Emergency food storage is an important component of the prepping journey. Whether you buy survival food from online stores or just buy some extra food at the supermarket each week, all those supplies will overwhelm your kitchen storage. If you also store water, you will quickly run out of storage space and you will need to improvise if you want to store everything.
Although it may not be obvious at first, your home has a lot of available space that can be used to store your emergency food. All you need is to properly identify the spaces available at your property and establish the pros and cons of each one.
Before you start using the available space from your location, you have to make sure it has all the ideal conditions for storing your emergency food. Here are the recommendations for food storage:
- The selected space should provide a cool temperature (ideal temperature is around 50-60 degrees Fahrenheit).
- The selected space should not be exposed to sunlight. You need a dark environment because sunlight exposure can spoil your food.
- The selected space should be in a dry area. A place that is humid is not recommended because it can damage metal containers.
- The selected space should not be exposed to temperature variations. You need a stable temperature to prolong the shelf life of your emergency food. Temperature fluctuations will accelerate the deterioration of your food.
- The selected space should not be near heat production appliances. All the appliances you have like refrigerators or stoves will create temperature variations. It will affect your food over the long-term.
This article will tell you more about the food storage mistakes one should avoid.
Now that you have a generic idea of what makes a good food storage space, we can move forward and identify the spaces in your house. We can evaluate the various options you may have to store all your extra emergency food.
This is probably the most obvious space for storing your emergency food and it might be an ideal location. If your basement is completely underground it will stay cool all year round. It most probably has a lot of room that can be organized to create a food rotation system. However, most basements are designed to accommodate the house heater and this may become a problem. You will need to position your food storage as far away as possible from the heater to prevent temperature fluctuations. There is also the humidity problem we need to address. Many basements are not well insulated to keep a dry space. This problem can be fixed easily by installing a dehumidifier and checking it from time to time to make sure it does the job.
Your basement floor will get damp, especially if you place the cans directly on the concrete floor. Make sure you have some wooden pallets to place your food on and keep an air flow between your emergency food and the floor. Pests shouldn’t have access to your basement and just to be sure, you can set mouse traps. Think about the elderly if you decide to use your basement as a food storage location. It can get tiring to take large quantity of food downstairs or upstairs.
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Although it is not a very good space to store food long-term, it is a location that can be used to store your goods for a short period of time, until you move them to proper storage location. In most climates, the garage is exposed to temperature and humidity extremes. Unless it is very well insulated, you can’t store your food there for the long-term. You can use your garage to store other survival supplies and once you free some space, you will be able to move your food there. You also have to keep in mind that in a post-SHTF world, your garage will be targeted by those who scavenge for supplies. Therefore, it is recommended keeping there only the supplies you can live without.
The attic, like the garage may not be an ideal place for food storage, but there can be exceptions. If you have finished attic storage that is well insulated and ventilated (some even have AC for their attics) you can store some of your food there. The same rule applies here as well. Keep it there only for short periods of time until you manage to free up some other house space. You can apply the same strategy and move in the attic some of your supplies, tools or anything that you are not using on a daily basis. The space you save up, can be then used for storing your emergency food.
I’ve developed a habit of clearing my closets once a year. The stuff I’m not using anymore I give away and I try to make some space for my supplies. Closets are great spaces to store food and sometimes, they are not exploited to their full potential. Most closest usually have a consistent height and it is rather easy to install shelves. Just make sure there isn’t a humidity buildup in your closets and that you can easily access the food to check their expiration dates. Don’t bury food in the back of the storage and forget about it because you will just waste money and space.
The space under the stairs
Some people have a two story house and usually, the large storage space under the stairs remains unused. It is being closed off and they forget about it. If you hire a skilled carpenter, this space can be made accessible and transformed to serve your needs. It can be lined with shelves and used to store your emergency food. The space under the stairs can be used to store all sorts of things. I’ve seen some using it to hide their guns and many other sensitive things. However, if you live in a humid climate, a closed space like this one can become humid and you need to make sure you have a dehumidifier installed there.
The space under the bed
This is one place that most people overlook when exploiting the house space for storing supplies. This is an unused storage space for many, a space that is ideal for food storage. There are multiple ways you can utilize this space and you can improvise based on your location. You can use plastic tubes that can slide under your bed or you can build some underbed drawers or storage boxes. By doing so you will be able to access your food easily and you will not let it expire. This is a good storage space because it provides a stable temperature, it is a dry place and your food will not be affected by sunlight.
Related article: Essential tips to keep your pantry safe
The extra room
The main living space from your house was probably designed to include an extra room. A room that can be used as an office, a play room, a mancave and anything you may think of. The problem is that most of these rooms are not used and they never convert into the personal project they were destined to become. I for one, I’ve turned half of my office room into a food storage location and I’ve installed some rows of shelves that make food rotation easier. These rooms can provide a large space that can be optimized to fit your food storage needs and all it remains for you to do, is to properly organize and label your foods.
Although this is the most obvious place to keep your food, some may lack space. By the time you equip your kitchen space with everything you need like pots, pans, glasses, etc. there isn’t enough space left for food storage. Some may be lucky enough to get a few cabinets free, while others will have a small pantry. Regardless the space left, make sure it is well organized and that all your food is labeled correctly. The kitchen is a good place to keep your food supplies that have a short expiration date or the ones you want to experiment with.
For example, my wife keeps a cabinet full with various foods that she uses to experiment. Every once in a while, she sets a week in which she cooks with only what can be found in that cabinet. She does this as practice for a scenario in which we would have food restrictions. Most of the times, she tries to cook with less and see if she can improvise with what is available.
These are just a few general recommendations. I’m sure that if you look around your house, you will find a lot more unused space that can be turned into an ideal food storage location. It all depends on the living space you have and your imagination. Whatever you improvise in your house, make sure you use your food storage plan on regular basis so that you never have to throw away food.
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