April 16, 2009

Food Storage Step 5: Storage Solutions 101

Deciding where to store food storage can seem complicated until you start to think of it as an extension of your pantry rather than something you bury in the ground for doomsday. The whole idea of food storage is to have some food available in times of job loss, decrease in income, short-term natural disasters, etc., and to help others in similar circumstances. Unlike other stockpilers, the attitude of the LDS church can best be reflected in this statement:

"Our Heavenly Father created this beautiful earth, with all its abundance, for our benefit and use. His purpose is to provide for our needs as we walk in faith and obedience. He has lovingly commanded us to “prepare every needful thing” (see D&C 109:8) so that, should adversity come, we can care for ourselves and our neighbors and support bishops as they care for others.
"We encourage members world-wide to prepare for adversity in life by having a basic supply of food and water and some money in savings.
"We ask that you be wise as you store food and water and build your savings. Do not go to extremes; it is not prudent, for example, to go into debt to establish your food storage all at once. With careful planning, you can, over time, establish a home storage supply and a financial reserve."—The First Presidency, All Is Safely Gathered In: Family Home Storage, Feb. 2007, 1

The food you store is the food your family normally eats (3-month supply). You also want to store some long-term foods that hopefully you use in your cooking so this too becomes what your family normally eats. So your canned and packaged food CAN be put in your everyday kitchen cupboards and pantry. If you are lucky to have a basement, this is a wonderful location as most are cool and dry, but this is not the situation for many. Because I lived in Southern California for 38 years of my life I know that some homes lack basements and adequate storage space. The top 10 US states that read my blog come from Utah, Idaho, California, Arizona, Texas, New York, North Carolina, Ohio and Nevada. I also have readers from Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand and other parts of the world. Talk about feeling some responsibility! All of you have very different homes, but the same common desire to prepare for every needful thing.

When deciding where to store your food, consider these factors:

Light: Dark is best
Moisture: Dry is best
Temperature: 75°F/24°C or below
Insects and Rodents: Protect food in sturdy containers. Set some traps.

Realize that for every 20 degree increase in Fahrenheit, your food will lose 50% of its shelf life! So that would mean that if you are storing in a location that reaches 95 degrees, your wheat, that would normally store for 30 years, is now reduced to 15 years. Your cans of corn that normally store for 2 years are now reduced to 1 year, etc. And heat can damage food items. I don't recommend storing food in a garage. It's a great place for paper goods, and some emergency supplies though. Read this post to understand what can happen to wheat when stored in a hot garage for 20 years. Could you store your food in a kitchen or bedroom that reaches 80 degrees in the summer? Sure. But realize that your shelf life numbers are reduced somewhat.

I truly believe that with several weeks of thought, prayer, and research, you can come up with a solution of where to store your food. Understand that most apartments may not have enough space to store a year supply of food, but a 3-month supply could work. Don't get hung up on feeling that you HAVE to have a year's supply of food if you are not living in a home that has space to do that. Sometimes we just need to accept our circumstances and do the best we can.

I know it's hard for those who don't have basements to see pictures of those who do, but don't start coveting thy neighbor's wife's basement. :-) Or nag your spouse that you don't have one. Accept reality and work with it.

I don't promote a particular brand of canned food rotation shelf or any shelf on my blog, but I will share pictures of what others are doing. I personally don't own a rotation shelf. My wooden shelves were in my basement when I moved in. And I have a large kitchen with lots of cupboard space and big pantry cupboards, but I don't have a walk-in pantry. However, you can learn by looking at pictures of what others have done, and then with those ideas see a solution for your own circumstances. So, here are some posts that will help you with storage solutions. Good luck!

Spring Cleanup: Our Family Hard at Work
Shopping and Storing Everyday Food Storage Inexpensively
More Pictures of Food Storage Shelves, Pantries and Rooms
Change #3 Reorganize Your Cupboards & Closets
Small Spaces Storage Solutions - RESULTS

Books to check-out at the Library:
"Complete Home Storage," by Sunset.

This is Food Storage Lesson #5 in my step-by-step instructions on organizing and gathering food storage. I will be listing these lessons on the sidebar of my blog.

2 comments:

  1. You can store items in a garage in a hot climate (it gets to be 120 here for several months of the year; it was 95 today) if you have an insulated room that has an a/c unit installed. This is what we do; I keep my food at 65, which is much cooler than in the house (where today it was 80). We don't have basements here, and most people do not have attics, either.

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  2. How do I print your inventory list?

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for your comments and suggestions!

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