How to Rotate Your Food Storage Effectively

An emergency news advisory flashes on the television screen. Authorities strongly advise its citizens to stay indoors amidst an impending threat. Power gets cut off shortly and chaos erupts in the streets. Your family is forced to stay indoors, with no outside contact. Your family has to rely on your food storage for survival. You bring out all the necessities that you’ve amassed while prepping- spare batteries, flashlights, emergency survival kits. Weeks go by and it is still unsafe to leave the house. “It’s ok,” you say to yourself. Our food stock can still last for quite some time. Then, as you rummage through your food storage, you realize that you have made one fatal flaw. You have all the necessary survival food kits, you have read every preparedness guide and followed them to the letter but you forgot about one basic thing: proper food storage rotation.


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Every good prepper keeps a well-stocked food storage for emergency situations. Keeping it well stocked however, is not enough. To keep an effective food storage system, a good prepper must practice proper food storage stock rotation.


Why the need for food storage stock rotation?

Every food item in your prepper shelf––be it dried fruits, cured and freeze-dried meats, canned goods, or dry grains- have their own shelf lives. Though they last longer than average food items like fresh goods, they will not keep from spoiling indefinitely. So if you don’t consume the food items in your prepper shelf before they expire, they might end up going to waste. Worse, in case of an actual emergency situation, you might find the food supplies you have stored useless because they have already expired. A good system of food storage stock rotation will prevent this from happening.


Photo via Flickr


What is food storage stock rotation?

Food storage rotation is rotating the food supplies in your storage into your daily meals, and replacing it with newer items. Rotation means cycling out and using the products you’ve had on your shelves for quite some time and bring in newer products to replace what you’ve used. Simply put, you use food items and then replace them with newer items to 1) prevent food items from going to waste and 2) make sure that the food supplies in your storage have maximum shelf lives.


How to practice effective food storage stock rotation?

    1. Visibility

      The most import aspect in an effective food rotation system is the visibility of your food supplies and their expiration dates. Many families consider the basement or the back of their food pantries as the ideal places for their food storage. Because these storage places are usually dry, cool, and dark, they increase the lifespan of food. However, these out-of-the-way places, don’t usually prompt us to use food storage on a regular basis. To remedy this, it is a good idea to make a habit of regularly checking your food storage and keeping a supply in a highly visible area in the kitchen, such as a kitchen cabinet. By keeping your food supplies visible, you will be able to check which items are about to expire and need to be replaced.

    2. Shelf-life awareness

      It is not enough to stock your food storage with supplies, you must also be aware of the shelf life of all your items. If a product is store bought, it usually has information about its expiration date, along with the conditions that it needs to be kept in. To make it easier for you to keep track of your food items’ expiration date, you can use markers to write the expiration dates on top of the cans. You can also write on durable sticky tapes which you can then paste on your food item. By doing this, you will be able to easily keep track of the expiration dates of your food items with one look.


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Photo via Flickr
  1. Proper Organizing

    Proper organizing is something that every grocery store does which you can also apply to your home. Items are placed on shelves according to their shelf lives. Items that have been on the shelves longer, meaning those that have shorter shelf lives are pushed to the front, while items that have just arrived and have longer expiration dates are placed behind them.
    You can apply this idea when stocking canned goods. Whenever you restock your supply, put the newly bought cans with longer shelf lives at the back and restock your kitchen with cans from the front. If you want to take it a step further, you can add a left to right way of consumption. You can do this by always placing older cans with shorter shelf lives at the left side. Whether you or a family member uses a can or two for consumption, always take the can at the left side.
    Applying this concept to your other food items ensures that your food storage stays safe, fresh and not in danger of expiration.

  2. Weekly diet incorporation

    Keeping a substantial amount of food in storage is ideal for emergency scenarios. But since you can never tell when this emergency scenario will happen, it is important that you consume and replace the food items in your food storage. You can easily do this by incorporating food items from your emergency food storage into your weekly diet. For example, try using your dried meats and canned goods in your cooking thrice a week. You can use your powdered milks and dried grains for baking and desserts every weekend. Doing this not only ensures proper rotation in your food storage but also familiarizes your family with the food items in your storage. In that case, when the real emergency comes, everyone in your family are already used to eating these food items.

Canned Food
Photo via Flickr


There you have it, 4 simple steps in ensuring that you practice proper food rotation for your food storage. Remember that in order to be fully one hundred percent prepared, it is not enough that you stock on items. You must also be familiar with the ins and outs of how they work and what you need to do in order to keep them in good condition. So that when the real emergency comes, you and your family will be able to deal with it.


Aby League is a qualitative researcher and a passionate writer. She is an innovator and technology enthusiast. She has been writing about health, psychology, home improvement and technology. You can see more of her articles on Elite Daily. To know her more, follow her on Twitter.


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