I was gratified recently to learn that it isn’t just me who “loses” preps on occasion. My pen pal CC mentioned that she had hidden away some noodles and was unable to locate them. Previous to this, I had thought I was just particularly disorganized!
When we relocated, I decided that I was never going to misplace my preps again. When packing up, I found food that I had forgotten I had, squirreled away in strange locations.
How you go about putting away your preps really depends on the storage space in your particular home. If you don’t have a big storage room where you can keep everything in one place, you may also have resorted to stashing food in various places that food isn’t generally stored. My cabin is very small, so organization is of the utmost importance.
I created a “map” of my preps that I printed out. I keep this inside a cupboard door in the kitchen so that I can easily refer to it when needed. An additional benefit to this is that it allows you to keep track of what you have, along with expiration dates, if wanted.
I try to keep similar items together, for the sake of organization. Think about the grocery store – it’s generally easy to find items because similar things are organized together. You have a condiment aisle, as cereal aisle, etc.
This is an example of the way I do it – mileage may vary, depending on your preps and your house.
Kitchen Pantry: Items currently in rotation live in the kitchen pantry. When these items get low, I rotate in their replacements from the other location.
Kitchen shelves: Home canned foods – these will be eaten within a year of preserving them, so I keep them handy.
Broom Closet: I installed shelves in this closet to make it easier to find things. Laundry supplies, cleaning supplies, dish soap. Candles, lighters, extra solar lights, matches, lamp oil, batteries. Tools, screws, nails and other small hardware.
Blanket Storage area in guest room sofa: Beans. Bags and bags and bags of beans that have been sealed into Mylar bags.
Armoire in guest room: “Decorative” boxes (I glued attractive paper to the outside) full of baking items like baking soda, baking powder, chocolate chips, etc.
Mudroom: 5 gallon water jugs
Laundry room closet: buckets of bulk grains, floor to ceiling. I wrote on the front of the buckets with a Sharpie for ease in finding the grain I’m looking for.
Laundry room shelf: Grocery store canned goods, vegetables and beans only
Living room bookcases: There is a curtain running in front of the bottom shelf. Behind the curtain are dozens of jugs of white vinegar, as well as balsamic vinegar, apple cider vinegar, and red wine vinegar.
Front hall closet: Rubbermaid containers with pasta.
Linen closet : Grocery store canned meats (we never use these and they exist as a last resort), fruit, milk, and pie filling. Medicines and first aid supplies.
Bedroom closets: The back wall is lined with boxed goods like cereal, crackers, etc. There is a cool bungee cord grid holding the boxes in place.
Under beds: under-bed containers filled with dry pet food.
When coming home from a shopping trip, I always put the new supplies away in the correct spot, rotating the older items to the front. Each week I “shop” the food storage and rotate needed items into the kitchen. Since I’ve begun doing it this way, I have never run into the issue of having preps slip through the expiration date cracks, nor have I had to dig through anything to find a needed item!
Plan a day to get organized and take it step by step.
- Pull all of your preps into one room.
- Separate them into like items, as discussed above.
- Clean out your nooks and crannies in which you stash away your items.
- Make a map of where you plan to store each item
- Put the food away, oldest at the front.
Depending on how detailed you want to be, your “map” can be constantly updated with the amounts of items you are putting away and taking for use in the kitchen. If you plan to update like that, consider a dry-erase board hung on the inside of the pantry door. Keeping your map on the computer is a great idea….unless the grid goes down. It’s important to have a hard copy for that reason.
How do you keep your food storage organized?