When I wrote up the apartment dwellers guide I did almost all of it based on what I have done to prepare and the tests I did myself. I can tell you I didn’t have any room for storing foods until I started buying dry goods and preserving my own food. The stuff I had before I started preparing managed to fill up every room, closet and shelf I had, but you learn what is really important to have on hand and get rid of things that are just stuff you don’t use but hate to get rid of because of your investment in time and money.
A good rule of thumb for me was if I hadn’t used something in a year it was safe to get rid of. That’s not set in stone because somethings are very expensive to replace. Having a few backups of an item is a good idea. But I found it was good place to start and give it to a charity and get the tax deduction or have a yard sale and start/add to your emergency fund can make the getting rid of stuff a lot easier. I keep some foam I scrounged because foam is darn expensive to buy at the craft stores so it’s worth storing to me! Heck I’ve already traded some to crafting family members. Winter is a great time to go through your stuff and get it organized. Go to a dollar store and get those little yardsale price tags and your boxes will be packed away but they will be ready for yard sale or if taken to a charity gives a hint on the monetary values for your deduction.
Do something that makes you happy! I always like the look of clear big glass jars of food. Not practical for long term storage all the time but I have been buying and storing big 1/2 gallon or larger jars and finally got the counter space for setting some up. So far I have a container of white rice, red beans and some polenta/yellow corn grits. I have a couple more jars to add but I think it looks really good and I always have a good amount of those items that are within reach for cooking without getting a bucket from the pantry. Like most people and I will get lazy from time to time and not get stuff from the pantry bulk items to cook. I hope with these foods out and looking so good it will inspire me to add more and new items to my daily meals. I’ve been collecting the metal tins you see around Christmas time and while I’m only up to four they are great for storing crackers. I did a little test with some saltine crackers in a tin stored in the original bag but with about a teaspoon of DE in the bottom of the tin. The crackers I bought on sale in Sept. taste very fresh the DE seems to be keeping dry and they don’t taste stale/old.
When I started out I can’t explain what my mindset was going to be, but I think there was a little bit I had to live like some ascetic monk, hermit or nun. Like if I got gruel 3 times a day and a little meat I some sort of hedonist. I know it’s dumb now, but I do see a few people who prepare and plan on being miserable. No wonder preparing is a hard sell to people! Misery does not need to be practice, it’s a little gift that shows up all by itself with no prior planning. It’s a lot more fun to really learn how to do all the great meals from simple ingredients and see how I can make everyday my life better, learn new skills and save money. I know things will get a lot harder and it will take more physical work to get things done without so many things we take for granted, I know I’ve done it! But if you test and get some systems in place and practice now you can be ready. You can have a confidence that can only be gained by doing and the future does not have to be so frightening.
I’m not saying you don’t need to toughen up a little. Unless you health prevents it drop your thermostat to 60-65 degrees F. and wear more clothes. In the summer try and get by with the air condition set at 80 degrees again if your health allows it. I can do 65 degrees in winter after a couple of years of practice but 78 degrees is my best so far for summer. Get out and walk if half a block is all you can do start there and work at improving that everyday. Try to toughen up now as much as possible, It can be hard if you are handicapped like I am but I can walk 5 miles, 5 days a week. Yes, I use my walker and I’m not speedy but I know I can do at least 5 miles a day. Hell, theoretically I could be 20 miles out of a town if I had to walk in a week depending on how many zombies I had to fight off. LOL
So ask yourself are you standing still?