by Tom “Ghillie” Miller;
I’m hungry! When are we gonna eat? Is that all that’s for dinner? These are the cries and questions that I hear from my children almost every day in one form or another. I can only imagine how much worse these pleas and cries would be if there were a disaster and food was even scarcer than it is now.
It doesn’t matter if you experience a personal disaster or something outside of your control, you will need food if things go south. Seeing as the government says that you should keep at least 3-7 days worth of food on hand in the event of an emergency, I would guess they aren’t coming with your personal food supply for a while. This makes the idea of storing food not only a solid recommendation, but an integral part of the foundation of a good survival strategy.
Something that you have to plan to accompany your extra food supply is a good storage area to keep it. There are the obvious places, but the kitchen cupboards only hold so much. So where will you keep your emergency food stores? It doesn’t matter if you live in a mansion, cabin in the woods, urban apartment, suburban home, or college dorm room, there are places that everyone can store extra food for an emergency. Here are a few ideas to keep your food supply stored and organized.
Under The Furniture
Just about every piece of furniture has extra space underneath it. This space also tends to be cool and dark which will allow your food stores to stay good for a longer period of time.
Under The Bed – Not only is there plenty of space under the bed, there are storage containers specifically made to be used there. They slide in and out easily and are made of materials that will protect food from the creatures under the bed. Not only are these containers convenient for storage, they can be easily and quickly pulled out and loaded up in the event of an emergency that required that you bug out.
Under The Coffee Table – Almost everyone who has a living or family room has a coffee table. This provides another natural storage space for some food. Of course, this leaves your countless magazine back issues homeless but they have only been collecting dust and they really don’t taste good anyway. It’s probably better to keep the food if you have to pick between the two.
Under An End Table or Nightstand – If you have a coffee table, you probably also have an end table. Even if you if you don’t have a coffee table, you probably still have an end table or nightstand. While the storage space isn’t as large as under the coffee table, I can store at least three days worth of canned food for my family under one of my end tables. The nice thing about storage in a nightstand is that it also offers a solution for even the most size restrictive spaces like military barracks or college dorm rooms.
Behind The Furniture
Many pieces of furniture like recliners and couches are placed near walls which usually results in unused or “dead” space between the furniture and the wall. At anywhere from about 4 inches to about a foot or so, this can be a useful area to stash a few cans of soup, some fruit, a couple boxes of pasta and jars of sauce. If you are the creative type, it is probably possible to engineer a system that attaches all of these items together so that they would all slide out together for easy access.
In The Furniture
Just because something looks like a table, doesn’t make it a table. A stack of containers or cans with a piece of plywood on top will serve the exact same purpose as a table. This is an ideal solution for the number 10 cans that a large number of long term food stores come in.
There are a couple of spaces in the closet that are perfect for storing canned and boxed foods. The closet floor is not just good for losing shoes, you can keep some food there too. This is a good option for many people because of the fact that there is often not a lot of useable space under the clothes that are hanging up. If you don’t like the idea of the closet floor, how about the closet shelf? Weight can be an issue when storing canned goods on shelves so be mindful of how much you try to stack on the same shelf. It might be best to use the closet shelf for lighter items like boxes of pasta, instant potatoes, etc. In addition to the bedroom closet, an extra shelf in the linen closet can be an underutilized space where you could store some food.
The Garage or Basement
If you have a garage or basement, you may have some unused space for storing food. Of course, these are also two areas where critters and creepy crawlies like to hang out and environmental issues like moisture can be more of a factor. This makes weatherproof storage containers very important. While the temperature in most basements is ideal for storing long-term foods, choosing your garage for this same task can expose your food to extreme variances in temperatures. One downside of course is that a garage in the summer can be well over 100 degrees and below freezing in the winter. This can wreak havoc on the storage life of your food.
In Your Luggage
I think we all have an empty suitcase sitting somewhere around the house. Sometimes these things sit for years on end! If you are not already using your suitcases to store off-season clothing or bedding, stick some extra food in them. This is also a useful way to have food that is ready to go if you need to bug out.
Out In The Open
You shouldn’t actually just leave your feed stores sitting out in the open but if you have an empty corner or space in a room, it can be used for a good purpose. There are a number of styles and types of cabinets that can be purchased and used as an extra pantry. Cabinets can also have false backs or bottoms which allows for a little bit of hidden storage. In addition to cabinets, pieces of unsuspecting furniture like a toy chest can be used to store preparedness items, especially if they are camouflaged. Not too many people are going to dig through a couple of layers of broken cars, dolls, or stuffed animals to look for anything of value.
Even if you find enough storage space for all of your food supply, it will need to be kept organized. Not only should it be organized so that it is easy to find and ready to be moved at a moments notice but also to keep the food rotated and fresh. There would not be anything worse than having a good supply of food stored to only find out that it had gone bad or was compromised when you need it the most.
It really doesn’t matter if it ends up being your coat closet or under the bed, there are places in every home where a supply of emergency food can be stored with out getting in the way. On top of being out of the way, these storage areas allow for a stash that may not be easily discovered. This would be ideal if things were to fall apart and the general population turned on one another when faced with the desperation of food shortages. Don’t forget to ensure that you food is properly stored for the long term by using appropriate containers and ensuring good environmental parameters. A combination of proper storage and organization will provide a valuable store of survival food that will be around for a long time, even if you don’t need it.