5 Things I Wish Someone Would Have Told Me 5 Years Ago

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We’ve been doing this blog for almost 5 years. The other day I was doing a big Food Storage room clean-up and reorganization. It made me somewhat nostalgic. This week I have pondered a lot where I started, where I am, and where I’d like to go. While cleaning the room I realized there were some things I wish I would have known when I started this all. Today I figured I would share them with you. Maybe they might help YOU out a little.


1. Don’t buy things you don’t eat
So when I first started building my food storage, I got really into couponing. It was a great way to buy things for great prices and build up a food storage. I would buy things I didn’t necessarily eat because they were such good prices. I thought to myself, in a real emergency I would probably eat that stuff. I didn’t buy a lot of it, and it was the kinds of foods you could open and eat right out of a can, so I thought I was being practical at the time. Well, those things are STILL sitting in my room 5 years later … and I need to figure out what to do with it all.

2. Despite your best intentions you won’t remember when you bought stuff
Back when I was a little girl, my favorite job was when I had to go down to the food storage room and write the date on each can of food. I pretended I was a cashier at a grocery store, and would pull each can through, one by one, putting the dates on them. Well nowadays a lot of foods come with expiration dates, but not all of them. So I haven’t been diligent in marking when I bought my foods, and they get mixed up on shelves. Looks like my 5 year old is about to be recruited to the family cashier job next time I do a big shop.

3. Don’t trust your kids to tell you when they take things out of your food storage
When we started the blog, I only had 1 little toddler who never went into the food storage room. Now I have a few boys who raid it regularly. I keep sending them downstairs to get me things when I’m cooking. What I’m learning is that they also go down there and help themselves as well. Between sending them down all the time, and them raiding the room, I don’t keep as good of track. I’m working on a solution for this one.

4. Your diet may change or evolve
This one is tricky! Since starting my food storage, I have switched to pretty much all whole grain everything. I also refrain from most pre-packaged, pre-made meals as well. When I started I was doing half and half. Well now I have quite a bit of white spaghetti noodles, some white rice, white sugar, and white flour. I had no way of knowing back then, what I would be eating now, or what I’ll be eating in 5 years. I’m not sure how to get around this dilemma. People who develop allergies probably face the same types of problems. Perhaps I could do some food storage trading with people. For the unopened and unexpired things I could donate it to the food bank.

5. Plan for expansion
I did this in my first house. I put shelves up in a way that I could keep adding to them because I KNEW I would be growing it. Well considering I started with nothing, of course I would grow it. Well silly me moved into this house and thought I had it all figured out. Since then I decided I wanted to store ALL my foods in #10 cans except wheat (I talked about this in my New Year’s resolutions post). Well that means I need another rotating shelf. Well now I need to explain to my husband that he was right and I should have put the food storage in the other area of the basement that would have accommodated this. I HATE doing that!

The older I get, the more I realize the only constant is CHANGE. It would have been nice to know all these things 5 years ago, but the fact of the matter is that is not how life goes. You learn, grow, try new things, and adapt all the time with EVERYTHING. So while it would have been nice to know those things… It’s ok. I’ve had fun learning!

  • LMS

    You know, my thought on your “white” dilemma….what keeps, if you have room for it, keep it. I figure that if we are a part of the situation when food is of short supply,

    people will be happy to have food…won’t matter what the color is…or, another thought, it will be a good bartering item.

  • sewtnanny

    Very good advice! I do more home canning than #10 cans and am OUT of room. I DID learn recently that sugar and salt do not have to be at a constant temperature,soooo out in the storage barn they will be going {in mylar bag sealed 5 gal buckets} along with toilet paper and paper towels {also in buckets, but no mylar bag sealing}. Opinions??? BTW, I’m canning applesauce and beef today..

  • LMM

    Oh, we also eat primarily organic with a focus on beans, nuts and seeds as our protein base. I home can some meats so I can control the preservatives. We all change. 🙂

  • LMM

    Ahhhhh, good lessons learned! I remember my mothers pantry was always chaos. Freeze dried fruit had begun to hit the storage shelves in the 70s and mother bought a ton to feed the eight kids. Yeah, raiding the pantry was our best trick because she rarely cooked! Loved the freeze dried fruits and the hostess twinkies in the freezer. (shhhhhh). My pantry has evolved much in the last 30 years of being an adult. I never found a solution for keeping pantry items in stock while the kids were preteens and teens. In fact, I am not sure how I even kept food in the house… they needed fuel. Now, it is just the two of us again. We use pantry size cans for a lot of the long term and only stock what WE like. We do keep a couple of things for the kids when they drop by and visit… guess what… that stuff usually goes home with them. 🙂 We love our pantry… we eat fresh most often but have a good stock on hand. I wonder what retirement will bring?

  • Candy Evins

    I work for a local food bank and they would love anything you could donate. I am not a fan (really don’t like) brown stuff, i.e. rice, wheat flour, wheat bread, etc. I know brown good, white bad. So in order to be “good” I have started doing half n half. Half white rice, half brown rice. Half wheat spag. half white. if you get my drift. working on going more half brown sometimes. Like you said, things are always changing, so smile, and adapt. Will get you through every time.

  • patti

    I am also a newbie. And if you are switching to whole grains, you mentioned white rice. Is there a way to store brown rice long term? I really do not like white rice, but love brown rice. So I have not done much with stocking up on the white stuff. And thanks, I will put your suggestions to good use.

  • scolie

    I’m a food storage newbie, so that was good information for me…thank you for sharing!

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