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DIY Food Storage Pantry - Save Time, Save Money, Buy Bulk and Be Prepared

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Check out this video to see how we are using some extra space under the stairs to store our bulk food and pantry items. Since we have been growing more and more of our own food we needed a good place to store it all! The SSL Family Mom has also been cooking and baking almost everything from scratch which means that we have a lot more baking supplies on hand. This space will give us a climate controlled area in our home using some extra space that was just piled with junk. After a few trips to Goodwill the space was cleared out and ready for some shelves. This will be the first in a series of videos and articles about how we are storing food here in our suburban home. The first step I am tackling today is to get the shelves put in a lay out the space to handle the size items that we will most likely be storing. In the future I will continue to work on this area and enclose it with drywall, run electric for lights and outlets, paint the shelves, seal the concrete floor, and add a small dehumidifier to keep the moisture down. The ideal conditions for dry food storage is a humidity level below 15% and temps from 40-70 degrees Fahrenheit (4-21c). The basement here in Michigan is always at about 65 degrees so we are in good shape there but the humidity is much higher in the summertime. This will be the biggest challenge and that is why I want to seal this area off from the rest of the basement and use a dehumidifier to keep the moisture levels down. That will come as a later addition as I said but for now back to getting these shelves setup! I am using all 2X4 construction for the shelf framing for a couple of reasons. This is the cheapest and most readily available type of lumber for us here and also because a 2X4 can hold quite a bit of weight if installed correctly. I probably could have used smaller lumber but in the end these shelves will be able to hold anything I can imagine putting on them. The shelves themselves are made from cheap OSB (oriented Stranded Board) for similar reasons. It is cheap and easily available here and will serve as a good solid shelf for many years. OSB does not do well in high moisture environments but since we are going for climate control here we should be ok. I am using a 16 inch deep shelf which will hold about 4 quart size mason jars as well as most of the other items that we will be storing here. The bottom shelf is the tallest to hold emergency storage buckets (either 5 or 6 gallon). The next shelf can hold any large size canning jars for juices or pickles. The next two shelves are sized for quart size jars and the top for smaller jam jars and canned goods. With this design I should be able to fit 30-60 days worth of food for our family of five. Tools used in the construction of the shelves Chalk line - http://amzn.to/1BmGB0V Speed Square - http://amzn.to/1ATc9KJ Craftsman Jigsaw - http://amzn.to/1AlUo4X A better hammer!! - http://amzn.to/1BmHgPY Porter Cable Nailer - http://amzn.to/1AlV2PV All of these and more items used by the SSL Family are available in the Simple Suburban General Store - http://astore.amazon.com/simpsubulivi-20 Music - "I'll Be Right Behind You, Josephine" by Josh Woodward. Free download: http://joshwoodward.com/song/IllBeRightBehindYouJosephine Creative Commons License http://www.joshwoodward.com/#/ https://www.youtube.com/user/joshwoodward
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Text Comments (47)
Frank Gutowski (22 days ago)
Slatwall. Fast and easy to install. Strong. Economical. Looks good. Prefinished is available. Just cut shelving, insert brackets and you’re done.
dirtdiver5050 (1 month ago)
I liked how you notched the corner brace. Looks strong.
good use of what most would see as useless space
Did you ever finish the second video? Would love to see the finished pantry and temperature control. I need to convert my basement stairs for this exact thing!
SSLFamilyDad (1 year ago)
I never did unfortunately. We moved last summer and I did not finish it. I was going to enclose the outside walls with plywood and then add a small dehumidifier to control humidity.
Nova Scotia Living (1 year ago)
I'm am new to this kind of information. my eyes have opened so wide this past week watching prepper videos, shtf, teotwawki etc... I am learning so Mich from channels like yours. thank you so much for sharing. I'm a mom of 6 sometimes more as we foster, living in a very rural area and I need to get more on the ball with being focused and ready for whatever may happen. thanks so much for sharing ~ Tracey
David (1 year ago)
Fantastic idea. I did something very similar to this. Just curious why you went with nails as opposed to screws? Likely what you had on hand? Thanks again for sharing this, Dave.
David (1 year ago)
SSLFamilyDad I wouldn't even have noticed except for the inverted reverse grip blows you did from the hammer in the corner. I said to.myself, that's why I use screws, can't hit a nail left handed to save my life. LOL.
SSLFamilyDad (1 year ago)
+Dave Pruitt correct, I was using what I had around and was on a budget. I typically prefer screws for just about anything!
Johnny Mac (2 years ago)
You handle that table saw like a pro! If that was me, I would have needed to setup some kind of guide to get a long cut like that straight.
SeeShell (2 years ago)
You shop at my favorite store lol Great job on the shelves!
Road to the Farm (2 years ago)
Gorgeous! Love it!!!
kathleen falkner (2 years ago)
Nice work!!!! I like your idea of using under the stairs. Smart use of space!!! One thing I've learned about food storage with regard to flour is purchasing wheat berries and grinding your own flour as you use it. These have a longer shelf life and avoids potential for flour spoilage. Nice ideas !!!!! 😊👍
acajudi100 (2 years ago)
The mind is everything. What you think you become. Buddha Judi Grace StoryCorps. thank you.
Tooshie G (2 years ago)
Great build. I have a similar pantry and unfortunately, over the years we've had a couple of "ut oh's" with an old can. So, I painted/sealed my shelves then added a vinyl "shelf paper" to make it easier to clean up and so food products would not absorb into the wood.
SSLFamilyDad (2 years ago)
+Tooshie G that is a great idea. We planned to seal the shelves with a good paint but havent gotten around to it yet!
