A Beginner’s Guide to Safe Food Storage: Why the Floor is Off-Limits

Storing food is a crucial part of being a prepper. It is recommended to stockpile at least a gallon (3.78 liters) of water and 2,000 calories per person daily. This is no easy feat, so you should be keen on being resourceful, prudent, and tactical in your approach to storing food.

You should not store food on the floor because it will be vulnerable to temperature fluctuations, flooding, and snowstorms. Your stockpile may also attract rodents, insects, and even snakes. It is wiser to place food on top of shelves to give some protection from these elements.

I will talk about why you should not store food on the floor, how you should store it, and the locations where you should be keeping it in your house. I will also discuss the consequences of not storing your food correctly. Let’s dive in!

Downsides of Storing Food on the Floor

It is not a good idea to store food on the floor as several factors may affect its quality. You might be unable to eat your food later on if you do not take the time to ensure that you correctly store it.

Here are a few reasons why you shouldn’t store food on the floor:

Temperature Fluctuations

The temperature on the floor may not be the same as the air temperature. The difference may cause moisture buildup in and around your canned food. This increase in humidity can promote mold growth and may make your food go bad.

Humidity should be kept between 30% – 50% to discourage mold growth. In home-canned food, mold growth shouldn’t be a problem because of the low-oxygen environment inside the container.

However, if you see mold growth in your canned food, it may be an indication of the following:

  • Your food was not heated adequately during the preparation
  • A weak container seal
  • Too little headspace

If you need to store food on the floor, I recommend keeping something like Ready Hour emergency food. Their 3-month food supply is excellent, comes in sealed plastic buckets, and provides 2,000 calories daily.

Natural Disasters

If you store them on the floor, your food stash will be vulnerable to flooding and snowstorms. Natural disasters progress fast, and you may not have time to move your stockpile to a safer location. Store your food on top of shelves to do away with this problem.


Insects need moisture to thrive and survive. They like it best when water vapor and heat are in the air around them.

Furthermore, they tend to lay their eggs when humidity is high. Your food stored on the floor will be the perfect spot to grow their little families, especially since food sources will be accessible.

Low humidity discourages pests, especially cockroaches, from invading your stockpile. You lower the risk of moisture building up in and around your food if you store them on shelves. Additionally, your supply will be less accessible – even to rats and snakes – if they are elevated and away from the floor.

store food on the floor

How Far From the Floor Should Food Be Stored?

Food should be stored on shelves at least six inches (15.24 cm) from the floor. The area underneath should be unobstructed to keep insects and pests away. This distance also helps prevent food from being contaminated and provides good ventilation.

Consequences of Improper Food Storage

Proper storage will make or break all your efforts in stockpiling food for yourself and the entire family. Exert time and effort in ensuring that your food is correctly stored. This way, you can be confident that when the time comes when you and your loved ones need it, the food you have set aside will be edible, nutritious, filling, and delicious.

Here are some consequences of not storing your food properly:

Growth of Mold and Bacteria

Proper storage inhibits the growth of mold and bacteria in food. Mold is that fuzzy fungus you see when the food begins to rot.

When mold is allowed to grow, it produces chemicals that encourage food to decompose. As the food rots and breaks down into simple elements, the mold absorbs them and grows.

On the other hand, bacteria can proliferate when food is not stored correctly. Bacteria that grow on food include Salmonella and Listeria. They harm the human body and can cause severe illnesses, even death.

Deterioration of Food Quality

Factors like color, consistency, and taste can be affected when food is not stored correctly. Food may become difficult to consume later on. It may get to the point when it is altered enough to make it almost inedible, even if it has not entirely spoiled or gone bad.

Food Spoilage

Improper storage can make food rot. This may be due to the following:

  • Insufficient heating during the preparation phase
  • Improper container sealing
  • A less-than-ideal storage location

Ensure all factors contributing to food spoilage will be avoided if not eliminated.

Where You Should Store Your Food Supply

Smart preppers ensure they have enough food to last them weeks, months, or even years. They also see that food is accessible to them and the whole family during a disaster.

It would help to keep your stash in various locations around the house. After all, an inaccessible stockpile is useless if you cannot even utilize them.

Here are a few suggestions on where you should store your food:


The kitchen is very much accessible for everyone inside the house. It has a refrigerator, cupboards, shelves, and cabinets to store food. It would be best to keep some of your stash here so it is readily available to everybody in an emergency.


A garage is great for short-term storage, perhaps while building your stockpile. Since a garage is usually very accessible, it would be ideal for organizing your stock before moving to a more secure location.

However, its accessibility may also be a detriment since it’s an easy spot for looters to invade. Consider keeping a small stash in a bag inside your garage so that, in case of an emergency evacuation, you can grab it and drive away to safety.


Consider keeping a small stash in a bag inside your car. This will give you peace of mind, knowing that you can jump in your car and drive away in an emergency.

Be mindful of temperature fluctuations, though, since this can affect the quality of your food. Check your supplies regularly to ensure that your food is always in top form.


Your basement will be ideal for storing food if you live in an area prone to tornadoes, earthquakes, and snowstorms. It is a safe place to hunker down with the whole family during such calamities. You will be secure and protected and will not have to worry about sustenance.


Storing food on the floor is not a good idea because it makes your stash vulnerable to humidity, pests, and the effects of natural disasters. Proper storage conditions will significantly impact the success of your food storage efforts.

By seeing that all storage standards are met, you can rest assured that you and your family will have your food stockpile to count on when you need it most.

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