Letter Re: A Twenty-Something EMT with Limited Preps Storage Space

Mr. Rawles,
First off I would like to thank you for your profound impact on my life in the last four months. All of my life I grew up with a father and grandfather who were/are minor survivalist men. They believe that the end times are coming and we should prepare for them. They keep about three days of food and water at their homes and plenty of guns and ammo. For the longest time I always thought it was ridiculous and never understood it. Now my thinking has changed to the fact that they are under prepared. When I was 11 my parents divorced and they both re-married. After high school my dad moved to Arizona and I do not see him much and live with my mother who thinks my dad was “crazy” for his survivalist lifestyle.

Five months ago I met my boyfriend. Our second date we went shooting and our third we went fishing. We are very outdoors-oriented people. One day he handed me your book “Patriots” and I shrugged it off for a little while. Eventually I picked it up and didn’t put it down till I was done reading it. It changed my life. Soon after I became a SurvivalBlog reader and have a moderately stocked bug out bag. We have talked about a future together and dream of a life together and it includes getting a house and prepared for TEOTWAWKI because we both know it will happen eventually.
My issue is that I live with my mom and stepfather. I have a small room and small car. My parents don’t allow me to store anything in their garage or tool shed and are in a “getting rid of stuff” mood. They think having a day or two worth of food in our RV outside will cut in for a SHTF situation. My mom freaked out that I wanted to bring my 12 gauge shotgun to her house when I got it, so it stays at my boyfriends along with my M44 [Mosin Nagant carbine] who also lives at home. Needless to say if I asked for a place to store food and water I would become “crazy like your father” which is what she said when she saw my Bug-Out Bag (BOB) in my closet. In addition to that I pay for my own car and bills, work 40 hours a week and am a student.

In January I will be attending paramedic school and that will take a lot of time and money. That being said I also already have a lot of medical supplies around my room and car since I am an EMT. I’m also a girl who has a lot of clothes and a closet jam packed with them and old school books. I also have shelves and a desk, again filled with books and personal items that I simply cannot part with. (childhood memories) I have very little space and very little money. I know there are many ways to start small with survival, but do you have any suggestions for storage that I can get to while being cost efficient and not asking a friend who would think I’m crazy? Any advice would truly be appreciated. I know most of the blog readers either have their own place or a place to store things but in my situation I can’t think of anything.
Thank you again for changing my life and how I think of the world. Sincerely, – Michelle T.

JWR Replies: Don’t be discouraged about the state of your preparations. Just store things as best as you can with the space that you have available until after you are married and have a place of your own. You might want to enquire about the price renting a small commercial storage space. If that is cost prohibitive, then you might wangle some extra garage or attic space with friends or relatives. Another possibility might be to get permission from your EMT organization to store two or three padlocked “contingency” footlockers of clothing and food–stenciled with your name and “Contingency Gear”–for you in a back room. You can explain that in some disaster situations you might have to stay “on station” 24 hours a day, with no chance to go home. Regardless of where you store things, just keep in mind that heat will greatly reduce the shelf life of most storage foods. See for example this chart at MREInfo.com on MRE shelf life versus temperature.

OBTW, if you can handle the recoil of a 12 gauge and 7.62x54R from a light carbine like a M44 Mosin-Nagant, then you rate pretty high in my book. And you are an EMT, too? And outdoorsy? Please tell your boyfriend that–at least according to this editor–he has found himself a good choice for a bride.