Posted by: prepare4 | March 25, 2009

Making Space for Food Storage

Making Space for Food Storage
By Carolyn Nicolaysen

Recently, at the April 2007 Priesthood Session, Bishop Keith B McMullin spoke of the importance of following the Lord’s counsel to prepare for future challenges, and cited statements from each member of the First Presidency.

President James E. Faust, as a member of the Twelve said: “Fathers and mothers are the family’s storekeepers. They should store whatever their own family would like to have in the case of an emergency … God will sustain us through our trials.”1

President Thomas S. Monson, First Counselor, said: “Many more people could ride out the storm-tossed waves in their economic lives if they had their year’s supply of food … and were debt-free. Today we find that many have followed this counsel in reverse: they have at least a year’s supply of debt and are food-free.”2

President Gordon B. Hinckley said in 2002:

The best place to have some food set aside is within our homes … We can begin ever so modestly. We can begin with a one week’s food supply and gradually build it to a month, and then to three months… I fear that so many feel that a long-term food supply is so far beyond their reach that they make no effort at all…
Begin in a small way … and gradually build toward a reasonable objective.3

Suggesting that food storage, like spiritual conversion, cannot be acquired in a day, Bishop McMullin said: “Inspired preparation rests on the foundation of faith in Jesus Christ, obedience, and a provident lifestyle. Members should not go to extremes, but they should begin.”

It may seem strange that I would address the question of where to store our food supply rather than how much to store or what foods to store.

There are three reasons to make a space for storage even before you lay in the food supplies:

  • First, you won’t start a project the size of food storage, until you have made a dedicated space for it. Time to unclutter and get organized.
  • Second, you need to take time to save a little money while eliminating the unimportant stuff you are storing — make room for what is more important. Begin today by saving your change or designating a small amount to be put aside each day, and then do it. As you sort through cupboards — creating space — keep a box handy for items you can sell or trade. Determine ahead of time that any money you make will be used for food storage. But, if you are too busy or hate holding garage sales and selling on eBay, then please give your appropriate surplus goods to charity and move on!
  • Third, we’ve already addressed the question of what to store and how much. See our article “A Second Look at Food Storage”.

Let’s begin with the tried and true — the ideas we have heard for years. These are the space-saving food storage strategies that worked for your mom:

1. Create a table by stacking two 5-gallon plastic buckets, placing a wooden table round from the hardware store on top, and draping the whole thing with a fabric skirt.
2. Purchase a bookshelf or storage shelf and hang a curtain to cover your stored items.
3. Move the sofa out from the wall and stack food storage in boxes behind the sofa.
4. Instead of a brick and board bookshelf use #10 cans from the Church cannery to create that shelf.  If they’re full of food, they’ll serve a double purpose.

Most of you have heard those ideas, and most of them do not sound very appealing, so we will move on to some more creative concepts.

1. We all know the value of under-bed storage. You can purchase risers for your bed, thus adding increased height for taller items and easier access. Higher beds are a popular decorating trend! Purchase under-bed storage boxes, wire baskets or visit a Mailboxes-type shipping store to peruse the various sizes of shipping cartons available to fit your space. Wooden drawers or bins with rollers would be ideal for easy access. The cost of store-bought solutions can be shocking, so watch for sales, or innovate with what you already have on hand.

2.  Redesign your closets.

a.  If you have a deep closet with a bar for hanging clothes, move the bar as far forward as possible. Make sure you still have room to hang clothing. Add shelving to the back wall of the closet. Even if the shelf is narrow it can be used for smaller items such as soup cans, catsup, or shampoo bottles.
b.  Add an additional shelf. Most closets have a shelf above the bar on which you hang your clothes. Look for wasted space above that shelf. Add another shelf if you can, and take advantage of the space all the way to the ceiling. Remember you don’t have to use this for food storage but it is a great place for Christmas decorations and items you use only occasionally.
c. In children’s rooms, lower the clothing bar and add shelving above. Most clothing bars are hung higher than they need to be, even for adults, creating wasted space on the floor — which usually collects lots of clutter.
3. Under a staircase. If you have enclosed space under your stairs, it could be a huge cavern just waiting to be put to work. Even an open staircase offers possibilities.
a.  If you have an open staircase, you can install custom cabinets, shelves, storage cubes on the wall, or a bench with storage underneath to utilize this space in a fashionable way. If you don’t care about fashion, then it’s a great place to stack and store lots of goods, but if you do — keep a map of your inventory and remember to rotate your foodstuffs.
b.  If your staircase is enclosed, create access to the space within, and store away!

