Apartment Survival Plan: 7 Ways to Prepare for Doomsday in a 1-Bedroom Apartment

If you live in a small apartment and have wondered what kind of survival plan you should have in place, then you’ll definitely want to read today’s post.

Pepper D. from Washington writes in with the following question:

Yes, being prepared is very important, but one cannot live in a 1-bedroom apartment surrounded by stored survival products. If the need to survive was a known date, then yes. But, when it is unknown… I was raised believing the end of the world would happen within the the next “decade.” That has was back in the 70s.

So, being prepared and having my dwelling packed to the ceiling with survival stuff for 40 years? Is that reasonable?

How does one store all this if one isn’t blessed with living on acreage or a large home?

Well, there is definitely not a one-size-fits all answer to this type of question, but I’ll share 7 ideas about preparing for an urban survival situation when you live in an apartment. The same suggestions actually make a good “starter list” for people living in big homes who have yet to do any preparation:

1. 7 Days Of Food: Forget about surviving one month in a one-bedroom apartment. Get prepared to survive just one week. That’s fairly reasonable and doesn’t require too much food storage. You can get a 3-week food kit from Food Insurance for as little as $75. That’s enough to last two adults for about 10 or 11 days, and takes up very little space. The real issue, of course, is…

2. No Running Water: When you account for basic hygiene, hydration and reconstituting your emergency food supply, you’re going to need at least 4 liters a day. So store 21 liters underneath your bed. Again, there’s probably not much point trying to last more than 7 days in an apartment — especially when you consider…

3. When You Gotta Go: An issue that is just as big as staying fed and hydrated is waste disposal. If there is no running water you won’t be able to flush your toilet. If you’re living on the fourth floor of an apartment, you don’t have a backyard you can run out to. And you’ll only incur the wrath of your neighbors if you empty a chamber pot off the balcony. Instead, stretch a big kitchen size garbage around the toilet bowl. Do your business and tie it up. Empty water bottles or a large mayonnaise jar can be used for urinating (just make sure you have the bottle caps/lids to seal the container!).

4. More Important Than Food or Water: If the infrastructure collapses in February, and you’re living in Chicago, you run a very real risk of dying from hypothermia long before starvation is even an issue. One night of sub-zero temperatures could finish you. Purchase a sleeping bag like the Canadian Hotcore, which is designed to keep you warm, under the stars, in -20 degrees centigrade. Some type of kerosene heater would be my second suggestion.

5. Security: If your neighborhood has gone I Am Legend on you — with thieves and gangs roaming outside your doors — you don’t want to leave your apartment. Moreover, the chances that your home security system actually still works are slim to none. Last thing you need is to be cornered in a hallway or on a stairwell. If you can last 7 days of chaos secure in your apartment — you may avoid the worst of it.

Have a way of securing your door. There are various types of door jams you can purchase that will make it too difficult for the average looter/homicidal maniac to break in. You may also have furniture that you can use as a barricade. A gun might not hurt, either. If you live high enough off the ground, your window and balcony should hopefully be safe, but you may want to have planks, nails, and a hammer on hand to secure windows/balconies. (Your landlord’s going to love you when it’s all over.)

6. Gold Coins: One ounce of gold — about the size of a Canadian dollar coin — is worth $1,220 right now. You could easily store tens of thousands of dollars worth of gold even in the smallest apartment. Just find multiple clever hiding spots. Silver coins may be a more practical option as you can barter for smaller items (once it’s safe to go outside). Better still, use a service like Silver Saver to buy silver in small amounts and have it stored in a vault off-site. This takes up no space at all and keeps your silver away from thieves.

7. Live Together or Die Alone: Do you have a friend or family  living nearby with a home that you could walk to if the infrastructure went down? Why not store food, water and supplies in their attic or basement? Have an agreement that you provide the supplies and they provide the shelter. This way, in a crisis you can head to their place and share the stash. There is more safety in numbers. Who wants to be alone in an apartment building during a true crisis?

In short, I suggest that you first get your apartment ready with enough supplies so that you could survive 7 days, in the winter, without running water, heat or electricity.

Focus on having a 7-day survival plan in place. That might be all you ever need.

But once you’re prepared for the first week, focus on prepping for evacuation by car (if you have one). Then find a friend or family member you can trust, with a home, where you can start preparing for a longer crisis.

Don’t be scared. Be prepared.
-Survival Joe