Danielle Marceaux (3 years ago)
Would like to have a basement so I could do this but don't so have to work with what i have
Salobrena Smith (3 years ago)
great job
SSLFamilyDad (3 years ago)
+Salobrena Smith thanks!
Day-Z Gonzalez (3 years ago)
Hi there, did you ever made any updates on the pantry and made Any videos? I would love to see how you updated it... any Lighting, humidifier, etc ?? I'm considering to do something like this under my stairs too...nice job
SSLFamilyDad (3 years ago)
+Daisy Gonzalez Thanks, I have not updated this yet other than adding a battery powered light. I will be enclosing it, adding a new light, sealing the floor, adding dehumidifier, etc this winter. I have just not been able to get down there and get this done this summer! Look for that video in the next couple of months
Yvonne Luke (3 years ago)
Great Build!!!!!! It's good that you are making the choice to start this now while your babies are small. They grow up so quickly and it helps to have enough food just in case of emergencies.
Mark Thieme (4 years ago)
love the pantry so nice......been dreaming of a root cellar lately ...shame they are not as comman as they use to be...love the use of space under the stairs
xaploq1 (4 years ago)
Watched the majority of your vids want my wife to get on board soon to do this tired of relying on people.
Buddy Harrison (4 years ago)
You may need some backing behind the shelves to prevent the goods from falling off. Drywall only on the outside of the walls will still leave a 3-1/2" space. Just a suggestion. I enjoy your videos, God Bless.
SSLFamilyDad (4 years ago)
@Buddy Harrison I completely agree, I was thinking of running a small piece or 1/4 molding along the back just to give an edge so you don't push the jars over. Thanks for checking it out!
Bill Scott (4 years ago)
Nice use of space! We will be building a food storage area in our basement as well. I like the way you notched the corners, very nice! I'll be borrowing that technique when we build ours. Go GREEN!
acajudi100 (2 years ago)
+SSLFamilyDad You are so polite to answer your replies. God bless all, who show respect to subbies. You are super busy also.
SSLFamilyDad (4 years ago)
Thanks Bill, it is pretty solid and working perfectly for us so far. I could have probably gone with lesser lumber (1X3,1X2) but the 2X4's are certainly going to hold as much weight as I want to put on them. Thanks for checking it out and good luck with yours!
Dolly Perry (4 years ago)
I suggest that all the pastas, potato flakes etc. go into a mouse proof clear container. I like the fliptop style. I have one bin for my paper towels. One has the side dishes another has cereal boxes in it. Now I know that living next to a wheat field might make my mouse issues stronger than most...But it still is a good idea. Love the shelf!
15 Seconds (3 years ago)
Yeah, I don't like the flip top style. Not only does it not protect contents from water damage, but it allows oxygen and insects in. Sealed plastic containers don't cost any more.
SSLFamilyDad (4 years ago)
That is a great idea and something that I was considering. We have not had issues with mice but we also used to have cats in the basement. Now that the cats are gone we have had a spotting of a field mouse this winter so I may be getting either some mouse traps or some containers for those items, I haven't decided yet:)
dan Hamakua (4 years ago)
Great use of space and very well constructed.
SSLFamilyDad (4 years ago)
Thanks Dan, it has been so nice to have that extra space for our bulk food. Now we can buy more when things are on sale and have a place to put it all!
shogun873 (4 years ago)
Please use Helmans mayo instead of burmans. Your taste buds will thanks me.
SSLFamilyDad (4 years ago)
Thanks Shogun873, we normally use Hellman's of course but can't pass up a good deal on an off brand. My wallet thanks me:)
Shawn Crow (4 years ago)
Looks great!
Brian Smith (4 years ago)
I am curious how you secured the 2x4s to the stair walls? It seems to me you would have to drive in from the front riser of the stair, but you would be blind. How did you solve that problem?
Brian Smith (4 years ago)
@SSLFamilyDad Cool. I gotta' tell you, I have enjoyed your series on the chicken coop and inspired me to build one of my own. And I love the work you have done on the hydroponics. I would really love to get a system set up of my own and have made that a goal for this year. Thanks for your great videos, and blessings to you and your family!
SSLFamilyDad (4 years ago)
You are right about that Brian. On the two small supports that I put on the back of the risers I used some short nails to secure it to the riser itself. While not the best option the majority of the weight is held up by the main support in the front and back so it should work out ok. Good eye:) Thanks for checking it out!
CGLouisiana (4 years ago)
Excellent use of space brother... "Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him." Proverbs 30:5
BuckeyeBryan (4 years ago)
Good video... Did you consider using 2x3s instead of 2x4s. I just used 2x3s to build a floating frame for my desk and it's pretty sturdy, so I don't think you would lose much strength, but gain just that little extra space.  
SSLFamilyDad (4 years ago)
I really went back and forth on whether to use 2X4 or 2X3 but since I already had a stack of 2X4's in the garage it pushed me in that direction. Either would be fine for this I think, it isn't holding that much weight anyway. Thanks for checking it out and Go Green!:)
Brian Cosby (4 years ago)
Great video! Reminds me of the good quality of Wranglerstar.. not sure if you've checked him out yet. 
SSLFamilyDad (4 years ago)
Oh, Yes, I subscribe to Cody's channel as well and love the things he puts together over there. Thanks for checking it out Brian!
Super Daddy (4 years ago)
Nice I need to repair a few shelves in our secondary pantry
SSLFamilyDad (4 years ago)
Thanks, hope it helped you out in some way!

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