As reassuring as it is to have long term supplies in case of a disaster, organizing it is another story. Those that have made the commitment to prepare long term requires one to have a well organized storage area that is both manueverable as well as easily accessible. Organizing bulk storage items requires a bit of forethought and planning in order to have foods easily at one’s disposal. These quick and easy tips will help a person create a storage area that is both functional and pleasing to eye.
Store Items in the Right Spot
To maintain optimum quality of the food, make sure that the area where the food and long term items are stored have minimum exposure to sunlight, heat, moisture and air. Items that are stored in a dark room will last longer than if they were in a pantry or garage where the temperature and light fluctuate. Additionally, canned goods will store twice as long if they are stored at 70 degrees compared to them being stored at 90 degrees. Temperature has the largest effect on foods. It effects nutrition, texture and taste. Moisture is another force to reckon with when storing foods long term. So find a dry spot to store food items. Avoid storing items next to certain products such as soaps or fuels; this will prevent the spread of odor and other possible contaminants.
Initially, when a person decides to prepare long term they make a list of long term items that will be needed. Purchasing staple items in bulk can help a person save a bundle. However, it will do no good to purchase foods that a family will not eat, so make sure the foods that are purchased will be one’s the family already enjoys. Otherwise, the food will go to waste, and end up being a bad investment. A person will make the most of their money if they purchase foods and items that will be used within their allotted time span, so check the expiration date.
It is wise to bulk up on items that can be used to make other foods such as wheat, flour, oats, sugar and powdered milk. These staples can be enjoyed by the family in a multitude of ways. If a person purchases bulk quantities of these staples, it would be a good idea to find recipes to use these foods in.
Rotate and Resupply
Any items bought for a long term storage closet should be used, rotated and resupplied into the storage closet. This is the best way to have the freshest foods available in the event that a long term disaster occurs. When organizing food reserves place the item that has the earliest expiration date in the front so that it is used first. FIFO is a well known acronym used in the restaurant business. It means, “First In, First Out.” This is a great acronym to use when organizing food storage.
*Do an inventory check every 6 months to make sure that canned goods, preserves and other storage items are within their expiration dates. It is a good idea to have a checklist of supplies so that it can be looked upon during an inventory count.
Organize According To Your Taste
Everyone has their own way of organizing. A person can group like items together such as soup, fruit, vegetables, meat, snacks, breakfast, baking needs, medical supplies, teeth cleaning supplies, etc, or group them alphabetically. It really does not matter as long as it is organized to your liking. The labeling system is a great way to organizing long term storage items. Additionally, adding the date of purchase and expiration date to the label will save you some time later on.
Don’t Forget About Water
Having an ample supply of potable water in the home is more important than food. A person who goes 3 days without water will be in very bad shape. Many disaster organizations suggest having a two week supply of water stored up. That is 14 gallons of water just for drinking. A person would need extra if bathing, cooking and cleaning with. Used soda and juice bottles can be used to store extra water for the family to use in case of an emergency. These can also be frozen in the freezer to be used at later times. An additional water water pump or filtration system would also be good to store in case one needs it. Since water is a fairly bulky item to have on hand, a person should store and stack as much as they can in the area they have. Many people use unused closet space to stash their drinking water. While some put their water in the laundry room on the floor. Again, it does not matter how one organizes their long term items, as long as it makes sense to them.
Get Extra Storage When Needed
Because of the large amount of items needed for a person to live off of long term, they will more than likely need additional shelving and cabinets to condense space. Having a shelving unit out in the open for items that are rotated more frequently such as canned good, baking staples, etc can save a person time searching. Can dispensers could also be used for frequently used storage items to save needed space and keep items rotating. Hanging door spice rack is a great place to store teas and bulk spices. Modular storage containers work wonders. If a person wanted to purchase multiple cabinets, they could have a cabinet for medical supplies, toiletry supplies, food, tools, cleaning supplies, etc. When buying in bulk, transfer the food into large plastic containers that can be stacked and labeled to save time and condense space.
Having a well organized storage area takes time. But if it is properly managed, then it will be an effective use of of time and energy. Everything will be at your fingertips and ready to use in case the worst case scenario occurs.