How and Why to Create a Storage Unit Survival Cache

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Author of Beyond the Stockpile: Adventure, Adaptability, and Survival in the Modern World

Much is written about secret stashes in the preparedness world, and people hide supplies in a variety of different ways. One way to put aside extra food and gear is by using a rented space to create a storage unit survival cache. Before you argue and say, “I want access to all my stuff all the time,” let me explain why (and how) my family uses this philosophy.

This is a topic made famous in prepper circles by Franklin Horton’s awesome book, Locker Nine. In the book, a father sets up a storage locker for his young daughter who has gone away to college. In the locker, he stashes gear and instructions for her to make her way home if things hit the fan while she is living in the dorm. Some of the items cannot be stored in the dorm for legal reasons. Others, he wants to make sure are available for use when she needs them. It’s a great book and I highly recommend it if you’re looking for some enjoyable prepper fiction.

But you don’t have to have a kid in college to make use of public storage lockers. Read on for more information.

Why would you NOT have all your survival items at home?

If you look at the statistics, prior to 2020 and the advent of nearly everyone working from home in their pajamas, the average adult spent less than 10 hours per day at home – and that includes the time that they were sleeping. While it’s great to imagine the epic SHTF event will occur while we’re all gathered around the family dinner table together, it’s statistically unlikely.

It’s more probable that we’ll all be at our various regular locations: work, school, church, working out, shopping, or pursuing some kind of leisure activity. And whether or not we’ll be together with our loved ones is also kind of a crapshoot, given the fact that most of us go our separate ways during the days.

So, for this reason alone, having gear you and your loved ones can access away from home can be important. This is where having a storage unit survival cache might be very desirable. (We’ll talk more about choosing locations in a moment.)

But that’s not all. Many of us live in small homes or apartments and simply do not have the space to store all of the prepper gear we want to keep on hand. A storage unit can provide that “spare room” for which many of us with stockpiles yearn.

Another compelling reason is the old adage about not keeping all your eggs in one basket. If things go sideways, as much as we like to think it couldn’t happen, you might end up losing the supplies at your home. This could be the result of anything from an attack by marauders to destruction from natural disasters. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a backup stash of guns, ammo, and food?

I talked a little bit about it in this video, but I wanted to go into more detail.

What should you look for in a storage unit you plan to use for survival purposes?

If you’re considering a storage unit survival cache, here are some qualities I find important:

Climate controlled: Particularly if you are storing food there, you don’t want to subject your belongings to extreme temperatures.

Humidity controlled: Same as above, but humidity can affect gear and guns as well as food.

Indoor entrance: While some folks prefer the kind with an outside, garage-door style entrance, I’m not a fan. First of all, it’s easier to break into something like that because you only have to breach one door. Not so with a unit inside a building. Secondly, when you open it up to the great outdoors, you could be inviting in pests that will feast on your carefully stored food. Finally, these units are less likely to have reliable humidity and temperature controls.

On a middle floor: If you can find a unit in a multistory building, being on a middle floor reduces the risk of water damage from both above and below. If a second-floor storage unit has flooded, you’ve got way bigger problems on your hands. And if there’s a leak due to heavy rains and storms, that will affect upper units before yours.

A final consideration is whether or not you might use this as a hideout. When I left the country, my daughter moved to a large city where riots are not unheard of. I rented a larger storage unit than we needed, and I set it up as a place she could retreat to if things got really bad in the future. It is set up with the following:

If she needed to lay low for a few days to let things settle down, this would be an ideal place to do it. People who are out rioting are breaking the windows of Starbucks and banks and clothing stores. They’re not going to old office buildings that have been turned into storage units, breaking into the controlled-access parking lot, breaking into the lobby, then hacking the code to access the elevators and fire doors on the stairs. At least that certainly isn’t typical rioter behavior.

This isn’t perfect for a long-term bug-out location, but it would be a good place to settle in and wait for things to calm down.

What do you put in a storage unit survival cache?

How you load up your cache depends on your purpose.

Is it a place for your overflow supplies that won’t fit in your home? If so, put your stuff with the most distant expiration dates there and be sure to package it up properly.

Is it a go-between stopping point? For this, you’d stock it with the items you or family members need to travel the rest of the way home or with what you need to get to your bug-out location. Imagine how much easier it would be to carry half the food instead of loading up your heavy backpack with enough for the whole journey.  Think about how nice it would be to stop and get a drink of fresh, clean bottled water that you’ve put aside. (This will differ based on climate, the distance the user will have to travel, and their skill set. The more you know, the less you carry.) This could be a super small unit the size of a closet or one with just enough room to unroll a sleeping bag and rest safely.

