do this week: DECLUTTER.

We all have stuff we don’t need anymore crammed in closets and cabinets, things we haven’t touched or even thought about in years. Clothes, kitchen gadgets, toiletries, knick knacks, all shoved away for that one day when we might need them. Do yourself a favor and simplify your life by letting go.  Have a yard sale. Make a few bucks, donate the rest, and use your hard-earned moolah to buy more essential preps. Then work your way through the spaces and condense what’s left to make room for storage supplies.

Where To Store Emergency Supplies Around The House

Cabinets– Most homes have at least a few sets of cabinets in the kitchen and the bathroom. After you’ve decluttered and have taken out all of the stuff you really don’t need, reorganize and try to empty up at least one cabinet for emergency items. Do you have wall space where you can build shelves to hold some of the items in your cabinet? Try your best to make use of any empty space you have in your home. It might help if you put storage items in plastic boxes or totes that you can stack on top of each other to maximize vertical space.

Where To Store Emergency SuppliesShelves– How high can you go? Is there deadspace way up above your existing shelves? Can you install more to make better use of that space?

Closets– I want you to work hard at converting one of your existing closets into one for emergency supplies only. In our master bedroom we have a “his” and “hers” closet. I had my husband install another shelf in his closet for me to hang my clothes on, and we built wrap around shelves in my previous closet to use for storage. We also built shelves in our coat closet and converted it to emergency storage space as well.

Where To Store Emergency SuppliesUnderneath Beds– You’d be amazed at how much stuff you can slide underneath a bed. If you have to raise the legs of the beds up a little to accommodate boxes or totes, they make risers you can use for just this purpose. Or an old brick works just as well. A nice bedskirt will hide your stockpile beautifully. There’s no reason to let all of that empty space go to waste!

Storage Furniture– If you’re really tight on space you might consider swapping out your coffee table for one that opens up and has storage space inside. Same goes for using storage benches and ottomans when possible.


However you decide to store it, it’s a good idea to keep a log of the items you have in your storage, and where exactly they are so that you can find them in a hurry when you need them. Keep paper products and blankets somewhere rodent proof. I love using plastic storage totes to organize and protect our goods. Don’t forget to label your totes so you can find what you’re looking for at a glance.

Be encouraged. I’m betting there’s lots of wasted space in your home just waiting to be used. It might take some purging and organizing, but you’ll find it.

*For more information on what types of food and supplies I think everyone should be putting aside, check out my Emergency Preparedness Series.

Where are some creative places you’ve found to stash supplies in your home?

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About Kendra 1103 Articles
A city girl learning to homestead on an acre of land in the country. Wife and homeschooling mother of four. Enjoying life, and everything that has to do with self sufficient living.


  1. For storing clothing in plastic totes, or cardboard boxes, use something like duct tape or boxing tape to cover all the edges, where the boxes are folded, or the lid of the plastic totes, to keep out spiders when in storage. I do live in an area where brown recluse are from almost too tiny to see to extremely large ones. If nothing else it gives me peace of mind knowing they can’t crawl through an open gap just waiting for me to reach in totally unawares of their presence. I have been bitten by one before, and it wasn’t pleasant. I’m not sure many people realize, but powders and foggers only work on brown recluse and black widow spiders if their bodies are in contact with the poisons, just walking across the residues won’t harm them, unlike other spiders and insects.

  2. I store some of my supplies on TOP of my cabinets in the kitchen and bathrooms. Canned goods lay on their sides so they can’t be seen, some foods are in zip lock bags and then a dark piece of fabric over the top to protect from light. I wish my cabinets went all the way to the ceiling but since they don’t, this area has made decent storage. Yes, I have to use a ladder but I usually save what I purchase until I have quite a few items and then do them all at once.
    And don’t forget your pets when acquiring extra food!!

  3. My family moved into the Smokey Mountains in 1986. We chose a ten acre piece of land on a mountain top, surrounded by national forest. I have a well, a natural spring, and a deep and wide stream on my land, so water is not an issue. I keep about 300 gallons stored in containers at any given time for short term issues. I can run my pump on my generator if need be, and as a last resort I can pull the pump shaft casing and use a Lehman’s “well bucket” to bring up water. So water is not a big issue for us.

    Food is a different matter. I have a barn, a large shop building, and a storage building, all of which are climate controlled so long as the electricity is on, or the generator is running. In our main house, we have a large storage room filled with canned goods, medical supplies, and pails of food from Walden Feeds in Idaho. I had that shipped in by 18 wheeler then transhipped it up the mountain in my F250.

