Food Storage: My Storage Space Solutions

One of the common battles with small spaces and food storage is “Where do I put it all?!” Back when I wrote my ‘Steps To Success‘ and talked about where to store the food, I gave a list of a bunch of ideas for places in your home that could be a possible home to your food storage. However, sometimes reading a suggestion and seeing a suggestion have two totally different effects on how well they inspire you. I recently did a food storage presentation for a friend’s ward and one of their requests was for pictures of ideas/examples for how and where to put their food. So I thought I’d share those pictures with all of you as well. So allow me to welcome you to my home (please forgive any messes :)), and my solutions to storing my everyday food supply, along with my long-term food storage. {And on a side note: I do not have a large home. It is roughly 1750 sq ft. Larger than an apartment, true, but still small enough to put a premium on storage space. :)}

Alright… first stop is my little girls’ room for some long-term food storage. Notice any food storage hanging around? Any guesses where it could be? No… it’s not IN the armoire…

…it’s BEHIND it! πŸ™‚ TWELVE buckets fit behind that armoire! Can you believe it??

In the same room, here’s one of my little girls’ bed…

…with our year supply of milk stored underneath (roughly 20 #10 cans)!

In the master bedroom, an unassuming tv stand…

…with a whole lot of food storage behind it! {Note, we simply added a piece of black fabric to the back of the tv stand to prevent being able to see the buckets through the open back of the shelves. We also have about 40-50 #10 cans of long-term food storage underneath our master bed.}

And that about does it for the long-term food storage that we keep basically hidden away (although we do have a few more buckets stashed here and there in some small spaces).
And now on to the everyday food supply! In keeping with the suggestions mentioned in our Steps To Success, we keep our everyday food supply in easily accessible locations so that our system is functional and our supply is easily rotated through. We also tried to keep it in as few locations as possible and we try to logically organize what is in each location.

Our office/craft room also became home to all of our canned goods in our everyday food supply…

And here’s another wall in our office…

{As you can see, the cans here aren’t as nice and orderly as the other bookshelves. That’s because my little girls like to play with these cans and build towers with them and then knock them over. πŸ™‚ One of these days I’ll order more of those can organizers to get these shelves organized too. :)}

We keep just about all the rest of our everyday food supply in our master walk-in closet…

{The lower shelf was already part of the closet (and goes all the way around to the other side of the closet as well), but we realized we could just about double our space by adding a second level shelf. So Handy Hubby built one in. It’s not as strong of a wood as the lower level, so we try to keep lighter things on it. Looking back, I probably would have gone to the extra expense to use a solid wood. And yes, there are a few #10 cans in here as well, but they are ones that will need to be used within 10 years or so.}

These cupboards were already a part of our master closet when we moved in, and they immediately became home to food storage. πŸ™‚

{spices, herbs, seasonings, baking supplies on top; prepared foods such as peanut butter, spaghetti sauce, salad dressings, sauces, etc. on bottom}

And that’s about it! We also have a small space in our laundry closet where I keep our pasta noodles and oils, and the tiny pantry in our kitchen actually has food it in it as well :D, but for the most part, this is how our system functions! And every time I get new items, I label them with the expiration date and put them at the back of the appropriate shelves and bring everything else forward so I’m always using the items closest to expiration first. I occasionally reorganize the shelves when things start getting tight in an area or perhaps even just because I’m bored and want to change things up πŸ˜€ but more or less I keep our areas consistent so that I always know where things are and I don’t throw Hubby off and frustrate the system. πŸ˜‰

Well, I sure hope this helps to spark some ideas of how a system may work in your home! Remember, in order to have a functional food storage, you are going to have to sacrifice time, money, and SPACE. It’s too important not to.
Good luck and best wishes!

Food Storage: One Goal Down!

Ask and ye shall receive! Woohoo! I asked Hubby last week if we could build a bookcase for our room and bada-boom-bada-bing! Ta-da!! I present to you our new bookcase!