4.  If you remodel, or know someone who is doing so, salvage the kitchen cupboards and add them to your garage. Remember you can mount them high and go all the way to the ceiling with storage while retaining plenty of floor space for the car.

5.  Don’t forget the back of a closet door. An over-the-door shoe bag makes a great place to store spices, packaged seasonings, and other small items.
6.  Instead of a dresser, use an armoire. An armoire will double your storage space but without taking extra floor space. Add shelves and fold clothing on the shelves. Add baskets for small items. You probably don’t really want green beans stored in with your clothing, so why not move the sheets and other bedding into the bedrooms and empty the linen closet for food storage. Remember to look up … Baskets, hat boxes, and other decorative storage containers can also be added to the top of the armoire for even more storage, and can be decorative as well.
7.  Have a big bathroom? Add a dresser and store your supply of toothpaste and other bathroom products where these items are ready to use.
8. Do you have a lot of open space in your cupboards? Add more shelves. This is such an easy fix. If you are stacking cans in the cupboard you can easily add another shelf. Adjust shelving to accommodate the size cans you wish to store on them. Leave about 1 ½ inches above the can so you are able to easily access your stored food. Pre-laminated shelving is ideal — it is easy to clean, and there is no need for shelf liners. Home centers will cut the boards for you so take exact measurements with you. If your shelving has the plastic supports, this would be a good time to replace them with the stronger metal ones. If you have cupboards without the predrilled holes for shelving, you will need to get some 1x1s and add supports for each shelf.
9.  If you have a sofa in the middle of a room, consider adding a dresser or cabinet behind it that can be used as lamp table. This is a great place to store games, DVDs, or anything else that is taking up space in a cupboard that might best be used for food storage.
10. Baskets, baskets everywhere! I use baskets to free up other space. I store TP in a tall, tiered sewing basket in the corner of a guest bathroom, which is decorative and holds about 15 rolls. Sheet music is stored in a picnic basket next to the piano.  Baby bottles and bibs are in a basket that decorates a dining room hutch.

11.  You may be noticing a theme here. Clear items out of cupboards and off closet shelves and use these areas to store food.

a.  Roll towels and place them in a basket in the bathroom.
b.  Roll towels and place them in a wine rack hung on the wall. Our hutch came with two built in wine racks. What are we going to do with that? Roll place mats and place them in one and remove the other and add a basket to hide small items like cookie cutters. Now you can use the cookie cutter drawer for pudding and gelatins.
c.  Remove pots and pans from cupboards and hang them. All the decorative wrought iron curtain rods on the market now make an easy way to create a custom looking pot rack; just add hooks.
12.  Open up a wall. That’s right. There are so many ways to use the space between the studs in your walls, including storage solutions. You can:
a.  Add a medicine cabinet. They really make some beautiful ones now, which are flush to the wall and look like any other mirror.
b.  Look at recessed shelving for spice storage.
c.  Build-in storage with dowels to hang tablecloths. Enclose with cabinet doors.
13.   Invest in uniform storage containers. Having containers of the same size, for everything from linens to cereal, will greatly increase the amount you can store in a given space.
14.    Don’t forget the attic, both in the house and in the garage. Of course you would never store food in these hot spaces, but they are great for dry goods and other items unaffected by the heat.
15.   Create a window seat. Use two purchased bookcases to flank either side of a window. Add a bench or cabinets on the floor between the bookcases. Lay a board on the top of the bookcases, long enough to span both cases and the opening between. Add molding to the front edge of the board. Paint the whole unit the same color and enjoy your added space for storage. If you don’t have a window wall, use the same purchased bookcases and create a storage space as if you had a window. Add a board instead of a bench and you have a great desk.

Now that you have created room for that food storage there is one last thing to prepare. Create a list of the places you have designated for food storage areas and a master list of the items to be stored in each area. After all this work you want to be able to find your ingredients as you prepare your family feasts.

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