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April 08, 2015
Totally Ready for Anything
Making Room For Food Storage
by Carolyn Nicolaysen

Whether you are just beginning a food storage program or have been working at it for years, you probably need help hiding it while still having access. If you donít have this problem, is it because you arenít using your storage? If that is the case, stop it and begin using your storage now!

Letís begin with the tried and true ó the ideas we have heard for years. These are the space-saving food storage strategies that worked for your mom:

  1. Create a table by stacking two 5-gallon plastic buckets, placing a wooden table round from the hardware store on top, and drape the whole thing with a fabric skirt. For a little different spin, use a new plastic garbage can, fill with food and cover with a wooden round and to the floor tablecloth.

  2. Purchase a bookshelf or storage shelf and hang a curtain to cover your stored items.

  3. Move the sofa out from the wall and stack food storage in boxes behind the sofa. Cover with a board and cloth.

  4. Instead of a brick and board bookshelf, use #10 cans to create that shelf. If theyíre full of food, theyíll serve a double purpose.

Most of you have heard those ideas, and most of them do not sound very appealing, so we will move on to some more creative concepts.

Under-bed Storage

We all know the value of under-bed storage. You can purchase risers for your bed, thus adding increased height for taller items as well as easier access. Higher beds are a popular decorating trend!

Purchase under-bed storage boxes. Visit a shipping store to peruse the various sizes of shipping cartons available to fit your space. Wooden drawers from an old dresser or bins with rollers would be ideal for easy access. The cost of store-bought solutions can be shocking, so watch for sales, or innovate with what you already have on hand.

Redesign Your Closets

Empty Your Closet

Most people wear only 20% of the clothing in their closets. Try going through your wardrobe and if you haven't worn something in the last year get rid of it. All those things you are hanging onto for when you get in shape...donate them. When you lose that weight you will have earned a new wardrobe.

Once you have decluttered your closet there will be room for storage container that you can use to store food.

Under a staircase


Use an Armoire

Instead of a dresser, use an armoire. An armoire will double your storage space but without taking extra floor space. Add shelves and fold clothing on the shelves. Add baskets for small items.

You probably donít really want green beans stored in with your clothing, so why not move the sheets and other bedding into the bedrooms and empty the linen closet for food storage. Remember to look up Ö Baskets, hat boxes, and other decorative storage containers can also be added to the top of the armoire for even more storage, and can be decorative as well.

Consider the Bathroom

Add Shelves

Move the Sofa

If you have a sofa in the middle of a room, consider adding a dresser or cabinet behind it that can be used as lamp table. This is a great place to store games, DVDs, or anything else that is taking up space in a cupboard that might best be used for food storage.

Check under your sofas. Some are high enough to slip a case of veggies under or at least a low box with seasoning packets, toothpaste or other small items.

Use Baskets

Use Boxes

Cover boxes with burlap and decorate with fabric or burlap bows or flowers and use on shelves as you would baskets.


Open up a Wall

Thatís right. There are so many ways to use the space between the studs in your walls, including storage solutions. You can:

Uniform Storage Containers

Invest in uniform storage containers. Having containers of the same size, for everything from linens to cereal, will greatly increase the amount you can store in a given space.

Use a Trunk

Instead of a coffee table use an old trunk. Cover with a piece of glass for a smooth surface, make a cushion for a comfy foot rest, or leave as it. To make a simple cushion purchase an inexpensive sheet of wood product and cover with a foam pad or batting. Stretch fabric over the top and staple fabric to the bottom of the board while stretching it tight.

Home Attics

Donít forget the attic. Of course you would never store food in these hot spaces, but they are great for dry goods and other items unaffected by the heat.

Create a Window Seat

Use two purchased bookcases to flank either side of a window. Add a bench or cabinets on the floor between the bookcases. Lay a board on the top of the bookcases, long enough to span both cases and the opening between.

Add molding to the front edge of the board. Paint the whole unit the same color and enjoy your added space for storage. If you donít have a window wall, use the same purchased bookcases and create a storage space as if you had a window. Add a board instead of a bench and you have a great desk.

