Friday, December 7, 2012

Keep Your Food Storage Hidden in Plain Sight

Editor's Note: Many thanks to Lee Flynn for this guest post. Kindly check out his links after the article.

Planning for a disaster scenario in which you are left without power or water for a few days in not too difficult to do. Most of the food from your pantry and extra water will get you though most emergencies. But what if you were left without power and water for, let’s say, a month… or longer? How can you store the food you need to survive and also keep it secret from bands of pillaging people who didn’t prep for disaster like you did? You can store the food you need in a small space and we are going to examine how.

Have you ever seen how much food it actually takes to sustain one person for one year? The amount is tremendous and adding the size of your family can leave you with a legitimate storage space issue. You will roughly need 80 sq/ft of storage space to sustain a family of three.


Rather than trying to convince your family that the 50 buckets of emergency food will make a great TV stand or bookshelf look for creative ways to keep that amount of food hidden in plain sight. That’s right you can have a home with limited space and still have a large supply of backup food and supplies.

Food Storage Safety

First let’s address one of the big concerns with food storage - safety. Making sure the food you are keeping in case of an emergency is free from contamination is a big deal. If your food is full of bacteria, mold, fungus, insects, or other pests not only will the food be inedible but if ingested could be a serious health risk. Botulism can be fatal people, be careful!

Food and water must be safely prepared and packaged for storage to avoid getting sick or losing the food due to spoilage. Water needs to be stored in a cool place away from direct sunlight. Check your water every six months to make sure nothing has contaminated it making it undrinkable. Green or blue containers work best for water. Don’t reuse water containers that had other liquid in them. Chances are you won’t be able to completely clean them making the water undrinkable quickly.

Avoid storing food in places that change temperature, like the garage or a shed, for long term because it can get very hot in the summer months destroying food quality. If you vacuum seal food use an oxygen absorbers in each container. Keep a journal of the shelf life in your food storage and rotate out items which may be expiring soon. This isn’t a big concern with prepackaged food storage due to the fact that they last for 25 years on average.

Hiding Your Food in Plain Sight

Take a look at the type of containers each type of food comes in to decide where to hide it. The standard food storage container is a 5 or 6 gallon bucket filled with Mylar bags full of food. These hefty buckets can make great replacements for box springs or a bed frame. Simply place your buckets under the bed evenly cover it with a piece of plywood and place the matters on top. Under a full size bed you can store 15 – 20 buckets of food! Converting each family member’s bed like this will provide lots of extra room. Don’t forget the bed skirt to hide it from view.

Another way to hide food in the open is turning household items into dual purpose pieces of furniture. Some of the easiest conversions are changing nightstands and end tables into food storage containers. The inside is full of food and you can still rest your drink on the top.

Tall furniture that is be close to the ceiling like a bookshelf can also hide food but be careful. Placing food on the top of bookshelves will keep it above eye level if positioned correctly. Remember a thief may peer through the window. A well placed bookshelf near a window can completely hide the top.

Do you have a kitchen island? The island can be converted into a can rack or shelved storage container. Can racks can literally hold hundred of cans of food in a small space freeing up cupboard space. Unfortunately if you suffer a home invasion during the dystopian nightmare the kitchen is the first place they go for food. Lock the island to deter theft and put it on wheels to keep it mobile.

Do you have room for another dresser or just extra space for one? A hollowed out dresser filled with food hold lots of food and may not be the first place an intruder would look. If you don’t want a new dresser for food just convert some of the drawers to food storage, easy.

The closet is another small space food storage option.  Many closets have lots of wasted space if they don’t have shelves. The bar for clothes and one shelf above that isn’t good enough to be useful. Take the measurements of the closet and find some heavy duty racks that will fit inside. Then use the racks to store food.

The utility room where the washer dryer live is like the closet because you can have significant wasted space. Build or buy shelves or even install a can rack that can fit over the washer/dryer. It will fill up the space nicely.

Do you have books on bookshelves? There are probably a few extra inches of space that canned goods could fit nicely behind the books and stay concealed.

Organizing food into a small space can be easy. It will require some creativity and may require some sacrifice. If you have to get rid of some unused clothes or junk to make more room for food, do it! Best of all the organization and storage of your food can be done economically. You don’t need to buy expensive items to hide cans behind books or under the bed. Don’t let uncertainties about actually fitting food storage in a small space stop you. Build it up slowly and steadily.


Lee Flynn is a freelance writer and expert in emergency food storage.

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