I was a little eager to get everything organized and put away on it that I neglected to take a picture before I started to fill up the shelves (and I was too lazy to pull all the books back off). πŸ™‚ But isn’t it a beauty? We were going to stain it but forgot to get the stain while we were at the hardware store, and again… I was too impatient to wait for it before organizing away. (COD, remember?!) So it will remain unstained for now. I like it that way anyway.
But as you can see, this bookshelf is being used for books and the upper shelves hold all our games. So how in the world is this for food storage? Well, simply because all of these games and books USED to be on bookshelves in the office (where half of my food storage is anyway), and now I was able to vacate those shelves and I can use them for more food storage and keep more of it together in one place. I’m so excited! πŸ˜€ I can’t believe I’ve already got my first new year’s goal done! Woohoo! And one of the best parts about making it ourselves was that we could customize the heights to make sure everything fit that we wanted. So I’m lovin’ my new bookshelf! Not bad for a days work. πŸ™‚
I hope all your food storage fun is coming along just as well! Best wishes!

Emergency Preparedness: 72-Hour Kits Finale

Alright… just one last push for 72-Hour Kits. Here’s a complete checklist for you to download (see link at the end) that includes all the recommendedΒ contents from the post two weeks ago. Use it as is to help in putting together your own kits, or use it as a guide in making your own. Either way, I recommend putting a checklist in every kit so that you know what is included in each one (without having to go digging through the entire kit to see if you do or do not have a certain item). And remember that you don’t have to include everything that’s on the list. Just make sure you’ve got the essentials and then choose what is best and appropriate for you and your family.


Again, remember to check and rotate your perishable items (food, batteries, medicines…) every 6 months (mark it on your calendar, or tie it in to semi-annual events… like General Conference! :)). I recommend putting the expiration dates of perishable products next to their spot on the checklist so that it’s easy to see which ones will be expiring before the next update. Then you can just quickly replace those items and not have to worry about checking your whole kit. Print out a new checklist each time you update and add the new expiration dates. Always keep your kits up to date so that they will be ready to just grab and go any time you need them!

Download your checklist and save it to your computer here:Β 72 Hour Kit Checklist

Feature Frugal Friday: Homemade Rotating Can Racks

Howdy y’all! Alright… this will just be a quicky. This is both a super cool and super frugal idea (hence we’ve got a Feature Frugal Friday goin’ on!) πŸ™‚ Anyway, I wanted to share a couple of links with you for anyone who is wanting a rotating can rack system for all your canned goods, but maybe doesn’t have the resources to go out and buy one. (They can be pretty dang expensive!) Well, here are some guides to making your very own homemade rotating can racks. They range from small and super cheap (as in ‘inexpensive’) by making cupboard sized systems using cardboard, or you can also get pretty elaborate and make the big hefty kind using plywood.

Anyway… here are some great tutorials for y’all to enjoy:

1. This is probably my favorite in terms of being an excellent tutorial, as well as a fabulous looking finished product. It uses some tools that may not be common to every household (i.e. router), but it’s worth a look. Someday (when I’ve got some space), I’m gettin’ Hubby to build me one of these! πŸ˜€
Click HERE.

2. This tutorial is another very good one. It goes into more detail and has more pictures than the first. Again, though… it uses some tools that you might not have at home.
Click HERE.

3. This one is a video and doesn’t give a written guide, but it is a great example of where you can “hide” a rotating can rack, along with some verbal instructions on how to make it:
Click HERE for the YouTube video.

4. And this tutorial is for a small rotating can system that can fit on your cupboard shelves. In the tutorial they use cardboard, which I image makes this practically free. But you could also use some thin wood or something to make it a little more sturdy if you wanted.
Click HERE.

Well, enjoy your weekend!
Oh, and just a heads up… next week’s feature will also include a GIVEAWAY! {GIVEAWAY IS CLOSED.} So don’t forget to bookmark this site and check back often!