Is this a backup to your backups? As preppers like to say, one is none, and two is one. If you are in a position to do so, you might even consider duplicating some of your bigger preps. This way, if your home is devastated by a tornado or another natural disaster, you aren’t left completely bereft. As well, if for some reason, you must hand over your supplies, you don’t have to risk your life because it’s literally all you have. (Yeah, yeah, I know. Out of your cold dead hands. But for the rest of us, we’d prefer to live and have a backup.)

Where should you locate your storage unit cache?

This is going to vary for different people. I like to have one within reasonable walking distance of my home base. I have one in the city where I live that is about a 5-minute walk away, and my daughter’s unit takes her 10 minutes to reach on foot.

However, if you plan to use your unit as a waypoint while heading to a bug-out location, you’ll want to choose something along your route. And depending on the distance between your home and bug-out location, you might need to think about having more than one unit for restocking.

What is the downside of storing your things in a public storage building?

As with so many things of late, one of the biggest downsides is OPSEC. You don’t want people to see you hauling tons of food and water on a dolly cart up to your unit. As I box things up, I have a little code I like to use. I write “Thanksgiving” on anything food-related and “4th of July” on things that are weapons-related. You get the idea.

The point is, I take everything to the unit in a box, and it just looks like decorations.

Another issue is that if security is poor at your storage unit, you could discover it emptied out by thieves. Be sure to find a safe environment for your storage unit survival cache. As well, if an actual SHTF event has occurred, you could find that somebody else has already ransacked the storage units for anything that could be of use to them.

Finally, if money is tight, spending the extra on storing things off-site might not be the best use of your resources. Be sure that it fits within your budget. If you do not pay your rent at a storage unit, the owners have the right to auction off your belongings. The length of time before this happens varies from state to state.

Other random considerations

Here are just some random things to think about:

Access: Who will you allow to access the unit? Family members? Friends? Members of your group? If multiple people will be accessing the unit, you may wish to choose combination locks. These combinations can be changed in the future if someone has proven to be untrustworthy.

Rules: Most facilities have a rule that no one may store food on the premises. Of course, you’d never do such a thing. You’ll just put your “Thanksgiving” supplies in there.

The Business: Has the business been around for a long time? How are the reviews on Yelp and Google? Are there any signs that they aren’t doing too well?  You don’t want your things to somehow end up in the possession of someone else if the bank were to foreclose on the building.

Cleanliness and Safety: Is the building clean and well-maintained? Is there a lot of trash in the parking lot? Is the neighborhood relatively safe? If the building looks dirty and there are a bunch of vagrants in the area, you may want to go elsewhere to prevent the likelihood of pests.

What are your thoughts on having a storage unit survival cache?

Do you use a storage unit survival cache? Is it something you would consider? Why or why not? Are there things you would or would not add? Let’s talk about it in the comments.

About Daisy

Daisy Luther is a coffee-swigging, adventure-seeking, globe-trotting blogger. She is the founder and publisher of three websites.  1) The Organic Prepper, which is about current events, preparedness, self-reliance, and the pursuit of liberty; 2)  The Frugalite, a website with thrifty tips and solutions to help people get a handle on their personal finances without feeling deprived; and 3), an aggregate site where you can find links to all the most important news for those who wish to be prepared. Her work is widely republished across alternative media and she has appeared in many interviews.

Daisy is the best-selling author of 5 traditionally published books, 11 self-published books, and runs a small digital publishing company with PDF guides, printables, and courses at You can find her on FacebookPinterest, Gab, MeWe, Parler, Instagram, and Twitter.

Daisy Luther

Daisy Luther

Daisy Luther is a coffee-swigging, globe-trotting blogger. She is the founder and publisher of three websites.  1) The Organic Prepper, which is about current events, preparedness, self-reliance, and the pursuit of liberty on her website, 2)  The Frugalite, a website with thrifty tips and solutions to help people get a handle on their personal finances without feeling deprived, and 3), an aggregate site where you can find links to all the most important news for those who wish to be prepared. She is widely republished across alternative media and  Daisy is the best-selling author of 5 traditionally published books and runs a small digital publishing company with PDF guides, printables, and courses. You can find her on FacebookPinterest, Gab, MeWe, Parler, Instagram, and Twitter.

