When I teach food storage classes, I hear a lot of people say that they don’t have anywhere to store food. Well I’m here to say that no matter how small your home is, there is a way. First let’s look at the basics of practical storage systems:
Light and heat break down food faster-so store in as cool and dark of a location as possible. Obviously a basement is a good choice if it’s dry, but you can make do without one.
Plan a system that makes it easy to rotate. First in, first out. Old items get eaten first. If you don’t have a rotating rack, make sure to write the dates on your items so you will know what is the oldest.
Sturdy shelving or rotating can organizers are great for holding your items. I buy my shelving at Lowe’s for $30. Can organizers can be found on Amazon.com that hold 30 or 40 cans all the way up to those sold by companies like Shelf Reliance (www.shelfreliance.com) that hold hundreds of cans and bulk items.
If you are fortunate enough to have a closet that you just don’t use (who has that?) or is holding items that could be consolidated or moved elsewhere in the house, by all means take advantage of it. If you have a basement, that’s better yet. Either way, make sure you can get to your items fairly easy. Storing cans under boxes in the back of your kids’ closet just won’t cut it because when you need something you’ll be less likely to dig for it. So make it somewhere convenient. Here are some creative ideas you can try:
Clean out under yours or a child’s bed. Lay canned goods in unboxed, in rows. Load from the left and take out from the right-bingo. Automatic rotating system and you didn’t have to spend a penny.
Create a false floor inside a coat closet. Take out all the shoes and clutter from the floor. Line with cans or boxed items and cover with a piece of plywood or cardboard. Lay the shoes back on top. No one will ever know.
Behind the couch is a common storage option since many couches are against the wall. Here’s one system I love: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FCnXfO7YMfk
Fake coffee tables. Fill food grade 5 gallon buckets with storage items. Cover with a tablecloth or pretty fabric-add a lamp and use it as a side table.
Under the bed boxes. The long, shallow boxes that slide under beds are great options for keeping cans and boxed items tidy.
The Garage, shed or outbuilding. For items that are not as sensitive to temperature (like water) store outside and leave the climate controlled areas for your other items.
So get started by clearing your space or multiple spaces. Maybe you will want to put all your canned vegetables in the hall closet, fruits under the toddler bed, or baking items in buckets. But make a system that is right for you and record a master list of where you plan for each item to go.
Then my friends, it’s time to start shopping.
Next week: Food Storage strategic shopping that won’t break the bank.