Our Best Picks: Food Supply and Storage Room Shelving
One of your best options for protection against the challenges life throws your way is to invest in a food storage program for your family. A supply of food tucked away in your own pantry can bring great peace knowing that come what may, you will be able to sit down and enjoy a good meal together.
It may seem like an incredibly daunting task, but we can help you understand how to build your food supply on a budget. You can do this! You need to do this!
Recommendations for Quality Shelving
Food takes up quite a bit of space and it is important that you have a place to keep it organized. All shelving should be sturdy. Food storage is heavy and can easily collapse a shelving unit that was not designed to hold the weight. These are just a few examples of shelving that has been designed to handle the load.
The photos below are a few examples of storage shelving that Jonathan has built. Each has been uniquely designed to carry the load that we intend to place on it. The photo on the right is of some heavy duty commercial shelves that we purchased. I love these shelves, but over time we noticed that the shelves began to sag in the center. Jonathan fixed this problem by cutting fir strips to use as cross bracing that he glued and screwed into place. That solved the problem nicely.
Homemade shelving can be a great way to customize the shelves to your needs. However, I am a huge fan of sturdy commercial shelving. Make sure that you purchase the right shelves for the food you are planning to store. Remember to secure all shelving to the wall to prevent it from toppling over in an earthquake or to keep it stable when a child climbs up the shelves to snatch something delicious. A few anchor bolts may just save a life someday.
These are some of our best picks from Home Depot. One of the things I like about Home Depot is that they will deliver directly to your home. Depending on what you purchase sometimes you must pay to ship it but sometimes delivery is free of charge.
Heavy Duty Stand Alone Shelving
Heavy duty shelving is the best choice for cases of canned goods, #10 cans, and other heavy foods.
- Husky makes a welded steel shelving unit with a wire deck that will support 1,500 pounds per shelf and measures 90 inches high x 90 inches wide x 24 inches deep. It is made from powdered coated steel and would be a fantastic unit to store cases of food.
- The Gladiator is a welded steel garage shelving unit that will hold 2,000 pounds per shelf for a total of 8,000 pounds total. No tools are required for assembly. It measures 72 inches high x 77 inches wide x 24 inches deep and the finish is hammered granite. It is also available in 18 inches deep in both 48 inches and 60 inches wide
Medium Weight Stand Alone Shelving
Medium weight shelving is a great choice for organizing condiments, spices, mixes, first aid supplies, or other lighter weight items that you don’t need full cases of in your storage.
- HDX wire chrome heavy duty shelving unit measures 48 inches wide x 72 inches high x 18 inches deep. It has 6 adjustable shelves which can hold up to 600 pounds. No tools are required for assembly.
- Muscle Rack offers an inexpensive z-beam boltless steel shelving unit that measures 72 inches high x 48 inches wide x 24 inches deep that has 5 adjustable shelves. It has a total capacity of 4,000 pounds.
Be sure to purchase a shelving unit that will adequately accommodate the weight of the food that you plan to place on it. My mother-in-law recently had a shelf collapse in her garage. The metal buckled and it left a mess. Purchase stronger shelves than you think you may need.
We have gone this route in several different shelving projects. There is a wide variety of shelving hardware available to assist you in your projects. Jonathan is a civil engineer and does a fantastic job of making shelves that will withstand any force. Home Depot is a good place to go to get everything you need to build your shelves. One of the biggest selling points for Home Depot is that you can order the supplies online and have them delivered right to your door.
Short Term Everyday Food Supply
Start by building your short term food storage. We recommend that you store at least 3 months of shelf-stable foods that you eat every day. Canned goods, boxed mixes, condiments, cereal, crackers, and anything you eat on a regular basis. For ideas to help you build your short term food supply click here.
The most challenging aspect of starting your 3 month supply is creating a good place to store it. Ideal storage will be a cool, dark, dry location stored on heavy duty shelving. The goal is to be able to live off what you have on your pantry shelves for 90 days without going to the store. For great ideas on where to find space for your food supply click here.
Supplier Recommendations for Short Term Food Storage
The best place to purchase food for your 3-month food supply is wherever you normally shop. Take advantage of sales to stock up and purchase a little extra each time you go to the grocery store. You will be amazed at how quickly you can accumulate a supply of food.
Some items may be less expensive to purchase at a warehouse store like Costco or Sam’s Club. We like to stock up when Costco has their sale offers. I usually purchase a year’s supply and that will ensure that the item will likely go on sale again before I need it so I can avoid paying full price. Not all items are less expensive at a warehouse store. If you shop wisely, you will find that building a food supply actually saves you money in the long run.
