Last year at this time I was trying to figure out what would go prettily on a plant shelf in my living room and would be suited for all seasons since I'm just too old and lazy to decorate with the seasons. I'd rather do other things if possible. So I bought a large vase/urn and started painting things pink to put in it. It has branches, cards, watches, ribbons, beautiful things my group has made me or things I've made and a sweet tutu-ed ballerina on the top. Just a froufrou tree in silver and pink and red.
The snowstorm we had recently is one reason to have food storage. Oh, we also have a generator so if power goes out we'll be fine. But with dried milk we don't even have to worry about anything but fresh salads. We have it all in case of power outage due to snow, ice storms, or anything like that. We're not in a flood zone so not much need to worry about that.
There is no hard way to get food storage; it's all easy. While it looks daunting, it isn't. It can be done. You just have to do it.
What I first started doing is putting the date on the food cans and containers we bought, on the lids we'd put 5/08 or 8/09 or 11/10. But rotate them. I've had to throw out some things because they were so old as to be inedible. Tomatoes are one thing that will deteriorate in a can. I had an explosion in one house because I had not noticed that the can was "rounding" at the top. Tomato sauce all over a certain section of our garage. Not pretty.
On boxes of soap, detergent, fabric softener, I'd put the actual date I purchased it and then when I started using it, I'd put that date to let me know how long it lasted. So if it took me 6 months to use the detergent then I knew I needed 2 boxes, but I'll usually have 3 big boxes on hand. I'm compulsive about it. (There are too many stories from friends about losing jobs and having to live off of food storage or having some of it destroyed in a basement flood. I'm one of those who lost a good part of it in a flood but it didn't take long at all to get it back up to where I needed it.) Buy cans that are on sale but be sure and check the "close date" so they won't be beyond that date before you eat them. I don't ever buy just one can of corn or beans. I buy 8-12 at a time. Just figure out how many cans you'll need for a week or month and multiply that for a year's supply. Don't just depend on pantry items, get freezer items also. I recommend vacuum sealing HIGHLY!!! Foods vacuum sealed in the freezer can last for years with absolutely NO deterioration.
Start collecting soda pop bottles to put water in if you can't get a water storage tank like I have. Just put some aside. Start with a 3 day supply and work up. It's all up to you. Personally, I don't want to risk being without food.
Dried foods also. I have dried carrots, onions, beef jerky, etc. Those work well. You can buy a lot of stuff from LDS canneries. They will sell to anyone! If you have one near you, go and purchase.
Our church recommends the basics for life: wheat, rice, corn, oil, sugar, pinto beans, rolled oats, pasta, potato flakes, apple slices, non-fat dehydrated milk and carrots. Every single one of those items can be stored for 30+ years with no deterioration in food value. Those are the necessities, but I prefer normal food so I have it all stored.
This is a sheet of what we use. I created it as a spread sheet and just put all the items we use on it. We simply went through our cabinets and marked down just about everything in there. Yes, this takes a bit of time but it is well worth it to see where you stand with your food storage. BTW, if anyone would like this inventory, just email me from the address on the sidebar and I'll zap it over to you. That way it's already done for you and you can add or cross off anything that doesn't apply to you. I'd be happy to do it for you. It's 5 pages total. You can just print it off for your own use.
Storage in a bedroom closet with the food storage list hanging on the right side.
Another pantry closet in the laundry room. Some items will go in here soon. I've been rearranging things to make more room for the food.
One shelf is for my painting and cleaning supplies and two shelves will be for food.
We keep the dried carrots, onions, soap, detergents, bleach, etc. out here.
You can store under your bed, but we bought those risers to raise it up enough to put cans under there.
Two bags of potato flakes are under there along with candles, which would melt outside in our summer heat.
Kitchen pantry where I normally keep a good supply on hand.
Candy is essential for periods of stress also, but you can use it to bargain if the need ever arises.
Please understand: we are NOT survivalists, just realists. Hard times are coming. Prices will go up. Food shortages are predicted. You may lose your job or source of income. We just like being prepared. If you do nothing, then you'll suffer the consequences when you could have been prepared. Our church leaders encourage us to be prepared temporally, spiritually and financially. We try to be good Christians by following their advice.