Survival Preparation in Small Spaces: How to Grow and Store in the Space You Have, by L.N. in Texas

Tuesday, Apr 26, 2011

I live in the country and so I am used to gardening, canning, saving and preparing.  However, when I talk to many people who live in the city and live either with minimal land and perhaps apartments, they do not seem prepared or not as prepared as they could be.  When I ask if they store or grow any food, they just sort of look at me.  When I tell them they should either grow some food or store food not only in case of natural disaster, but even due to inflation and rising prices, the looks become bewildered.  They’ll say that they have no place to grow or store food or they may even act as if that is not important to them.  But, in this time and day, everyone should prepare some food and essentials.  There are reports that crops are being destroyed by elements of drought or floods or freezing and as we can all see, prices are rising and companies are becoming creative at giving us less for the dollar when we buy items.  The world we knew or thought we knew is changing and survival is a key for everyone.  Even in a small space you can prepare for the worse while you continue to hope for the best!

Before we begin talking about how, lets talk about things that are helpful in storing food.  Of course you can go with large buckets and Mylar bags with oxygen absorbers which you can find online at Survival web sites, but what if you do not have that much room?    

You are still in luck!  Invest in a FoodSaver vacuum sealer and get the jar sealer attachments online.  Food Savers will help you store food in either the bags they sell or if you get the jar attachments, you can store food in Mason jars!  We tested the jar attachment by putting dry beans into a mason jar and using the Food Saver jar attachment.  When the machine turned off indicating it was ready, we tried to open the flat metal lid on the Mason jar.  It wouldn’t come off.  When we took a butter knife to the edge to help open it, we heard that vacuum seal pop as we opened it.   So right then and there, we knew we were getting a nice vacuum seal on our jar.  This now allows us to store beans, rice, pasta and other dried foods in jars such as this.  Store trail mix for example in the Food Saver Bags.  These bags are sealed and are easy for you to put into a bin for later consumption.  You can look for Mason jars at local grocery stores, some hardware stores and we also found some really large jars at our local pharmacy of all places!  If all else fails, you can always order them online.   By putting things in the Food Saver bags, it also saves a lot of space rather than bulky boxes and such.  The Food Saver bags are also something quick you can grab if you need to evacuate and put in a back pack.

So you space is small - where can you store?  Start opening your eyes and look around at where you can add space.  A bin on a bookshelf is one more than what you had before!  Get creative and utilize any open spaces you may have.  When the earthquake happened in Japan, many people did not have food stocked up in their apartments and then found they were empty handed and grocery store shelves empty as well!  Remember, grocery stores only have about three days worth of food.  If there is a disaster, that food will disappear quickly.  What if trucks cannot get to your area?  Are you ready to be self-sufficient for a few days, a month or so?  And, when storing, think about climate control.  Do not store anything near heat such as a fireplace, hot water heater or any place that heat can deter the value of the food.

 The following are some ideas of the kinds of places you can store – even in small places!

Note:  Craft stores sell photo boxes that are usually decorative. These are perfect for putting in small Food Saver bags or making a box for emergency supplies for children.

If you live in the city and have a little land, do all of the above plus:

What items should you think about storing besides food?  Think about everyone in your household, including young children and pets.  When storing things like water and food, be sure to do your homework and research either in books or on the internet on best practices for safe storage. 

 Besides food, think of places you can store:

Right now you may be thinking – this is too much to store.  Wouldn’t you rather have it and be prepared than not have it when you need it?  These items are important to your survival.  Our economy could change overnight by one ruling of say not using our currency as the reserve or some solar flare or EMP that affects our electronics.  Preparedness is key right now. 

The next complaint I hear is, "I have fruit or vegetables, but we can’t eat all of it and some goes to waste."  What you need to do is start thinking along the line of storage again.  You can freeze or can most vegetables and fruits and you can dry your herbs.   There is vast information on the web about freezing, canning, storing and drying food you produce.  This means you may need to look into a water bath canner and pressure canner.   I’ve made for example, homemade salsa, jelly, and pickles and am researching more information on canning and freezing my vegetables.   Making jelly may take you and another person a day of work, but you will quickly find your shelves filling up.  You can use the under-the-bed bins for other items and use shelving for your canned items.  If nothing else, home-canned foods make great gifts too so never think you would not know what to do with it all. 

By now, most people know that rotating their stored food is important.  But, what if you ran across cases of food that will expire in the next month?   Most people without thinking will say they cannot possibly eat all that or do not want to.  Think of others at this time.  Donate it to a food pantry, a large family and so on.  Just do not wait too late and never donate food that will expire within a few days or that is expired!

Of course, all of the above is just a small list of ideas.  Start researching survival items and you will find many more you should be considering right now.   Never think your space or yard is too small.  You will be amazed once you start looking around at all the opportunities you truly have to store or grow food.  And when you shop at a plant nursery – always look for plants, shrubs and trees that will bear food.  It may be what you have to survive on one day!

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