Food Storage: Organized Chaos!

Hey y’all! Just sharing some food storage craziness with you today.

So I got my can organizers in this past week and was SO excited! I dutifully set right to putting them together and in my excitement, couldn’t wait to see how they would look with cans in them and on my shelves. So I started filling them up as fast as I could assemble them and as I got more of them together, I tried to figure out where/how they would fit on my shelves. Mind you, I had measured my shelves prior to ordering so that I’d know which sizes I could order, and I thought I had accurately checked the height limitations as well. And actually, I had… minus the fact that I had neglected to take into account one thing: my adjustable shelves in my master closet that I had planned to adjust to fit the organizers were not so adjustable. They’re supposed to be adjustable, but they seem to be stuck. I started getting a little curious about how this would all play out now. Hmm…

So barring having to pry the shelves out and go through a BIG hassle and expensive mess that way, my plan is going to have to be altered. What’s a girl to do?!Β So I checked the space on my office shelves (which I know I can alter the height on), and have begun to reformulate my organization. I’m going to have to take all my cans from my closet and move them to the office and move all of the food in the office to my closet.

THANK GOODNESS I like to organize. Otherwise I might as well ask someone for a loaded gun to put me out of my misery! πŸ™‚ But for me it’s like a big puzzle. So I’ll be enjoying working on this new organizational process for the next few days/weeks. But the moral of the story is: measure twice, cut once. Make sure you know you can get your shelves to the height you need before you get your hopes up too high. πŸ™‚

And on that note, I hope y’all are doing good! We’ll continue our water information series next week. πŸ™‚

Feature Friday: Shelf Organizers!

These are the COOLEST idea for those who do not have the space or money for those huge self-rotating can racks (and actually, even if you do have one of those big ones, these are still a good idea for your cupboards/pantry)! They are can organizers/rotators for your shelves! And they’re not even expensive! Ooo… you know I love this!

The Can Organizer

Here’s a quick, crazy, ‘small world’ story for you: I actually came across this company a little while back and thought this was a definite ‘future purchase’ for me. So onto the Wish List it went. And then with this week being the time to find and dedicate space, I thought it might be a good idea to do a feature on these shelf organizers. And THEN, my faithful visiting teachers came over for a visit this week and as we were chatting we got to talking about food storage (what else?!) πŸ™‚ when one of the ladies says, “Ya, my sister and her husband have actually created an organizer for the shelf that’s made out of cardboard.” I told her I’ve seen those types and was actually planning to do a feature on them this Friday. So I ask her for her sister’s company so I can feature them too, and lo and behold… it’s the same one!! WHAT A SMALL WORLD. So anyway, this is no longer on my ‘purchase someday’ list… I went ahead and bought some yesterday! That was just the little push that I needed.Β (Hey, I support my VTs and their sisters. :)) They’ve even got a deal going on right now that you can save 10% when you order 5 or more packs of organizers (4 to a pack). Just enter ‘Save10’ when you checkout.

Anyway, I’ll do another feature once I get them and have used them a little to let ya’ll know how I like them, but I am super super excited! You know me and organization! πŸ˜€

So if you’ve got the itch to get organized, and want an affordable option, go check these guys out! Their website is: http://thecanorganizer.com. Β And tell them Debbie sent you. Β …just kidding. They don’t even know who I am, but I just always wanted to say that. πŸ˜€

Food Storage: Where To Store

Alright! We’re moving right along (hopefully) with our year supply plan. And as the ball gets moving and the food starts rolling in, you may quickly realize that your kitchen pantry simply does not have enough room to store your year supply. So where does it go? Under the bed? Β *Wrong.* Β Up in the attic? Β *Nope.* Β Out in the garage? Β *Try again.* Β No, no, no… the point of gathering everyday Β food is so that we will use it everyday! And if we are going to do that, we need our food to be as easily accessible as possible. If our food is stored in an obscure, hard to access location, it is very unlikely that we will keep up with our rotation and our whole system will be out the window.

