Whenever I start looking into building up my food storage, one thing always stops me in my tracks. That is, where on earth am I going to find the storage space for this food? It can be difficult to find the space when living in a decent-sized home with your family, let alone a small apartment. But there are some things that can be done to maximize storage space in your home allowing you to build your food storage while not using excessive living space for storage. In this blog, we will discuss how to maximize storage space, where to store the food, and how we can get creative with where we keep things stowed away.
How to Maximize Storage
There are several things that can be done to maximize storage space in your home. Some of those are included below.
Eliminate clutter. When looking around the home, you may feel extremely discouraged, wondering where you’ll keep this food. It’s important to start at the beginning and create as much space as possible. This includes eliminating clutter. Clutter can take up a lot of room, so when you eliminate that, you will find that you have more room than you thought you did!
Leave room for growth. Food storage doesn’t just happen all at once. It’s something that grows over time. That means that when planning food storage space, there needs to be more room than food. This way there are still shelves that can be used for food storage one it grows more. It’s also good to have some creative storage ideas on the back burner once you outgrow your storage area. We’ll be discussing some of those later.
Where to Store Foods for the Most Longevity
Utilize your garage. If you have a home with a garage and live somewhere, we a decently mild climate, the garage can be one of the best places to store food. As long as the garage doesn’t ever get too hot, the garage can be utilized. Shelves can be set up as far away from the garage opening as possible. This will keep a relatively even temperature and keep the food out of direct sunlight.
Utilize your basement. If you live somewhere with a basement this can be a great place to store food. They’re often much cooler than upper levels. The cooler food can stay the better. Food won’t last long if it gets too warm, as warmth is where bacteria best brews. In my home growing up, we had a small storage crawlspace underneath the stairs. This was a great place to keep food as it stayed cool, and it was out of the way.
Creative Ways to Store Food
A lot of times with food storage, it requires some creativity. Especially when you live somewhere without a garage or basement. While this may seem like a challenge, it can also be a lot of fun. Even if you do have a garage or basement, it’s good to find wasted space in your home for long term food storage that you don’t need as much access to. Some ideas are as follows:
- Under beds
- Top shelves of closets
- Bottoms of closets
- In spaces between the back of the bookshelf and books
- Gaps between and behind furniture
- The spaces behind food in the kitchen cupboards and cabinets (with this though, you need to be careful to not use food storage food for everyday meals)
- Fill empty suitcases with food. Most of the time they just sit empty.
Rachel on Providently Prepared says that some people even make tables out of food storage by stacking boxes and throwing a tablecloth overtop! Now that is a creative way to store some food.
With these more creative storage options, it’s important to keep an inventory of where different food is and when it expires. That way you don’t lose food in the house and it starts to go bad. That is a recipe for some stinky frustration.
Enemies of Food Storage
When setting up your food storage there are a few natural enemies to be watching for according to Brandon from The Ready Store. These four things can be easily avoided if food storage areas are set up in the right way. The ways provided will help a lot, such as using your garage or basement. But conditions need to be set up in a way to avoid the four following things in order to preserve the condition of your food storage.
- Moisture. This can be a major problem with food storage. If moisture gets into your food, there a lot of things that can go wrong. It can deteriorate food value quickly as well as create the perfect conditions for bacteria and micro-organisms to rapidly grow. This is why you see so many food storage items that are freeze-dried or dehydrated because of the lack of water more than doubles shelf time.
- Heat. With temperature, there are a couple of things that need to be done to keep the food good. Brandon says to, “remember the two C’s – consistency and coolness.” This means that the temperature of the food needs to stay the same throughout the year. Again, only use your garage if you have a mild climate, and it doesn’t get too hot or too cold. Also make sure that the food isn’t anywhere near any heat sources, as this will quickly ruin the food.
- Light. Light can quickly destroy food storage as well, but for a couple of different reasons. Like moisture, it can rapidly deteriorate food. It also destroys most of the nutritional value, appearance, and taste. Then you’re left with a giant pile of food storage garbage. One way you can avoid light damage is by storing your food in non-transparent containers such as pouches, barrels, buckets or cans.
- Infestations. Infestations can result from one of the other three problems. Food that is exposed to these different conditions often ends up being attacked by another nasty food storage enemy, infestations. Infestations can also happen if the food is stored at ground level where animals can chew through the containers. So, along with watching for water damage, temperature changes, and light exposure, it’s important to keep food away from prying animals. Doing all of these things will keep insects from growing in your food and vermin from raiding your food.
Following all of these guidelines will help to ensure that you and your family have plenty of food to live off of if tragedy strikes. Having all of these conditions in the place where you end up setting up your food storage keeps a calm mind in the eye of the storm.