Whenever we talk about our food storage (or even just monthly grocery shopping), we always have readers who say they can’t keep food storage or shop for a month at a time because they just don’t have the space.
I definitely understand small spaces. When we were first married we lived in the tiniest little in-law suite where our kitchen sink was right at the foot of our full bed! That was the beginning of our small space hacks.
Storing food for our family is important, so we’ve always made it a priority. In several small places we’ve lived, we’ve had to come up with ways to store where there wasn’t obvious space for it. By creatively using available space, we can maximize the amount of food we have on hand. That lets us stock up when it’s a great deal and allows us to do monthly grocery shopping instead of going to the store more frequently (and buying all those things we hadn’t really planned on). Finding space to store food is a huge frugal win.
In our second small place, instead of a nightstand, I used two sturdy crates stacked on top of each other as extended storage for our small kitchen. After one unbelievable 50-cent cereal deal, I filled the crates with 32 boxes of cold cereal! We ate that cereal for months! Draped with a small tablecloth, and with a lamp, book, and alarm clock on the top, no one ever knew our food storage was stacked at the side of the bed!
Here are a few of our other favorites. I would love to hear which you could use in your home and what additional ideas you have for maximizing your food storage space. Please share all of your ideas in the comments.
1- Under the bed
We have always put our bed up on cinder blocks or bed risers to maximize our storage space. Right now we’re actually using both! Since we’re tall, we don’t mind having a high bed. We have six large storage bins and two dozen 3-gallon food grade storage buckets that fit perfectly under our bed. We’ve done the same with some of our kids’ beds. Did you know you can fit fifteen of those 3-gallon buckets under a twin bed if it’s raised a little? Then you just refill the pantry from those buckets as needed. It’s a huge storage win, and takes almost no effort!
2- Coat rack
Every time I share our monthly grocery haul, someone comments on the number of bananas that we buy. They wonder how we store them and how we can eat them all before they go bad. Here’s the secret: our wall-mounted coat racks. They’re perfect for hanging bananas! We only use the racks for coats when we have company over (we keep our own jackets in the mudroom), so it’s a great place to store bananas. We’ve had to teach our kids to open the front door carefully so as not to smash the bananas, but who has room for ten bunches of bananas on the kitchen counter? It’s also super convenient. The kids walk in after school and grab a banana for a snack on their way in!
3- Bathroom Shelf
I’m a big fan of the over-the-toilet shelves because they maximize space that is otherwise wasted. They’re aren’t a lot of great things to keep on them that don’t just look like clutter, so I decided to use them for food storage. I have to warn you, though, that the bathroom isn’t ideal for all types of food storage. I recommend storing only well sealed items in the bathroom as it’s often humid. These big #10 cans have done great for us!
We use our clothesline the majority of the year to save money on utilities (and for lots of other reasons), so our dryer is a cavity of unused space most of the time. We take advantage of this by– you guessed it– storing food in there! Why not use the space? It’s a great place to store chips and other munchies so they are out of sight and so they don’t get smashed! You can even use the little shelves inside for organizing!
5- Under the Couch Cushions
Couches have so much potential for food storage space. Depending on how tall your couch is, you may be able to store quite a bit underneath the couch. You can always put your couch or futon up on cinder blocks or bed risers, just like with the bed, but the tip I’m about to share with you goes beyond that. We’ve found that under the cushions is a great storage space. We currently have 120 lbs of sugar (12 10-lb bags) in our loveseat. It used to be one of those really squishy couches that seems to swallow you whole and you can hardly get up from. Now it’s both higher and firmer. Our guests have commented that they really like the height the stored food adds to the couch! And FYI, we generally have a throw blanket over the couch so the sugar doesn’t show. We just took it off for the picture.
6- Pillow Replacement
When I first bought flour in 25-lb bags, I was trying to think of a good place to keep them as they didn’t fit quite right in our 3-gallon buckets. Then it hit me! They were essentially the shape of our pillows. We could get rid of our pillows and switch to flour bags! That would save so much space! I slipped the flour bags into pillow cases to see if my husband would notice. He didn’t, but I had to go ahead and tell him so I could brag about my genius idea! As a very practical guy, he was elated.
There are lots of other under-used spaces in your house that could be filled with food storage! Here are some other favorites:
- in the piano bench
- in the wood stove/fireplace during the summer
- under the kitchen sink
- behind the books on the bookshelf (with your books out to the edge you’ll have less dusting, too)
- on your window sills
- stacked up under a tablecloth as a faux end table
- in the drawer under the oven
- under the bathroom sink
We are serious about our food storage and we are serious about making the most of our space, but this post is completely an…
APRIL FOOLS JOKE!
Did we get you?
Okay, I did have a cold cereal nightstand once, and we do have food storage buckets under one of our kids’ beds, and we’ve stored food under our own bed in the past, but everything else about this post is 100% fiction. I actually got the dryer idea from our 3-year-old who likes to hide in there and set up a “store” sometimes.
Find places to store your food, and get creative, but don’t try to use flour bags as pillows. They’re more like bricks!
Now that you’re in a silly mood, check out our April Fools Jokes from past years: Share them with a friend and have a laugh together!