Prepping to survive a disaster, whether it is on an apocalypse level or simply one that makes things a little rough for a few months, requires careful planning. One of the things many people automatically assume is the most important thing about prepping for disaster is the food storage. Well, in many cases, they are right. However, you cannot simply fill your freezer and pantry and call it an emergency food storage.
You are going to be putting some serious cash into building up a food storage that will sustain your family for weeks, months or for the over-eager prepper, years. That is going to require a lot more space than your kitchen cupboards and pantry.
You need to do some scouting around your house to find the best possible place to start storing your food. Check out the following qualities your food storage space should have in order to ensure your food will stay in good shape for years to come. Nobody wants to have their food supply spoil or get destroyed by one thing or another.
Out of Direct Light
Light is bad for food. The standard light fixture in a room is okay, but you don’t want the food exposed to hours of sunlight on a daily basis. Hopefully, you wouldn’t leave the light on in the room and only need the light when you are adding items to the shelves. If you are storing your food in a spare bedroom, invest in some heavy curtains for the windows. You could also use aluminum foil to cover the windows. While it is a little redneck, it is very effective.
Speaking of the aluminum foil on the windows, it can also help keep the temperature down in a room. You don’t want the food storage to get over 80 degrees. Ideally, a temperature of 50 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit should be your goal. That is prime storing conditions and ensures you will get the longest shelf life out of your foods. If your food is being stored in a basement or root cellar, heat is not typically an issue. However, you don’t want the food exposed to freezing temperatures. It will ruin the food.
A basement is a great place for storing food, but if it is damp or regularly floods, you need to find somewhere else to store the food. Dampness promotes mold growth and you don’t want that. Some basements are only a little musty and a good fan will help keep the humidity level down. Fans can also help regulate temperature if you are using that spare room. Always store food at least 6 inches off the floor, just in case there is flooding from a broken pipe, the hot water heater bursts or the washing machine goes on the fritz.
Out of Sight
You don’t want your stockpile of food visible from the outside of your home or if somebody comes to the front door. It doesn’t matter if your neighbors seem like nice people today, when they are starving, niceties go out the window and they want your food. They will do what it takes to survive and that includes taking your food any way they can. Keeping it in a basement, a room with a closed door or hidden in a root cellar is your best bet.
Food is heavy. A lot of food is really heavy and will break weak and inadequate shelves. Invest in shelving that can hold several hundreds pounds of food. Those pretty white wire racks are great for the pantry, but not so great for a proper food storage. They bend and will give under the weight of a few cases of canned goods. If you don’t want to spend hundreds of dollars buying garage shelving units, you could make your own out of wood if you are handy. Make sure you use sturdy wood and reinforce it.
On a side note; when you are putting your shelves together, many of the models are made with a lip that hangs down. Put the shelves together upside down so that lip is upwards. This will help keep your food from sliding off the shelves if there are any vibrations or what not. Falling cans of food are not only a safety hazard, it could also end up ruining the food.
nce you have found the perfect place to store your food and have taken care of the windows and made sure it is properly ventilated, you have a few more things to do to ensure it is the best food storage possible. These items are things you should be checking regularly.
Check the dates on your products often. Make sure you pull the oldest food forward and add new stuff to the back. You want to make sure you are eating the oldest stuff first and not leaving it all to the end when it is super old. Use a bold black or red marker to write use by dates or dates that you bought the food on the packaging. Those tiny little stamps are impossible to read in many cases.
Stay on top of pest problems. Set mouse traps and poison bait if you are so inclined at the first sign of trouble. Don’t let them destroy your food storage. They can work through hundreds of pounds of food in a short time. If you are not regularly checking your storage space, you could come back to a pile of poop and shredded cardboard. Make sure the room is sealed. Mice can get through the tiniest holes and cracks around the foundation.
Ants and cockroaches can also be an issue. Make sure the area is clean and there is no food left out to temp the pests. Use chemical or natural repellents to keep them out of your food storage area.
Don’t let your food storage be ruined by choosing the wrong space. Follow these guidelines and pick the right place to start stockpiling a supply of food and water that will sustain your family after a disaster.