Emergency Preparedness in Cramped Quarters: 4 Magic Words for Space-Saving Food Storage
Guest post by Doug Bennett
Building an adequate emergency food supply for your family is no small task, especially if you live in a small house or apartment and you don’t have a lot of extra space.
Whether you live in small to medium sized apartments in Houston or if you’re living in a tiny bungalow outside of Kansas City, every inch matters when it comes to food storage.
Still, with a little ingenuity, discovering hidden places to store emergency food in even the most cramped quarters can happen. Just use these 4 magic words as your guideline to space-saving food storage.
- Above: The next time you open a closet door, try looking up. Chances are you’ve got a closet equipped with one of those tall, difficult to reach shelves that are being underutilized. High shelves in closets and kitchen cabinets are great places to store food and other emergency supplies so you’ll know where they are if and when you need them. And once things are looking up in the closets, try the same trick in the kitchen. Most kitchens come with a goodly amount of unused space between the tops of the cabinets and the ceiling. Often overlooked, this space is prime real estate for storing emergency foods. Boxes of cereal can be stored easily and neatly on top of kitchen cupboards, along with # 10 cans of rice or beans. If you’re concerned about outward appearances, try camouflaging your food items with artificial plants, or disguising those #10 cans by wrapping them with decorative fabric or wallpaper.
- Under: Chances are you’re already utilizing the wide-open space that lurks beneath the beds for storage. But if you’re not using it to store emergency food you may want to think again. Not only is this dry, dark space well-suited for storing a number of food items, with the addition of special under the bed storage drawers or containers, this space becomes even more practical for food storage. If you still need more storage space, another good place to look is under the couch. And if you happen to have a crawl space, you can store properly packaged foods under your house.
- Behind: There are lots of objects in the home you can store food behind, and your guests will never know it’s there. Corner chairs and couches can be pulled away from walls just enough to accommodate cans or boxes that will remain undetected. #10 cans can be stored in linen closets behind stacks of sheets. Food storage boxes and cans can be stacked in the backs of closets behind clothing. If you have room against a bare wall, you can store your bulk purchases on a basic metal shelf. By hanging curtains in front of the shelf you can make the stored food disappear while creating the illusion of a window. The key to storing food behind other items is to make sure you remember what went where so you can easily find it. Regular rotation of stored stock is a great way to keep track of things.
- Inside: Beanbag chairs are always fun. But if you fill them with kidney beans, or other beans that store well, they become both fun and food storage functional. In addition, end tables comprised of stacked food storage boxes covered with table cloths can also work well. On a less extreme note, with apartments and condo-type homes growing in popularity, more and more commercial furniture is being designed to double as storage. There are hollow storage ottomans with hidden lids, decorative chests, and outdoor benches that can provide you with adequate storage space while still providing the valuable function of furniture. Another approach is to purchase a freestanding pantry. Having this affordable and practical extra storage option can work in almost any kitchen. They can be found in a variety of color options and are easy to assemble. All you need is extra wall space for this option to work. Repackaging bulk items in smaller zip-lock bags is another great way to store more in less space.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Doug Bennett is a freelance writer and expert in emergency food preparedness and food storage.