Just because you live in a small apartment or home doesn’t mean that you can’t join the wonderful world of prepping. There are many ways to have a garden, store food, and enjoy your living space – without looking (or feeling) like a hoarder!
Filling your home with the right types of plants can be one of the best ways to both beautify your small space and have a few useful emergency tools on hand.
When choosing house plants, pick ones that are useful, not just pretty. There are many types of edible flowers and plants. One of my favorites to keep are mini roses. They don’t take up a whole lot of space and are safe for human consumption, as long as you don’t spray them with pesticide. Also consider adding a few miniature fruit trees. They are great for both decoration and food production.
Many herbs, such as rosemary, are great for both cooking and medicinal purposes. It’s a pretty little shrub that looks like a fir tree. As a cooking herb it’s great for chicken, but it also aids in the digestion of richer meats. Rosemary essential oil is great for the scalp and reduces dandruff.
Rosemary and other herbs keep well on window sills or the kitchen counter. Aloe, for burns, is another favorite to keep in the house.
A bunch of planters sitting in the middle of the living room is hardly attractive, and few us of have a large outside window sill like the one pictured above. Putting your plants on the balcony would be an obvious go to, but not all apartments have a balcony. In that situation, try hanging your plants from the ceiling in a sunny area, but don’t go overboard. One or two plants per room will do.
Perhaps you would like to start a vegetable garden but don’t have an outside space. That’s where an indoor vegetable garden comes in. You can use a specially designed AeroGarden, or simply place a book case across from a large window in a non carpeted room.
No matter what kind of plants you have, an indoor grow light can help. If you have pets or small children, it’s best to keep your plants on the top shelves. Some cats will even try to eat cactus!
There are some decorations that are pretty but serve no practical purpose. Others are really pretty and can do something useful. When decorating in our home, I try my best to go with the second choice.
Candles are my first go to for decorative lighting. They are easy to store and many even come in their own jars. They don’t take up much space because they are on display when not in use. They don’t require a storage of fuel, like oil. If you have children or pets you could use the LED candles. They require batteries, but so would flashlights.
You could also use decorative oil lamps. You may be able to find a few at thrift store or online. They do require oil, but you can counter that by buying a lamp with a clear oil tank and filling it with a colored oil. The advantage of these lamps is that the light may be turned up or down and they also contribute to warming your home.
Insulation is important to any prepper’s home. Covering those windows is the first step I would take to insulate my home.
Thermal curtains are designed to keep the outside heat, cold, and prying eyes out of your home, and they also keep the room extra dark. They are readily available at store like Target as well as online, so there are more than enough options to find something to match any room.
Where permitted, cover the windows with an insulating window film. These come in many decorative designs and serve two purposes. The first is to help block UV light from coming into my home and to reflect sunlight away. The second (an added bonus) is that they may also prevent street viewing inside your home when the curtains are open.
I also love to use floor rugs. It adds an extra layer of insulation to the floors and keeps the apartment carpets from getting quite as dirty.
I confess: I don’t like staring at piles of cans in my living room. While I love having my storage, I don’t like feeling as though I live in a tiny warehouse so when I find a way to hide my storage, I do.
Creative Furniture Use
Bean bag chairs are the absolute best when it comes to hiding storage in plain sight. Children and grownups alike, love to sit on them. They are easy to move from room to room as a portable chair and are amazingly comfortable to read on. I use them as advertised. I hide bags of beans and peas in them. When I need a bag of split peas to make soup, I simple evict whichever child is sitting on the food storage for a moment and get what I need.
One of my favorite memories growing up is the giant bookcase my parents made. It was made of plywood and buckets, although cinder blocks are a common variation. The buckets contained stored flour and rice. To make this design look more decorative all you need to do is cover the ply wood with self-sticking shelf paper and color coordinate the buckets.
Hide Away Decor
Couch covers and bed ruffles make it easy to hide storage under my furniture, where I am happy not to see it. They also provide a potential fabric source should I need it. They come in a variety of patterns and colors to meet your decorating needs and (if made of the right fabric) can also be used as an extra blanket.
What other decorating ideas have you come up with to help with your prepping in tight spaces?