During a pandemic, you should be going on groceries shopping as rarely as you can. You can achieve that using a simple method that you may or may not use already, stockpiling. Now, let’s be clear. We are not advising you to stockpile for the apocalypse! However, it is best to have supplies inside your home for a week or so in advance. This will not only limit your exposure to the outside world but can even be cost-effective, which is of a huge help these days. We are all having difficulties planning the family budget and it is nothing to be ashamed of! Brits are spending a lot more money on groceries since the beginning of the lockdown, which is not a sign of panic. It is just that, a lot more meals will be prepped in our homes for a couple of months.

You might find this info useful if:

  • You are under quarantine;
  • You are under lockdown for other reasons;
  • Your reach to a market is limited;
  • You are trying out stockpiling for budgeting reasons.

In this article we will share a couple of tips and tricks on how to store all those food supplies, cleaning detergents and self-care products. In addition, we will discuss how to keep them well-organised and protected from pests, while limiting waste at the same time.

Table of Contents:

Things you will need:

  • Plastic containers with lids – bigger ones;
  • Zip-lock bags for storing veggies and meats in the freezer;
  • Couple of mason jars – coffe, tea, herbs;
  • White board and sharpies – to keep a list of everything you have in stock;
  • Sticky notes;
  • Empty boxes – you can lay them on the ground and organise detergents in them;
  • Shelves – selfmade or storebought steel shelves if you don’t already have some in your closet. If you are using a cabinet of some sort and it does not have any shelves, you can make some yourself. It will require you to indulge in a bit of DIY handymen project, but it will save space and will keep things nice and neat.

If you don’t feel like DIY-ing or you simpply don’t have the needed tools, call in a local handyman.

Handymen

Choosing the right place for your quarantine stockpile

Closet

There are many options for lockdown stockpile storage. If you are lucky enough to have a closet, which you are not currently using, or have not optimised yet. Great! The closet would be the perfect option. Install a shelf or two, if there are none inside. This will give you a lot more storage room. Having a dedicated “room” for your pandemic storage would make it easier for you to manage what’s inside and keep track for your shopping list.

Basement

Basements are usually already filled up with miscellaneous items like bikes, old furniture, appliances and so on. If you are planning to locate your lockdown food storage in the basement, it is important to check carefully for holes in the walls. Pay close attention to the corners. Give the basement a good clean. Through away anything that you are surely not going to use or need. Everything else must be neatly organised. Don’t let piles of stuff sitting in a corner or under the steps. This would give an ideal nesting spot for rodents, which will definitely take you on your offer and nest right next to your stored food.

Cabinet

What if you are living in a flat or a smaller house, and there is no basement, loft or closet available for you to keep your essential supplies in. In such a case, you will need to dedicate the biggest cabinet you have for that purpose. Make sure that there is no humidity in that closet. Check for openings around the back, any small crevices through which cockroaches might enter and so on. Check the back wall of the cabinet for signs of mould, that is a clear indication of a soaked wall or a leak somewhere around the cabinet. If none of those signs are found, give the cabinet a good clean with a disinfectant and start planning your rows and columns for stockpiling. You can make columns from pieces of cardboard, so you can clearly divide different products from your stockpile.

Wardrobe

If you have an old wardrobe you can turn it in the perfect “stockpile-drobe”. Remove all the items that are inside. Check all corners, top and bottom beams and the back of the wardrobe. Once again, you are looking for any openings and/or signs of mould. If none are present, your wardrobe is good a viable option. If you see mould you will have to clean it with a special detergent, don’t forget to wear gloves and a mask. Air out the wardrobe well, before putting anything inside it. With a little bit of handyman skill, you can add your own shelves inside the wardrobe. Usually, there would be a bigger place, where the hangers will go, but since you are not keeping clothes inside it any more, it’s better to utilise that space with shelvings on which you can arrange your pandemic stockpile.

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Stockpiling your freezer

Now is the time to indulge in all those frozen pizzas and french fries that you have stacked inside your fridge. Don’t re-supply on those heavily. Instead, use that space to keep some meats and veggies for longer periods.

Wash your vegetables well and put them in sealed bags or plastic containers with lids. Bags usually stack on top of each other, but it might be hard to separate them later on.

Label them, because once, frozen it might prove difficult to tell them apart, especially if the bags are stacked on top of each other.

You should do the same with your meats. Wash them well with warm water to remove all the blood. Dry them out on a piece of paper, then wrap them in packing bags and in the freezer they go. Stack on your favourite meats, but we advise you to concentrate on fish and chicken with some pork on the side. Don’t concentrate on one type of meat, make sure you have a bit of everything.

Related: Here is how to clean your freezer, without turning it off.

General tips for a well-organised quarantine stockpile

Grain food should be kept in big plastic containers. Stick a note on the lid and on one of the sides (the one pointing towards you when you are looking at the containers). The note should contain information on what is inside the container. While we are on the topic of lists, you should have an inventory about everything you keep inside your stockpile. You can invest in a whiteboard and a couple of sharpies if you don’t have them already. This way you can easily edit your inventory. Once you take something out, cross it off the list and add it to a shopping list. This way you will always have a ready shopping list. We can advise you to use an online platform for your shopping list, something that can easily be shared with family members on the go.

Bulkier items should always be at the bottom of your storage. This way they are easier to reach and won’t get in your way. Usually, those would be, plastic containers with grain foods, toilet paper packs, soft drink packs, bottled water etc.

Rule number two. Don’t leave food supplies laying on the floors. This way they are an easier target for ants, cockroaches and other insects that may come to have a snack. Food supplies should be well packed and above ground level. At least on the second shelf.

A key rule for an optimised stockpile is to employ the FIFO method on everything you store. FIFO stands for “First In First Out” and is used in every store you’ve visited. The idea is to keep items that are closer to their expiry date within reach. So those items would be in front of all others. If you have two packs of tomato soup cans, and one of them is closer to its expiry date than the other, it should be in front, or at the top, depending on how you have decided to store them (vertically, horizontally).

Takeaways

  • An old wardrobe could make an excellent storage unit.
  • Closely inspect the state of your storage place, before stocking it up. – Look for holes, water leaks proper lighting, damped walls etc.
  • Keep grain foods in plastic containers.
  • Place sticky notes with a list of what is inside on all of the containers and boxes you use.
  • Keep an inventory of everything in the storage and cross it off, once you take it out of there.
  • Apply the FIFO method that stores use.

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Image source: depositphotos / sumners

  • Last update: May 13, 2020

Posted in Insect Infestations, Life Under Lockdown, Moving and Packing Tips, Pest Problems, Rodent Infestations, Storage Tips

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