Thursday, March 10, 2011

Food Storage Hunt: Abs

This post, which was originally published September 2, 2009 is the first in our new series "Food Storage Hunt: Where do Food Storage Bloggers Store Their Food?"

Yes, it's a long title, but the idea is a great one (it was my idea so I'm a little biased). Over the next few weeks we'll be featuring some of our favorite food storage bloggers along with our own columnists in a photo tour of their personal food storage stash. What I love about it is that every ones' storage is so different. There is no right or wrong way to store food. The only wrong way is not doing it at all.

So take a peak at my food storage locations, which haven't changed much, since 2009, just depleted since I'm eating away at my 3 month supply.


Unlike Hannah, who is extremely organized and functional in all aspects of her life, my food storage is ALL over my house. I blame it on small closets and Mountain Man's mountains (ha!) of backpacking gear, but it might have something to do with my personality too.

I have two types of food storage. I have the longer-term supply which includes: wheat, rice, oats and beans. My goal is to have enough for our family of 4 to eat for 1 year. Then I have my 3-Month supply which is a total 3 meals/day supply our family for 3 full months of our normal, daily diet. I make this distinction because the differences in the type of supply make for different types of storage styles.

For example, all of my longer-term storage can be stored, if packaged properly, for 30 or more years. My 3-month supply needs to be rotated out regularly. So I get my longer-term storage from an LDS cannery in #10 cans and foil pouches and I buy my 3-month supply from the grocery store and keep it in original packaging and/or tupperware containers. Everybody still with me? My longer-term storage is NOT rotated out on a regular basis: I buy the food, properly packaged, and stow it away and at my 30 year wedding anniversary I will start rotating the food, because that's when I started a food storage (should I enter the giveaway?). Because I'm not constantly rotating this storage, I can stick it in less than desirable locations (hard to reach and so forth). My 3-month supply is used REGULARLY. Daily, even, and so it needs to be highly accessible. The reason this works for me is that wheat, rice, oats and beans are all part of my 3-month supply TOO. So I'm still storing food I eat, but it's just in different packaging based on the type of storage it is.

Okay, now that that's out of the way, let's tour!

I'd like to say that the majority of my 3-month supply food storage is in my guest room closet. I could use some shelving in this closet, but I'm making due with what we've got. In here I have my extra condiments, my veggies and fruits, jams, extra bags of flour and wheat (for my 3-month supply!), juice, dried fruit, cereal, crackers, pasta, etc.

I use my Shelf Reliance Cansolidator for the hardest part of my 3-month supply: fruits and veggies. I prefer fresh fruit/veggies so I rarely buy canned. BUT it's a crucial part of food storage. If you don't have canned veggies and you couldn't buy/grow fresh ones, you wouldn't have a well-balanced diet in a food storage situation. So what I've been doing is buying one can of each each time I go to the grocery store. I don't even put it on my list, I just walk to the aisle EVERY time and buy one can of corn, one can of green beans, one can of fruit, one can of diced tomatoes and one can of tomato sauce. Then I bring them home and stick 'em in my cansolidator. Well, actually, my daughter does, she loves the rolling shelves.

The side of my guest closet: That bag of wheat is part of my 3-month supply! Wheat is not just for longer-term storage. You need to incorporate it NOW into your diet so if/when the time comes to eat it, your body won't be shocked into it. Nor your taste buds. I would never store wheat for longer than a couple of months in a sack like this, for pest control reasons. But this is a cheap way of getting wheat. A sack like this only costs $5-6. Under the wheat you'll notice some boxes of beans, rice and more wheat. These are all in #10 cans for my longer-term storage. I don't need to get to these anytime soon, so they make a great "table" for my wheat.

This is the bed in my guest room. Do you see the silver things peeking out? This bed is very low, but is packed with mylar pouches of wheat, rice, beans, and oats....and spaghetti if I remember correctly!

This is my 3-month supply of beans, more or less. This is in my living room. When I need beans, I pour them out of these containers. This would not be acceptable storage for longer than a couple months.

This is my recent order from the cannery. It's waiting to go in my new buckets as part of my 3-month supply. Believe it or not, wheat can be pretty decent if given half the chance.

Behind those sacks is my treasure chest. I found it at a garage sale for $10. Someday I'll refinish it, but right now it's home to more longer-term storage in these mylar pouches.

This is my girls' closet. This is where I am building up my water supply. This is also where I store my 72 hour kits. I figure that if anything was happening (emergency wise) the first place I would go is to get my kids, it makes sense for me to have the emergency supplies and sleeping bags near them.

I like to keep my 3-month supply accessible and visible. Especially after I had a container of oatmeal "hatch" on me. It was disgusting.

And my disorganized pantry where I store the buckets. I have one for wheat, flour, sugar, and rice. I keep my basics like that in two separate containers. A smaller container (like in the picture previous) for daily use, and then the buckets to replenish my other container. It all makes sense in my head.

In my garage I keep non-drinking water. You know, for filling up the toilets and stuff like that. I also have some more non-drinking water storage under my kitchen sink. I fill up empty bleach bottles and dishwashing soap bottles with water, label them of course, and store them for cleaning etc. I don't have a lot of drinking water, but by golly if I need to do dishes I've got all my bases covered!

I also store my toilet paper and stuff like that in the garage. I don't keep any food in the garage because I live in the hot, humid, pest-ridden south. Looks like I'm running low on TP. Toilet paper is one thing I would NOT want to be without for 3 months. I think I'd rather live without sugar. Which is really saying something for me.

Here's my favorite part. I can't take the credit for this idea, but I'm pleased with how I adapted it to my situation. This is my living room. It never looks like this except when my children are in bed and my in-laws are coming. Anyway, it's a big long room and the only room besides bedrooms. So Mountain Man and I divided it up into a living room and office/sewing studio/playroom by putting the couch and bookcase in the middle of the room as a divider.

I pulled the couch forward a few inches from the bookcase and stacked a row of #10 cans along the length of the bookcase.

When I got to the end of the bookcase, I laid a board over the top and started again. Repeat and repeat.

When I had loaded up all my cans, I pushed the couch back so there was just enough room for the cans.

You can't even tell! It's a great storage spot right in the middle of my living room!

What's your most extreme food storage hiding space?


Sadie said...

Very cool on the hidden cans by the bookcase. I don't think I would have ever thought of something like that!! Luckily we were able to build a big house with a basement a couple years ago and so I ahve plenty of space in the basement that I use. However, when we actually get around to finishing the basement, then I will have to get creative with the food storage. ;)