12 Places to Store Your Survival Supplies

It’s always a good idea to be prepared for all kinds of emergencies, from hurricanes to societal events, but figuring out where to store your emergency supplies can be tricky.

As you begin putting back extra food and supplies, 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.

water bottles and cans of food under couch
water bottles and cans of food under couch

Do you stash them in the basement or keep them in a designated spot in your garage?

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 its steady cool conditions.

An attic, on the other hand, 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.

Here are some tips on how to store your emergency supplies so that they’re easy to find when you need them.

Where to Store Emergency Supplies

1. Under the Couch

A pretty obvious place, that I usually keep empty boxes in. But those boxes can be thrown out, or can be filled with various supplies.

2. 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.

pantry shelves full of canned food
pantry shelves full of canned food

3. Shelves

How high can you go? Is there dead-space way up above your existing shelves? Can you install more to make better use of that space?

4. Inside Luggage

You can just take suitcases or travel luggage with you in your bug out vehicle should you have to flee.

water bottles and canned food in baggage
water bottles and canned food in baggage

Double win! Mind the temperature though, and avoid putting perishables… or rotate those foods often before they get a chance to spoil.

5. 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.

6. Underneath 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.

box hidden under bed
box hidden under bed

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!

7. 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.

8. Duffle Bags, Fanny Packs, or Other Portable Storage Solutions

While you can’t always predict when an emergency will strike, you can be better prepared by keeping some essential survival gear on hand. But where to keep them?

A duffle bag, fanny pack, or other portable storage solution is the perfect way to store emergency supplies. That way, you can grab them and go at a moment’s notice. Plus, having everything in one place makes it easy to find what you need when you need it.

9. Spare Bedrooms, Attics, Garages, or Basements – But Be Mindful

For many people, the logical choice is to keep supplies in spare bedrooms, attics, garages or basements. After all, these areas are typically out of the way and can easily be converted into storage space.

However, there are also some drawbacks to this approach. First of all, these areas are often subject to extreme temperature changes, which can damage delicate supplies such as food and medicine.

Additionally, these areas are often difficult to access in an emergency, making it difficult to retrieve vital supplies when time is of the essence. Ultimately, the decision of where to store emergency supplies is a personal one. However, it is important to weigh the pros and cons carefully before making a decision.

10. Each Person’s Bedroom

In the event of an emergency, it is important to have supplies close at hand. For this reason, many disaster experts recommend storing emergency supplies in each bedroom of the house.

This way, if you need to evacuate in a hurry, you can grab your supplies and go. Each person should have their own stock of emergency supplies that they can be responsible for (with, perhaps, the exception of very young children, for whom you’ll need to be responsible for their supplies).

11. The Car

In an emergency, every second counts. That’s why it’s important to have a stash of supplies in your car, so you’re always prepared for the unexpected.

A good emergency kit should include food, water, blankets, a first-aid kit, a flashlight, and a whistle. You should also have a copy of your insurance card and a list of emergency contacts.

stashing cans of food inside car trunk

By keeping these items in your car, you can rest assured that you’ll be prepared for anything. And while it’s important to have emergency supplies on hand, it’s even more important to know how to use them.

Make sure to take some time to familiarize yourself with your kit, so you’ll be ready to act quickly and confidently in an emergency situation.

12. Your Office

In the event of an emergency, it’s important to have a designated meeting place and supplies readily available.

If you work in an office, consider storing emergency supplies in a common area. This way, everyone will have access to them in case of evacuation. Basic supplies might include water, food, a first-aid kit, and a flashlight.

It’s also a good idea to have a map of the area, as well as contact information for local authorities. By being prepared, you can help ensure the safety of yourself and your colleagues in the event of an emergency.

Where to Avoid Storing Emergency Supplies

If you’re like most people, you probably have a few supplies stored away for emergencies. But where is the best place to store them?

Many people mistakenly believe that their basement is the best place to keep their emergency supplies, but this isn’t always the case.