Loft Beds

Make or purchase a loft bed even if you do not have more than one child in a room. Even when I was in college we all fought over the top bunk. Move an additional dresser or shelving, under the loft and clear out room in the closet for food storage. You can often purchase bunk beds inexpensively at garage sales. It is a simple task to convert to a loft.

OR place a sheet of plywood on the top bunk and store there. Hang a curtain from the ceiling and create a fort or castle look under the loft while hiding the stored items.

Next to the Bed

There is often more room next to your bed than your side table takes up. Consider getting a larger bedside unit, a small dresser, a trunk, a small bookcase. Many things will work as wonderful, attractive bed side tables and make great storage areas for TP, lotions, toothpaste and other non food items.

Add a Wall

We have a friend who had a large living room. That is the room most of us only use when company comes. A wall was added to the end of the room creating a nice long "closet," which added extra storage space for food storage.

The door is at one end of the wall making it look as though there is a small closet, but through that unassuming door is a cool, dark, large space for food storage that extends the entire length of the room. If you have a room that is larger than you really need borrowing just three feet from that room will create lots of storage.

If you are renting, use a curtain suspended from the ceiling to create the "room." Right now a wall of fabric is a custom design statement.



If you have a boat or RV store items inside when they are not in use, which is, let's face it, most of the time.

Hit Up the Family

Do you have family near by who could store some things for you like your Christmas decorations or old papers you need to hang on to? For someone with an attic this would not be a big sacrifice.

Laundry Room

There is often room next to the washer and dryer. Purchase or build a narrow shelving unit that you can slide in and out. On the top shelf place items currently in use and on the other shelves store back-up cleaning supplies.

Utilize Corners

Attach hooks for hanging coats and umbrellas near the front or back door. Build a v-shaped bench for boots and shoes and add a shelf higher on the wall for other items, allowing you to use a coat closet for other uses.

Kitchen Table Bench

Replace the chairs on at least one side of your kitchen table with a bench that has a storage compartment.

Repurpose a Closet

Convert a closet to an office and use the office as your General Store.


Store out of season clothing, blankets and even linens in your luggage. You may even consider storing your TP and tissue supplies in them. When you leave on a vacation just dump them on the bed and replace them when you return.

Build a Shelf

Turn wooden magazine holders on their side, securing the bottom to the wall. Top with a wooden board and you have a shelf. Place cookbooks in the magazine holder and storage items in baskets or boxes on the shelf.

Crown Molding

Hang crown molding attached to a 1x4 in a closet and you will have instant storage for your shoes. Crown molding comes out from the wall at an angle, making it the perfect place to hang high-heeled shoes. Now you can move your shoes to a closet wall and use the floor space for food.

Under the Floor

Fold back carpeting and remove subflooring to expose joists. Build a box between the joists and store foods, cash or valuables. If you need to replace flooring use carpet squares, which makes getting to your stash very easy, or use the corner of the room where furniture can be placed over the carpet to hold it in place. This is especially good for those living in apartments and worried about rioting and hiding valuables.

Spice Racks

Coffee Table

Build or purchase a simple coffee table with straight legs. Add cubes beneath the table that is cushioned and can be used for additional seating. Be sure they have a hinged lid and store inside.

Kidís Room

Hang netting from the ceiling to store stuffed animals, balls and other lightweight toys.

Patio or Balcony Seating

Purchase or build a box with hinged lid. Create a padded seat and store charcoal, your Dutch oven or even a small tent inside.

Build a Table

Purchase a unit designed with cubbies to hold baskets. Add a glass top and fill baskets with food storage. To create a dining table, purchase two units and place them back to back and top with a glass top.

Forget about Names

A linen closet does not have to contain linens and a coat closet doesnít need to house coats.

Now that you have created room for that food storage, there is one last thing to prepare. Create a list of the places you have designated for food storage areas and a master list of the items to be stored in each area. After all this work, you want to be able to find your ingredients as you prepare your family feasts. Get busy and get organizing and stocking up!

If you have questions about what non-food items you should be storing now is the time to get some answers. Visit Carolynís facebook page each Monday for help.

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