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Food Storage Tips: Creative storage space ideas

We lived in small apartments when we first got married. Five years later, we bought our first home. It was 1200 square feet without a basement. We had three children while we lived there, so we had proportionally more food to store. We had to be creative about where we stored food. Here are some ideas that worked for us. I hope you will add your own ideas in the comments.

Cases of #10 cans as furniture. Cases of 6 #10 cans, available at the cannery, are convenient to use as stand-in furniture for things you may not have when first setting up house. Because these boxes are all the same size, you can use them like Legos to “build” the furniture you need. We placed our TV on a stack of 3 boxes covered with a tablecloth when we were newlyweds, because we didn’t have a TV stand. After my babies were born, I slept in a recliner moved into the master bedroom for a few weeks. I needed a place to put my drink, so we made an end table out of 4 cases of food storage. You could use the same idea for a temporary night stand.

We used food storage boxes to build a guest bed. We had a cheap air mattress, but it’s hard to get up from an air mattress flat on the floor. We raised it up with food storage boxes stacked two deep. We also put one layer of food storage boxes under my oldest child’s bed. You can fit a surprising amount of food under a bed.

Food storage under furniture. Can a few boxes fit under a night stand? We considered putting some food storage boxes in our old couch. The springs were old, and anyone who sat on that couch sank down too low. We thought about getting rid of the springs under the cushions, filling the area with food storage boxes, and replacing the cushions on top. It might have made the couch more comfortable, but we never tried it out.

Using space in creative ways. Think creatively about the space available. Many homes have corners that aren’t being used. In our first home, the master bedroom was larger than we needed. We had extra room along one wall, so we stacked food storage boxes neatly along that wall. Food usually isn’t stored in the master bedroom, but that was the space we had available, so we used it. We also had half a wall available in a child’s room. We placed a steel shelving unit from Home Depot in there and stacked bulk purchased groceries in there, being sure to store the extra chocolate chips out of the reach of the kids. We should have covered up the shelves with a curtain or something to make it look better, but we never got around to it.

Think creatively about closet space too. If you have an extra linen closet, consider storing food there. We opted to store extra sheets in the garage so we could store extra food in the house. We lived in the desert where the food would not have stored well in the garage.

Crawl space. My sister’s house doesn’t have a basement, but it does have a crawl space under the house. She stores food there.

Organization. Storing food in this way takes an extra amount of organization. After taking apart the guest bed a few times to find the ingredient I needed, I finally made a “map” of what was where inside the bed. We put the food we used most so it was most easily accessible, and we labeled the boxes on the tops as well as the sides.

It is very very frustrating to not be able to find what you need when you need it. I know there are kidney beans in my basement somewhere, because I bought them in January. But could I find them last Wednesday, when I was canning beans? No. Sigh. If you can’t find it when you need it, it’s almost like you didn’t store it in the first place.

These ideas sound weird to some people, I’m sure. But we were doing the best we could with our space available. Home decorating is not one of my talents. I’m sure someone who is good at home decorating could creatively store food and still have a cute home.

Please share your ideas in the comments!

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