The other day we posed this question to our facebook group:
What is your biggest Food Storage Challenge?
Click above to see all the answers. We love when you guys share like this 🙂
So it took everything in me to not respond to each person individually and give them some advice on how to overcome their challenge. Instead, we decided to take the top five challenges and address them in a post that we will share with everyone. Hopefully it will help all those who responded, as well as help the rest of our readers who struggle with one of these areas.
Challenge #1: NO SPACE
One of the most common problems people have when tackling the task of building a food storage is lack of space. Trust us- we didn’t build our own food storage when we had very limited space. We would promise ourselves “one day, when I have more room – that’s when I’ll build my food storage”. When we started getting more readers to our blog, people started asking us about small spaces storage solutions and we panicked- we had no answers for them! We quickly confessed our shortcomings in building food storages when we lived in small spaces … and surveyed all our readers for their ideas. The results were amazing! We received over one hundred emails full of fabulous ideas. We compiled them into a list sorted by areas of the house to make it easy to find ideas that will work for your family. Click here to view and print out our SMALL SPACES STORAGE SOLUTIONS handout.
Also, check out Jodi’s husband’s solution for freeing up room for food in their living areas, while storing other items up in their attic.
Challenge #2: NO TIME
Let’s be honest – we’re all busy! Sometimes it’s hard enough just to get dinner on the table, let alone to build up a year supply of food while we’re at it. Not to mention learning how to actually COOK with these new foods too! The best way to overcome a weakness is to try and turn it into a strength. As you learn more and more about using your food storage, come up with ways to make the most of your time WHILE using your food storage.
– Learn to use your freezer, make extra of favorite meals, food storage meals, rolls, breads, etc. and freeze
– Double your staple recipes and use them to make multiple items (bread recipes can be used to make bread, breadsticks, cinnamon rolls, pizza dough)
– Use food storage as a time-saver and cook things ahead of time like pizza pockets or use pre-made smoothie mixes and other food storage mixes
– Start to gradually learn skills and practice them when you have a chance. At least then you will know what to do if a situation arises where you need to start living off of food storage.
Don’t forget, you don’t have to cook homemade bread every week and dehydrate your own foods to actually build and use your food storage. Pick a weekend and try making bread. Once you have the skill learned, you can use it should the need arise. But *confession* I still buy store-bought bread on weeks that things are crazy and I don’t get any made. It’s OK! And there are tons of great options to purchase dehydrated and freeze dried foods that you can use to save time in your everyday cooking and/or keep for emergencies only.
Food storage doesn’t have to take lots of time, and it can actually SAVE time if used correctly.
Challenge #3: NO MONEY
One of the things that makes starting a food storage feel like a daunting task is thinking of all of the expenses associated with it: expensive shelves, water storage containers, FOOD, wheat grinders, dehydrators, and the list goes on and on. We found that by utilizing our CHECKLIST SYSTEM and doing things in BabySteps, and setting aside a small amount of money ($40-$50) each month, we were still able to accomplish a lot with our food storage. In fact, we were pleasantly surprised to find that food storage actually started to save us money as we really got into it. There are a a lot of ways to save money AND build food storage at the same time. Check out these posts for tons of ideas:
Top 10 Tips for Emergency Preparedness on a Budget: You don’t have to have a lot of money to get started on your emergency preps.
Food Storage and Money Savings
A look at how food storage should be part of your financial plan.
Using Food Storage to Make Cleaning Supplies: Learn how to use items that are already in your food storage to make cleaning supplies.
Saving on Groceries Made Easy: Take a look at how easy it is to get the best deals on your groceries using Deals to Meals.
How to Make a Can Rotating Rack: Save money on expensive shelving systems and make your rotating shelves for free – OUT OF CARDBOARD!
Making Your Own Plant Pots Out of Newspaper:
Save money on expensive plastic plant pots by making these yourself for FREE.
We also LOVE the Shelf Reliance (now called Thrive Life) autoship program. You select your food budget and it automatically sends food storage to your door every month. It’s a great way to stay in budget, but always remember to be adding to your storage. You can even become a consultant (on our team) and earn FREE FOOD and extra money to go towards your food storage goals. This has been a great way for us to build up our storage.
Challenge #4: ORGANIZATION/ROTATION
It never fails that every 6 months or so one or the other of us has a complete meltdown and has to reorganize our entire food storage. It’s HARD to keep up with it, we know! If you need some AMAZING tips on staying organized, Julie shared some of her strategies in her Food Storage Spring Cleaning post. Everyone has their own systems for organizing but she helps you think about what might work for you.
One of our favorite tools for rotation is to practice making meals that actually USE our food storage items. We all have to cook dinner every day anyway, right? So a couple of years ago we asked our readers to help us with a BIG project. We had them submit shelf stable recipes to us and we got over 200 recipes to choose from. We compiled 100 of them into an amazing FREE Shelf Stable Recipe Cookbook that you can download. It was a “surprise party” gift for our readers. Use these and other recipes that use your core food storage ingredients and you will find that you are working through them quite regularly!
Challenge #5: DIETARY RESTRICTIONS
People have many reasons why they need/want to eat a certain diet. It could be anything from taste preferences, to healthy eating, to severe allergies. We have covered a few of these topics on our blog quite in depth. Hopefully this will help you get started as you go through this journey. We know it can be difficult when your situation doesn’t fit the normal food storage “mold”.
ALLERGIES: We have been asked about modifying food storage calculators for allergies A LOT. Unfortunately it is something we don’t have much personal experience with so it’s hard for us to fully delve into this topic. We have done a few posts to help people GET STARTED and figure out a plan for themselves on how they will tackle it. Other posts to check out are sources for alternative grains, gluten-free raspberry thumbprint cookies, and rice flour crepes. It’s not a lot but it’s a start!
HEALTHY FOOD STORAGE: Julie attended a great workshop all about healthy food storage and took detailed notes on it. There is an alternative food storage calculator suggested as well as lots of other tips for storing foods that will enable a healthier diet. Since then, Julie has delved into some more advanced healthy eating topics that go hand in hand with food storage such as how to make Ezekiel Bread, Sourdough Bread and Starter, and more.
Another way to add great healthy foods into your food storage is to purchase Freeze-Dried Fruits and Veggies. If you look at the nutrition labels for these products most of them ONLY include the food item … that’s it. No preservatives or additives. We LOVE this!
We hope that you can take some of this advice and use it to overcome your own personal food storage challenges. We still struggle with MOST of these things every day, but we’re always improving. Good luck!
-Jodi Weiss Schroeder