Food Storage: What To Keep?

what kind of food can I store in storage room

Storing food in a storage room can be a great way to free up space in your home, but there are a few things to keep in mind. Firstly, perishable food items like meat, dairy, and produce are not suitable for storage as they can attract pests, mould, and mildew. Even shelf-stable items can be tricky, as some may attract rodents and bugs, while others, like canned foods, are at risk of combustion. It's important to check with your storage company about their specific rules regarding food storage.

In general, non-perishable and dry food items are better suited for storage. This includes items like cereals, flour, grains, canned foods, and other packaged goods. It's important to keep these items off the floor and store them in airtight containers or bags to prevent spillage and contamination. Additionally, maintaining proper temperature control and airflow in the storage room is crucial to prevent food spoilage.

When it comes to storage, it's also important to avoid storing toxic, flammable, or combustible items, as well as stolen or illegal goods, weapons, living or dead things, priceless items, and unregistered or uninsured vehicles.

Characteristics Values
Temperature Cool and dry
Location Basement storage room
Storage Type Sturdy shelves
Food Type Non-perishable
Container Type Airtight containers or bags


Perishable food items

If you are considering storing food, always check with the storage company first. Some facilities may allow certain non-perishable items if they are kept in airtight or thick containers. For example, non-perishable, dried, or freeze-dried foods are often acceptable, but be aware that even these can attract rodents and pests if not stored correctly.

If you are storing food, it is important to rotate your stock regularly, using the FIFO (First In, First Out) method to ensure food is consumed before its use-by date. Always store food in a cool, dry place, ideally in a basement where the temperature is stable. Keep food off the floor, and use heavy-duty, sturdy shelving to hold the weight of the food.


Non-perishable food items

When it comes to food storage, there are two main categories: perishable and non-perishable items. Perishable food items are those that need to be refrigerated or frozen to stay fresh and safe for consumption, such as meat, dairy, and fresh produce. These items are not suitable for storage rooms as they can quickly spoil and attract pests, mould, and mildew. On the other hand, non-perishable food items have a much longer shelf life and can be stored at room temperature without refrigeration. Here are some examples of non-perishable food items that can be stored in a storage room:

Canned Goods: Canned foods such as beans, soups, fruits, and vegetables are classic non-perishable items. They have a long shelf life and can be stored for many years without spoilage. However, it is important to periodically check the expiration dates and ensure that the cans are not damaged, as this could introduce moisture or bacteria.

Dried Fruits and Vegetables: Dehydrated or dried fruits and vegetables are excellent options for long-term storage. Examples include raisins, apricots, mangoes, and kale chips. Just make sure they are stored in airtight containers to maintain their freshness and prevent pest infestation.

Pasta, Noodles, and Rice: Dry pasta, noodles, and rice are all great non-perishable food items. They have a long shelf life and are typically packaged in sturdy boxes or plastic bags, making them easy to store. However, it is important to note that rice and other grains can turn rancid, so it is recommended to store them in thick glass or plastic containers to prevent pests and extend their shelf life.

Cereals and Breakfast Bars: Ready-to-eat cereals and breakfast bars are designed to be stored at room temperature and can last for several months. Just make sure to check the expiration dates and store them in sealed containers to maintain freshness.

Flour and Grains: Flour, cornmeal, and other grain products are non-perishable and can be stored for extended periods. However, it is important to store them in airtight containers to prevent pest infestation and keep them away from moisture, as they can become mouldy over time.

Baking Supplies: Items such as sugar, salt, baking powder, and dried yeast are all non-perishable and can be safely stored in a storage room. Just make sure to keep them in airtight containers to maintain their freshness.

Nuts and Dried Beans: Nuts and dried beans are excellent sources of protein and energy, and they have a long shelf life when stored properly. It is recommended to store them in airtight containers in a cool, dry place to prevent spoilage and pest infestation.

Condiments and Oils: Condiments such as ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise, and relish are typically non-perishable and can be stored in a storage room. Additionally, oils such as olive oil, canola oil, and other vegetable oils have a long shelf life and can be safely stored.

Prepackaged Snacks: Items like granola bars, crackers, chips, and cookies are usually non-perishable and can be stored in their original packaging. Just make sure to check the expiration dates and store them in a cool, dry place to maintain their freshness.

It is important to note that while these non-perishable food items can be stored in a storage room, it is always a good idea to check local guidelines and regulations, as well as the specific rules of your storage facility. Additionally, proper storage practices, such as using airtight containers, regular rotation, and maintaining a cool, dry environment, will help ensure the longevity and safety of your stored food items.


Food storage containers

When it comes to food storage, you can find a wide range of container options. From meal prep containers to kitchen canisters, reusable bags, and food storage bottles, there is a container for every need. Airtight containers are particularly useful as they help keep food fresh by preventing air from entering and moisture from escaping. This is especially beneficial when storing foods that spoil easily.

Various retailers offer food storage containers in different materials, sizes, and sets. For instance, Target provides a variety of food storage options, including canisters, container sets, and reusable bags. Similarly, Walmart offers a range of containers, such as the Rubbermaid EasyFindLids 40-piece set and the Fullstar 50-piece set, which are both plastic and BPA-free. Tupperware is another well-known brand that offers high-quality, airtight food storage solutions.

When storing food, it is important to follow best practices to ensure food safety. Always store raw food separately from cooked food, keeping raw food at the bottom of the fridge to avoid cross-contamination. Additionally, pay attention to use-by dates and avoid refreezing thawed foods. By choosing the right containers and following safe food storage practices, you can keep your food fresh and reduce the risk of food poisoning.