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  • I love your OPSEC “system”! What a great idea. Although my SO is more on board with my preps that he was since covid, he’s still not woke to the idea (I think partly because I’m the one that does all the household shopping so I’m the one that has seen the breakdown of the supply chain). So I don’t think he’d see the wisdom of a prepper storage space unless maybe he thought he’d like more space for his “forth of July” supplies. I actually think using your system at home is not a bad idea as well, especially when moving. I have a decent amount of things in the open in my basement, though as the excess of flour, sugar, MREs, etc. are stored away in cabinets, I don’t think it’s super obvious to people. But the multiple bricks of TP and similar could certainly raise eyebrows. What holiday do we associate with TP? lol

  • Excellent article, Daisy.

    I’ve put together one of those here long ago, we actually ended up using it to bug out a couple of times in the tumultuous period between 2012/2016, prior to the impeachment of former president Dilma, when protests and riots turned my area a bit too unsafe. So yeah, this actually works.

    I also practice bugging out and living urban off-grid there for a couple of days, every now and then, as training. It’s good as a test too. I talk about that in my book.

    It’s not in a storage building though, but in a small, common office space in an inconspicuous building near my home in an office area. As you mentioned, it’s one place people would hardly go to look for supplies, in the case the grid goes down or SHTF.

    One advantage is having water and sewage, probably working for a little longer than in a residential building in case of interruption in utilities, because the building is empty during non-working periods. Having no one around probably makes it safer to cook too. It’d be a provisory BOL or a springboard for my family’s place in the rurals.

    I’ve set up similar caches for others here. I’ve also built caches in vans, those common, white, old, transporting types. They remain parked in safer areas near the person’s house, with some provisions and amenities for them and their families. It doesn’t draw attention, is relatively low-cost, and can be used as a bug out vehicle in an emergency, if using streets and roads is an option.

    Having options and mobility is good.

  • I had a storage unit once, climate controlled this was in the deep south.
    It was a well built steel and concrete building. So I felt it was secure.
    Flip side, the owners (family ran biz) in a SHTF could just was well as take it for their BOL and everything within it. Or someone else could.
    Never occurred to me to take up residence in one. But I also could only afford the smallest unit they had at the time.
    Would be interesting if not only myself but one or more people had the same idea, and you have storage unit neighbors in a SHTF situation. On one hand, clearly they are prepper minded, could be assets. Other hand, they could be ‘Spider Hole Guy.’
    IF I lived in an apartment in a urban or sub-burban area, and had a BOL to go to, I think I would consider a storage unit to cache items or as a resupply depot along my route.
    There is the risk of not being able to get to it or someone determined enough to get through security and steal it.
    Conduct the risk to benefit analysis and make a decision that best suits your situation.

  • Storage units certainly can be a useful option for some people, especially those living in urban areas. But I think it’s also a matter of your attitude to prepping. If you are a “stockpile prepper”, you’ll probably like the idea. I don’t think having a stockpile is wrong, but I do think that if a stockpile is all you do for preps, you are doing it wrong. If you are more of a “try to be ready for anything at any time” sort of prepper, you are likely to have less of a stockpile and less likely to need extra space. I do agree that you need some physical stuff, like tools, and that having everything at home is likely a bad idea. But often, you may be able to store things in other places, and those places could be a better option than a storage unit for you. Have you checked at work if you are allowed extra space to store your stuff? Do you have a friend with extra space in the garage that is happy to let you put some of your stuff there? Have you looked for some unused spaces in your area where it would be safe to put some sorts of stuff? (Heavy machine-tools is not something that gets stolen all that often).

    • The only problems with storing things at work or at a friend’s house are nosy people poking around to see what you’re leaving there and possibly stealing it, or “outing” you as a “doomsday survivalist”, especially if you’re dumb enough to include weapons or ammo. If the erosion of personal rights continues the way it has, they could dime you out to homeland insecurity to collect rewards or Brownie points. Same goes for a bus station storage locker for longer than a few hours.

      Yes, I do have trust issues.

  • The biggest factor in using a storage unit, is access.
    Say an EMP hits and it has electronically controlled access, who will let you in, If the manager does not live on site? Would they even be able to let you in, even if they wanted to?
    If it is SHTF, they might decide to play it safe and not let anyone at all in.
    Then you would not have any access to your supplies.

    Some gates are heavy enough that with out an electronic motor to open them, it might not allow your vehicle to get in or get close to the unit. Carting all that stuff to you vehicle in multiple loads might attract a lot of unwanted attention during SHTF.

    A lot of storage facilities keep logs of who goes in and out and when they do so, in order to keep people from living in those units. So planning to use it as a “safe” house, during SHTF might not work out.

    Another factor is that these types of units are not always located in the ” better parts of town”, which means dealing with more undesirable types, especially in a SHTF scenario.

