Preparing for a natural or manmade disaster is one of the best ways to protect yourself and your family in the event the unthinkable happens. While many things need to be taken into consideration when selecting survival food and supplies the importance of one aspect of the process that absolutely cannot be minimized is storage. Nothing else will undermine your efforts faster than improper or poor storage of survival gear and emergency food supplies. Here’s a list of storage best practices that you should follow to make sure your gear and food remain in top condition in case a day comes that you need them.
Keep Your Food Where You Live
Perhaps the most important thing to remember about food storage is that you need to keep it close by. I’ve seen some people suggest renting a self-storage unit to store food, but this isn’t a good idea. For starters many facilities do not allow food to be stored in their units for obvious reasons. Second, in the event of a disaster (whether natural or manmade) you may not be able to leave your home to visit an offsite location. And third, keeping your food close means you’ll have 24/7 access to it. In addition, storing your food where you sleep provides you with the best opportunity to protect it from thieves and rodents, as well as prevent it from spoiling due to heat, sun, or humidity.
Instead of utilizing a second location for food storage you should make use of a second location to store your non-essentials. If you’ve considered converting a spare room into storage for food, but realize you have too much stuff, why not utilize an offsite storage unit for that purpose? Doing so will free up space where you live and give you the option of keeping your personal belongings at the same time. Regardless of what you may think right now, I can assure you of one thing: your bin of wrapping paper or light up Santa statues won’t help you if a disaster occurs.
Store Gear in Multiple Locations
Storing your survival and preparedness gear in two locations will give you the biggest advantage if and when something happens. The first place you should consider for gear storage is your home’s garage. If you don’t have a garage, an attic or spare bedroom will do nicely. Another suggestion that I highly recommend is utilizing the aforementioned self-storage unit to store some of your gear. Having two locations to store your gear gives you an advantage because it prevents you from losing all your supplies if one location is compromised for any reason.
Additionally, if you do choose to rent a storage unit, you’ll have the option to store the larger and more difficult to move items there in case you need to leave your home in a hurry. It’s also worth mentioning that you should keep the essentials in both locations. This means purchasing two tents, two portable water purification systems, two first aid kits, etc. Although it may cost a little extra up front, the peace of mind you’ll get from the added security is well worth it.
Keep it Clean and Dry
Nothing will reduce the longevity, readiness, or quality of your food and gear faster than improper storage. Whether your main storage is at home, in the garage, or offsite at a storage facility, the best way to prevent your stuff from being damaged is to keep it clean. This means cleaning your storage area prior to placing items there, but it also means checking up on it regularly. Wherever food is stored, rodents will be a concern. Check for signs of rodents every couple of days. Place traps nearby and be sure to regularly vacuum areas of the storage room that aren’t easily accessible by broom or mop.
Aside from rodents, another destroyer of food and gear is heat and humidity. For at home storage, consider purchasing a small dehumidifier and leave it plugged in in the same room (with the door closed) as your food and gear supply. This won’t be necessary during the summer months if you run the AC constantly, but you will want to monitor the temperature of the room during the cooler months to make sure your heater isn’t making things too hot.
If you plan to utilize an offsite self-storage unit be sure to look into a unit with climate control as this will ensure your gear stays in optimal condition should you ever need to use it. An additional benefit of a storage facility is that they are specifically designed to keep your stuff in, and the weather out. Rodents are also of little concern at a storage facility so that will be one less thing you need to worry about.
While it’s true you can never be too prepared for a disaster or survival situation, you can most certainly be underprepared. Utilizing the tips above will give you peace of mind that your food and gear will be ready should the day ever come that you need to use them. Do you have experience with food and gear storage? If so feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.
Jenny Young is a freelance writer working with Uncle Bob's self storage facility. She enjoys beautifying her home with organization projects and keeping things uncluttered through efficient storage.