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Preparedness Series- How to Organize Your Food Storage So You Will Actually Use It

Updated on June 12, 2016

Rolling can rack examples

This style only holds about 20 cans, so you will need to calculate how many you will need for a 3 months' supply for your family.
This style only holds about 20 cans, so you will need to calculate how many you will need for a 3 months' supply for your family.
This style holds many more cans. The sizes are adjustable to accommodate various can sizes. This is the style I recommend.
This style holds many more cans. The sizes are adjustable to accommodate various can sizes. This is the style I recommend.
This pantry shelf has been adapted to best utilize limited space. New cans are entered on the top row, while the bottom row dispenses older cans for use.
This pantry shelf has been adapted to best utilize limited space. New cans are entered on the top row, while the bottom row dispenses older cans for use.
This style could also be easy to make. It is available at ProvidentLiving.org.
This style could also be easy to make. It is available at ProvidentLiving.org.
These refrigerator rolling soda can dispensers were secured to a pantry door and provide an efficient use of space, but can be quite expensive.
These refrigerator rolling soda can dispensers were secured to a pantry door and provide an efficient use of space, but can be quite expensive.

3 Month Supply of Food Your Family Will Eat

Canned goods offer a reasonable shelf-life and give water which could be a scarce commodity in times of emergency. Rotating them is easier than you think.

A rolling can rack works well because you simply enter the canned goods in one area, and use them from the other. This ensures that you are using the cans that are the oldest, and replenishing them with newer purchases.

These rolling can racks are available at various sources like: Amazon.com, Walmart.com, HomeDepot.com, eBay.com, Target.com, ProvidentLiving.org and IndustrialFoodServices.com. Small rolling can racks can cost as little as $15, whereas larger racks can be upwards of $600.

Some people find that a large wire shelf rack with wheels works for them because they can simply roll the shelves away from the wall to enter the replacement cans on the back side, while using from the front side. They simply slide the old cans forward and face them, while back-filling with new cans.

Finding the best deals

Most grocery stores hold case lot sales. These can prove to be very economical and allow for large purchases to replenish your food supply. One thing to watch for is the expiration date. Foods high in acid will have a shorter shelf life, such as tomatoes and green vegetables.

Sometimes warehouse membership clubs like Costco and Sam's Club can provide good bulk buying deals, but be sure that you use the membership for more than just buying food, or you might find that the final cost is not as inexpensive as you first thought. Generally, they have a good turn around, so the canned goods still have a reasonable shelf life left.

When grocery stores advertise canned goods on sale, you can often find great deals. The one thing to be aware of is there will be stickers calling your attention to other regularly priced items, to entice you to buy them. Their price off-sets the sale bargain. So, you will want to exercise self-control and not purchase bulk replacement items until they reach the price you feel is a bargain.

There are many shopping clubs and organizations available which will tell you where the best deals in your area are. You can count on discounts being available for brand-name items that are advertised by coupons in your local Sunday paper. On the other hand, many generic brands offer the same quality for a better price than can be had even with coupons and sales.

In fact, there are several generic brands that my family prefers over other name brand food products. You be the judge.

What foods should I store?

The best way to calculate what to store to provide a 3 month's supply of foods your family already eats, is to keep a journal of foods you prepare, and the ingredients used, for an entire month.

Another way is to prepare a two-week menu of meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner, including all needed ingredients; then double it.

Easy to make rolling can rack.

Instructions at: http://m.wikihow.com/Build-a-Rotating-Canned-Food-Shelf
Instructions at: http://m.wikihow.com/Build-a-Rotating-Canned-Food-Shelf

Make Your Own Rolling Can Rack

Some people choose to make their own rolling can racks from wood. The only trick is measuring the various sizes of cans and giving a slight incline to the slope.

This is a site with instructions about building one: http://m.wikihow.com/Build-a-Rotating-Canned-Food-Shelf


How much is one year's supply of food?

Determining how much dry food storage for one year for your family can be a challenge. When there is an emergency, this is the basic food needed to sustain life. It can also be augmented by other dry foods to offer variety and make difficult times more bearable.

One website that helps with these calculations is About.com: http://lds.about.com/library/bl/faq/blcalculator.htm

It calculates exactly how much wheat, flour, cornmeal, oats, rice, pasta, shortening, oil, mayonnaise, salad dressing, peanut butter, beans and legumes, honey, sugar, jam, gelatin, dry milk, evaporated milk, baking powder, baking soda, yeast, salt, vinegar, water and bleach you will need based upon the number and ages of your family.


Don't forget water!

Can you imagine having all the wheat you need, but no water to soften or cook it with? You can live a couple of weeks without food, but only a few days without water. Therefore, water is crucial.

During an emergency, clean water could be difficult to find. Events that cause the emergency can easily pollute water sources.

Water can be retrieved from various sources within the home, i.e. the hot water heater, the toilet tank, hot tubs, and swimming pools. It can also easily be stored in food-grade plastics meant for long-term storage like 2 liter soda bottles or 1 gallon orange juice bottles.

5 gallon water containers usually stack easily and are easy to manage.

55 gallon water barrels are great for long term water storage for families, but care should be made to not store too many of them near the foundation of a home because they can crack that foundation or cause it to sink. Each barrel can weigh 453 lbs. 4 of them together weigh almost a ton.

Chlorine should be used to purify and store water. Illnesses like Cholera cause diarrhea which leads to massive dehydration and even death.

One site that has some good information about water purification is: http://grandpadave.com/Preparedness/Default.aspx

Check it out.

Watch for next article about how to add variety to your dry food storage

  • How to prepare meals in jars, bags, or #10 cans.
  • How to add variety to your dry food storage through freeze-dried options.
  • Menu ideas your family will love.

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