Creating Storage Space, Part 2

Here are more tips on finding storage space for your special supplies:
  1. Do you have closets totally packed with things that never see the light of day? Clean them out (floor, shelves and hanging), donating or selling what you haven't used or worn in the next year. Then see how much room you have. Enough for a few storage (icing) buckets? Or a few boxes of dried fruits and veggies? Do this with all of your closets.
  2. Instead of a typical coffee table, how about a couple of short bedside tables and a board with table cloth on top? Or 4 storage (icing) buckets with that board and cloth on top? Or a "steamer" trunk or two?
  3. Instead of a "normal" couch, how about an "RV"-type couch that opens up to reveal storage space? If you need the pull-out part, forget about the couch and have a blow-up air mattress, which are pretty sturdy these days.
  4. Going back to the stairs issue (previous posting), how about stairs that open up?
  5. If you have crawl space, there's a lot of storing you can do there. Remember to pack well to prevent bug and critter infestation.
  6. If you own your own home, take some time to dig out a root celler. Make it easily accessible for you but hard to find by others, and big enough to accommodate all of your supplies. It needs to be waterproof and critter-proof.
  7. Need a bar stool? Stack a couple of storage (icing) buckets, add a pillow-topped plywood circle on top, and cover with a fabric that covers the whole thing all of the way to the floor.
  8. As in the last posting, place shelves all the way up to the ceiling. If you have your stored items in pretty baskets above eye level, no one but you will know what's in there. The things that are eye level could be nick-nacks, books or the prettier storage items. That way your home would look like you've a survival-nut!
  9. Take the time to look at everything in your home. Make sure that everything is functional, and that most things do double duty. For example, do you use your waffle iron as a panini press too? Is the space underneath the bed full? Are the drawers in your desk full? Fill up your suitcases until you need them for your next trip. You get the picture.
  10. Use baskets or tubs with lids so you can stack them. Decorate with bits of wall-paper if you'd like.
  11. Don't pass by a yard sale if you have a few bills in your wallet/purse. You could find a lots of great things. Look at everything with a critical eye - can it be used as storage? We picked up a great storage item: a film display case that has slanted shelves.
  12. One friend needed more kitchen storage space so she installed a lot of plastic shelves she picked up real cheap. Then she hung a really pretty bedsheet from the thrift store to hide them. Move the sheet to the side to access what's on the shelves. Yes, it reduced the walking around area, but it was convenient and cheap.
  13. Some people use shelves and a board to make a desk. Cover with a pretty sheet and you not only have an instant office but also storage space that no one can see unless they lift up the sheet.
  14. Create a folding screen (room divider) by using plywood and a fabric or posters or anything you can think of. This will enable you to close off (read: hide) your storage area from casual observers.

What are YOUR ideas for adding storage space?

Thanks for reading, and be sure to check out our other blogs!

Creating Storage Space, Part 1

Even people who think they have lots of space, always want more. Here are a few tips to make additional storage space in your home:
  1. Get something to raise your bed a few more inches (bed risers, bricks, etc.). That should make room for several short/long bins which you can fill with all kinds of things.
  2. Build up. Add more shelves all the way up the wall, and make them look as efficient or decorative as you wish. If you want to hide your stored items, push them to the back and place nick-nacks or paperback books in front of them.
  3. Instead of a plain ottomon, get one that opens. Store whatever you want there.
  4. Use the space under stairs if you can. Cover with fabric-colored plywood or curtains.
  5. Make a nest of compartments by placing large cardboard cylinders in a stack like a wood pile. Bolt together at points of contact. Use to store shoes, rolled linens, etc.
  6. Make or buy roll-out storage bins to fit under stairs.
  7. Our attic is pretty much useless because we have cathedral (angled) ceilings, but if you can, make walking platforms to fit around your trapdoor opening. Store things there that the heat of the Summer or cold of the Winter will bother - like plastic storage buckets of extra sewing things, canning supplies, aluminum foil or toilet paper.
  8. Rethink how you have arranged things now. If you have a tiny kitchen, and you store you plates flat, that may leave a lot of space on top. Consider rearranging things, or adding space savers to use the space above the plates. Clean out your cabinets and drawers, and toss or donate or sell items you never use. Place extra kitchen appliances on top of half-walls, or in a trunk that doubles as a seat.
  9. Only using the bottom of a bunk bed? Use the top part for out-of-season clothes, stored goods like toilet paper and paper towels, or whatever you need to.
  10. If you don't have much money and don't care about being decorative, check out freecycling groups (yahoo) in your area, and while you get rid of things you don't need or want, you can pick up things like plastic crates, shelving, and even canning supplies, bows/arrows, and more.
  11. Anything in your car's trunk? If you have room, keep some extra supplies there.