    A fair amount of the break ins to indoor storage units are done from the inside.
    They rent a unit, cut through the walls(or just remove a dividing panel) into the neighboring units and then into the unit next to that one. looting as they go. Often they gain access into the back part of the side walls, as it is less likely to be noticed, as it it often concealed from view from the front of the unit, by what is in there. Just in case the unit’s “owner’, shows up unexpectedly.

    So a whole lot more research needs to go into this before taking this option.
    As it will vary a lot from location to location and from business to business.

    • When I brought this up the other day it was to address those on the East Coast although it’s a good idea in general. But what I said was it should be at a high elevation in a rural area. This gives a destination when you bug out. Since bugging out without a destination will be just as dangerous in many cases is just bugging in. Bugging out leaves you in a very crowded Forest with millions of other scared hungry and desperate individuals. Most will have nothing but in a rural area yes much better. And when your bugging your mobile which means you are vulnerable everything you have will be a Target. I drove over the road for a few years mostly cuz it was on my bucket list. I had storage units in different areas within the country I always traveled with a mountain bike strapped to the back of my big rig. These storage units were arranged in such a way I had a cache of supplies allowing me to travel much faster if needed. Fortunately they weren’t I traveled around and gathered my things. And now enjoy my retirement. And yes life has been normal for the last couple years. I have been preparing since the 70s

    • All good points, especially EMP. All the ones I see need electricity just to get in, rendering the entire exercise pointless.

  • Daisy,

    At no point did I ever authorize the publication of any of my mobility preparation strategies!

    Especially this one!

    • I’ve been talkin about storage units as caches for years. Considering I just brought it up the other day addressing Daisy directly I felt butthurt. It’s not like my idea is copyrighted but rarely do I get recognition for any ideas from any website yet within a day or two my ideas are the subject. So yes I am a little butthurt but the main thing is people get information. And since I don’t choose to have a website of my own I guess that’s okay but a little hey thanks for the idea would be nice now and then. And in fact I’m talking about websites or YouTube channels that have a quarter to half a million people. The only one who ever recognized me and my ideas what’s a man Worth hundreds of Millions. And in fact he is an inventor designer and holds many world records. So when a man like that has the Integrity to recognize a lowly individual like myself. That’s an upstanding individual regardless of how wealthy is.

      • Hi, Ozark Prepper. I’m sorry that you felt that I took your information and used it without a thank you. If you look at the video, it is dated more than a month ago when I first brought it up. I was simply sharing my own set-up, which has existed for more than 3 years.

        I apologize that you felt left out.

        • Ozark Prepper is one of those people who has all of these “ideas” and then one someone actually does something similar… well, he even uses the term butthurt. Ozark Prepper is a lazy ass. Just because one has an idea, doesn’t mean it’s unique. Daisy, you don’t owe him or anyone like him an explanation or a mea culpa.

      • Ozark, I think I first read about using storage units for preps before Y2K, so it’s not like you came up with the idea.

        I have used storage units twice, once when I was heading towards a divorce and wanted some items out of the house, and once because my preps were larger than I had space to accommodate.

        In managed to store some guns and ammo in mine. I put a layer or two of ammo boxes at the bottom of a cardboard file box and then piled books on top. Then I labeled the box, “Science Fiction” or whatever. Anyone opening the box would see science fiction books but would have to really dig down deep to find anything else. And yes, it was heavy, but you would expect a box of books to be heavy.

        I also bought a couple of those large cardboard wardrobe boxes from U-Haul and carefully placed two long guns in gun socks in the center of them. Then I packed them with old clothes on both sides. I labeled the wardrobes with things like “Grandpa’s Old Clothes.” Anyone examining the box would clearly see clothes through the holes on either end of the boxes, and there was little chance they would be stolen.

        I have found storage units of recent construction use a very thin gauge of steel to separate units. A battery-powered grinder would be all someone would need to cut their way into your unit. I would not use them to store bullion or anything you could not live without. Their security will disappear the moment the 911 lines are no longer answered. Evenso, one may be more secure than a bug out location where no one resides, so I like the idea of using one near your final destination.

  • I actually manage a storage facility and live on the property in a house. If you have old broken rusty appliances or old box tv’s, then gut them out and keep supplies inside it in the storage unit. Thieves aren’t gonna second glance those because they don’t look valuable, but they will rummage through boxes and totes to find other things. You have to think like a thief when hiding things. Another thing, we do not allow people to stay in the units, but I am sure rules like that would change if/when things get bad.

