A house of order can transcend to all aspects of our lives, but let's start with our food storage. I hope you were all able to accomplish the organizing assignment in the last post. The assignment was to inventory your food storage pantry or storage room. This may seem monumental but I promise it will help in the long run of having a useable food storage system. (Scroll down the page to see a picture of how I keep an inventory on a white board of all my #10 cans.)
After inventorying your food and supplies the next step is to organize your food into a system that functions for you.I am going to show you what works for me and what keeps my food rotated and useable, but there are many other ways to organize your food storage and I'll mention those at the end of the post.
I have been blessed with a large storage room where I keep all of my extra smaller cans, #10 cans, bulk foods, paper goods, etc. This is the room that I go to when I need to refill the containers in my kitchen pantry. The pictures in this post are going to be dark, I apologize but there isn't any natural lighting in this room. Which is a good thing for food storage! Remember that light, temperature, moisture and bugs/pests all need to be considered when you pick an area for your food storage.
In my storage room I try to group "like" items together. That way I usually know where everything is and goes. I group my #10 cans in a different area then my smaller cans. The smaller cans are stored in my kitchen and I only keep them out in the storage room when I have too many to fit in the kitchen.
This is a small sampling of how I organize my #10 cans of dehydrated and freeze-dried foods.
I have most of my fruits and veggies grouped together. This helps with knowing how much I have, but it also helps my kids know where things are when they are sent out to the storage room to grab something for me. The powdered milk and other dairy items like sour cream powder, buttermilk powder, powdered eggs, freeze-dried cheese, powdered shortening, and powdered butter all get stored together. I also have baking supplies like baking powder, baking soda, and cocoa powder on that shelf. There is actually a shelf below the milk shelf and it holds my salt, oils, cornstarch and any other baking items that I might buy in bulk.
How do you store oddly shaped containers, like condiments?
I use the free boxes I get from case lot sales and food storage retailers to group them all together on a shelf. I also live in earthquake territory and I feel this gives me added protection if the room started shaking. I really need to instal a small lip on my shelves so things don't go sliding off, but that is on the to-do list :)
All of my bulk items like wheat, oats, rice, sugar, etc. are stored in buckets around the perimeter of my storage room.
I love gamma lids!! They make it so easy to open and close, and it doesn't feel like such a chore when I need to refill my kitchen pantry containers. It is very dry where I live so I don't use the mylar bags inside of my bulk buckets. I pour the bulk bags directly into my buckets. And I am also comfortable resting them directly on the concrete. Some may not feel comfortable doing that, but my room doesn't fluctuate in temperature too much and the concrete doesn't get wet. I feel the chemicals from the concrete are not leaching into my buckets. This is one of those examples of what works for me may not work for you ;)
And finally, this is how I keep track of all those #10 cans of food.
In all honesty here....this is my goal....to update this white board. Notice I didn't take the picture too close...haha. This proves I'm not perfect and I need a food storage refresher too. The cans that get used the most are the fruits and veggies, so they need to be updated first. But this is how I keep a visual of what I have. Some cans are things that I won't use unless I absolutely have too, like the canned cheese and butter. But having it listed on the board with hash marks allows me to know at a glance what I have in my storage room.
Other Food Storage OptionsSome people may like using the commercial can rotater systems, but I don't have the room for them. I have found that I can easily add newer cans to the back of my shelf without having a rotating shelf. But you can decide if that will work for you. You can also store like items together or groups of ingredients into complete meals. Like the meal in a bag idea. Or maybe you like to make meals in a jar. Or maybe storing your food like the grocery store, with different types of food together, like Italian, Mexican. I know of some people who like to store their food according to breakfast, lunch, or dinner meals. It's all up to you!! It is really up to what works for you so you will USE your food storage!
Remember this rule with any food storage system....
This is how you rotate your food! Always place the newer foods in the back. This may seem tedious and hard to do but knowing you are using the oldest food first will save you a lot of $$. Take the few minutes when you buy your food to put them in the proper place...behind the older food!
Food Storage in Smaller Homes
Many of us may live in smaller homes or apartments. How is is possible to have food storage....and to store the larger amounts of food needed?
- Think of the space under the beds in your homes. For long-term foods (#10 cans that lasts 20+ years) they can be stored in their boxes under a bed. Think about taking the bed off the frame and using the food storage as the base. The food from the cannery like rice, wheat, oats, powdered milk, would all work great for this option. They don't need used as often.
- Do you have extra space above your kitchen cabinets? This unused space could easily store cans of food.
- Instead of end tables, place stacked cans under a tablecloth and use a wood or glass topper to create a small table.
- The space behind your sofa and the wall can hold food storage as well. It can be covered with a cloth or if you know someone handy, they could build a cover for it out of wood.
- Do you use all that extra closet space on the shelf above your clothes? Think of how high you could stack #10 cans if they went all the way to the ceiling of the closet.
- Buy several over the door pocket hangers, that are made for shoes, and you'll have a great area for smaller items. Think of all the doors and closets that you have and think if an over the door organizer would work there.
It takes a little creativity and thinking outside of the box, but I know if you make it a priority to have your food storage you will be blessed. Thoughts and ideas will come to your mind as you pray to know how to prepare for your family.