Food storage can be difficult if you don't have a ton of room. However, if you like to plan ahead, can your own food, or just buy in bulk, you can still store your food in some sneaky ways! Find out how we store a year supply of food in our 800 square foot home with these tips for bulk food storage in small spaces.
Three years ago we sold our home and moved into a small family home on 8 acres. We literally cut our square footage in half overnight... but our food storage didn't reduce at all!
Because you know I'm not about to throw away 200 pounds of einkorn flour, 100s of pounds of sugar, rice, and beans, plus all my 100s of jars of home canned food just because we downsized!
Since buying good, high quality food in bulk is one of the ways we are able to eat well for so little money every month, I couldn't afford to get rid of a single thing. So I had to get creative with my food storage ideas, and I had to do it fast!
Bulk Food Storage Ideas for Small Homes
Obviously food wasn't the only thing we had to deal with as far as finding places for things. We had a 3 bedroom house we were trying to cram into a 1 bedroom house...
Most things that were not sentimental or legitimate family heirlooms ended up being sold and the proceeds were put towards reducing our student loan debt, but even after all that was gone we were still left with quite a bit of stuff to place in a small space.
One of the largest groups of items that needed to be dealt with (aside from our 2700 book library) was all of our bulk food items.
So we left the food storage organization until everything else had been put away in order to best assess the space we had left.
It turns out, shockingly (ha), that there wasn't much space left! But we did manage to keep all of our food supply intact with the 3 simple and effective food storage ideas!
One: The Pantry
GASP! I know, this is such a mind-blowing revelation to you... keeping food in the pantry?? What in the world?? Let me explain.
Most pantries are designed with shelves that are spaced with about 12-18 inches between each shelf. That's great if you have a lot of cereal boxes, but not so great if you're storing canning jars and bags of flour!
So we updated our shelf spacing to fit canning jars (3 shelves for quarts, 2 for pints), and smaller bags of sugar and flour, with the bottom shelf stopping 30 inches from the floor so we could store 25-50 pound bags of rice, beans, and sugar.
This doubled the amount of shelf space we had in the (albeit, decent sized) pantry!
Two: Under the Bed
I try very hard and with great effort to keep the under side of our bed clear from clutter. I think this stems from being a messy child who was forced to clean under my bed on a regular basis and very frequently had to use a push broom to illicit the mass exodus of items from under the far corners of my bed!
If you're reading this mom, it worked. All those cleaning sessions stuck and my bed is now clutter free! Well, until now. However, when you live in a tiny house, every single square inch is going to be used for storage!
So I grabbed a few under-bed boxes, some 5-gallon mylar bags, and an equal number of silica packs and started storing all the dry goods that I could! Rice, sugar, beans, pasta, oats, even cereal... I dumped in everything that didn't need to be refrigerated and that I had in enough bulk to fill a 5-gallon bag and thew in 2 silica packs for good measure.
Once I had the bags filled, I squeezed as much air out as I could, and sealed the ends with an iron. Be sure to label the bags as soon as you seal them so you don't forget and have to break the seal, that would be annoying (ask me how I know).
Then I grouped them together and pressed the contents as flat as I could and placed them into the under-bed boxes for easy access. Done!
Note: I opted for the boxes with latch down lids and wheels, to give added protection with the firm seal on the lids, and to make pulling 300 pound boxes out from under the bed a bit easier!
Three: The Garage/Workroom
Our home doesn't have a garage, but we do have a little 5x10 backroom where we have our washer/dryer, stand freezer, and a few shelves for additional storage of garage type items (tools, hoses, seasonal decorations...).
With most of the space taken up with our overflow and appliances, there wasn't much room left, but we found a way!
Taking a few left-over 5-gallon mylar bags, we also bought 5-gallon plastic buckets and did the same thing with the dry goods that we did for the under-bed boxes.
One really good thing about this method is that you can stack the buckets 3 high and use the vertical space as well!
If you don't have a ton of food that needs to be stored, you can also make use of smaller mylar bags for long term storage of homemade items and dry goods.
Must have items for food storage
Are mylar bags better than heat sealed food storage bags?
As far as I know heat sealed food bags are made of Mylar, so they should be the same thing! Unless you’re talking about the vacuum sealed plastic bags? I prefer the Mylar as I don’t like the taste when sealed in plastic!
I would love to see more pictures of your food organization.
Mylar bags never break down and are horrible for the environment.
Hi Tami, it looks like there is conflicting information about mylar and how long it takes to break down. Some people say it takes 6ish months, other people say it never breaks down. I’m not sure what is accurate.
However, I’d love to hear how you store food for long-term use that is bug free and helps maintain the quality of the food!
We also use glass jars, but storing bulk food in hundreds of small jars takes up a lot of room.
I really would love to hear your ideas! :-)
These are really great tips for staring in small spaces. I don’t live in a small house, but ours does lack good storage space, such as lacking closets in bedrooms, so I’ve had to get creative with how and where to store items. One thing I did was buy two of those 5-shelf utility shelves and combined them into one where the shelves are spaced so there is just enough room for quart jars and that’s where I store most of my home-canned goods.
I’m so glad you were able to create space for your canned goods! That’s always a relief <3
I raised my bed to put storage under it but my dog pushed it out to make herself a nest.
We also purchased an old 4 room farm house and I’m still trying to maximize my space and I love your ideas
Hi Micky! That sounds pretty adorable, I’m not going to lie! Silly animals! <3 Sounds like you have an adventure ahead of you, all the best!