Storage space is a limitation that will rear its ugly head pretty quickly when you start increasing your food supply. When you first start prepping it seems like your greatest enemy is money but storage becomes an issue for most of us very quickly and finding more space is hard.
If you know how to organize your survival food storage it can help you maximize your space.
Hopefully, your survival food storage is broken up into a few areas. I am a fan of decentralized food storage. I like to have it spread around in a few places. Though I still keep like items together.
Organizing the Prepper Pantry
The prepper pantry can be the basis for your survival food storage. The average home can store a lot more food with the addition of simple shelving or some pantry cabinetry. While some homes are outfitted with a pantry, you might consider expanding even beyond its limits.
Over the years I have added 5 tier metal wire racks, wall shelves, and even strategically placed food around the home. However, this can add complexity to things like organization and inventory.
Another good tactic is to use a black magic marker to write the date purchased or made on all of your pantry items. It’s a lot easier to find the oldest stuff this way. Checking those small dates can get tedious
There are lots of really cool organizers that can be set up in your pantry to both make more room for canned goods and also keep your canned goods rotating effectively so that you use the oldest canned goods first.
One such organizer is the SimpleHouseware Stackable Can Rack Organizer from Amazon.
Of all the things that you are going to store in a pantry, your canned goods are going to be some of the heaviest. Effective and safe storage, no matter what it is, dictates that you put the heaviest items on the bottom shelf.
It can be very dangerous to have the heaviest items highest on the shelves. So make a nice spot for your canned goods on the bottom shelves of your prepper’s pantry.
The opposite of that is your boxed dry ingredients. Any kind of boxed dry ingredients like pasta or baking mixes are all lighter and represent some of your lightest foods to store. These should be stored highest on your shelves.
The top tiers of your shelves should be reserved for these kinds of lightweight goods. If these were to fall on you it would be much less of an issue, right? So, keep the lighter items up high.
Beans and Other Plastic Packaged Goods
If you are storing things like bags of black and red pinto beans, well, you have some options. It is my opinion that products stored in these thinner plastic packages should be dropped into a bucket and kept there for storage.
At the very least you should consider storing these kinds of packaged goods in sturdy Tupperware. The longer these kinds of packages are kept on your shelves the more they will break down. This can invite things like pests to the party.
Home Canned and Preserved Goods
You might not be here yet but some of us have survival food storage that is made quite literally from the foods that are grown in and around our property. These home canned and preserved goods can be stored in a number of ways.
Your mason jar canned goods are going to be in the same category and should be stored in the same location as the store purchased canned goods. Find a place on the bottom shelf or you could even store these in heavy-duty bins.
Organizing Long Term Survival Food Storage
Long-term food storage is another beast. This type of food is bucketed up with a shelf life of around 10-20 years. When I think about real food security and being prepared for a serious collapse, this is what I think of.
Every American should have 3 months of long-term survival food storage. That sounds extreme but just imagine how powerful our people would be if they could go without a visit to the supermarket and still eat for 3 months. Imagine the storms that Americans could weather.
There are two methods for managing long-term food storage. How you organize and store your long-term food storage will depend on which category you fit into.
Rotating Long Term Food Storage
In our home, we store things like rice, flour, and sugar. For me, long-term survival food storage is as much a safety net as it is an investment. I know that when I buy a 50lb bag of rice that there will be an increase in the price of that rice over time.
Rather than spend the money on rice and flour at the supermarket I eat these bulk items and we rotate out the old while buying new. We still keep plenty of calories on hand.
If you are going to manage your long-term food storage this way then you must have easy access to it. Long-term food can still be stored in 5-gallon buckets but I would recommend using 1 gallon Mylar bags rather than the typical 5-gallon size. This just makes using the food much easier.
Organizing long-term survival food storage this way also requires that you have access to a variety of items. I pack multiple items into one 5 gallon bucket.
- Black Beans
This is an example of how you can organize these buckets. This way when you pull a bucket you can use several ingredients, rather than having to commit to 3 different buckets filled to the brim with each ingredient.
Let It Sit
The other organizational method for long-term survival food storage has to do with filling buckets and letting them sit till an emergency. Of course, this method will stack up the calories quicker. The downside is that your oldest food will just get older and older and older. So, when you crack that lid open 15 years into storage you will really be eating 15-year-old rice.
However, that may not bother you. We cook a lot and I value the quality of the food I eat and the price of food. If I store a bunch of food and never touch it then I am still suffering the high price of food each week. At least by rotating food I can take advantage of yesterday’s price for a little longer.
I would still be sure that you store your oldest foods to the front for when that time comes and you do use those foods. I think the biggest difference with long-term “let it sit” food storage is the storage location. If you arent using it regularly then you do not need access to it easily. Get creative.
Uncommon Food Storage Locations
As I mentioned I believe in decentralized food storage. That is a fancy way of saying that I store food all over the place! I know lots of preppers who do the same. This is how you can maximize your food storage space.
I find it easiest if you store food in larger crates, tubs, or mylar bags and date them. This makes rotation much easier on you.
There are lots of unorthodox, uncommon, and downright sneaky survival food storage locations you can create in your home.
In Upstairs Closets
Most American closets could use some cleaning out or have some extra space. These are great locations for storing extra food. Sometimes there are even shelves in the sides of closets that look just like pantry shelves!
Storing things in cabinets is a no-brainer but those floor cabinets have a piece of plywood as a base and there is a gap between the floor and that wood. You can pop that wood up and lay food in there before covering it up again.
I would only recommend storing long-term well-protected foods in this location because you will not be checking up on that food regularly.
In Hollow Doors
One of our hosts at The Prepper Broadcasting Network told me about this trick she used to store food. She would slide foods into her hollow doors. She cut a spot into the top of the door and dropped mylar bags that were lightly filled with things like rice and beans into the door.
I have never done this myself but it would be a great way to increase storage space and even fortify those flimsy hollow doors.
Inside Box Springs
The box spring of your bed is another one of those locations that’s a lot of open air. You can shove canned goods or dry boxed goods into the spaces within your box spring. Of course, you would have to modify the box spring so you could get to the food more regularly.
Under the Bed
You can slide shallow bins right under the bed with food in them. I have seen people sit the box spring on #10 cans. You can put a lot of #10 cans under a king-sized mattress! They store for a long time and probably add some nice sturdy support for your box spring!
This is a method only to be used for long-term survival food storage, but storing food inside walls can be an effective use of space that would otherwise not hold much of anything. Of course, you would want to be good at patching these walls because eventually, you will be breaking into them.
The 5 Gallon Bucket Table
If you cut a piece of plywood out that is a little wider in diameter than the lid of the 5-gallon bucket you can bolt or screw the plywood to the lid of the bucket. Once you affix this lid on a 5-gallon bucket with food storage inside then you can just put a table cloth, that extends to the ground, over the top and your food storage becomes a side table. If you have 20lbs of food in the bucket this is gonna be an incredibly sturdy table.
Make the Most of Your Storage Space
To combat limited storage capacity and to easily manage your growing inventory, you are going to need some organization. These tips can help you with all of that. If you are new you might think that you could never run out of space for food.
It comes quick and you run out of space long before you run out of money. By rotating and managing your inventory of survival food storage you will be better prepared and you will make the most of your storage space.
For more information on survival food preparations, check out Survival World’s link on Food.