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18 Places to Keep Emergency Food Storage

Finding places for emergency food storage can be a challenge if you are limited on storage space. Especially since prime storage location have to be cool, dry, and low in humidity so for many foods an outdoor shed or the garage won’t do.

Let’s get down to the list of eighteen places to store emergency food.

#1 Closets

Ready Squirrel closet retrofitted for food storage

Closets are one of the best locations for emergency food storage because closets are temperature-controlled and easily accessible.

You may think you don’t have any room, but you do. My suggestion is to walk around every closet and do a spring cleaning. Purge anything that doesn’t have a survival purpose or that you haven’t used in a year.

Up next, one of the better places for emergency food storage, the basement.

#2 Basement

Ready Squirrel’s Basement Food Stash

A basement is an excellent place to store emergency food because it is a space that tends to be cooler and darker than the rest of the house and usually provides a lot of unused space.

The basement is hands down my favorite location to store food.


  • Consistent Temperatures
  • Minimum Light Exposure to Food
  • Limited Moisture
  • Frees Up Living Space upstairs
  • Any storage below ground level is cool

I stored most of my survival food on metal storage racks when I had a basement. It would probably be cheaper to build shelves from dimensional lumber and anchor them to the wall.

The downside of using a basement for food storage is the high humidity and tendency for water leaks.

An unfinished basement tends to be out of sight, out of mind, so it may take a while to notice something that can ruin your food storage.

If you are storing the bulk of your survival food in a basement, I suggest putting in a water alarm, so you know right away if a sump pump goes out or if you have a foundation leak.

Avoid Concrete Floors

Make sure food and water containers don’t contact a concrete floor because plastic, metal, and concrete can have weird reactions that may affect stored food and water.

Place crates or dimensional lumber on the floor before storing buckets of emergency food, including 55-gallon water barrels.

Check out the Ready Squirrel article, 17 Ways To Prepare For Food Shortages.

#3 Food Pantry

Store emergency food in the same pantry you regularly use.

To make room for the survival food, optimize the space by using organizers like can-racks and moveable shelving.

Also, consider reorganizing or repurposing coat closets or that junk closet where you store stuff you never use.

#4 Underneath Beds

If I stored food under beds, I would use plastic bins for everything. In this picture, the person keeps the cans individually. This method seems inconvenient.

Store emergency food under your beds. If you live in a small space without many options, this is a great way to go about storing food. The biggest drawback to using the under-bed space is the inconvenience. I haven’t used this technique because I have other areas I can use.

I’m not a massive fan of bending down to pull plastic containers out. It’s also an area that gets pretty dirty if you don’t pull your storage container out and clean it regularly.

That said, there is a lot of space under a bed

#5 Crawl Space

Crawl Space Food Storage

Crawl spaces can be an excellent location to store food if you keep the temperature and humidity under control.

There are so many different versions of crawl space it’s hard to nail this one. It will do if you can access the hole inside the house and keep stuff from getting wet.

Some preppers create a trap door inside the structure and excavate the crawl space to make it larger.

If you have to pull food from underneath the trailer, say a double-wide or a manufactured house, that would be a pain to manage. That said, it might be the only space you have available.

#6 Shed

Shed Food Storage

Sheds are not ideal for food storage unless you have temperature control.

Most sheds aren’t adequately insulated, and they have considerable fluctuations in temperature and humidity, which destroys food.

If you have a temperature-controlled shed or outbuilding, then it is an ideal location for food storage.

#7 Garage

Garage Food Storage

A Garage is not ideal an ideal location for food storage.

A garage is a glorified shed attached to the house. Unless it is insulated and temperature controlled like the rest of the house, avoid storing food there.

Garages have considerable fluctuations in temperature getting hot in the summer and cold in the winter, which quickly destroys food.

I made the mistake of storing Scuba gear in my garage when I lived outside phoenix. The heat fluctuations destroyed about $2000 worth of Scuba gear, it will do the same to food.

Scott, Ready Squirrel

Freezing garage temperatures are just as bad as hot temperatures.

Super cold or above freezing is the ideal temperature for food storage, but freezing temperatures destroy food, especially canned food. Once it thaws out, the cans will leak if they don’t explode.

You can store water in a garage

#8 Empty Luggage

If you are hurting for space and you happen to store luggage in a temperature-controlled area, you could use it to store emergency food.