  • Great article Daisy. It’s an idea I explored, but discarded, as all the storage units in my town are of the exterior variety, and every now and then, one gets broken into in spite of the security. As times get harder, the burglaries increase. There is one old building that’s been converted, but it’s at the opposite end of town, in the older downtown area, and it has a lot of those less desirable elements you mentioned, plus the biggest one for us, is it’s way out of our way route wise, and during unrest, that area could be Ground Zero. The streets leading to the area, would also be perfect for checkpoints for any authority that might still be functioning. So I never pursued the storage unit solution any further.

    This is going to vary location to location for everyone, as you’ve pointed out.

    Our Bug Out location can be a temporary or permanent stopping point, where we can gather and organize depending upon the situation we face. It could become permanent if the threat level is low to moderate, but if the level creeps up, it’s too open to be a strategically defensible position. It’s long term use will depend entirely upon the situation we face.
    So we do cache some supplies there, but because no one’s on site to monitor the property 24/7, we have to hide our caches carefully.

    Your “OpSec” labeling is a clever idea.

  • I’m leaning toward not utilizing this particular piece of advice.
    1 daughter married, lives 2 towns away. They have their own preps. More concerned with communications and device recharging with them.
    Other daughter rents our basement with fiance. She works with law enforcement so she’ll be surrounded by armed coworkers.
    We live a bit out in the sticks. No storage facilities close by, and if the SHTF out there, it may be risky to travel a distance to get to one. Even riskier is the potential attention you will draw loading out. Unloading a storage unit during a declared emergency? SCREAMS “supplies!” to the scumbags.
    The wild card is 2nd daughter’s fiance, who works with remodeling contractors and spends a lot of time in and near major city. He’s a smart, tough 26 year old with good instincts. If the bottom falks out while he is away from home, it could get dicey getting him home safe.

  • I would guess you know my thoughts on a storage unit cash since I brought it up more than once on this site. And I’ve talked about it throughout the years on many others. It’s interesting how websites and YouTube channels I mention things on seemingly ignore what I say, but within a day or two publish what I say. That’s okay. But it would be nice to get a thank you for the idea from one of them. But the important thing is information gets out there that could possibly help someone. So yes it’s a good idea just as I said the other day for those on the East Coast if that tsunami should happen , You will be left with nothing but what you have. And you can have a little more for the storage unit. It indicates like that tsunami there will be no infrastructure left help will be very slow in coming if at all. And then there a likelihood in order to receive any Aid in the future you’ll have to swear allegiance to the Beast. I know I’m repeating myself it’s my only way I can feel Vindicated.

  • Daisy anytime you’d like me to talk of my 45 years of prepping experience, just give a holler. You have my email I didn’t just fall off the turnip truck. Yes I have underground bunkers in northern Arizona, and in Colorado. And even some underwater ones in the Ozarks. The Ozarks is the main compound. Why underwater? There’s many reasons. Just ask. Not only that I have done many installs throughout the years for other individuals. Although through Word of Mouth. And I do have a contractor’s license. From everything from excavation to Roofing. I’m also certified in many different areas. Grew up on a very large Ranch . I used to be a farrier in my younger years. And with that came blacksmithing and metalwork, yes I made knives. I also have bachelor’s degree in horticulture and one in animal production. Had those by the age of 18. By the time I was 21 I had my Masters In Aeronautics in Structural Engineering. To say I’ve met certain individuals in the know over the decades would be an understatement. That’s why I had been a prepper since the 70s. And the list could go on but I doubt anybody cares.

  • It’s crossed my mind to have a supply cache in one between here n there with stabilized fuel, ammo and food.

    • We do the same thing when we go into Canada to visit family. We rent a small storage unit just on the US side of the border and leave all our *things* we aren’t allowed to have in Canada there. That way, at least while we’re traveling through the US portion of our journey, we have what we need with us.

  • Many years ago I used to attend a number of storage auctions where the goods owners had stopped paying the monthly rent — whether on purpose or perhaps involuntarily. An issue I didn’t see discussed here is the involuntary case. If you were storing stuff and for some surprise reason (like a emergency hospital event, or an arrest for something you didn’t do …or did do for something you thought was legal, etc, etc) where you might be deprived of access to your funds to pay that storage rent …do you have a backup plan to keep that rent current? And if so, how many months is that plan good for? Some ideas might include an arrangement with a friend or relative or maybe even a funds draft contract with the storage property ownership, etc.

    Another issue is the storage locking system. Does the storage property owner have key or code access to inspect your stuff? If so, there is an issue of trust. Can you be confident that some of your goods won’t suddenly disappear (as happened to my mother whose goods were rifled through and looted while under lock and key for several months at a moving and storage company).