What are YOUR ideas for adding storage space?

Thanks for reading, and be sure to check out our other blogs!

Thoughts for Next Year

I've had some down time lately, kinda down for the count with a sore throat and ear-ache. What would I do if I couldn't get to the store for Sucrets for my throat, or ibuprofen for my fever and pain? Do I have enough herbs to help? And if so, do I have enough knowledge on their usage?

Thoughts of food also consume me. Well, I'm a big woman and love to eat. So how can I take care of my family without lots of thinking and preparing?

Then there's the skills needed in case we get a blizzard, which we probably will have (in the Denver, CO area) and our water table needs.

For our food self-sufficiency blog ( I've created a chart of foods to grow/buy/store and for every day of the Year 2009, will post a healthy and nutritious menu of foods using those on the chart, and any necessary recipes.

But what about this blog?

Starting on January 1 2009, I'll attempt to tackle a new prep or specialties topic each day. I would certainly appreciate your input... write an article about being self-reliant or a part of an intentional community, e-mail it to me, and I probably will post it.

Meanwhile, please recommend our blogs to your friends and readers. Thanks!


Hydroponics: Growing Lettuce

When we were at Hobby Lobby the other day, when just about everything was 30% off, we found two of these "Hydro Greenhouse 2" kits. "Table-Top Hydroponic Mini Greenhouse". We've been wanting to figure out how hydroponics works.

We went into a "Grow Store" to peruse their supplies. Everything was so expensive. Times are tough; we figured there HAD to be a cheaper solution out there.

So when we found this kit, we thought it ideal for our experiment. This weekend, we'll open it up and start a few seeds. I'm thinking one buttercrunch lettuce and one black-seeded simpson (we already have these seeds).

Good family project. We'll keep it on the dining room table, and nibble lettuce leaves during dinner. We hope. We'll keep you posted on our experiment.


Prices Increase for Staples like Wheat, Rice and Corn

Has anyone else noticed that the prices of pantry staples, like wheat, rice and corn, have increased dramatically? A box of store-brand mac-n-cheese has gone up 25%, and a small bag of brown rice has increased 50% since the first of the year. It's almost impossible to get fresh loaf bread for under a dollar.

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From - "Wheat Price Increase Has Far Reaching Effect" March 15 2008:

LAKELAND (Bay News 9) -- A trip to the grocery store can quickly confirm that the price of groceries are going up.

And bread prices are among those that have jumped the highest. And that's because wheat prices, along with gasoline, have gone up dramatically.

So much so that bakeries have passed their costs on to customers.

The Country Hearth bread factory in Lakeland has eight giant silos that hold 100,000 pounds of flour.

In 2007, it costs $30,000 to fill one of the silos. The cost now runs $100,000.

That translates into $15 million in extra expenses a year.

"Well, the consumer is only willing to pay a certain price for the product,' said company comptroller Kenneth Reeves. "So we're having to absorb what we can and pass along what we have to."

Flour prices aren't just affecting corporations.

At the Cookie Jar Bakery in Bartow, Janet Skinner also is dealing with higher prices for flour.
"It's astronomical,' Skinner said of the prices, which have forced her to raise prices. "It's almost like gas prices."

At the Cookie Jar Bakery in Bartow, