Comments Off on How To: Start a Food Storage Program

food storageIf you want to be truly ready for any disaster or emergency situation, you need to make sure you have enough food and water stored away for you and your family to survive on until the disaster is over, or you can establish other sources of food. Depending on your geographic location, the number of people in your family, and other factors, you’ll typically need 3-12 months of food stored up.  Some factors to consider are the ages of those in your family, how skilled you are at gathering food from the wild, and things like that.

While it may seem overwhelming to try to build up 3-12 months of food for your entire family, it doesn’t have to happen overnight.  Slowly building up the amount of food you have stored away is easier than most people think, and after a few months, you’ll have plenty of food to get through most any situation.  Before you buy anything, however, you’ll want to prepare for your food storage.


Figuring out where you want to keep your food is an important first step. The following items are things you should consider when choosing a location for your food storage system:

  • Temperature – To allow your food to last as long as possible, choose an area with little temperature fluctuation.  The cooler the area is, the better it will be for your food.  If you have a basement, for example, there might be an area that will work well.
  • Moisture – While the food will be sealed to keep any moisture out, it is a good idea to choose an area with low moisture levels.  This will help prevent any mold or mildew from forming on the containers you’re using to store your food.
  • Lighting – Darker areas are better because light can fade labels and if the containers are clear, the light can cause problems with some types of food when stored over long periods of time.
  • Size – Find an area that will allow you to store as much of the food as possible.  Having it all in one place makes it much more convenient.
  • Accessibility – Having the food in an area that you can easily access is a good idea.  Make sure your food storage area, however, is not easily accessed by animals or intruders.

If you have a basement closet, for example, that can be a great place to set up your food storage system.  Look around your home and see what would work best.  Remember, it will have to be fairly large to hold enough food.

Setting it Up

Once you’ve got the location picked out, you’ll want to make sure it is set up to hold as much food as possible.  This will include making shelves and storage systems to hold all your food.  There are many different types of shelving options which will help optimize the use of every inch of the area.  You can either build it yourself, or purchase food storage shelving at many different stores.

Before creating any shelving or other items, make sure to clean the area out completely, and let it dry.  Once it has dried, you may want to lay bay leaves on the ground, and on any shelving you put in.  Bay leaves can help prevent bug infestation, and even discourage small animals from attempting to get into the food.

When creating the shelving and other storage items, make sure you’ll be able to organize the food so that the oldest items are in the front.  This will help you to avoid any food from expiring before it can be eaten.

Choosing Your Food

When setting up a food storage system, you want to make sure you’re only storing the right types of food.  In most cases, food storage systems are set up to ensure there is food in an emergency, which may not occur for years.  With this in mind, food that has a long shelf life, of at least 3-4 years, is ideal.  This could be anything from canned soups to dried foods.  There are also many great food options that are designed specifically for long term storage and disaster situations.

Of course, you’ll also want to make sure all your food is something you and your family will want to eat.  Choose items that taste good, and have excellent nutritional value.  In emergency situations, you’ll want to make sure you’re getting all the vitamins, minerals and other nutrients that you need to stay strong and healthy.

No matter what types of food you store, or where you store it, the most important thing is that you start your food storage system as soon as possible.  Even if you are only able to store a small amount of food each week, you’ll be well on your way to having a long term food storage system before you know it.

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