There certainly are some significant challenges that go along with apartment prepping. According to latest US statistics from National Multifamily Housing Council, 44.1 million households are renters. And 37% of renters live in apartments. That’s 16.3 million households who live in apartments.
If you fit into that statistic and if you are a prepper, you’re presented with certain unique challenges for your preparedness.
What are the preparedness challenges for apartment prepping?
What can be done about some of these challenges?
Awhile ago I received an email which posed the following question:
I live in an apartment, and would like to know if you, or the online community, have thoughts or suggestions for those of use who don’t have land, gardens, etc.
I have about a months worth of food, and a couple of weeks of water (more if I drain the water heater). Good clothes, radios, TP, camp stove with fuel, lights, etc.., and a decent Get Home Bag in the car.
Storage is limited as I am in a two bedroom apartment and cannot reasonably relocate.
My current approach is to continue my preps and maintain a low profile, and would like to draw on the MSB community for additional thoughts. Thanks.
Apartment Prepping Challenges
Here are a few challenges that come to mind. Add your own in the comment section below.
INSIDE Space Limitations
While we each have our own space limitations (we all live within walls), the apartment dweller has less space (much less space) than the typical home dweller. Since prepping and preparedness does partially involve a collection of food and supplies, they need to go somewhere… Space is limited.
OUTSIDE Space Limitations
Similarly the apartment dweller may have little or no space outside. No big ‘yard’ to speak of. Probably no garage. No space for gardening. No shed or outbuildings.
Maybe there’s a small outside space such as a patio (container garden?). Or maybe there’s a common area outside for everyone in the building (kinda useless for prepping). But it’s not like having your own personal yard if you live in a single family home.
When it comes to apartment prepping, there’s essentially no outside space.
Closer Proximity (density) With Others
The apartment dweller lives right next to other apartment dwellers. You might even hear them through the walls. Not ideal for privacy and security…
Operational Security. Most preppers try to keep a low profile given the stigma that exists around preparedness (which itself is stunning – why would the masses look down upon preparedness?!). Trying to keep a low profile in an apartment might be challenging.
Okay For Short Term Disruption – But Not Long Term
If you live in an apartment and undergo a disruption event (hours, days, maybe up to a week) you could be adequately prepared to get through it fine. Although a grid-down event (even temporary) may present significant problems to the apartment dweller depending on climate (HVAC systems for example) and other integral related apartment building infrastructure reliant upon electrical power.
However when we go beyond that short term time frame and get into several weeks, a month?!, longer?!) it will become quite a challenge if not impossible to deal with in an apartment.
What Can Be Done About Apartment Prepping Challenges?
This is where the ideas flow. Leave your comments below.
A few initial thoughts to get it going:
There’s only so much space inside for apartment prepping. Instead of haphazardly acquiring ‘stuff’ for preparedness, give it some serious thought first. Prioritize! What are the most important preps? Take care of those things first. At least to the extent that you can. Things like water, drinking water filtration, and food storage should be first. Then evaluate from there.
Space Inside The Apartment
Utilize space in a unique way. Here’s one example:
During an earlier time when we were getting into preparedness, and when we lived in a smaller home, I kept twelve 5-gallon buckets (long term food storage preps) behind a couch. No one knew. I placed a row of six buckets across – stacked two high. I covered (draped) them with a fabric which matched and blended with the couch color. Then I placed a proper size board across the top which I had stained and finished to be a nice looking shelf (I shimmed it to bring to the similar height of the couch back). The shelf board turned out to be a convenient practical thing (remote controls and other such nick-knacks. And it served to hide all those buckets of food storage.
Do you have a second bedroom? That will present more options!
What about under the furniture. Under the bed. Behind furniture. In the furniture. The closet. In your luggage bags. Hiding in plain sight. Stay organized.
If you’re really tight for space, you could rent a storage unit. Many people do this anyway. Sure it costs money, but it’s an option.
Space Outside The Apartment
Some apartments may have a small caged area or ‘lockers’ in a basement or other area for storage. Some people use curtains or shower curtains inside the cage for privacy. Beware of rodents. Use proper containers to keep them (and bugs) out.
As an apartment dweller, if you have a little space outside, maybe there’s enough for a 4×8 raised garden? Probably not though…
You might plant some veggies in ordinary planters on the patio. Container gardening. Even though you’re not looking at life-saving food production, it’ll get you into gardening – which is always a good skill for preparedness.
Other Challenges and Thoughts
One problem is enough water, especially if you live on an upper floor. Can you lug enough water up several floors to supply your family with drinking, cooking, washing water? What if you live on the 20th floor? Is there even a source of water nearby? The amount of water you can store in an apartment is very limited. What will you do after that is used up?said an MSB commenter
Look around your local area for water sources. Make a mental note of it. You do have a good drinking water filter, right?
Apartment owners, landlords, and/or managers have a key to your door. You have no real security in this regard if someone else owns the apartment (or home) that you live in.
Another problem with living in a rented space is that the owner may tell you to leave, especially if government protection is absent. Maybe he wants the space for his relatives, for storage for his preps or maybe a large part of the city has become uninhabitable due to flooding, fire, etc and he can get a much larger rent from some of those displaced people.commenter
Be aware of your OPSEC. Know that you have more eyes watching you when you live among population density.
Have A Bug Out Location If You Live In An Apartment
I definitely think that an apartment dweller should prioritize having a BOL for just in case. That doesn’t necessarily mean having a cabin in the mountains. Rather, simply a thought out place to go, depending on the events that have transpired. Just think it through – so you don’t have to when the SHTF for real.
Also, have your Bug Out Bag, whatever ‘kit’ you put together, have it ready to go. I always keep at least a minimal kit in my vehicle at all times (72 hour kit).
If You’re Serious, Make An Exit Plan To Get Your Own Place
It’s easy to feel ‘tied down’. You may feel stuck where you live due to various reasons. But the reality is, it’s always a choice that you make. You can (if you really want to) make a plan to get out. It may take some time. However, you are in charge of you.
There’s really now way to be prepared for a long term (some call it SHTF) disaster scenario. There are all sorts of hypothetical scenarios. But apartment prepping will always be limited to a relatively short term. The good thing is that most disruptions are indeed short term. But, if you’re considering anything worse, you’re going to need to get out…
That said, lets hear your specific or general recommendations for the apartment dweller prepper: