20 Clever Food Storage Tricks
If you’re like most of us, building your food storage supply can be a daunting project which needs enough knowledge about effective food storage tricks. Not only it can be costly but it also requires decision making as to what kind of food to store, when it needs to be rotated, and how much to buy per person. One of the biggest hang-ups, however, is where to store your food. With a little creativity, there are likely places you can store food in your home, no matter what your living situation is. Scroll down and find out excellent places to store foods especially when an emergency occurs!
Food Storage Tricks | 20 Clever Places To Keep Extra Food
1. The Faux Wall
Do you have an extra space in the center of your room? Bring the walls in! Some preppers have found out that by hanging a decorative curtain a couple of feet out from the wall, they will have a good storage for cans, mason jars, plus more food storage containers behind. This essentially creates their own wall-sized cupboard.
This can make a practical option for the living room, dining room, or other living areas. It is still aesthetically pleasing which beats storing things in mylar bags, for example.
2. Food Storage Entertainment Center
How about creating your own “food storage entertainment center” out of large boxes of food? This can be done easily by stacking boxes into your desired shape for a TV stand and then draping with fabric.
Tuck the fabric in tightly for a sleek, modern look, and then set your TV, DVD player, speakers, remotes, or anything else you want on your new food storage furniture! This can also double as extra storage space for other things such as weapons and ammunition.
3. Create False Bottoms in Cupboards
If you have a broom closet, pantry, low cupboards in the kitchen, or other areas in the house with leftover vertical space, creating a false bottom allows you to incorporate food storage.
To do this, simply layer the floor with cans of the same height and then cover with a piece of plywood to create your new “false floor.” Besides storing your food supply, you can also use these as long-term storage for things like documents and bug-out money.
4. Under The Stairs
Many homes already have converted space under the stairs into some kind of storage, but if not, create some simple shelving for this awkwardly shaped storage space, and cash in big time! Under the stairs typically works the best for cans and other items which are small enough to fit in versatile spaces. Try your best to ensure that the containers are as modular as possible to save on storage space.
5. Cupboard Door Spice Racks
Free up some cupboard space by creating a spice rack on the inside of a cupboard door. Purchase a lightweight, slim profile rack which can be screwed to the inside of the cupboard door, then transfer your spices to it. This leaves your main cupboard area open for storage. The spice rack can be created simply and economically with pegboard, Velcro, or magnets!
6. The Coat Closet
Are you actually using your coat closet? Many people actually don’t. This could be a great untapped area for food storage preparation! Create inexpensive shelving, stack cases of cans, or whatever else you want. Even if you are using your coat closet to hang coats, you can still utilize “leftover” space by using the false floor technique (above), or the high shelves. Make sure you place this in an inconspicuous space to ensure maximum stealth.
7. Under the Bed
This extra space is a perfect place to store your food. One easy way to utilize this location is to line the reachable perimeter with boxes of food. To be more organized, you can incorporate a simple rotation system. You can do this by storing foods of the same type in rows running underneath your bed. Make sure to follow a first-in, first-out method. Sort your food according to their shelf life so nothing goes to waste.
8. Decorative Containers
Speaking of “aesthetics,” another good option for snagging some additional space in the living areas is with decorative containers. Think wicker baskets, hope chests, and hollow footstools. Stuff these containers chock full of food, and never notice the difference!
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9. Behind Furniture
Pull out your couches, beds, etc. and store food in the space created behind them. This is similar to the faux wall concept. Cover with a fabric, tabletop, or another simple textile.
10. High Closet Shelves in Kids’ Bedrooms
If your kids have closets with high shelves, this could be a good option for your food storage house. Chances are, they can’t reach the high shelves to use them anyway, so this area is frequently underutilized.
Alternatively, some people opt for a false floor in kids’ closets or a wall of cans stacked on one side. While these containers certainly aren’t out of the question, having your food storage lower to the ground in kid’s closets might tempt them to be sneaky and get some.
11. Laundry or Utility Room
Do you have a laundry room, furnace room, or other “back of house” area? Odds are, there is some space to use for food storage. The nice thing about these locations is because they aren’t frequented by guests, you don’t have to be fancy about how it looks.
Stack food along with a wall shelf, use a free cupboard or slice the space any way you please to fit in what you can. Many laundry rooms will actually have some version of an emergency floor drain, so if you have space, it’s not a bad place to store water either.
12. Dead Space Above Cupboards
Depending on your kitchen, you may have a couple of feet of unused space between the tops of your cupboards and your kitchen ceiling. This space can make for great additional food storage. So as not to add any significant weight to the supports holding your cupboards walls, the best item to store are lightweight foods. Pasta, soup mixes, and other dry ingredients. Freeze dried meats which withstand moisture can work here too.
13. Empty Suitcases
Unless you’re a frequent traveler, empty suitcases can make great places to store extra food. Suitcases are modular and will take up the same amount of total space whether they are full or not. Put these bad boys to use, and fill them with your non-perishables! If you have sealed Mylar bags pouches as part of your food storage, these work great for maximizing the area inside a suitcase
Bonus: If you accidentally leave some food in your suitcase, the first meal after you land could be free!
14. Crawl Space or Attic
Storing food in a crawl space or attic is not the most highly recommended location. These are areas subject to extreme temperatures, moisture, critters, and limited access. Still, if you have these options available to you, and need the space for your food supply, they are worth considering.
Think about keeping your dry goods and other “non-foods” in these locations–toilet paper, paper towels, toothbrushes, first aid items, deodorant, etc. Check back shortly after some time stashing them and evaluate whether or not this is a good spot.
15. Bed on Cinder Blocks
Lifting your bed up on cinder blocks to create extra space is a time-honored tradition. Although you should be careful to make sure the bed is still steady, you can sometimes double or triple the total “under the bed” volume you have at your disposal with this technique.
Cinder blocks are extremely cheap and can be purchased at any hardware store. If you are really trying to get your bed up high, stacking two cinder blocks lengthwise under each leg is much more stable than stacking one vertically. They’re a cheap way to make a food shelf, so save yourself some dollars on the way.
16. Exterior locker
Food, cooler, trash locker. No garbage cans outside. Yogi bear is around.
Posted by Ron Ryniewicz on Monday, July 16, 2012
If you have already tapped out all the nooks and crannies you have inside your home, an exterior locker might be worth considering. As the name suggests, these are tall, upright storage units which can hold a considerable amount.
They can be placed against the side of the house, in a carport or garage, against a fence, or anywhere else. While having your food stores outside is less ideal, it’s better than nothing! If you are going to go this route, get a locker that weathers well (not metal!). Also, they can be expensive, so to save money, try to find one in your local classifieds.
17. Cupboards Above The Fridge
Much like the dead space above your kitchen cupboards, the cupboards above your fridge are often underutilized. Because they’re hard to reach, they’re frequently forgotten about or become a catchall for junk. For even more storage space, take the doors off of those little cupboards, and store food items not only in the cupboards but also in front of them on top of the fridge. Cover the whole area with a simple fabric curtain.
18. Behind The Door
When raiders come inside your home, the last thing they’d look at is behind your door. Take advantage of this little blind spot and hide some food in a small cubbyhole behind your door. You can build a little hatch that goes into a small storage under the floor and then cover it up with a plant or a coat rack.
Who would ever think of storing food in the garage? You, for instance. You won’t find many people who would comb through a garage looking for food. It’s an excellent place to hide your food in, as long as they aren’t perishables. Check for little alcoves under your desks or workstations for good hiding places for your food.
20. Gun Cabinet
Any prepper or survivalist worth their salt should be able to fully secure their gun cabinets. It should be the most secure piece of furniture in your home. With all that security, it becomes an extra place to hide your food in. As long as it is kept out of sight, you can store your canned meals with your guns and ammo. Just make sure not to overstock.
Want some tips on how to build your own food storage for survival? Here is a video from City Prepping:
There you have it, 20 ideas to maximize the space you have for additional food storage locations. Along with all of these food storage ideas, goes the reminder to put your “longest term” storage away from the deepest. These are the items you will rarely use which don’t need to be readily accessible. Above all, as with any prepping, the most essential principle is to be realistic about how and where you store your food. The places where you can store food certainly aren’t limited to this list. Don’t be afraid to get creative, have some fun, and go for it!
Do you have any other suggestions for storing food in your home? Let us know in the comments section below.
Up Next: Wise Food Storage For Long-Term Survival
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on July 23, 2018 and has been updated for quality and relevancy.
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September 22, 2014 at 5:31 PM
Uhm, just a thought but, whether one is storing enough food for 6 months, a couple years or 10 years, why is a 25 year shelf life even a considering. If the cost of the stored food is reasonable, it is nutritious, it tastes good, and it is of food types that you like to eat, then why would you not periodically rotate the food in storage. Unless one is attempting to store enough food for 25 years, for which the majority of people don’t have the resources to buy or sufficient room to store then that length of storage time appears to me to be moot. Just saying.
September 23, 2014 at 7:40 PM
I always get the longest shelf-life food possible, against the possibility that the Zombie Apocalypse will turn out to be rather permanent. I don’t have 25 yesrs of food stored, though, since I have my own bass & bluegill pond, and can undoubtedly harvest a few deer or rabbit since they’re always hanging around the pond, too. And I have seed stored for vegetable gardens.
I plan on stretching out the stored food for as long as possible, to have the occasional “real food” treat to augment what I can provide myself. Hence the long shelf life.
September 29, 2014 at 9:57 PM
Sounds like you have more than just a “storage” plan, you have an actual “re-supply” plan as well–ideal!
Thx for reading and reaching out.
February 13, 2015 at 4:34 PM
I have some long-term food storage, but probably about six months’ worth. It is too expensive, and not that appetizing, despite the claims. I am canning some foods, and plan to buy from local farmers this year. I eat fresh from the garden, but right now it’s too small for much storage. Last year, I started pressure canning beans (many kinds) that I bought at the grocery. There are only two of us, so a well-packed pint of beans is just right. It’s easy to rotate it. And in case you haven’t noticed, the canned beans you buy are now about 75% water. Not worth the money. I am also planning to dehydrate and freeze dry seasonal produce and start some long-term storage in buckets and mylar bags. So, a little of this stuff is iron rations, and it looks like I’m doing a lot like Smoke Hill Farm, except my husband is mobility challenged, and he can’t hunt.
November 13, 2017 at 11:30 AM
Patriot pantry has some 25 yr food that is YUMMY. If you get it on sale it’s more affordable. They also have a seed vault you can get to garden
September 23, 2014 at 9:52 PM
I’ve looked though the article again a couple times, but don’t see anything about 25 year shelf life… am I missing it?
I’m actually with you. I am not a big fan of the “12 month food supplies” that claim those 25 year shelf lives. Conversely, I’m a big proponent of storing the stuff that you eat right now, today. If this is Cocoa Puffs, then store Cocoa Puffs. If it’s Mac & Cheese, then store that. Soup, pasta sauce, canned peaches, peanut butter, whatever.
The best kind of food storage is a living and breathing one, that is constantly being rotated, inspected, and used.
Thx for reading–hope the article triggered an idea or 2…
Mike the Gardener
September 25, 2014 at 8:04 AM
I agree you should rotate your supply, but a lot of people do not have unlimited shelving space for storage and the examples here are creative ways to utilize space you never thought you had. Just my take.
Mike the Gardener
September 25, 2014 at 8:03 AM
Good ideas … under the stairs is always a popular one
September 25, 2014 at 11:13 AM
I live in a small trailer, so my husband bought a shed. He insulated the walls, roof and floor and installed a propane heater to keep it warm in winter and an air conditioner that is power supplied by a small generator to keep it cool in the summer heat! This is my ‘pantry house’ which also houses my freezer! It’s fabulous! No mice, no bugs, and close to the house!
September 28, 2014 at 2:59 PM
Wow, that’s great! That would be the ultimate setup! Thx for reading and reaching out!
September 25, 2014 at 8:19 PM
I put my bed on some cut up squares of 2×4’s making it high enough to put cases of water underneath.
September 28, 2014 at 3:00 PM
Reminds me of when I was a kid growing up, my little brother’s bed was actually a mattress on top of evenly stacked food storage! He never knew the difference, and it was a smart use of space.
September 27, 2014 at 9:32 AM
Here’s another suggestion: I have seen a bed supported by plywood and 5 gallon buckets filled with dry foods such as oatmeal, pasta, rice, wheat, beans etc. There were enough buckets to completely cover the underside of the bed and fully distributed the weight without breaking anything. They were also supported with plywood under the buckets, so they can be slid out rather than taking the bed completely apart. No frame necessary. 🙂
September 28, 2014 at 3:02 PM
That’s great. Like I was saying above, my little brother’s bed was like this–only his wasn’t 5 gallon buckets, it was those old square metal cans, with the round screw on lids on top. Great way to store some bulk grain though!
September 27, 2014 at 10:59 PM
This a great post you gave me some really good idea’s that I plan on using.I live in a mobile home so if you have ideas as to how I can keep my family safe.