In fact, there are several other places where you should avoid storing your emergency supplies. Here are four of them.

1. Outbuildings

Outbuildings such as sheds and garages are often the first to be damaged or destroyed in a storm, so they should not be used to store emergency supplies.

Instead, keep your emergency preparedness kit in a closet or other interior room of your home where it will be protected from the elements. That way, you can be sure that your supplies will be there when you need them most.

2. Damp Basements

Many people store these items in their basements, but this can be a risky proposition. Basements are often damp, and this moisture can damage sensitive electronics or promote the growth of mold.

In addition, basements are usually located at the lowest point in a home, making them more likely to flood during a severe storm.

Many items, like toilet paper, paper towels, prescription medications, personal hygiene items, and of course, extra food, simply cannot handle getting wet. If flood water reaches them, they will be destroyed instantly – rendering your disaster supply kit and emergency food supply totally useless.

For these reasons, it’s generally best to avoid storing emergency supplies in damp basements. Instead, opt for a dry location such as a closet or an upstairs bedroom.

3. Cluttered Areas

Imagine this scenario: There’s a severe storm headed your way, and you need to evacuate your home. You grab your emergency survival kits, but it’s difficult to find everything you need in the cluttered space where they are stored.

Or maybe you’re able to find everything, but it takes too long and you have to leave some important items behind.

This is why it’s so important to store your emergency supplies in an easily accessible location. When every second counts, you don’t want to waste time searching for things.

So take a few minutes now to declutter your emergency supply area, and make sure you know where everything is. It could make all the difference in a crisis situation.

4. Hard to Reach Spots

When a disaster strikes, every second counts. If you have to search for your emergency supplies, you are wasting valuable time that could be spent getting to safety.

For this reason, it is best to store your supplies in an easily accessible location. A pantry or closet near the front door is a good choice. That way, you can grab your supplies and go without having to search for them in a hurry.

Another reason to store your supplies in an easily accessible spot is that you may need to use them in the dark.

If your supplies are stored in a hard-to-reach spot, you may not be able to find them when the power goes out. In an emergency situation, having quick access to your supplies could mean the difference between life and death.

Tips for Organizing Emergency Supplies

Are you prepared for an emergency? By following these tips, you can be sure that you will be prepared for anything that comes your way! So without further ado, let’s get started!

Divide by Type, Use, and Frequency / Duration Needed

When it comes to emergency supplies, it’s important to think about what you will need and how often you will need it. Then, organize accordingly.

For example, food and water are obviously essential, but you will need different amounts depending on the situation. If you are stranded in your car for a few hours, you won’t need as much as if you are stuck in your home for days or weeks after a natural disaster.

Group like items together to make it easier to find them. You can organize by shelf life, when you store food, or by purpose.

For example, you can put all dry goods (canned soup, peanut butter, rice, canned vegetables) together. Then, all building and maintenance items can go together (things like duct tape, plastic sheeting, etc.).

All sanitation and cleaning supplies, like gallon jugs of bleach, extra clean water, hand sanitizer, face masks, etc.) can go in the same place too.

Similarly, you will need different supplies depending on the type of emergency. A first aid kit is a must-have for any situation, but you might also need a flashlight, batteries, and a fire extinguisher if there is a risk of fire.

By planning ahead and dividing your supplies into categories, you can be sure that you have everything you need to weather any emergency.

Organize By Person (and Make Sure You Have Enough for Each Person)

When stockpiling emergency supplies, it is important to cater to the specific needs of each person in your family. Infants and small children, for example, will need diapers, formula, and baby food.

Older children will need non-perishable snacks and drinks, as well as activities to keep them occupied.

Adults will need items like first-aid supplies, flashlights, and batteries. If you have any family members with special medical needs, be sure to include their medications in your emergency kit.

By taking the time to tailor your emergency supplies to the needs of each person in your family, you can be confident that everyone will have what they need in the event of a disaster.

