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How to Begin Food Storage on Nothing but Peanuts!
04/30/2011 - by Aundrea S.

Many people beg the question, “How do I start my food storage?” It’s not as difficult as it may seem. The false assumption that one must have a plan developed before starting limits many peoples’ efforts to the “fleeting idea” stage. Here’s how I got started on a limited budget without a plan.

First, I decided I really wanted to have extra food. I was19 years old, in college, and money, needless to say, was tight. So I bought peanuts. Literally. I really enjoy snack peanuts and they happened to be on sale the next time I went to the grocery store. I bought four bottles, took them back to the apartment I shared with five other girls, and stored them in the top of the small coat closet we shared. There wasn’t anything there, anyway. Next, I think I bought tomato sauce. Same reasons: I used it, it was on sale, and the top of the coat closet wasn’t full so there was space for it there. All through college, I continued to hoard small amounts of food that I liked, used regularly, and found on sale. I stored it in unused spaces: at the top of closets, on the floor of closets, under my bed, etc. Eventually, I left school, got married, and started a family, but that didn’t change my food storage habits all that much.

Anyone who has started a new life together with someone else knows how tight finances can be in the beginning; but honestly, it wasn’t any tighter than when I was in school, and I wanted to continue to keep a small amount of extra food on hand. So my husband and I went out with my mother-in-law and bought a small set of shelves at Walmart. We put them up in our tiny kitchen, and later in a closet. I stored extra food I purchased on that shelf, and kept it organized by simple categories: carbs in boxes, grains in bags, and stuff in cans, although I did try, with limited success, to keep my fruits and vegetables in their own groups. Eventually, after a baby and a couple of moves, I had a closet dedicated to just food storage, and later on a whole storage room. When I had the extra room, I bought in larger quantities, when I didn’t, I looked for unused spaces where I could store smaller quantities of things: a couple of extra rolls of paper towels, for instance, or a few bottles of preserves. The strategy was simple: purchase food and sundry items I like, I use, and I can get for a good price.

When I first started collecting food storage, I didn’t have a set plan, but my habit of looking for items on sale as I did my regular grocery shopping, and then buying a few extra of those items, (and by a few, I don’t mean a case worth, I mean one to four extra, depending on the item) really paid off, especially as I got older and my family grew. Additionally, spending extra cash when I could to purchase larger quantities of items, or to purchase items that weren’t on sale, but that I wanted to have on hand, helped me round out my food storage and build it quicker. Over time, I was able to build a month’s supply of several items, and then a year’s worth, or more. Now, I set goals for my food storage, and look for opportunities to help me meet those goals, but the basic strategy I use remains pretty much the same as when I first started hoarding food in college: I buy things I use regularly, I purchase a little extra than I normally would, and I find unused space to store it in. I’ve realized over the years that building food storage isn’t as difficult as THINKING about building food storage. Really, just about anyone can start a food storage, even if they are starting out with just peanuts.


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