    The other issue of access to your stuff relates to “camping out” whether with permission from the ownership or “on the sly.” Does the ownership have key or code access to your impromptu/stealth “Airbnb” quarters … that could create a problem for you at some really inconvenient time?

    A related question addresses parking and the hours of access. Is the storage facility accessible 24/7 Or could you while “camping out” be locked in at night without access to your vehicle where ever it had to be parked?

    Lotsa issues to resolve … depending on your specific intentions.


    • My specific units both have 24-hour access. I provided my own locks which of course doesn’t mean someone could never get past them.

  • I managed a high rise self storage for several years. We had an access pad for your code that would open the gate and door. If the electric went out people would have to come through the office during business hours. It happened a couple times during winter storms. Unfortunately for us some people knew we lived on site and all they had to do was knock on our gate to the apartment around the corner. I believe this would be a problem if the SHTF for obvious reasons

  • Just don’t forget to pay the rent on the storage unit.
    Would be a shame to find your unit on a show like “Storage Wars”.

  • I have had a rental storage room since the 80s that was one of my prepper caches. Though each of the storage unit rooms I rented were always pretty small, except for recently. Plenty of room, however, for the supplies places near the back.

    Then everything else that would not fit in whichever place I was living was put in front. Some of it looked like junk. Of course, my family and friends that would help me move things in and out said it was junk, not just looked like junk, lol

    I moved a few times in the intervening years, but I always got a rental storage room for my excess household and research things that I did not use or did not have room for where I was living at the time. Always had the prepper cache somewhere in there, hidden best I could, and often camouflaged in some way so that if thieves did get in, they would be less likely to search some of the containers, boxes, bags, totes, and such that the prep items were stashed.

    When I moved to Reno when my health took a big dive, I was able to get a climate-controlled unit. That allowed me to add somewhat more vulnerable food items to the cache. It is not 100% safe, as it is in a lower-middle-class area, is up against a major highway on one side. The manager(s) live on-site, and the whole thing is well fenced, with the most probably points that people would use to get in have razor wire on top of the metal fence that are spiked at the top.

    Which brings me to one of the points I wanted to bring up. Anything not right with you, except perhaps at the place of residence, and if you can have things at a workplace, there, the items need to be considered disposable. If things are in a storage room, a buried cache, a cache placed in one of the many possibilities in the city, that one values highly and would be devastated if they disappeared, the owner is not going to be comfortable with the situation.

    I keep everything I value the most here in the apartment. Everything in the caches are things that I would hate losing, but not to the point of despair, excessive anger, mental distraction, and other results that occur when something very precious to a person is stolen, especially, but also lost in a disaster, or has to be left behind in an evacuation, and similar situations.

    People can become despondent and will often lose all concepts, in a prepper lifestyle, of what is important, what needs to be done, OpSec kept up, and all the other things preppers do on a daily and sometimes hourly basis.

    So, think long and hard about what will go into the storage unit cache. It is one thing to lose an old, cheap, almost useless handgun and a box of ammunition for it, but another to lose one’s pride and joy handbuilt with premium parts AR-15 with a hundred loaded magazines and a dozen ammo crates full of more ammunition. Big difference. Both are simply tools to help provide protection, yet the owner has a very real emotional attachment to that AR, and could easily lose it if it was stolen.

    Other things I wanted to mention include the fact that almost all electronic gates have a way to release the lock, and if the gate is opened with some type of mechanism, there is almost always either a release to unhook the gate from whatever moves it, or the mechanism goes into a neutral state which allows moving the gate manually, the mechanism simply freewheeling, so to speak. I cannot speak for every system, but the ones in the places I have used that were fenced and gated, had systems such as I described.

    Plus, I have the means to go through a gate, or more likely the fence, and if need be, I would be carrying what I needed to go over the fence. Of course, this would only happen if the country was now in a PAW (Post-Apocalyptic World) and WROL (Without Rule Of Law) situation. That changes things. I would not do any of these things normally.

    Another of my thoughts is about multistory storage buildings. While Daisy is correct that the first floor could flood in many places, but unlikely any higher, if that high. And while a roof might be damaged and wind, rain, snow, and flying debris might find its way into a storage room on the top floor of the place, I still prefer to be on the top floor of any building. This is because I have wound up living in potential areas where catastrophic earthquakes could happen.

    Just here in the apartment building, I asked for and was able to get into a third-floor apartment, which is the top floor. I have seen what happens when a building loses structural integrity and the upper floors begin to drop, pancaking the floors below them.

