Author Topic: Where do you store your food?  (Read 2753 times)

VeggieTable

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Where do you store your food?
« on: March 12, 2018, 08:07:50 PM »
I'm looking for advice about how to store food with a smallish kitchen. Actually, our kitchen is not bad - I have recently discovered that it has quite a thoughtful layout and design, with all drawers instead of cabinets below the counter, allowing us to maximize the space we have. The issue is that the built-in pantry is really small. I've spent a lot of time rearranging the cabinets and getting rid of stuff we don't use in order to use cabinet space for food storage, but it still isn't *quite* enough. (I even use the space under our bed to store some less-used nonperishables.) I like to bake, and make pizza, and buy specialized ingredients for different types of cuisine, but I don't have the room to store 25-lb, or even 10-lb, bags of flour.

What do you do to supplement your pantry space? Should I think about getting one of those stand-alone metal shelving units? Our dining room and kitchen are basically one room, so I could probably put a shelving unit in there. It definitely wouldn't look amazing though. And of course the one wall that's free also has the light switch.

And what about freezer space? I don't really want to get a chest freezer, plus we don't have the room for it. Are there any options I haven't thought of?

Cgbg

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Re: Where do you store your food?
« Reply #1 on: March 12, 2018, 09:09:46 PM »
I donít have a particularly tiny kitchen. I think itís 10x12. It does have a deep pantry along one wall that shares a wall with the bathroom. I actually lost a foot of depth in the pantry a few years ago when we remodeled that bathroom but it was a fine trade off. I use large commercial plastic containers to hold flour and sugar - each fits 25 lbs - and the bottom shelf is tall enough to slip those underneath. I also have a basement cold room, and thatís where I have a bunch of those metal metro shelving units set up. They are bolted to the wall and have fronts to them so theyíd hopefully survive an earthquake.

Anyway, at our old house we ended up building a pantry cabinet into the wall. We happened to have a useless chimney inside the wall that we took out (old houses sometimes have those centrally located and sometimes they arenít used for any sort of venting - furnaces now often vent out sideways from the house rather than up. Anyway, if we hadnít had the depth, I still wouldíve put it in the 2x4 framing just to get some more storage space.

Iíve seen some folks build in storage on their basement stairs along the walls of the stairs. Not sure if youíre talking a house or apartment.

SunnyDays

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Re: Where do you store your food?
« Reply #2 on: March 12, 2018, 10:30:17 PM »
I have found it useful to maximize fridge and freezer space with extra shelves and small bins that I can keep on the shelves and fill with small items that would otherwise spread out.  This allows me to store food like cereals, crackers, rice, oatmeal and any other dry foods that would take up pantry space.  They also stay fresher for longer that way.
Are you able to add cupboards above your existing ones?  On top of your fridge?  Do like cities: when short on land, build up!
If you decide to get a freezer, a vertical model is more space efficient than a chest model and easier to access food, although not as energy efficient.  If you don"t like the look of it, maybe you can build a wood surround with doors to make it look more like furniture so you can put it somewhere you wouldn't normally put a freezer. 
Storage ottomans, bookcases with doors and such can be located in other rooms and still hold kitchen stuff.
You can also decant large quantities of flour etc into smaller containers that fit wherever you do have space.
If you own your home, you can build shallow shelves right into the walls between the studs and either leave open or cover with doors.
I'm not familiar with Georgia's climate, but can you keep some stuff outside in weatherproof containers at least part of the year?

Cranky

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Re: Where do you store your food?
« Reply #3 on: March 13, 2018, 04:18:44 AM »
Weíve done different things in different spaces, but in this house my long term pantry is in the laundry room in the basement. We also have shelves built into the basement stairs area , just wide enough for canning jars.

Morning Glory

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Re: Where do you store your food?
« Reply #4 on: March 13, 2018, 07:48:40 AM »
Do you have a garage or basement? Your chest freezer can go out there, as well as shelves for canned goods and the pots/pans you don't use often. I wouldn't put dry goods out there due to the humidity though.

