I'm a big believer in food storage. Growing up we had 9 kids and one income (my dad was a teacher, so 9 months of income) My mother was nothing short of brilliant when it came to factoring and figuring food for all of us. She spent weeks preserving fruits and vegetables in the summer and fall, she shopped case lot sales, and she baked bread 3 times a week. We had a huuuuuuge storage room called the fruit room, an under the stairs crawl space for veggies, and an extra freezer downstairs. Because dad got paid at the first of every month, we relied on that storage space a lot. We were not well to do, but neither were we poor and we never went underfed because of my parents diligence for food storage. At every phase of my married life I have tried to build up an 'excess' of things we use, but only in the last few years have I had the space and the focus to build up a true one year supply. We have some drypack stuff for emergencies, but I try to keep my focus on things we use and make sure I have lots on hand. The Grocery Game has improved my skills a great deal and I ran out of room, resorting to dropping cans into miscellaneous boxes in my storage room.
A few months ago I went to my mom's house. She and my dad are down to 1 teenager at home and the last few years have been all about downsizing. They don't need the 25 foot fruit room anymore. Instead she had a shelving unit that made me drool--really. I've wanted one ever since and finally, due to all the e-bay stuff I've been selling, I decided I was ready for one and we had the money. If you too are interested, here's how to do it in 36 easy steps:
Step One: Spend 10-45 minutes pontificating about the importance of a shelving system that would help you inventory what you have, what you need, and put them in a place the kids can get them for me when you call out for "Cream of Mushroom soup!"
Step Two: Find a "Shelf Reliance" shelving unit. For some people, that means going to the website and ordering it, for me it meant going to walmart where they were on sale for $299.
Step Three: Purchase unit.
Step Four: Cause serious muscle damage trying to unload it from the car by yourself
Step Five: Bat your eyelashes and ask a big-strong-man to help take it downstairs.
Step Six: Open the box, lay out the parts, ignore the instructions because they will only slow you down.
Step Seven: Start putting the unit together on the carpet--the pegs won't fit into the rivets without a hammer but the hammer causes the paint to crack and the metal to vibrate which causes the crossbeams to bounce out of their rivets and smack against your forearms, head, and legs.
Step Eight: Surrender to the instructions which say 1) don't use a hammer because it will chip the paint and cause vibrations that will make assembly difficult. 2) Don't put unit together on carpet.
Step Nine: Go to bed grumbling about the conspiracy of do it yourself projects for which you have no chromosomal right to undertake. Give husband the silent treatment for having a meeting and not being home to help you.
Step Ten: Continue to give husband cold shoulder because he has to work today even thought it's a holiday.
Step Eleven: Push boxes out of the way so you can put it together on the cement floor of the storage area itself which is way too small for a job of this size.
Step Twelve: Review the part about not using a hammer after a cross beam smacks into your thumb, rendering it numb.
Step Thirteen: Go to Home Depot and buy rubber mallet, not the nice one that doesn't bounce and chip, but the cheap $5 one that bounces and has pieces that break off--avoid anything that will make this job easier!
Step Fourteen: Ignore instructions again because having a rubber mallet in your possession makes you all powerful. Get to work on the cross beams and note that though the rubber mallet works better, it's not perfect and the crossbeams take a lot of pounding to make them fit in the rivets.
Step Fifteen: Swear a little.
Step Sixteen: Realize you put the crossbeams in the wrong rivets. Take them all out and reluctantly submit to the instructions again which say "Count rivets from the bottom not the top"
Step Seventeen: Attach crossbeams to the correct rivets, beware of impaling pieces of rubber mallet as they fly toward your face. Safety goggles are a wise choice--or if you happen to have sunglasses on your head despite being in the basement, use those.
Step Eighteen: Note that wearing sunglasses in the basement might lead you to miscounting the rivets you can no longer see.
Step Nineteen: Swear some more as you try and pound out the bend you inadvertently put into one of the crossbeams when you tripped over a box in the too-small room and hit your elbow in the other shelves before falling int. . . okay, in truth you have no idea how you managed to bend metal when you have to ask for your husbands help to open a jar of spaghetti sauce. But you did bend it so you now have to fix it.
Step Twenty: If you drink, now would be a good time to mix up a screwdriver. If you don't drink, take a few seconds to cry it out.
Step Twenty-one: With the cross beams finally in place begin putting in the plastic mounting bracket things--begin by trying to make the wrong size fit into the top row. Cry some more.
Step Twenty-two: Worship the instructions and sit down, take twenty minutes and review how this works.
Step Twenty-three: As per the instructions, begin putting in the can racks on the bottom row.
Step Twenty-four: Test one by using a glass jar of pickles.
Step Twenty-five: Grumble about the instructions not saying anything about not using glass items as you clean up the broken jar of pickles.
Step Twenty-six: Test with a can of oats.
Step Twenty-seven: Allow yourself to feel like the smartest freaking person in the entire world for making it work! Enjoy this moment because it won't last long.
Step Twenty-eight: Realize that all cans are not the same size after putting your racks all the same size.
Step Twenty-nine: Redo all the racks. Where is your husband!
Step Thirty: Realize it would make sense to have all the soups together, redo all the racks again.
Step Thirty-one: Realize you didn't put the shelf in the right place in the storage unit and keeping it where it is will not allow you to ever decorate for Christmas again. Cause serious muscle damage putting it where it belongs because you refuse to take all those cans off.
Step Thirty-two: Clean up storage area--it's amazing how much crap you throw into this room, you should be ashamed of yourself.
Step Thirty-three: Bring children and husband in the room to glory over your brilliance. It's so pretty!
Step thirty-four: When husband asks you how long it took, lie. God won't hold it against you, besides He's a bit embarrassed it took you 12 hours too. Three hours is an acceptable time.
Step Thirty-five: Leave door to storage unit open so you can smile every time you see what you made (at this point you're already starting to believe it only took you 3 hours so you're feeling lots better)
Step Thirty-six: Take a picture so you can blog about it.