    The building might tip, as they can in parts of Alaska and in parts of Southeast Missouri where liquefaction of the ground can and does occur. Still, I would rather ride the building down than be on a lower floor and deal with everything around me and above me trying to kill me. On the top floor, only some ceiling and roof pieces and parts would likely come down on me. That is still a much lower probability of getting hurt. Because I have items place here and there in the apartment beside which I can crouch, kneel, or lie, so anything that came down toward me would most likely bridge on the stout item and I would be in the triangle of safety next to what was holding up one end or one side of whatever had come down.

    I believe the same thing about a multistory storage facility. If something happens and the section of the building where the storage room is collapses, it is very unlikely, though certainly not impossible, that one could get to the storage room and get things out.

    If on the top floor, there would be some debris from the roof, but that would be about it. With good boots on, a probe, and gloves, I could, even in my shape, get to my storage room and start moving stuff out. I would try to get help from my prepper friends here, but even alone I can break things down into manageable size pieces. Plus, I have some rigging in the storage room, as I do here in the apartment that lets me rig up lines to handle and lower items without endangering myself or anyone else. A few dollars extra, but if I have to go to one of my alternate long-term living places, the stuff would be of use, anyway, so no just-for-one-thing items for me.

    I have included it in a couple of my stories, but in more rural areas, where the prices for the storage rooms are generally less (for example, my brother has a 10’x15’ storage room that costs him $50 a month, while I am paying $170 something for the same size here in Reno, though mine is climate controlled. My other, not climate-controlled room in another facility is only 6’x12’ and costs me $150 a month, which I will be getting out of as soon as I put my shelves together and get everything moved from that one to the climate-controlled one) a person can rent a bit larger unit, and move the materials in to construct a stacked CMU (Concrete Masonry Unit – a concrete block) simple fallout shelter. The wall blocks filled with sand, and either solid block put on the roof of the shelter, supported by close-spaced 2”x6” or 2”x8” rafters with ¾” plywood base, or a plastic-lined ‘tub’ is constructed by fastening 2″x10″ lumber around the edge of the shelter, the plastic laid in, and the resulting tub is filled with sand.

    Plenty of visibly useless items for anyone that would be robbing the place, and the shelter would likely go unnoticed. The entrance to the shelter facing the back wall of the room, and the cached items close, they could be recovered and placed in the shelter for the duration.

    With the availability of low cost, wireless surveillance equipment, setting up cameras and microphones to keep an eye on what is happening outside would not be difficult or expensive. Some nasty surprises might be set up after WROL goes into effect so if anyone tries to get in, they are quickly discouraged. That does mean that it is now obvious that someone has something in the unit they want to protect, so if the perps leave, they are likely to come back with some buddies, armed buddies, and try again to get inside. It is a factor that must be considered if such a set-up was incorporated in the storage room.

    Other things to consider as to which particular storage yard will be selected are its proximity to rivers or lakes that could flood, near a hill or bluff that could come down in an earthquake or bombing attack or nuclear exchange, a new highway was to be put in, and all kinds of other things.

    Of course, the rental fee has to be considered. When I first rented my climate-controlled unit it was only $79 a month. Now it is over $170. Most of that increase has come in the last three years.

    And the non-climate controlled one in the other facility was $50 when I rented it and it is now $150, also most of the increases have been in the last three years. Just like my rent. And food costs, and fuel costs…

    What I am getting at is that there needs to be a plan in place in case something happens that causes one to lose the storage room. The rent is too high, the neighborhood changed, the ownership of the facility changed and the new owners are not people with whom you want to be dealing, or anything else that could happen that would cause a person to get out of that place.

    Or, do you just abandon everything? If not, having a plan on what would need to be done if you did have to evacuate that storage room and get everything in it somewhere else. Or, possibly, several somewhere elses. Have that in mind when looking for a rental storage facility.

    Again, I agree with Daisy. A rental storage room can be a huge boon to a prepper, if the qualifications are met and the prepper is careful about everything.

    Just my opinion.

  • I have storage sheds on my property. All locked and reasonably secure. Would i considder a commercial storage facility. Maybe if I had the income to reasonably expect to maintain the the expenses, I’d try it. An ex daughter in laws father had a lot of items stolen from what appears to be a very secure storage facility. That doesn’t encourage me too much to try it.

    Our social security only incomes wouldn’t support that and as of this past Monday I’m down to just my personal income. My husband passed away so there is even less income to work with.

    My only choice is items scattered across the property. Freeze dried food in #10 cans in one area, excess med supplies in heavy storage containers in another area. Regular canned goods and home canned in glass jars are in the home, BOBs in a storage bench by the front door. Camping gear in the storage bench and a shed. Get home items in both vehicles. Off site nothing at present except tiny caches.

