Spring Cleaning and Food Storage

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There is something about spring cleaning, de-cluttering, and organizing that makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. When I’m stressed out, I organize a closet or drawer. It’s almost as good as Cadbury Mini-Eggs -sigh for Easter season being over- The following is a guest post I did that shows some organizing techniques for your food storage area.

Here are some tips that I have found have made my food storage more organized, useful, and rotated. I find building and using your food storage to be an ever changing thing, and I keep adapting as I learn more. I have a food storage area in an unfinished part of my basement (I know we’re lucky to have basements). I also have a little cupboard space upstairs I use for day to day cooking.

MY FOOD STORAGE AREA: I call this my food storage area, because it’s just against a wall in my basement. In my “dream” home, I’ll have a whole dedicated room, with all sorts of super cool shelves and stuff, but for now this is like heaven compared to my condo before. I have three areas along the wall. One is for long term foods, the shelves are for three month supply, and I have an area for water. Ok- ok, I have a fourth area – it’s called a big fat pile of non-food items, and appliances that are waiting for a new shelf area I also keep some water and my 72 hour kits upstairs in case we had to evacuate, or my whole basement got smooshed in a disaster. Oh and this reminds me, I need to put up a blanket against that window to block light from getting onto my long term food. I just moved everything around and before this wasn’t an issue. Light makes food go bad faster.

TIP FOR FEELING MOTIVATED: My first tip would be to get an area with shelves that you feel excited about. If your area looks like mine did at first (see below), you won’t feel excited to get started. It’s hard to go buy a bunch of food with the constant thought of “where am I going to put this?” going on in your mind. If you don’t know what kinds of shelves to get, look at our tutorial on building rotating racks here, at some cardboard options here, and at some great shelving units from Thrive Life at JodiandJulie.ThriveLife.com/shop. If you don’t have a lot of space, make sure you check out our Small Spaces Storage Solutions.

TIP FOR KEEPING MY STORAGE ORGANIZED: In my food storage room downstairs I try to keep like foods together on shelves. That way I can quickly get stuff assessed and know where everything is easily. I like to keep fats together, sugars together, condiments, and all sorts of other logical (to me) groupings.

TIP FOR MAKING USING FOOD STORAGE EASIER: I put all the ingredients I need for making bread on one shelf in one of my cupboards. That way when it’s bread making day, I just pull all the things off that one shelf and I’m ready to go. Having to dig, and push through other ingredients is something I have always hated about baking, so this way I’m ready to go right away.

TIP FOR ROTATING MY FOOD STORAGE: These are ALL the cans in my upstairs pantry. How is this Food Storage? Well you see by keeping very, very few of my three month supply types of foods upstairs, I am FORCED to go downstairs to get food out of my food storage and use it. When I go grocery shopping, I come STRAIGHT home and put my food in the basement. Then when I need food, I have to go down there (send one of my cute little kids) to get it. I know it sounds annoying, but if I don’t do it this way, I’d end up using everything I just barely bought first, and my food storage in the basement would just collect dust.

TIP FOR USING MY LONG TERM FOOD STORAGE: One way I encourage myself to use my long term food storage such as grains and legumes is I keep smaller containers of them upstairs. I know this contradicts my previous tip a little – but it’s different- trust me. I save containers from nuts I get at Costco and use them to store the smaller quantities of my long term foods. This makes making pancakes, or muffins and all that kind of stuff with whole grains a lot easier. I also use my legumes a lot more in soups and chili’s.

TIP FOR REPLACING FOODS I’VE USED: Placed conveniently on a work table right next to the food storage is a pad of paper for me to write down things I take out of my food storage so I can replace them next time I’m shopping, or next time there is a sale. My dear husband knows if he takes something off a shelf he BEST be writing it down on that paper – or else 😉

HEY WAIT! How did this get in here. Ok fine- when I go grocery shopping I DON’T immediately put the food in the basement. I put it on the stairs DOWN to the basement and deal with it later.

What are some of your tips for staying staying organized and motivated?

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