A china hutch would look nicer in your dining room than metal shelving, if there is space.  You could put your dishes in the top, freeing up space in the kitchen cabinets for food, and store dry goods in the lower part. A used one in decent condition runs $200-300 in my area.

Prairie Stash

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Re: Where do you store your food?
« Reply #5 on: March 13, 2018, 11:03:51 AM »
Similiar issues, multiple solutions.
1) I rebuilt our pantry with more shelves, is it optimal or can you go higher, all around the walls etc.
2) Stackable storage containers for flour and sugar, now we split the 20lb bag of flour between deep storage and handy storage in the kitchen. So the kitchen might have 5 lbs, another 15 lbs (in three containers) can be stored elsewhere and the containers swapped around. I do the same with potatoes, onions etc.
3) Canning, it keeps stuff out of the freezer.
4) Install cupboards between wall studs on interior walls (great for brooms and other cleaning tools as well), this requires some time to build ut is a great long term solution.
5) More frequent grocery trips
6) Obviously you purged excess stuff already
7) read everything you can about tiny home living, Pinterest is full of pictures and ideas.
8) storage on top of the cupboards if they don't go to the roof. Stuff can get dusty up there, use containers if you can.

VeggieTable

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Re: Where do you store your food?
« Reply #6 on: March 13, 2018, 11:36:56 AM »
Thanks for the suggestions, everyone. Guess I should have added that we live in a house (that we own), with no basement, and the garage is not a viable food storage option (other than a freezer or fridge) because it gets really warm in the summer. I actually tried storing potatoes out there and it worked great in the winter, but they went bad even faster than normal in the summer. But thanks for the reminder to explore a set-up for at least temporary food storage out there. Storing food outside is also not really an option because of the heat/humidity. This has been our coldest winter in a while, but normally it's only below 50 November thru Feb.

@Prairie Stash, luckily our kitchen cabinets go up to the ceiling (don't want to have to dust up there!!!), but we do have some space above the fridge. We just kind of throw food up there now, like cereal boxes, etc., but that's a good idea to use it more thoughtfully by adding shelving or something. I've already arranged our kitchen so that the food my husband uses more often is on top, leaving the bottom shelves to hold the food that my much shorter self can actually reach.

@MrsWolfeRN, I like your idea of the china hutch. We have one with open shelves, but maybe I could find an attractive dresser or something similar to store dishes in.

Lady SA

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Re: Where do you store your food?
« Reply #7 on: March 13, 2018, 11:53:54 AM »
We had a similar issue with the kitchen in our rental apartment. Almost zero storage space and not much counter-space, either.

We ended up getting two ikea "islands" and putting one in the corner of the kitchen and the other just outside the kitchen to add in a prep area (the kitchen as-is has no prep areas, annoying). We also got a chest freezer and occasionally use that as a counter for chopping veggies, too. The islands all have shelves underneath and we use that to house appliances we use often because there is no room in the cupboards.

For the food storage, we got 2 large wire shelves and put them just outside the door to the kitchen. That's where we put cans, baking stuff, cereal, noodles and grains, etc. So we just have to do two steps out the kitchen to grab anything we need, and it isn't too much hassle. The shelves themselves are thin but tall, so they don't stick out much and are unobtrusive to our walking paths through the house.

So it isn't the most elegant or ergonomic solution, storing our pantry items just outside the kitchen has worked out really well for us. I've just stopped caring that any visitors can plainly see everything we have "in" our pantry (it is like the first thing you see when you open our front door lol).

For more freezer space, your only option is to get more freezer. I do recommend a chest freezer--you don't have to put it in your kitchen. My parents have two huge chest freezers in their basement and one in the garage. Whenever you need something, you need to take a trip to get it, but at least it is out of the way. DH and I have one smaller chest freezer, its only about 10 cubic feet, so its slightly less obnoxious.

