One of the best things you can do for the sake of your own self reliance is to build up your home food storage. Your home food storage can tide you over in the event of a financial setback, or be part of your efforts for emergency preparedness.
Unfortunately, many people think of stockpiling when they consider home food storage. As a result, they think that they need to spend a couple thousand dollars to get started. The good news is that this isn’t the case. You can start building your home food storage little by little — without a huge capital outlay.
Figure Out What You Want to Include
Your first step is to figure out what you want to include in your home food storage, as well as how much you need. For many, this means that you need to look at the space in your home. If you have a root cellar or basement, the process can be made easier. My family has a crawl space downstairs, a pantry upstairs, and a freezer in the garage. These are areas where we store our food items.
Look at the space in your home, and practically consider how much extra food you can keep. Then, make a list of what you want to include. The best home food storage plan includes foods that you will actually eat. I know that, technically, we’re supposed to store wheat. However, right now we don’t grind down wheat to use in our regular meals. If we were to suddenly start eating whole wheat, ground down, out of nowhere, it wouldn’t be pretty. Instead, we store things that we would actually eat if we had to.
Including items that you eat in the normal course of your meals is important, since a vital part of home food storage is rotating your food so that it doesn’t expire. Every so often, we have a “food storage” week, in which our meals are based on food storage items nearing expiration. If your food storage is full of things you wouldn’t eat regularly, it can cause problems and discomfort with your body, and it can lead to money wasted through food spoilage.
Make a list of the items you want in your food storage, from frozen items to canned goods, to dried fruit. Include quantities that make sense for your space, as well as that amounts that you can easily manage as part of your rotation.
Build Slowly, So You Don’t Overwhelm Your Wallet
Now that you have your list, it’s time to start building up your home food storage. You don’t want to overwhelm your budget, so buy items in an orderly manner. Look at your spending plan, and determine how much money you have each week to put toward building your food storage.
Each week, buy something on your food storage list. You can cross-reference your food storage list to sales flyers and coupons if you are really looking to save. Check off items as you get them, and that will let you to go “out of order” when you find coupons for something further down on the list. Limit yourself to buying only what you can afford each week. There’s no need to go overboard.
In some cases, you might feel as though you need to buy something more expensive. If this is the case, save up your food storage money for two or three weeks, setting it aside, and then make the larger storage purchase when you have the funds.
Another strategy to employ is to preserve your own food. Last year, I made applesauce from my apple harvest. I also routinely dry herbs from my garden so that I have my own all year. If you have a garden, much of your produce can be bottled or frozen and used in your food storage scheme. I remember helping my mother prepare corn and peas for the freezer while growing up. You can start bottling and freezing your produce with a relative small amount of money, and over time the peace of mind and savings can start to add up.
Just as you can build a solid emergency fund by starting small, it’s possible to build up your home food storage a little at a time. Be ready for emergencies, physical and financial, by having your own store of food.
So, what do you do for food storage?
These are great tips! We have a small food stockpile at home. I try not to buy too much ahead because I do not want to waste anything!
That’s a very good point! You want to make sure that you pace yourself, since you don’t want to throw things out.
We really need to start doing this. I live in Florida and we definitely need to keep some emergency food on hand in case of a hurricane. Thanks for the reminder… now to plan what to get!
Oh yeah. You want to make sure you have some emergency supplies — including food — anytime you are at risk. You never know when you will be stuck with no way to get to the store!
Interesting post! We’ve been meaning to start canning/preserving this Fall as we try and reduce our reliance on the grocery store.
Good luck in your efforts! I’m not really into the canning thing, except for the applesauce, but sometimes I think it might be worth it do a little more.
I wish I could do this, but I live in an apartment! Yikes.
If you have a little space, you might be able to squeeze in a week or two worth of food. One of our apartments had a closet door that opened under the stairs. We built a little shelf, and put a little food storage back in there.
Having some emergency food on hand is a very wise thing to do. I’ve been doing this for years. Just make sure you date stamp everything. Then, when it starts getting old, eat it, buy some more, and start the whole process over again. I’ve been doing this with pinto beans lately. I bought about 4 (25) pound bags and am almost done with the first bag I bought several years ago. They still taste good too.
Good point about expiration dates! Rotation is essential for food storage. Of course, some things keep longer than others, like pinto beans last a long time. So does wheat (up to more than two decades). If you are going to store something for a long time, you need to make sure it’s properly stored, though. Sounds like you have it down!
Homemade applesauce….I’ll be right over. I need to add a freezer in our garage. Your post reminded me! Good timing….
🙂 Glad I could help. If you decide on a road trip this way, I’ll save you some applesauce!
We don’t store much food because of space and not wanting it to go bad. We’ll eventually buy a deep freezer and stock up for sure then.
You really do have to tailor it to your needs, and situation. It’s great that you’re planning to stock up later!
I do this, but only in the freezer — it’s nice sometimes to have a “let’s see how long I can go without going to the grocery store” challenge. I do know someone who converted their master closet into food storage. Phew!
The freezer is a good place, but it is worth it to consider some dry storage as well. If the power is out for a long time, everything in the freezer could be ruined. I agree that the challenge is fun. We like to do this on occasion, especially when some of our storage food is nearing expiration. A week of pantry meals!
I always have the best intentions, start building up our garage with extra food and supplies…. then life happens and I end up eating through it. 🙂 Thanks for the reminder.
🙂 Well, it’s good that it’s there for you to eat through.
I’m a huge fan of freezing fruits for shakes. Having a farmers market close by really helps.
Yum! That way you can good fruit all year. I love our local farmer’s market.
Great tips! I’ve been wanting to start this for a while but was afraid of that initial price tag. Now maybe I can get going! Thank you!!!
It’s true that you can start for a low cost. You don’t need to buy expensive kits or buy everything at once. Approach it the same way as your emergency fund: A little bit at a time. Best of luck to you!
Great point! My wife & I try to build up our reserves when we find things on sale. Having an extra freezer can help a lot.
It’s true that space has a lot to do with it. And I like the idea of building up when things are on sale. It’s a good way to reduce your exposure to food prices inflation as well.
That’s true; many of us don’t need to replicate our daily diets. It’s more about making sure that you have enough to see you through difficulty. Great tip on the pet food!
We downsized from a large house to a small patio home..the only place I could really stockpile would be in the garage..so i guess i will try to carve out some space…i even considered buying a small storage shed..not sure how cost effective this would be..
We store our squash in the garage all winter and it works out great.