September 29, 2014 at 10:06 PM
Mobile homes can be tough. The construction usually isn’t quite as sturdy, and oftentimes, they don’t come with super tight windows or locks on the doors.
I have to be honest, I haven never lived in a mobile home, but I would say: #1)Try to get the doors fitted with deadbolts. #2)Use wooden dowels to secure any sliding doors and windows. #3)Consider getting a safe that you can at least secure valuables inside your home. #4)Try to limit the items that you have on the periphery of your home–bbq’s, bikes, boxes, bins, etc. The more loose stuff that you have on your porch/patio, the more inviting it looks to criminals. I actually just had some stuff stolen out of my yard a couple weeks ago, and my house is at the end of a quiet cul de sac, fenced the entire way around, and we have a 75 lb. boxer/pit-bull constantly patrolling(full story: http://thedailyprep.com/we-got-robbed/). It can happen to anyone, so just do your best with what you have.
September 27, 2014 at 11:33 PM
Lots of good suggestions for storage space.
September 29, 2014 at 4:57 AM
Here is another one for you= The space between the studs on interior walls can be great for storing canned food, just line them with hardboard the width of the can , usually two channels will fit between studs. Have an opening at the top and at the bottom that will fit the can and you can rotate your cans by using the one that went in first by taking it out the bottom. Don’t make your channels longer than about 3 feet or the cans will be to heavy and the bottom one won’t come out easily You can plasterboard over the front or just cover the studs with a 1×2 that overlaps the can on either side so you can see how many you have of each item.
September 29, 2014 at 10:08 PM
Great suggestion! I’ve seen similar setups, but most of the time, people are just leaving the walls completely un-sheetrocked.
Thx for passing along!
September 30, 2014 at 3:24 PM
This is the best one in my mind for hiding things from intruders- can’t forget about that part!
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October 1, 2014 at 7:50 AM
I really liked the empty suitcases idea, I actually went up and checked in my attic and turns out I had 4 suitcases that were empty to use. Think the only thing I’d have trouble with is remembering to check them and rotate the food in them (if I put them back in the attic) but can always set an alarm for doing so. Great storage ideas.
November 16, 2014 at 5:54 PM
Better yet, avoid eating food from cans and boxes, none of that stuff is any good for you anyway.
March 18, 2018 at 7:18 PM
it’s better for you than not eating at all
February 5, 2015 at 4:18 PM
I livebin double wide, we swapped oouroors for security doors and put magnetic alarms on the windows. We have an office that we use as a store room and about 6 months of food for a family of 6 plus 3 adults. I buy a few mountain house camping meals every month and store them in suitcases, i use small padlock on them and store them in the top of my kids closets. Our bug out bags are stored in the laundry room by the back door. In my shed i have soft cargo carrier with extras like more clothing sleeping bags, pillows and supplies temperature doesnt affect. If needed i can back my suv up to the shed and push the carrier from the loft onto the roof and strap it down myself.
We also garden and can or dehydrate a lot of our own foods.
One way w made more space for storage waso get a stacked washer and dryer, put in a standing freezer beside them and build a pantry where the space for the freezer originally was. We also have cases of water lining the bottom of our closet, linen closet hasllhecleaning and first aid supplies, under the master bed are sweater totes with canned foods in them. Its not easy but i feasible without turning your furniture into food storage.
April 27, 2015 at 7:27 PM
This is all good advice for those of you who live in homes. I’m a vegan in the top floor of a tenement apartment. As long as I have beans and seeds I can sprout (and I do), I’m good for quite a while. I have flax sprout bags, apart from my big Mason jars, so I can sprout on the run. Health and peace.
November 14, 2017 at 12:16 AM
Zyxomma, you can “can” your own vegetables and have a greater selection. You can store rice, dry beans, grains, and seeds in mason jars; ( just put the grains, beans, seeds and rice in the mason jar and put it into the oven for 10 minutes at 200 degrees. Then put the lid on the jar and allow it to cool. The jar will create a vacuum and the lid will seal properly.) These will last up to 20 – 25 years. If canning nuts first determine how much fat and oil is within the nut. Some will last 6 months, others will last a years and others still will last up to five years.
If storing seeds to grow you will need to keep them in a cool dry place for no more that 2 to five years. each year that goes by the less germination will occur for the majority of vegetable seeds. Good Luck.
March 11, 2018 at 7:13 PM
Hey Zyxomma, that’s cool, I’ve wanted to do that for some time. As a Vegan, you must know what beans are the ‘best’ for complete or near-complete nutrition. Also what is your favorite, or go-to bean? Perhaps you can direct me to a Vegan site that you trust as well for recipes and such. I’m not a Vegan but can you ever eat too many veggies? Thanks.
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November 13, 2017 at 2:41 PM
If you push your couch away from the wall you can store cases of food between it and the wall
November 13, 2017 at 5:22 PM
i COULDN’T STOP LAUGHING———I’VE HIT ALL THOSE SPOTS
November 13, 2017 at 11:59 PM
The trick is this: Store your provisions in a dry, cool, dark place. Heat and sunlight is your enemy. The temperature and light will break down your provisions over time.
I live in Southern California where we are not allowed to have basements. Through trial and error, I have stored my extra can goods in the garage where the temperature has fluctuated from a chilled 33 degrees up to 119 degrees (for 21 days.) My food stores have been destroyed by the heat. I’ve had the water in my can goods evaporate leaving only the vegetable behind, dried out and useless. I’ve had cans explode due to the increase pressure within the cans because the water has turned to steam.
Therefore, I moved my food stores inside the house where my air condition maintains an even temperature and I keep the sunlight away. It also allows me to rotate my food stuffs easier and faster. Also, it allows me to maintain an accurate inventory of what I have and what I may need. What you don’t can yourself (and I do can my own vegetables from my garden) you can make up by purchasing foods that are on sale as the year progresses, (Some things are only on sale once a year.) You can also invest in foods that will last 20 to 25 years. All it takes is due diligence on your part and what you determine what you and your family will need. Learn to cook from scratch it will help you over the long run. And most importantly – PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE!
March 11, 2018 at 3:02 PM
Hi. If you think Southern CA is bad, try storing in the garage in Phoenix! ANYTHING to be stored in a garage in the Valley of the Ovens must be weighed against one standard: would you store it in a 120 degree oven for six straight months? It kinda limits your options.
November 15, 2017 at 12:33 AM
For those with limited space you can also sink a old freezer or fridge into the ground and would keep cool and keep bugs and pest out.. is what many of us use for our livestock feed.. above ground of course.
March 11, 2018 at 2:43 PM
Building a root cellar is easier these days with the use of a septic tank. My mom buried one in the ground before putting in a dining room addition above it and we had a trap door in the dining room floor with a ladder to go down. It was huge, cool, and kept potatoes, apples and other canned goods well. Very easy to install.
November 19, 2017 at 11:42 AM
If you have a backyard, you have an ideal storage area.
Dig a hole 2 to 3 feet deep about the size of one to four sheets of 3/4 inch plywood. Coat one side of 1/4 inch treated plywood with a waterproof roof coating and frame the hole, bottom and sides, with the coated side toward the dirt. Insulate the plywood bottom and sides by gluing 1/2 inch Styrofoam sheets to the plywood. The Styrofoam is to prevent condensation. If the hole is more than one sheet of plywood (4′ X 8′) in size, you will have to construct a supporting frame for the cover at the plywood junctions. Cover the top with 3/4 inch treated plywood with Styrofoam glued to the underside to prevent condensation.
Build a cover over the area much like you would build a place to sit in the yard in the shade out of the rain. After you have filled the space with the supplies you wish to store. place the plywood cover over the hole. Ensure that rainwater will drain away from the hole area. Cover the plywood with pine straw, hay, etc. Make sure you have attached 1/8th inch rope handles to each piece of plywood so that they can be lifted when needed.
Place a few chairs on the straw and your storage is now disguised.
The ground will keep your storage items at ground temperature and prevent it form getting excessively hot.
March 11, 2018 at 1:48 PM
Watch canned goods being stored in crawl spaces, closets or in areas with no ventilation , they are making the cans from such cheap metal that they rust very quickly
As always, rotate the storage!
March 11, 2018 at 5:24 PM
Doesn’t Do Anyone Much Good What or How They Store Food etc…Without Water to Cook n Drink n Clean n Bath n Garden n Misc…A Sparkles Bottle a Day per Person, Adds Up to a Heck of a Lot of Bottles AND Space !!! just sayin
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March 4, 2021 at 6:58 PM
PLEASE remind people about the heat vs food storage in places like the attic, cupboard above the ‘frig, and other areas that either get HOT or COLD or that fluctuate with the seasons. These will affect the food.
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