  • It has been a long time since I needed to rent a storage unit. The last one was on Maui, with an indoor entrance, camera surveillance and a security staff. The briefing on rental included the point that we could stop by at any time, but there was a sign-in sheet, and extended visits, as in over 24 hours, were not permitted. Using your storage as a sleep space was grounds for immediate cancellation of the rental agreement.Do you have a workaround for a situation like that, or would that go in the “pass” pile?

    • We don’t have to sign in and out. The only reason anyone would sleep there would be a situation in which all hell was breaking loose and they needed to lay low for a few days. Our units are not located in businesses with people who live on the premises. Although it’s possible it would be noted I sincerely doubt it would in the type of situation we’d be using it.

  • Would a storage locker be suitable for storing cash and/or precious metals? I guess bringing in LOTS of file boxes would help conceal the box with the goodies in it. Thanks.

  • Another issue is that if security is poor at your storage unit, you could discover it emptied out by thieves. Be sure to find a safe environment for your storage unit survival cache. As well, if an actual SHTF event has occurred, you could find that somebody else has already ransacked the storage units for anything that could be of use to them.

    Well, yes. In fact, I’ve recently seen at least one prepper site article which suggests this very kind of facility as one of the less obvious places more cunning scavengers might think to go scavenging for supplies after SHTF. So, y’know, caveat emptor.

  • Daisy, there is something you need to know about:
    Store your storage unit on your own property or on someone else’s private property that you can trust.
    This is because Agenda 21 states that the storage unit businesses will be confiscated because people will be storing their “extra” food and supplies in these storage units.
    The gov thinking is: If a person has “extra” food stored then they don’t need it. The food will be confiscated and any and all supplies of any kind really will be taken to be given to the people who “deserve” it.

  • As someone that manages a storage facility and seen a bit, your thoughts are both good and a bit off. First, your thoughts about the facility are correct and spot on. If I may be allowed to take a deeper dive, check the security of the facility; fences, lights, cameras and access. Check the place out in the night as well as the day also check with the local police regarding break-ins, don’t store your stuff with a company with a bad reputation. See if the facility allows the police to do training there (WE DO) the dogs are fun to watch and keeps the rif-raf out in more ways than one.

    The most important, in my opinion if storing “rainy day or holiday things” is software, ask what software the facility is using. If the facility is using “SITELINK” be warned, this is a VERY powerful relational data base and meta data mining software. The company is headquartered in Langley Virginia. Besides all of the personal data that goes into renting a storage unit and it’s a lot, it also integrates with google maps and more than a dozen other data bases. It can and does integrate with ALL kinds of public data bases. We are told it can to a degree predict what is in the unit based upon demographics, income, ethnicity, voting, employment…you get the idea. If this is coupled with “INSOMNIA” a security program that monitors your cameras it can do all kinds of interesting things based upon time, thermal, facial recognition, gate recognition (walking), and can actually call the police by itself.

    These are all very cool and great things for the operator however for storing for a rainy day this could prove to be problematic if not taken into account. Another point would be the mega chains, those corporations are rumored to have ties to the government “in case of disaster” protocols.

    A couple of points in closing if you are going to store things for a rainy day, double tote your thanksgiving decorations VERMIN and put cleaning supplies at the door, it’s better for them to smell Pinesol than crackers. Make sure that walls go completely to the ceilings, in a lot of indoor storage’s they do not, not uncommon for thieves to come in over the top. Make sure that management or someone lives on-site this improves security immensely. Also never store important things in a facility that has 24 hour access, 24 hour access for you means 24 hour access for thieves and they do. Great plan, to store supplies but store them smart, in a safe as can be place. I could go into a lot more like doors, locks, exterior walls and fences but I hope this helps get you started in your storage preps.

  • Other possible uses for such storage facilities are their frequent auctions of “left behind” items. Sometimes the previous owners left town, sometimes they couldn’t keep up with the monthly rent bills, sometimes the law was after them, etc, etc. Sometimes such auctions can be as useful as thrift stores for finding deals. However … there are occasionally some gotchas. Many years ago I won the bidding on a small motorcycle. So after I paid for it I was told they had to hold that item until a police check could confirm that it was not stolen. After some time I was informed that it HAD been stolen so I was then refunded. A bit of a squirrelly business to operate like that.

    An alternative to the fixed location storage units (at least for smaller stash needs) is an enclosed trailer that your vehicle can tow … whenever needed. IF you have the parking space and needed security issues covered, such a trailer gives you the 24/7 mobility that a fixed location does not. And that trailer does not have a monthly rent bill unless you bought it partly with a loan. This alternative can work for some people even if not for others.


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