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If you live in an apartment, mobile home, travel trailer, or other small space, you may be wondering where in the heck you’re going to put all the food and survival gear recommended in the that you see recommended on this and other survival blogs. Well, to be honest, you may not have enough storage space for everything, but you probably have more available space than you think.
- Under the bed. Flat rollout bins for under-bed storage work great. Also, consider putting risers (such as concrete blocks) under your bed so you can fit more things underneath.
In the bedroom closet. Be sure to add a lock to the door to keep anyone from looking inside.
Under a staircase. The space under staircases can be enclosed and perhaps made into hidden storage rooms.
Under or inside a coffee table. With some types of tables, the contents can be completely hidden from view.
In the laundry room. Adding shelves or cabinets in the laundry room can provide storage for certain types of foodstuffs. But be aware that heat and moisture could be a problem and may shorten the shelf life of certain foods. Do your research and see what items can safely be stored in this environment.
In the attic. Again, heat or cold may be a problem here and could limit shelf life of certain foods. Be selective about what you store here.
Under the floor. If you have a large crawl space, you may be able to partition a storage area here. You could even build a secret door through the floor into the storage area. You also have to be careful what type of foodstuffs you store here, factoring in exposure to heat and cold and rodent-proofing your stash.
Between wall studs. Add cabinets or shallow shelves between the studs along inside walls. You could easily retrofit a removable panel that is backed by magnets to hold it in place for a secret storage area. Just be sure the panel material matches the rest of the wall.
Floor-to-ceiling wall space. When building shelves or cabinets, utilize all the space from floor to ceiling. Many people ignore valuable overhead or lower storage space because it isn’t as easy to access.
Inside furniture. Buy furniture with built-in storage space. Examples include coffee and occasional tables ottomans, storage cubes, and trunks, which do double-duty as tables or seating areas.
And the most important tip of all: declutter your home and storage area. This increases your storage capacity and makes retrieval faster and easier.
Storing canned food in your kitchen cabinets is an inefficient use of space and you will often find old cans in the back.
For storage of canned goods, consider buying or building a rotating shelving system.
Amazon sells ready-made units, or you can build your own to fit your needs by following the step-by-step instructions below. This type of shelving unit does the work of turning and rotating the cans for you automatically, thus extending shelf life by ensuring that the oldest cans in your shelf are used first.
When building a rotating canned-food shelf, you don’t need to get fancy with the woodwork (unless you want to) or follow the directions given on the site too rigidly. For example, the measurements given can be modified to meet your space limitations or storage requirements.
The cost is a small fraction of the price of retail canned food systems. There are many variations so modify the plans to suit your needs and abilities.
Please click on each image for full-sized view.
Decide the size and number of shelves you need. This article will cover a 5-shelf system that is 32 inches wide, 24 inches deep and 64 inches tall.
Cut the plywood on a table saw or with a circular saw.
- Cut one full sheet in half length-wise. From each half, cut a shelf at 32 inches (should leave 64 inches for the sides).
- Cut the other full sheet in half length-wise also. Cut each half in thirds at 32 inches each.
- Cut the half-sheet of plywood at 32 inches. Cut the 32×48 piece in half (24×32). Set the remaining 16×48 piece aside for later. You should have 2-24×64 and 10-24×32.
Using a router and straight edge, rout slots into the sides 3/4 inch wide and 1/2 inch deep. (An alternative is to attach rails that the shelves will rest on. The slot method is stronger and will not interfere with the rolling cans.)
- The shelves need to have a 1:12 slope (1 inch drop for each 12 inches run).
- For standard cans, the distance from the top of the input shelf to the top of the corresponding output shelf is 8 inches.
- For standard cans, the distance from the top of the input shelf, to the top of the next output shelf is 4 inches.
- For standard cans, the input shelf is 3.5 inches shorter than the output shelf.
- For larger cans, add 1 inch to these dimensions.
- Draw outlines for all slots.
Trim the shelves. The finished outside width of the shelf system will be 32 inches. The shelves will fit in a slot 1/4 inch deep. Therefore, the width of the shelves is actually 31 inches. Each input shelf also needs to be trimmed on the back to allow a space for the can to drop. For standard cans, this gap needs to be 3.5 inches.
Lay one side flat on the ground with the slots facing up. Insert the shelves into the slots and place the other side on top.
Drive 2 inch screws through the side and into the edge of the shelf. Put two screws in each shelf.
Turn the unit over and drive screws in this side also.
Turn the unit over so the back is facing up. Attach the pieces that were cut from the input shelves to prevent the cans from falling off the back.
From the 16×48 scrap plywood, cut 5 pieces 2×32 inch. Turn the unit over so the front is facing up. Attach the 2×32 inch pieces to block the cans from falling out the front.
With the remaining plywood and/or additional scrap you have laying around, build a base that the casters will attach to. Stand the unit upright and attach it to the base.
Decide the configuration of cans that you need. Each row will need to be about 1/2 inch wider than the can. On the table saw, rip 1/4 inch-wide strips from plywood, MDF, or dimensional lumber. MDF and lumber work best. Attach them to the shelves with wood glue.
One problem you may have is the cans getting misaligned when they drop down. A solution for this is to add a divider connecting the row dividing strips, filling the gap. Cut cardboard in a trapezoidal shape to fit over the two row dividers. Cut out the center material of the cardboard and glue the flaps to the row dividers.
Another problem occurs when the gap is too large for the cans. The can can get blocked, preventing other cans from dropping down. A solution for this problem is to glue wedges at the back of the lower shelf. This will cause the can to roll forward before the next one locks it in. The wedges can be cut from the same material used for the row dividers. They should be large enough to move the can forward.
Start using the rotating canned food shelf. Add labels to the front of each row to identify the contents and load cans in the top portion of each shelf.
Part of this article was reprinted here with permission from Wikihow.com