Saturday, May 20, 2017


so I am trying to organize some stuff in the basement. About 1.5-2 cubic yards of stuff. Mostly preparedness related clothing, sleeping bags, backpacks and such. My goal is something economical and modular. Totes seem like the obvious answer but old school green Army duffel bags would let me push more stuff in and if I don't need one I could just fold it up.  It occurred to me that some of you all have dealt with this type of issues before. So I figured I would see what kind of stuff has worked well for you.

How do you store stuff?


Aesop said...

Rubbermaid Roughneck full-size trashcans with lids.
Sealed, water/leakproof, hell for tough, looks like something no one wants to dig into, and if you need to use one for its intended purpose, throw in a contractor bag, and you've got it. They keep bugs and leaks out of whatever is inside.

They're also easy to load in a truck bed, easy to tie down, and again, going down the road, they don't look like precious cargo.

The key is putting bulky lightweight items inside (toilet paper, sleeping bags, etc.) because if you put heavy stuff in, they're too heavy to sling around.

Also, Rubbermaid makes a janitorial base with casters, so if you do load them heavy, they can be rolled around as needed on a hard floor.
And if so inclined, you could cover whatever is inside with a hefty bag, then scatter some dry paper trash, etc. on top, and make them look like just garbage, in case anyone ever looked inside.
The ultimate hide-in-plain-sight device for a garage/storage building.

You can also use cleaned out 55 gal. steel packing drums, if they haven't been used for nasty chemicals and such. Clean them out, spray the inside with white exterior paint or truck bedliner, let dry, then load 'em up. Screw-seal the replaceable lids, and label them as "waste oil", or something equally unpleasant and worthless, and they can be stored outside, or in a shed, under a nasty-looking tarp scrap, on some wood dunnage or scrap pallet(s) to get them off the ground, and they're about bombproof.
If you're worried about them walking away, band them together with steel banding, and chain the pallet to a buried concrete pier block, and they aren't liable to get messed with. Some splatterings of old motor oil & grease on the outside and top will discourage handling.

For a spectacular cache, go to Northern Tools, U-line, etc. and get a polyethylene plastic drum spill cocoon (made for containing leaking 55 gal. chemical drums). Bury the larger drum cocoon, drop in a removable-head 55-gal. steel drum, load with your items, seal, and cover with a piece of pond liner, a piece of treated 3/4" plywood/railroad ties/etc., then bury as you see fit. If no one sees you put it in, and it's not in a flood plain, the only way it gets found by anyone but you is with metal detectors, but what goes inside, stays safe inside, for a good long while.

One such drum or trash can would hold a full load out of Level 1/2/3 gear, including a spare long arm and combat ruck, and plenty more, or a whale of a lot of other stuff. A second one could easily hold the hand tools and seed for a scratch-built homestead, which was why a lot of folks a couple centuries back would bury a pitch-covered oak cask with the same spare load-in of tools and seed, just in case everything they had got wiped out.

tweell said...

I went with totes, sorry. They're stackable, and take minimum space that way, while not requiring special packing to keep from damaging fragile items.

Fidel said...

The problem I discovered with using duffle bags is vermin will chew through them...I lost my woobie that way, and got a hole in the bag to boot.

I get the transparent, latching-lid totes at Walmart for anything not heavy. They come in different sizes, too, and stack pretty well.

Unknown said...

Never had problem with vermin. It the clear totes are, well, clear! I still store extra sleep systems in duffel bags so they can expand, I get the tool less shelves from lowes and swap out the press. Word for ply wood and lined the basement with them. If you move just break them down and they pack flat.

riverrider said...

yeah, clear rubbermaid totes from lowes. tough, take a load, never had one break or chewn through, and of course you can see whats what. different sizes that match up equally, stack well, etc. hold odd shaped items. just too many pluses to the one minus that you can't throw it over your shoulder and run with it, but i don't plan on it.

Commander_Zero said...

I use wire rack shelving from CostCo. Keeps everything off the floor. Everyting goes into some sort of protective container...sleeping bags go in 5-gallon buckets, non-canned food goes in clear plastic totes, gun stuff goes in ammo cans, that sorta thing.

Just A Guy said...

Spend the extra couple bucks and buy the more rugged/sturdy totes also I drop a couple of fabric softener sheets as well to keep fresh, last trick is the will use the vacuum bags from harbor freight to make it more compact.

Anonymous said...

Totes for light items and food grade 5 gal buckets for medium dense stuff and ammo cans for heavy stuff like coins and ammo.

Duct tape and sharpies make great labels.

I keep a spreadsheet of contents.

Anonymous said...

Heavy duty totes - while heavy bags seem like a good idea they develop 'wear points' and can also be chewed by critters. We use heavy plastic construction totes to organize gear at my work (Corrections) and armory equipment. It makes it easy to 'grab and go' specific sets of gear when needed as well.

Get them in a couple of sizes if you can - smaller ones for heavy (ammo, 'hard' equipment, etc.) and larger ones for clothing, vest, empty mags, etc. You can also make up an emergency one with a little of everything to go on top of the storage stack. Best to diagram out and plan the packing too.

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