Before the pandemic, I had about a three week food storage.  I had a variety of items in my pantry and two deep freezers.  Depending on the time, the deep freezers would each be about 1/2 full unless it was right after a delivery of 1/4 side of beef.  However, when the pandemic hit in March, I realized how small our food storage actually was.  My husband and I determined to grow our food storage to two to three months, especially since we don’t think this pandemic is any where near over.  Here’s how to grow and organize your food storage.

How to Grow and Organize Your Food Storage

How to Grow and Organize Your Food Storage

I had never had a large food storage before, so I started by looking at YouTube videos and reading articles about how much food to have on hand.  Then, I set to work.

How to Grow Your Food Storage

How to Grow and Organize Your Food Storage

The first thing my husband and I did was set aside money to grow our food storage.  If we hadn’t been in pandemic times, I would have grown my food storage slowly, over the course of a year, adding little by little.  However, we wanted a full pantry now, so we found areas of our budget where we could siphon money to growing our food storage.  Since the kids and I have been home and my husband is working from home, we were able to take all of our money previously used for gas and put it in the grocery budget.  We also refinanced our house, so we used the money we were saving on our house payment each month to go to the grocery budget.

What NOT to Buy

When building your food storage, the most important point is not to buy foods you don’t like.  I know many people keep things like SPAM and canned chicken in their food storage.  We don’t like those things.  Unless there is an apocalypse and we have no food, those items will go to waste in our pantry.  Instead, we bought foods we do like such as canned salmon and tuna.  We’re resolved not to buy any food we don’t normally eat.

Determine How Much of Any One Food You Need

As we were buying, we considered how much of any one food we would need.  For instance, at breakfast, we eat either bacon or sausage patties.  We go through two packages of these items every 3 days.  To have enough for two months’ worth of breakfasts, I need to have 40 packages of these items in our freezer.

Don’t Forget Your Furry Friends

When you’re building your food storage, don’t forget to also build a food storage for your pets.  We have two cats, one of them on normal food, the other on a specialized diet for her kidneys.  When the shutdown first happened, I wasn’t able to get the food for the special diet.

Now I make sure that I always have two bags of her food in case there is a production drop or a shipping issue.  (Our local UPS office had so many cases of the virus that for awhile, packages were taking a long time to get to us and there was talk of shutting down that office for a time.)

How to Organize Your Food Storage

I spent time this past weekend organizing my food storage.  First, I watched this freezer organizing video, and then I went to work.

Make a Table

How to Grow and Organize Your Food Storage

Following what was in the video, I created a table of all of the items in my freezer.  I then put an X in each box to mark the quantity that we have.  I did this in pencil so that as we use things up, I can erase them.  Also, when I do go shopping, I can add Xs for the items we bought.

Make a Chart

How to Grow and Organize Your Food Storage

Next, I made a rudimentary chart of where things are in the two deep freezers that we have so I can easily get to the food.  (If I don’t create the charts, then I inevitably forget where I put the food and end up wasting time digging through the freezer.

Decide How Much You Want to Keep in Stock

Lastly, I darkened a line to show where the minimum I want to keep in stock is.  If we go lower than that minimum, I add the item to our grocery list.  This also helps me maintain the budget because I don’t keep too much of one item in stock.

Final Thoughts

While the process was a bit time consuming, now that it’s set up, maintaining it is easy.  Plus, now that I know exactly what I have in the house, I’m less likely to overbuy.  And, since I have a two month stock on most items, I don’t have to go to the grocery store except once a month.  We have our produce delivered to us or we do pick up at our local grocery store in between.

Have you increased your food storage since the pandemic began?  Are you trying to stay out of the store as much as possible like we are?

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