Measure Items and Get an Idea of Shelf Load Capacity

When putting together your kit, think about what your family would need to live comfortably for at least three days.

Include food, water, and other necessities like medicines and clothing as well as items for infants or pets. Don’t forget to also include items like cash, important documents, and first-aid supplies.

Once you have assembled your kit, it’s important to keep it up-to-date and make sure everyone in your household knows where it is stored. Reviewing your supplies and refreshing them every six months or so will help you be prepared for anything life throws your way.

Before storing items, make sure you have measured them to make sure they’ll fit where you plan to store them. Check shelf load capacity, too, so you don’t create additional headaches by a collapsing shelf that’s not meant to be collapsible!

Consider Crush-Resistant

One of the last things you want to worry about in an emergency is whether or not your supplies are intact and functional. That’s why it’s important to buy crush-resistant emergency supplies.

Crush-resistant products are designed to withstand being stepped on, sat on, or otherwise compressed without being damaged.

This means that even if your emergency kit gets shoved to the back of a closet or under a bed, your supplies will still be in good working order when you need them.

In a time of crisis, having supplies that you can rely on can make all the difference. So before you stock up on emergency supplies, be sure to consider making them crush-resistant.

Store Loose Items in Tubs or Totes

Organizing your emergency supplies doesn’t have to be difficult or time-consuming. One simple way to keep everything in order is to store loose items in tubs or totes.

This way, you can easily see what you have and where it is, and you can quickly grab what you need in an emergency.

Plus, using tubs or totes means that you won’t have to worry about things getting lost or damaged. So if you’re looking for an easy and efficient way to organize your emergency supplies, consider using tubs or totes.

Label Everything With Names and Expiration Dates

It’s always a good idea to have emergency supplies on hand, but it’s even more important to make sure that everything is clearly labeled.

That way, you’ll know at a glance what you have and how long it will last. Expiration dates are especially important for food and medical supplies.

You don’t want to find yourself in a situation where you’re hoping a can of beans is still good, only to realize that it expired two years ago. So take the time to label everything clearly, and you’ll be prepared for whatever comes your way.

Create an Inventory List

In any emergency situation, it is important to be prepared. Having a list of essential supplies on hand can help you to weather any disaster, whether it is a severe storm, power outage, or evacuation.

The first step is to create an inventory of the supplies you already have. Take stock of your non-perishable food items, water, medications, flashlights, batteries, and first-aid kit.

Once you know what you have on hand, you can make a list of any additional items you may need. Be sure to include items for special needs, such as infant formula or pet food. It is also a good idea to keep cash on hand in case of an extended power outage.

With a little advance planning, you can be sure that you and your family will be safe and comfortable in any emergency situation.

Inspect, Purge, and Restock Often

No one likes to think about being in an emergency situation, but it’s always better to be prepared. That’s why it’s important to regularly inspect your emergency supplies to make sure they’re still in good condition and restock anything that’s been used. This will help ensure that you’re always ready for whatever comes your way.

Start by taking inventory of all the supplies you have on hand. Check expiration dates and toss anything that’s out of date. Next, restock any items that have been used since you last did an inventory. This could include things like food, water, and first-aid supplies.

Finally, take a look at your overall stock and see if there are any items you need to add. This might include things like flashlights or extra batteries. By regularly inspecting and restocking your emergency supplies, you can be confident that you’re always prepared for whatever comes your way.

Make a Plan

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.

In any emergency situation, it’s important to be prepared. Having a plan and the right supplies on hand can help you weather any storm, whether it’s a literal one or a metaphorical one.

But where do you start?

First, sit down with your family and come up with an emergency plan.

Decide on a meeting place in case you get separated, and choose someone who lives out of state to be your point of contact. Then, start compiling a list of supplies.

Make sure to include food, water, first-aid supplies, and anything else you might need in case of an emergency. Once you have everything you need, put it all in one place so you can grab it quickly if you need to evacuate.

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

17 thoughts on “12 Places to Store Your Survival Supplies”

  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 really 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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