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There’s only one bad thing about stockpiling food: It takes up a lot of space. This isn’t a problem for people who live in large homes. They can just stuff their food storage in an extra bedroom or closet. But for those of us who live in small houses or apartments, it can be a big problem. Where are we supposed to put a year’s supply of food when our closets and cabinets are already overflowing?
Fortunately, there are several answers to this question. Once you read this list, you’ll realize you have a lot more space than you thought you did. All you have to do is declutter your home and start thinking outside the box. Here are 20 places you can store your food, even if you live in a small home.
1. Under the Beds – This is an excellent place to stash your food. But before you start rolling canned beans under there, get some totes designed to fit under beds. They have wheels on them, making it very easy to access your food.
2. On the Shelf in the Back of the Closet – This is a great way to utilize space and keep your food storage out of sight. Clean out a few things to make room. Many closets have two shelves with the top one impossible to reach without a stool. Use it to store your supplies.
3. Beneath a False Floor – Fill a couple 5-gallon buckets with food, then place a piece of cardboard or wood over the top. Pile your shoes and whatnot on the new floor. No more digging around on the ground for your shoes, and you have more food stored away.
4. Behind the Couch – Pull your couch 6 to 12 inches away from the while, and stack boxes of food or #10 cans back there. When you’re done, cover it with a blanket. At first glance, most people won’t even notice there’s anything there.
5. In Shoe Organizers – Over the door shoe organizers are perfect for storing seasonings, bags of dry soup mix, bags of beans, and so on. Place the shoe organizer on the inside of a closet door or any other door in your home.
6. Inside Furniture – There are companies that design furniture with secret compartments, but it’s a bit expensive. Instead, try making your own. For example, you could fill a 5-gallon bucket with food, place a piece of wood on top, and drape a tablecloth over that. Now instead of a nightstand or end table taking up space, you have another bucket of food there instead.
7. Beneath the Stairs – There’s usually a lot of empty space beneath the stairs. If you own your own home, cut a door into the area if there isn’t one already. Or you could install some staircase drawers.
8. Above Drop Ceilings – These types of ceilings are more common in office buildings than in houses, but if you happen to have them, push up on a tile and you’ll discover quite a bit of space up there. Place a sheet of wood across the beams to keep the food from breaking the ceiling tiles.
9. On Shelves Near the Ceiling – Build shelves that go around the top 2 feet of a bedroom. There’s a lot of space up there! A nice 8-inch wide shelf placed about 6 feet up the wall or more will give you a great deal more storage space without taking up any actual living space.
10. Inside Couches / Chairs – If you have a large couch or recliner there should be hollow spots inside. Find those spots and stuff them with bags of food. You have may have to cut out a section of fabric.
11. In Suitcases – If you have a set of empty suitcases in the closet, you could stash large bags of beans, rice, flour, etc. in them. If you need to use the suitcase, just temporarily remove the food and put it where the suitcase was.
12. Under Floorboards – Many houses have 8 to 12 inches of space under the floorboards. Carefully pry up a couple of boards, then cover the area with a rug and some furniture.
13. In Smaller Packages – Things like pasta often come in boxes which take up more space than necessary. Remove them from the boxes and seal them in Mylar bags which are much more flexible than cardboard packaging.
14. Above the Refrigerator – The cupboards above the refrigerator are mainly for looks. But just because they’re hard to reach doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use them. Get a step stool and fit whatever you can up there.
15. In a Tidier Pantry – There’s probably more room in your pantry than you think. Reorganize your pantry and see if you can clear up a shelf. Make every inch count.
16. Above the Cupboards – If your kitchen has space between the cupboards and ceiling, use it to store more food. If you want, you can put your food inside decorative bottles or boxes so it still looks good.
17. In the Corners – If there are any empty corners in your home, stack boxes or 5-gallon buckets there and secure them in place with a rope or bungee cord.
18. On Bookshelves – These are perfect for storing food. You can hide the food by putting a row of books in the front. Most bookshelves are wide enough to hold two rows of books, but most people don’t use the space that way because then they wouldn’t be able to see half the books. If you do this, be sure to mount the bookcase to the wall.
19. In Space Bags – Put lightweight food (such as freeze dried foods) in Ziploc space bags and hang them in the back of the closet.
20. Under the Sink – Install at least one shelf beneath your kitchen or bathroom sink. Usually there are no shelves down there which means the top half the the cupboard goes completely unused.