This method isn’t convenient, but it will get the job done.

#9 Couch Bed

Store food in a cannibalized roll-out bed.

Remove the bed frame and mattress, use dimensional lumber and plywood to create a box inside the couch, load it up with food, and lay the cushions over the plywood.

#10 Chest Freezer

Store emergency food inside an old chest freezer.

Survival author James Rawles suggests painting an old freezer brown with spray paint and covering the freezer with a cord of wood or bricks to hide it.

Use the same camouflage technique by covering the freezer with hay or straw bales.

#11 Vertical Filing Cabinets

Store your emergency food in vertical filing cabinets and mark the outside with something uninteresting like business files or tax forms.

#12 Pop-up Camper


Store survival food in an old pop-up camper.

Pop-ups hold a lot of food and go unnoticed.

Prepper and author James Wesley Rawles goes so far as to suggest you tear everything out of the camper for extra space.

#13 Root Cellar

Root Cellar

Store emergency food in a root cellar.

A properly functioning root cellar has temperatures as low as a refrigerator, so it is an excellent location to store produce from a survival garden.

Store These 31 Foods In a Root Cellar

Supply your crew with emergency food from one season to the next by storing fruits, vegetables, nuts, salted meats, eggs, and other survival foods in a root cellar.

Store dry staple food in a root cellar if they are properly sealed, and you can keep the humidity down. Following is a list of 31 foods you can store in a basement.

  1. Apples
  2. Beets
  3. Beer
  4. Mead
  5. Cheese
  6. Coffee
  7. Food In Buckets
  8. Food In Mylar Bags
  9. Broccoli
  10. Brussel sprouts
  11. Cabbage
  12. Carrots
  13. Home Canned Foods (remove rings to prevent rusting)
  14. Herbs
  15. Jerusalem Artichokes
  16. Leeks
  17. Parsnips
  18. Pears
  19. Potatoes
  20. Tea
  21. Turnips
  22. Beans
  23. Garlic
  24. Onions
  25. Pumpkins
  26. Smoked and Salted Meat
  27. Squash
  28. Sweet Potatoes
  29. Tomatoes
  30. Wine
  31. Spices

I would avoid storing metal food cans in a root cellar because it is difficult to control moisture levels.

To learn more about foods to store for emergencies and survival read the Ready Squirrel article, Food to Stockpile: One Person for 3 Months.

#14 Old Car Trunk

Abandoned Car

Store emergency food in old yard art.

Suppose you are lucky enough to have land and a few old cars. Seal up the trunks to make them waterproof and stockpile food inside. It would be great if you had the key and could lock the car trunk. The worse the cars look, the better.

Extend this idea to old RVs, boats, and outbuildings.

#15 Shelving

I used metal shelving brackets, dimensional lumber, and wood screws to put shelving on both sides of my closet, turning it into food storage.

Store survival food on shelves you put up yourself. Unused wall space is an excellent place to place shelves for your survival stash.

#16 Unused Space

Store emergency food in unused spaces. Walk around your house and figure out a way to create space or find space you aren’t using.

My favorite method of creating food storage space is to use unused wall space by putting up some heavy-duty shelves or the Guerilla racks from a big-box store. Here are some food storage spaces you might not have thought of

  1. Coat Closet
  2. Junk Closet
  3. Laundry Room Cupboards
  4. Furnace, A/C, or Water Heater Closet
  5. Under Stairs
  6. Inside storage furniture
  7. Inside an old RV or boat

#17 Bury Food

Store food by burying it in the ground. Store in waterproof, airtight containers, bury them and mark them well so you can find them again.

Survival Food Cache

In the prepper world, burying food and equipment is typically done along a bug-out route, leading to a bug-out or survival location. Food caches are used as an emergency backup of food, water, and supplies along a specific route.

Burying food is a little tricky. If you don’t do it right, you’ll come back to a soggy mess or rusted-out cans.

Rules of burying food

  • Bury below the frost line
  • Place in a rigid airtight, and waterproof containers
  • Mark location so you can find the cache

#18 Trash Can Root Cellar

Buried trash can root cellar

Store survival food in a trash can root cellar.

This is an inexpensive method of storing produce from your garden.

Punch holes in the bottom of the can. Bury the can leaving an inch or two of the can above the ground. Pile dirt up around the outside, so water sheds away from the top of the can, place the lid back on and cover with straw or other natural insulation.

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