One of the most common challenges of preppers is to find space for stored food and water. Fortunately for you if you have a large house with a basement or cellar – you have plenty of space at the right temperature. But the rest of us? Not really. Many people live in apartments, condos, mobile homes, RV or, in my case, a one bedroom cottage. This means that we are cramped for normal pantry and storage space and don’t have common space for our emergency food and water.
Couple the lack of storage space with the need to be aware of the six food storage enemies (temperature, humidity, oxygen, light, pests and time) and the storage problem compounds exponentially.
This should not be an impossible situation. With a little creativity, almost anyone can find some extra space for their emergency food storage. So with that in mind, today I would like to propose some ideas to store food for limited areas. I’ll do it using my own house as an example.
I think it will help give you some ideas where you can also find a little extra space in your own home.
- Build Shelves In The Stairwell
If you’re like me, that awkward space under the stairwell is a big mess. In fact, I was cleaning this area before I started using it – that’s how bad it was. If you do not want to build shelves, consider putting buckets along the back wall and then placing a board on top. In addition to this make-shift shelf you can store cans or canned and packaged foods. This will be the number one in my house makeover.
- Shelves Above The Washer And Dryer
The area above the washer and dryer is not ideal because it is subject to heat and humidity. But if you are diligent to rotate on an annual basis, this area is quite acceptable for storing canned goods or Mylar bags of rice, beans or oatmeal.
In my case, I have a little dead space next to the kitchen – perfect for a shelf or two.
- Build Shallow Shelves Behind The Clothes In Your Wardrobe
Most closets are much deeper than necessary for hanging clothes. Adding a shelf just large enough to hold canned goods will enjoy the extra space without compromising your clothes a little.
- Clear The Junk On The Shelf Above Your Clothes In The Closet
Talk about a waste of space. I stored some decorative pillow on the storage tray above my hanging clothes. I usually keep the pillow cases on the bed, but to tell the truth, it made making the bed too much trouble so now I take them out when visitors are coming. Certainly, these pillows can be stored in my garage when it is very hot in summer and very cold in winter.
- Shelves On The Backs Of Doors
As an alternative to tablets, buy some inexpensive organizers on the door to store canned or bottled water boxes.
- Stack Canned Goods Or Jugs Of Water Behind The Sofa
If your sofa is pushed against a wall, consider moving it to a few inches and use the new space to find food and water storage.
- Tablets Under The Sink
As long as the food you store under the sink is sealed, it is perfectly acceptable to use that space for storage. Consider a shelf just large enough to contain soda or juice jugs filled with rice or beans – perfect.
- Storage In The Depths Of Your Cabinets
This is a storage area, I had not thought of before. The back of high shelves of my closets are areas that I consider no-mans land. I climbed on a stool to look inside and stored there are cups and saucers that I never use, the odds and ends of the glassware and stuff that I dragged into the house during my 38 years of marriage. This substance should be discarded or donated. Why do I keep this stuff?
Take a look inside your own closets. Do you have casseroles you never use? How about the “good china” which is used only once a year, if that often? They are candidates for the garage or yard sale. Box them up and make room for your food storage.
- Storage Above The Refrigerator
As above. Mine is too high to get on a daily basis and too deep to be practical. At the very least, the rear of the area above the refrigerator can be used for storage of emergency food.
- Storage In Decorative Baskets
This is one of my favorites. I love baskets and use them to store all sorts of things in order. I use one for my supplies to make bread, one for pet food and treats, another like a potato bin. These, in my living room but no one is the wiser. As I said, hidden from view.
- Storage Behind The Books On Your Shelf
If you happen to collect books, remember to take the books to the edge of the shelf and food preservation behind the books.
- Storage Under The Bed
This one is easy, so I’m surprised more people do not consider this option. Not only that, you can use well-placed bricks to elevate your bed and increase the height of your storage area under the bed.
- Storage Under The Couch Or Other Furniture Pieces
Do not overlook the shallow storage area under your sofa, chairs or other furniture. This is where I store my big 15 “cast iron skillet and my stove, the pizza peel, board games and other items. As you walk around your own home space and inventory, be on the lookout for things that can be moved and stored in this way, i.e. places such as under furniture.
- Fill The Empty Suitcases
Unless you are a business traveler, there are chances that you only use your bags once or twice a year. Empty bags are ideal for storing food that was packaged in Mylar or FoodSaver bags. This also works well for pasta, rice, cereals and other products packaged groceries.
Consider storing individual packages of food in a large trash bag and stuffing it all into a suitcase. This way, you can simply remove the large bag only when you are ready to travel, set it aside for the duration of your trip, then replace it when you get home.
As a bonus, if you need to evacuate, you can get your suitcase full of food and take it with you. Clean enough, huh?
- Store Buckets In The Bath
I know people who do not take a bath or do so only occasionally. That does not mean they are dirty – they simply prefer the shower. Why not fill the tub with well sealed buckets of food? You can set up a nice shower curtain and nobody will be the wiser. You can also store a bucket or two in the shower. Remove it before putting the water on will not be a big deal after all.
Furthermore, the reason why you want to use a bucket in the shower is so that the moisture in the bathroom does not filter in your food. That, plus the fact that it is easy to just pull up the bucket and put aside – so much easier than a bunch of packages or separate boxes.
- Build An Attic For Storage In The Garage
We built a storage loft in our garage. If you do not have a high ceiling as we did, you can put a shelf around the top perimeter of the garage instead. This is a great place to store those small kitchen appliances rarely used, out of season clothing and other small items used less often – make room in your house for more food.