GuitarStv

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Re: Where do you store your food?
« Reply #8 on: March 13, 2018, 11:57:56 AM »
We have a chest freezer in the basement, as well as a cold room (very cold for about 1/2 the year, cold enough for wine/potatoes/onions the other half).

Thegoblinchief

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Re: Where do you store your food?
« Reply #9 on: March 13, 2018, 03:02:59 PM »
My answer doesnít really help the OP. We have a small house (730 sqft) but when you add the full basement, itís pretty easy to find places to store food. I have frequently used spices in the kitchen proper on some shelves I built. Flour, sugar, oil, etc are in a hall closet that we use as a pantry. Longer term storage of dry goods is on some shelves in the basement. In the basement we also store potatoes (still eating some nice spuds grown in last years garden) and squash. Plus we have 3 chest freezers (5, 7, and 14 cuft).

VeggieTable

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Re: Where do you store your food?
« Reply #10 on: March 13, 2018, 04:28:21 PM »
@HarbingerofBunnies, how big (like external dimensions) is your 5 cu ft chest freezer? Our garage is *barely* big enough for our 2 small cars, so with those plus a bike, strollers, a workbench area, lawn mower, etc., our garage is basically maxed out. I could probably make room for a very small chest freezer under the workbench if I get creative.

I think the real lesson here is I need to think more creatively about the limited space we have and be thoughtful about what we're storing. I can probably move some stuff to our attic.

Thegoblinchief

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Re: Where do you store your food?
« Reply #11 on: March 13, 2018, 07:57:41 PM »
@HarbingerofBunnies, how big (like external dimensions) is your 5 cu ft chest freezer? Our garage is *barely* big enough for our 2 small cars, so with those plus a bike, strollers, a workbench area, lawn mower, etc., our garage is basically maxed out. I could probably make room for a very small chest freezer under the workbench if I get creative.

I think the real lesson here is I need to think more creatively about the limited space we have and be thoughtful about what we're storing. I can probably move some stuff to our attic.

Just measured it, itís 33Ēh, 29Ēw, 22Ē deep.

Do you have to have the cars in the garage? Iíve accumulated so many tools, plus the bikes, we store our hay and straw, etc in the garage so only one car gets parked in there now.

calimom

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Re: Where do you store your food?
« Reply #12 on: March 13, 2018, 09:11:04 PM »
The china hutch in the dining room is a good idea, don't overlook the possibility of a 2 door armoire. These are available in antiques malls and the like. Some have been converted to hide TVs, but could easily be retrofitted to have multiple shelves. There may or may not be a bottom drawer - more storage. And the right one could look pretty nice in your DR while being very functional, like the hutch idea.

Raenia

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Re: Where do you store your food?
« Reply #13 on: March 14, 2018, 06:09:15 AM »
We have the same problem of a tiny kitchen with very little storage space.  We resolved the storage problem with a stand-alone shelving unit in the dining room for dry-goods and some of the heavier/less frequently used cookware, plus a small chest freezer that currently resides in the living room.  Not ideal, but it's the best we could manage in our small apartment.

Still can't have two people in the kitchen at the same time, but that's a much harder problem to fix.

mountain mustache

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Re: Where do you store your food?
« Reply #14 on: March 14, 2018, 09:18:25 PM »
I have a pretty decent sized pantry (like a small closet with 5 shelves) but I share it with my part-time roommates, so I just have 2 shelves in it. In our laundry room we have a big shelf high on the wall that runs the whole length of the room, so that has become my "food storage" shelf. It's actually great, and works for making big bulk trips to Costco to stock up for a few months (I live in a tiny town with terrible groceries, so I'm always "hoarding" bulk food). It seems funny to have food in the laundry room, but I think whatever empty shelves you have, might as well use them! Especially if they are not out in your kitchen or living room where they would be in the way. I also have a 7cuft chest freezer in the garage that is great for stocking up on meat/frozen veggies etc. I'm just one person and my roommates tease me all the time for how much food I have on hand, but that's the easiest way for me to save money!