Ideally, we want to keep all of our food in one location. In a perfect world, we would all have a gorgeous 12 x 12 basement room, filled with rotating shelves, that always stays below 65 degrees F, and never gets moisture or bugs in it. Ah yes… one can always dream. πŸ™‚ But here in the real world, if we want a functioning storage system, we may have to be willing to sacrifice for it. Remember in the beginning when I said we’re going to have to dedicate our time, money, and space? Well, this would be where the ‘space’ factor comes into play.

Take a mental picture of each room in your home. If you (like me) do not have any obviously empty rooms, closets, shelves, etc that are sitting around just waiting to be filled up with your food supply, you may just have to make space. It may not be fashionable, it may not be pretty, and it may downright clash with the room… but it’s important to get a functioning system up and running. So what are you looking for when trying to pick a location? You want as much space as possible in as few locations as possible (again, so that you can keep as much of your food together as you can), that is in a fairly cool, dry spot of your home.

Click HERE for some helpful ideas on hidden locations in your home.

Here’s my own example: My food storage is mostly split into two locations (well, three if you count the kitchen pantry)… our master walk-in closet, and our office. Our master closet already had a built-in ceiling to floor cupboard when we moved in and that automatically became a food storage location right off the bat (thank goodness we don’t have that many clothes.) πŸ™‚ But as our supply started growing beyond that space, we also started using the shelves above our clothes racks and we have now also added a second shelf above the original ones. But even that was not enough space and I knew I was going to have to find another location. I finally determined our office/craft room/sewing room would have to be the next space to give (as if it didn’t already serve enough purposes!). It has several bookcases in it that are home to our movies, games, and books. Well, I cleared out all our movies (which took up most of the space), got rid of the ones not worthy of remaining in our home, and made room for the rest in the family room. I then proceeded to organize the office shelves with food storage. Yes, I often get weird looks when people walk into my office and see shelves of food. I just tell them I get hungry when I’m working on the computer. πŸ˜€ just kidding. Frankly, they don’t care and I don’t care. They’re all my family or friends and love me anyway. πŸ™‚ But even now I’m already starting to get to the point where I’m going to need more space (ACK!) so my mind is constantly on the look out for spots that can have shelves built in, or something else taken out. (Next thing you know, my kids will be sleeping in the garage!) πŸ™‚ just kidding!! But the point is… there is space in your home, you just have to get creative and find it! And I know I said “no” to under the bed… but guess what? If you got some of those ‘under the bed drawers’ that pull out easily so you can take stock of what’s there, that would work too!
Yes, some things in the house may have to go in order to make space. But I would venture a guess that not many of them (if any) are more important than following the prophet and seeing to the welfare of your family. And there are lots of ways to take a space and make it look nice… even when it’s cans of food. Organize it, hang curtains in front of it, add beautiful art pieces to it, paint the shelves pretty colors… do something to make yourself at peace with it.

And if you ever look at your food and see it as a big eyesore in the middle of your room, just remind yourself that it’s just temporary until you become rich and famous and have that big mansion on the hill with a huge basement that is temperature controlled and set aside just for your food storage. πŸ˜€

And one more word from me on the subject… if you cannot have all your food in one place, do your best to logically organize what foods you keep together. For example, I keep all of our staple foods together (flour, sugar, wheat), all our fruits and vegetables together, ‘ready to go’ type stuff like pasta sauce, canned soups, peanut butter, jelly, snack foods, etc. are all kept together in the office, etc. It helps me to remember where things are located so that when I need an item, I’m not constantly trying to remember where it is or having to look all over for it. I just know what ‘type’ of food it is and can figure it out from there. And labels can be lifesavers too (especially where husbands are concerned!) πŸ˜‰
Well, that’s all from me for now. Good luck to ya’ll!

Photo courtesy of closetplusmetro.com