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Food storage conditions


The ideal location for food storage is a cool, dry, dark basement or storage room where the temperature is stable. The earth acts as a natural insulator, helping to keep the temperature consistent. If you do not have access to a basement, consider using a closet, under-the-bed space, or a garage for food storage. However, be mindful that garages are susceptible to temperature fluctuations, so only store non-perishable food items in this space.


Use sturdy, heavy-duty shelving to store your food. Food is heavy and requires strong shelves to support the weight. Commercial metal shelving is a good option, or you can create your own shelving units using boards and buckets. Ensure that the shelves are securely attached to the wall to prevent accidents.

Food Containers

Store food in suitable, covered containers. Choose strong, non-toxic containers that can be sealed tightly to minimize potential contamination. Avoid using thin plastic containers as rodents can smell and gnaw through them. Glass or very thick plastic containers are ideal for storing dry goods.

Food Placement

Keep all food items at least 6 inches off the floor. This helps prevent contamination and makes it easier to clean the floor. In some settings, such as nursing homes, food must also be stored at least 18 inches from the ceiling to prevent obstruction of sprinklers in the event of a fire. Do not stack food items too close together, as this can hinder proper airflow.

Temperature Control

Maintain proper temperature and airflow in the storage area. While the temperature does not need to be time-temperature controlled, it should be kept between 50°F and 70°F (10°C and 21°C) if possible. Use a thermometer to monitor the temperature and adjust accordingly.

Food Separation

Store raw foods separately from cooked foods. Raw food should be kept in sealed or covered containers at the bottom of the storage unit to prevent meat juices from dripping down and contaminating cooked food. When storing food in a refrigerator, ensure that raw foods are kept below cooked foods.

Food Labelling

Always label food items that are not in their original container with their common name. This helps prevent cross-contamination and ensures that food is used before its expiration date. Use the FIFO (first in, first out) method to organize your food so that older items are used first.

Prohibited Items

Do not store chemicals, toxic substances, or flammable items near food. This includes items such as gasoline, propane, oil, grease, cleaners, and paint. Keep these items in a separate, designated area such as a utility room.


Regularly clean and dust the storage area to prevent contamination from dirt, debris, and pests. Wash the floors, shelves, and food products, and pay attention to light fixtures and vents as these can accumulate dirt and dust easily.

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Food storage safety

Keeping Food Safe

Storing food correctly helps prevent foodborne illnesses caused by bacteria such as Salmonella, E. coli, and C. botulinum. Keeping food chilled at the proper temperatures is crucial to slowing bacterial growth. The "temperature danger zone" for food is between 5°C and 60°C; keep high-risk foods out of this zone. High-risk foods include raw and cooked meat, dairy products, eggs, seafood, cooked rice and pasta, prepared salads and fruit salads, and ready-to-eat foods containing these ingredients.

Storing Food in the Fridge and Freezer

Maintain your refrigerator temperature at or below 40°F (4°C) and your freezer temperature at 0°F (-18°C). Use a thermometer to check these periodically. When storing food in the fridge, avoid overcrowding to allow air circulation. Put chilled and frozen foods away as soon as you get home, especially on hot days or trips longer than 30 minutes. Keep hot and cold foods separate, and don't put very hot food directly into the fridge; wait until it has cooled down.

Storing Specific Foods

  • Raw foods should be kept separate from cooked foods, with raw foods stored at the bottom of the fridge to avoid cross-contamination.
  • Store eggs in their carton inside the refrigerator, not on the door.
  • Avoid refreezing thawed foods.
  • Use ready-to-eat foods, such as luncheon meats, as soon as possible, as Listeria bacteria can grow during prolonged storage.
  • Marinate food in the refrigerator, not at room temperature, to prevent bacterial growth.
  • Always cover refrigerated foods and check leftovers daily for spoilage.
  • Check expiration dates, but use your judgement; if in doubt, throw it out.
  • Food that is properly frozen at 0°F (-18°C) will remain safe indefinitely, but quality will decrease over time.

Non-Refrigerated Food Storage

  • Check canned goods for damage and stickiness, which may indicate a leak.
  • Keep non-perishable foods away from household cleaning products and chemicals.

Storage Units

While this topic mainly covers food storage at home, it is worth noting that storage units have strict rules about what can and cannot be stored. Perishable food items are generally prohibited from being stored in these units. Non-perishable foods can be stored, especially in airtight containers, but be aware that some foods, like grains and flours, can turn rancid and attract pests.

Frequently asked questions

No, perishable food items are not suitable for storage rooms as they attract pests, mould, and mildew. Even in a climate-controlled unit, they will not stay fresh for long.

Non-perishable food items are generally suitable for storage, especially if kept in airtight containers. However, some items, like rice and grains, can turn rancid, so thick containers are recommended.

Yes, perishable food items, such as meat, dairy, and produce, are prohibited. Additionally, certain non-perishable items, like rice and grains, may be prohibited due to their ability to attract rodents and pests.

Yes, you can store food in a home storage room, but it is important to maintain ideal storage conditions. This includes keeping the room cool, dry, and dark, with a stable temperature.

Food should be stored on sturdy, heavy-duty shelving to facilitate effective rotation and prevent accidents. Keep food off the floor and avoid stacking items too closely together to ensure good airflow.

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