    We have been working on the self sufficient lifestyle for 27 years. Everything we have, we got a bit at a time as we could afford it. But we started out with just a few supplies out in the barn. You have to start somewhere. Even if you live in an apartment and only have a little storage space, what you can cram in there is better than nothing at all.

    I have two grown kids who live in a city. They are young and their apartment is not large, but we have stored enough essentials to get them back down here to the mountains in the event of some unexpected crisis. They don’t have everything they need but they have the basics, and as we have always done, we are improving their situation in terms of preparedness as the days pass.

    All of your readers who have begun the process are light years ahead of those who haven’t even thought of it.

  4. Just a warning to anyone who lives in Brown Recluse Spider country (which is a lot of us) be careful putting things under your beds. They like to hide in all the nooks and crannies of stored items and then crawl out and into your sheets at night. I almost got sick when I saw the huge necrosis patch on one of my friends’ leg when this happened to her.

  5. Do you know those round tables people have with tablecloths over top? Like for beside your bed or sofa? My grandma swapped out the wooden base & now uses (new) garbage cans. You’d never know they’re under there & you can fit a good bit of stuff inside!

  6. One thing most people don’t think of is pack non parishables in a water tight container and bury it. Even photos and copies of important documents. Just remember where you dug the hole 🙂

  7. We lined small jars (from dollar store) of instant coffee, cans of tuna, chicken etc under the sofa, dressers, kitchen island etc in the center and as many rows we could without too much notice…..also peanut butter etc …one in each side of the dresser drawers under the clothes….socks etc…..also the linen closet under towels and sheets.
    we were surprised a how much we stored in these unused places. Just walk room to room and see where you have unused sheets and where you can fit a jar or two.

  8. Good post. I really need to get organized. Maybe in August I will attempt to declutter and get our gear in order. Keep up all the great info. 🙂

  9. I store anything and everything under the sun under our beds and in corners of closets. There are 5 of us in 1100 sq ft and I am the queen of organization, lol, so if it is an unused nook, it will have a purpose soon.

  10. We store our water (washed out milk jugs, juice bottles, 2 liters, etc) in our coat closet. We live in Phoenix, not much need for coats and jackets! We don’t have a large kitchen, but the cupboards are phenomenal in what they hold. We have most of our food in there. We don’t own a washer and dryer, so our “laundry room” (also where the water heater is) is for laundry supplies, our chest freezer (although we’re thinking of moving it with the 115*+ temps here in the summer), and our 5 gallon buckets with beans, flour, sugar, rice, etc. We have a “spare room” that was supposed to be our homeschooling room, that has 2 restaurant racks with various home canned items, and other supplies. I am 4 months pregnant and really wanting to rearrange, but between the heat and exhaustion, I’m just in the planning stages ha. We have beds that have a good amount of space under them, so I’m hoping I can start stashing under there and get the spare room ready for a guest bed and a school table.

  11. We’ve helped many people with this exact issue. Storing important supplies so that they are readily accessible when needed, yet out of your way and space when not needed is a tricky proposition.

    The best idea we’ve come up with (and received positive feedback on) is to just isolate one corner of the garage or basement and use some stackable containers for these supplies. By selecting one corner, you will keep the remainder of the room free from these supplies and always know where to go for these important supplies in a time of need. By using stackable bins or containers, you can use up as little floor space as possible. Just place one container on the floor and then simply stack others on top of it.

    If these containers will be holding food or materials that are sensitive to dust or contaminants, just make sure to pick a container with a lid.

    By using this suggested storage solution, you will kill many birds with one stone… A) you will be decluttered. B) you will always know where critical supplies are. C) You will keep all of your important space free and clear from items that are seldom used.

  12. Water is my main concern. I know what I can store won’t be enough. But, I store what I can. I even use old laundry soap containers. I fill them and mark them as ‘wash water’. On my list is appropriate filters; since it’s likely that by the time I need the water, it may have gone ‘green’ in storage. I tried adding bleach to some water I stored; and we couldn’t tolerate the ‘clean’ looking water with that taste. And it would be a chore to contantly change out stored water to prevent it’s growing algae.

    • Try canning your water. I try to have mo empty canning jars. A15 min. Under 10 lb. pressure and dune. If I need to can something jars are clean just empty and sterilize. Don’t have a full canner fill jars with water and process with rest of batch. I try to have at least 4 doz. 2qt. jars of processed water at all times.

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