Yep, been there done that - an audit of a BOB can easily turn into a crowded and overwhelming apartment. I'm kind of in that situation now what with a small 2 bedroom place and a family of 3. I'm constantly looking for places to place stuff - just got a new gun locker yesterday that holds 6 more rifles than my old one and that size difference changed the living room/den.
We 'aint poor, were like upper-lower-class
We can afford our daily lives which includes a few restaurant meals a week and cable TV (which I am downgrading as it seems just not worth the money I am putting out). Luxury items are from wind-falls and gifts. I have modest savings, mostly 401k and, not really my plan but it is making me some money, *a comic collection.
* Never, ever
, rely on comics as an investment. I am very lucky mine are making me some small cash. This is finite. It's money now but the amount I have spent over my life is not being made back. Again - I have a few that are really worth some money and I have a few contacts that are willing to buy them and I am keeping my cards close to my chest to maximize what I can.
Having not read this whole thread I can attest to the whole "pantry tax" technique. Everytime I go to the grocery store I drop about 5% of my budget on pantry/disater/prep goods. The wife is doing her part and doing the same. Just in a few months we've netted a shelf of canned goods - sale items that we occassionally consume like soups, Spaghetti Os and ravioli for the kid, and a lot of canned veggies. Wife also took up canning and we've a small stock of jams right now. I also got me a new dehydrater but have mostly just been putting out jerky that gets eaten a few weeks after I make it.
The jerky I make is from our chest freezer which is stocked mostly with "clearance" meats we find at the gorcery store for 30%-50% off. My wife is gluten intolerant and/or has Celiac's so we need to be picky on this front though. My main stock is no. 10 cans of dehydrated meats and rice. The canned veggies add variety and nutrition to that. This is different from when I was a bachelor - that was "whatever" for me.
Beyond food - I also pantry tax propane canisters (alternate heating and cooking for us) as well as matches, lighters, sterno can, blankets, batteries, flashlights, etc. << other than consumables I don't drop major coin on most of these things. I like my quality high-end stuff but if it's job is to lay around and be "extra" it don't need to be high-end. A $5 three-pack of flashlights from Home Depot fits in this column. My EDC flashlight is a $100 Surefire, bought before I got married and had a kid and could afford such things.
Now that we have the canning and dehydrating capabilities I am looking to hit up the "urban gleaners" groups here - they get permission from homeowners to pick from the fruit trees on their property. Many homeowners have fruit trees as decorative tiems but don't do much with them other than complain about the fruit rotting on the lawn. Groups have fomed up to pick these and share the labors.When I lived in the Hawthorned district I would pick frm a fig tree every year that a family had down the street, I'd dry those and have figs all fall and winter.
Storage? It's a pain in the ass when you've a small place. I found it nice to get your furniture doing double duty - an end-table with a cabinet in it, an old trunk as a coffee table, a small chest can be an ottoman, under bed storage... et al. Also, look at putting shelving up like a mantle over doors and such. Don't put nothing heavy up there though as that would be a hazard in a few disasters.
On that note - organization and clealiness is also a part of prepping. Sure you can find your stuff on a regular night but add "woken up at 3am by the building shaking, power was out, screaming outside, all my shit fell off the shelf..." and you will have some problems. That's a constant battle for me right now.