Thursday, February 20, 2014

Basement Organization, Part 2

I've been talking quite a bit here about my ongoing Basement Organization Project. As I've been writing about organizing the basement, I've noticed that although our basement isn't particularly large, we kind of have it divided into "zones."  This wasn't an intentional thing, at first, but it's working, and it definitely helps with keeping things in order. Loosely, these zones are:

Laundry area
Tool bench area
Holiday/Party storage
Backup food storage
Extra paint, painting supplies, etc
Cat corner (where the litter boxes are, and where we store the cat carrier boxes)
Camping stuff
Memorabilia and Misc. Storage (aka "Stuff We're Not Currently Using But Will Eventually")
More Misc. Storage

I plan to further purge and condense more of our stuff, to maybe just have one small area of  "Miscellaneous Storage" I am all about clearing clutter, these days! Simplify!

So... moving on! Last week I shared my tool bench area, and holiday storage. Today I'm moving on to our basement food pantry area.

Our basement pantry shelves
Because we have a large family (and some daycare kids) we buy lots of stuff in bulk. Judging from the long lines we encounter at our local Costco, we are definitely not the only family to do this. There are benefits to buying in bulk, mostly that it's definitely cheaper. It's also nice to have extra food on hand in case bad weather or some other disaster or illness keeps you from getting to the store for a few days. But the downside is that most of us can't fit very many gigantic five pound boxes of food in our kitchens, so if you're going to buy in bulk, you need a place to store the overflow. We have carved out a little spot in our basement to serve as a food storage area. We have an old chest freezer, and next to that we set up two sets of old wooden shelves. They aren't fancy, but they serve the purpose. In addition to storing our Costco overflow, we also store our home-canned jams, preserves, apple butter and applesauce (of which there is very little left, at this time of year) You might also notice that on the bottom shelf we keep several gallons of spring water. We started doing this a few years ago, after there had been a water main break in our area, and we were left without water for a couple of days. All the stores around us quickly ran out of bottled water, and we had to drive five miles to find any. After that, we decided it's sensible to keep some water on hand, just in case. We keep a few jugs in the freezer, too, which, in addition to being good for emergencies, are great for putting into the cooler when we go camping. The frozen gallons stay cold longer than regular ice or ice packs, and as they thaw you have fresh drinking water. Just make sure you pour a little out of the jug before freezing, to allow for expansion. Speaking of the freezer, I've had a few people ask me why a vegetarian family needs a big chest freezer. Well, freezers aren't just for meat, folks! We keep stuff we've frozen from our garden in there, and I often make large batches of soups, stews and chili which I keep in the freezer for quick dinners. To help me remember what we have in there, I keep a running list on the front of the freezer. When I take something out I cross it off, and when I add something, I jot it down, along with dates.

Time for me to wrap up! I've got a stack of seed catalogs to go through over the next few days. After very long, cold winter, it's finally time to start planning the garden and ordering seeds. Yay!

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