I know many of you do not live in Utah, and do not enjoy the benefits of having a cold storage/basement to store your food storage in. I am sorry about that! There are ways though, to help encourage a more ‘ideal’ storage condition with out having to have a basement. Here are a few tips and guidelines when storing your food:
Ideal storage conditions do not exist in every home, so just do the best you can. It is better to have some food stored in poor conditions than no food stored at all. An ideal storage area consists of:
1. Cool Temperatures—Usually a range between 50-70 degrees is acceptable (basements are ideal for storing food if possible). If you do not have a basement, try to store the majority of your food in a room with air conditioning or somewhere that stays cooler than the rest of the house (garage that has a/c, cellars, under beds, in storage room with air conditioning, etc.) If you MUST store food in a garage, store canned goods rather than your whole grains (flour, rice, wheat, mixes, etc.). The canned goods will store better in heat than food that is less protected from the elements.
2. Dry—Humidity between 50-70%. Anything higher makes for mold, moisture, and mildew to grow. If you live in a humid area, be careful to store your food properly. Canning your food (especially your long term foods and grains) in number 10 cans (like the ones from the LDS Cannery) is the most ideal. These cans with the oxygen absorbers will keep your food fresher longer and decrease your chance of mold growing in your food.
3. Dark—A room with little to no sunlight is ideal for storing food. A basement is perfect for this again, but if you do not have this option, store your food under beds or somewhere where the direct light will not see. Putting your food in storage buckets or dark tupperware containers will help keep the light away from your food.
4. Well ventilated—Keep food away from heating vents and ducts, pipes, etc. A room with air conditioning is ideal for storage (if you live in an area of extreme heat and do not have a cool basement). The more dry and cool your conditions, the longer and better your food will be preserved.
5. Secure shelves in case of an earthquake. Tie or anchor shelves to wall studs, floors, or other shelf units to prevent tipping. A PVC pipe stretched across a shelf will help keep food on your shelves (especially those shelves holding glass jars/bottles.) Keep the heavier items in your storage on the bottom of your shelving. Toilet paper, cereal, paper towels, etc. do great on the top of your storage shelves because they will not be damaged in the case of an earth quake.
6. Stay organized. A well organized home (especiallly in small spaces)
will make for more storage space for your food storage. If you live in a home with out a basement, shelves may be the solution to your problem. Build inexpensive wood shelves in your garage, in closets, crawl spaces, under stair passages, etc. to help maximize your storage space. Put non-parishable items (like camping, recreational items, summer/winter gear, holiday decorations, etc.) in your garage to leave more space inside your home for your food storage. It is better for these items to be outside in a garage and the elements than it would be for your food to be stored at high temperatures. One of my secrets of staying organized is to have an ON-GOING D.I. (or Salvation Army) pile in my garage. Anytime I find something in my home that we do not use, or that is taking up needed space, I add it to my ‘give away’ pile. Keeping your home clutter free will help you have more room for the FUN stuff to store, like FOOD!!
7. Be Creative! Desperate times call for desperate measures! Food storage makes for great furniture pieces 🙂
I have been impressed with so many of your success stories! Many of you are in difficult climates, live in small apartments/spaces, or have situations that are not ‘ideal’ for storing a years supply of food. However, I have been amazed at how well so many of you have tackled your home’s/family’s challenges and continued to work on building your storage–no matter the circumstances. Bravo to you for your efforts!! As I go around and teach classes on food storage I always like to share the story of a lady who emailed me from Arizona and told me how she and her husband felt strongly that they needed to get their food storage..despite their small home’s challenges. They moved their THREE small children into ONE room so they could have one complete room (that was air conditioned) to store their food storage. What a sacrifice! I figure if she can sacrifice a third of her home for her food storage, many of us can’t complain about the situations we are working with.
Thanks again for your success stories! You are an inspiration to so many of us. Keep up the good work!!