by Kathleen Krueger for www.selfstoragefinders.com
June 20, 2015
The affordable extra space available through self-storage units is being used to accommodate all kinds of lifestyle needs. Why rent or buy a larger house or apartment when you all you need is extra closets or garage footage? With a little creative thinking, you can come up with all kinds of different ways to utilize the space of a storage unit.
One of newest and most practical ideas has been to use part or all of a storage unit as a food pantry. Storage units can allow a family to purchase in bulk or to store food preserved through home canning, even when there is a shortage of storage space in your apartment or home.
Organizing Your Food Pantry
Whether your food pantry is in a storage unit or in your home, developing a simple organization system will help you to find what you need when you need. Since many food items also have expiration dates, proper organization can also ensure that those items closest to expiration get used first.
Angelica Holiday, owner of Organize Rescue, suggests creating an inventory list of the food items you have stored in your storage unit. “Keep an inventory of your supply and dates you canned them. Use it to avoid planning to use something that you may have already depleted and spoilage due to expiration. Every time you use something, mark it off your list.”
There are several storage services which now offer easy to use apps for tracking your items in storage along with their pickup and delivery service. Seattle-based Storrage is one company providing their customers with inventory apps. Clutter, which currently serves Los Angeles and Orange counties, also provides customers with an online visual inventory. Both these companies also provide pickup and delivery of your stored items, meaning you never have to visit the storage facility yourself.
Home-canned Food Storage
If the foods you will be storing in your storage unit are foods that you’ve canned yourself, there are few items to keep in mind depending on your location and climate. Since home-canned goods are packed in glass jars, temperature and stability are factors to consider. “A temperature-controlled environment will protect your canned goods from freezing in cold climates and getting to warm in hotter climates.” Holiday says. If you live in an area where earthquake tremors are frequent, glass jars set on open shelving (either at home or in your storage unit) could result in horrific mess. Make sure your jars are stored in such a way that only get shaken and not shattered.
If you’re just beginning your journey into home canning, it is important that you are aware of how to can safely and recognize when a jar of food may have not sealed properly or is spoiling for any reason. Freshpreserving.com provides answers to the most frequently asked questions regarding home canning safety. Here are some of their tips:
Leave the recommended amount of headspace in your jars between the food and the lid. Too much or too little headspace can prevent your jar lid from sealing properly.
Storage temperature for canned goods should remain under 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Higher temperatures can decrease the nutritional value in your foods.
Store your canned foods away from direct sunlight. Light can cause your foods to fade in color and destroy certain vitamins.
A temperature controlled storage unit provides the ideal environment for food pantry storage units. It is dark and dry. Keeping your food at a constant temperature between 50 and 70 degrees will also preserve them longer than if kept in a place where temperatures fluctuate above and below that range.