Creating Extra Storage Space For Emergency Foods

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Many people are doing as the “NJ Office of Emergency Management” (NJOEM) website suggests and are storing foods and other supplies, in the event of an unforeseen disaster or emergency.  According to one emergency planning website, “Food Storage is a form of insurance policy protecting your family from the unexpected.”   However, storing emergency food supplies within your current kitchen may not be feasible, due to a lack of space.  

There are some solutions to that problem, even if you live in a small apartment.  Look around your house for any existing spaces that could be emptied of its’ contents. The contents can be combined with other items in another space.

Optional Existing Storage Spaces

A coat closet can easily be fitted with purchased or hand crafted shelving, by removing the coat rod, and/or the current shelf. 

  • A laundry room, or other rarely seen room, can be utilized by removing a section of sheet rock from an interior wall.  Install small pieces of wood for shelving, in between the wall studs.  Avoid removing sheet rock from the exterior walls. This will expose your foods to extreme cold or hot temperatures, as well as interfere with the proper heating or cooling of your home.

  • You can purchase food grade emergency food supply buckets that fit neatly in the bottom of a closet.

  • Your living room sofa can easily be transformed into a workable storage space. Simply follow the instructions below.

Directions for making a Storage Shelf Under Your Sofa

1-You need to purchase a sheet of 4’x8’ plywood.

2-Carefully remove the cloth lining from underneath your sofa.v Use the cloth as a pattern to be placed on the plywood board.  Cut the board to the exact size of the space under the sofa.

3-Cut out a 6-inch deep notch from one of the 4′ ends of the board, and leave 3 inches of the wood on each end of the notch.

4-On each corner of the plywood, screw on a small “spacing board”.  This is so that the shelving hangs a little lower than the entire framework of the sofa.  The depth of the space between the bottom of the sofa and the floor determines how deep this spacing board will be.

5-Screw the notched plywood into the four corners of the framework of the sofa; be sure that the screws go through your spacing boards securely.  Be certain that the notched section of the plywood is installed on an end of the sofa that can be easily accessed.

6-Place any items to be stored, on a thin sheet of non-flexible aluminum, (which has been cut to the width of the notched opening and to the length of the plywood).  Slide your non-flexible “shelving” into the notched end of the plywood. To retrieve the items, simply slide out your aluminum shelf.  

7-Do not store any emergency food items that are easily chewed open by mice, such as cereal boxes.  Place all such food items in plastic containers first.

Start your food storage project by creating an emergency food storage list, and then create the extra space for the items you will buy.  Be like a boy scout and “always be prepared.”


Emergency Food and Water Supplies, NJOEM

The Wisdom of Food Storage,


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