Now that you have decided to start putting aside some food, you might be thinking “Where am I going to keep all of this food and other stuff?” Hopefully you have lots of extra space, an extra bedroom, or a big kitchen with a pantry and lots of cabinets… or if you are like many of us, space is at a premium and you will have to be creative about how and where you store your preps.
Clearly the ideal situation is being able to store your preps inside your home, in a climate controlled space that doesn’t interfere with your everyday living AND is secure from prying eyes and insects/rodents or anything else that might try to spoil your goodies. Honestly heat is probably your worst enemy, so it is not recommended to store foods or anything that is perishable in an attic space, save that space for things that can’t spoil or go bad. A basement is a great place, assuming it’s dry, and if not, you can store your goodies in waterproof containers, such as plastic totes, 5 gallon buckets with secure lids and such, even a plastic garbage can with a secure lid would work.
Before storing your foods, especially things that are prone to weevils, I would suggest freezing foods for a period of a few days to a week to kill out any eggs, yes weevil eggs come in prepackaged foods, like flour, cornmeal, rice, anything with pasta… freezing the food will help ensure you are not storing bug contaminated foods, you don’t want to find out your foods are full of bugs when you need them most. Once you have frozen the foods, then seal them to prevent anything from getting into it.You can sprinkle food grade diatomaceous earth around your food preps to kill any insects that may get past your measures. You can even put it in your flour, corn meal and such, it will not hurt you, just don’t go overboard and use too much, and be careful not to breath it, it will irritate your lungs and eyes. https://cleancoops.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=14&Itemid=14
Now as to where to stash your food (and water, don’t forget you need water too). Even in the smallest efficiency apartment there are extra spaces that are wasted space and can be used to stash your food. Under the bed comes to mind first, there are even specially designed totes that fit under beds and can store a lot of food. You can also use plastic totes to make furniture, place 2 totes a few feet apart and put a board on top for a table, place a pretty cloth on top that drapes down and no one need know that you are storing food and/or water in it. There are decorative boxes that can be used as coffee tables and end tables, fill them with your stash. Buy an extra chest of drawers and fill the drawers with food.
Closets, again you can use totes to put in your closet, what about that space up top that you can’t reach anyhow, you can fill that space with extra food and water. On top of your fridge, behind your microwave, behind the linens in the bathroom, behind your couch, utility spaces such as the space where your water heater lives (be careful not to put things too close to the heat), the space where your air conditioner lives and such…
You can store food in a garage, but be careful what foods you are storing there, most garages are not climate controlled, so store foods that are less perishable, like canned foods and dry (dehydrated, freeze dried, rice, beans and such), these can stand being in colder areas, while you don’t want your canned foods to freeze, understand that WATER begins to freeze at 32 degrees F, canned foods are not pure water, with the addition of food and seasonings (namely salt), it will have a much lower freezing temperature. But still be careful, a couple of winters ago, we had a particularly hard freeze, we had almost a week where the temps were well below freezing overnight and never rose above freezing during the day. I had lots of canned foods stored basically outside (in boxes), it did get cold enough to freeze some of my canned goods and I had to throw them away, you don’t want to run the risk of getting sick over a few cans of food. If your garage, or even an outside shed stays at or above freezing, then you are good to go. You can even use an incandescent light bulb to keep the space a little warmer if necessary.
I wouldn’t recommend relying on frozen foods to get you though hard times, if the power goes out, then you will be stuck with a lot of food that will go bad before you can consume it.
If you own your space (not an apartment or rented space), then you can get even more creative, how about stashing some food in the wall space between studs? Make a drop ceiling and stash some goodies in that space. How about the crawl space under the house? If you do that, it will need to be protected from moisture, insects, rodents and such. If you are handy, you can create all sorts of false walls behind cabinets, shelves and such. This goes a long way toward security:
This is simple, the fewer people who know what you have, the safer you will be. Don’t store your stuff where it is visible. Don’t brag to your neighbors, friends, co-workers and such about what you have. Right now they might just roll their eyes and make fun of you, but if times get bad, these same people might show up at your home and want what you worked so hard to store. Do you have enough to share? Probably not, you are going to be doing good to feed yourself and your family in a SHTF situation. At best, would you want to have to say no to these people? At worst, are you willing to defend what you have worked so hard to store? So the easiest way to prevent that scenario from happening in the first place is to keep your mouth shut. When everyone is standing around the water cooler at work (does anyone actually do that anymore??? LOL) and is making fun of these prepper shows, you just make fun of them too, smile with the knowledge that you are creating a secure situation for you and your family. Don’t give it away that you might just be one of “those” preppers too.
You should also instruct your family members about this too, it’s fun for kids to brag about what their parents have at home, I’ve even heard of public schools querying students if their parents have firearms and such at home, your children should be taught at a young age that it is no body’s business what is stored at home, from food, water and firearms. Hopefully your spouse is on board for all of this and is also willing to keep quiet about what goes on at home. I also don’t recommend taking pictures of your preps and posting them on the internet. It’s fun to compare what you have with other people, but things like that just make you a target for those who haven’t prepared.
Another reason it’s a good idea to keep quiet about things like food storage, I have read about laws on the books (in the USA) about the government being able to come in to your home and take extra food storage in the event of an emergency situation. Don’t think they would do that? Just ask the folks who went through Katrina, the government agencies came through and confiscated people’s guns, of course it was all done for the “good, safety and security” of the whole, it left a lot of people unarmed and unprepared for the looters who showed up later. Am I being alarmist? Perhaps. Do I believe the government will take care of us in a major catastrophe? No. In the event of a major emergency, you will most likely be on your own for a while and you will need to be able to feed and protect yourself and your family. Hopefully this situation will never happen, but it’s better to be prepared for something that never happens than to be unprepared during an emergency and wish you had done something before.
This isn’t just being prepared for major emergencies, this could be something as simple as losing your job, having your hours cut, an unexpected bill, an injury that keeps you from working… if you have some extra food put aside, then you have more options, then you might not have to decide if you want to buy food or pay your rent or mortgage.
How do you prep on a budget? Do you have any questions about this subject? Please ask in the comments, and if there is anything else you would like to see here, please tell me your suggestions.
Here are the links to the entire Prepping on a budget series
Prepping on a budget – part 1 – food
Prepping on a budget – part 2 – book review
Prepping on a budget – part 3 – food storage & security
Prepping on a budget – part 4 – water
Prepping on a budget – part 5 – first aid kit
Prepping on a budget – part 6 – sanitation
Prepping on a budget – part 7 – getting started
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