Case lot sales are also a great way to stock up if they are available in your area. Be sure to check the prices. Just because it is on a case lot sale doesn’t mean it is necessarily the best price. Keep an eye out on those weekly ads for the best times to stock up.
I personally count the food that I have stored in my freezer in my 3 month supply. We definitely should be prepared for a power outage, but for most events and everyday life the meats and vegetables I have in my freezer come in pretty handy. They play an important part in our storage plan. I prefer a chest freezer because it is less likely to be left ajar than an upright freezer.
Long Term Emergency Food Supply
Once you have a 3 month supply of foods that you eat every day, it is time to get to work on building your long term supply of basic life-sustaining foods. We rotate through many of these basics in our regular diet, but you can just store them under a bed or in a cool storage room for 25-30 years if you prefer. The priority is to get the food safely stored in your home. You can worry about how to cook it later.
Foods will only store for a long time if they are packaged appropriately. Rice stored in a #10 can will remain in an ideal condition many years longer than if it is stored in the original bag. Learn how to package food storage correctly here. You can also purchase it already packaged for long term storage in #10 cans, buckets, or Mylar bags.
Considerations for calculating the required foods and amounts for long term survival food storage:
- Minimum of 2,500 calories per day.
- Foods that provide all of the basic required nutrients.
- Minimum of 300-400 pounds of dry grains, 60-80 pounds of dry beans, 60 pounds of sugar, and 10 pounds of salt per person per year.
- Dehydrated or freeze-dried fruits, vegetables, and meats.
To learn more about designing the right survival food storage plan for your family visit Long Term Food Storage: Creative Solutions to Build a Critical Asset.
Purchase Long Term Food Storage from Reputable Suppliers Only
Buyer beware! Whenever there is money to be made, there is someone who is ready to take advantage of you. If someone is selling you a food storage plan that is supposed to feed 4 people for 1 year, do your homework. Find out exactly what the meals include, the calorie content (at least 2500 a day) and the ingredients. There is a big difference between 3 servings a day and 3 meals a day!
Long Term Food Supplier Option #1
The least expensive place that we have found to purchase quality basic long term food storage in #10 cans is from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. They only offer foundational items such as wheat, beans, rice, oats, pasta, potato flakes, dried carrots, and onions. It is a great way to build a basic survival food supply.
You do not have to be a church member to take advantage of their food storage program. You can order through the online store and have it shipped directly to your home. It is significantly less expensive if you can pick it up yourself at a local Home Storage Center. Food storage is heavy and shipping is expensive. You can find one near you on their website.
Long Term Food Supplier Option #2
Augason Farms has a wide variety of foods in both plastic buckets and #10 cans. They also sell some foods that do not have a 25-30 year shelf life. Some items may be packaged in a #10 can (such as iodized salt and brown rice) only have a 5-year shelf life that can be stretched a little under ideal storage conditions. It is not a bad idea to purchase short term storage items, they are just good candidates to be rotated regularly and should not be tucked away for 25 or 30 years.
Rotating through your long term storage is a great idea. But, if you are tucking it away for an insurance policy when disaster strikes, select foods that have been packaged to store for at least a 20-year storage life.
Long Term Food Supplier Option #3
Valley Food Storage sells a variety of freeze-dried foods and “just-add-water” meals. They are packaged in Mylar bags with an oxygen absorber and most have a shelf life of 25 years.
Valley Food Storage sells kits with Mylar bags packed in rectangular buckets which both help to protect the contents and allow them to stack nicely for long term storage. If you purchase items separately, make sure that you store the bags in sealed, labeled plastic buckets to add that additional layer of protection from moisture, light, air, and rodents.
Purchasing freeze dried foods for long term food storage is by far the most expensive route. However, freeze dried foods are a fantastic addition to your storage. The foods sold by Valley Food Storage do not have all of the preservatives added that many other food storage suppliers add to their products.
The freeze-dried meats, cheese, fruits, and vegetables are a great way to supplement your long term basic food supply to add nutrition and variety. The “just-add-water” meals are ideal for emergency survival kits, camping, or for short-term power outages.
Remember to include salt in your long term food storage. To learn more about how to correctly store salt and which salt to store click here. For current pricing on a bucket of Real Salt that will store indefinitely click here.
We have created several very helpful resources to help you as you build your family food stores. It is critically important that you take the steps necessary to ensure that you will be able to feed your family regardless of the challenges that life sends your direction.
Get Started Today!
Food storage is a wise investment. It is the only insurance policy that you can eat. A full pantry provides great peace of mind and can protect you from many of the everyday challenges that you face. Check out some of the resources we have created below to help you on your journey.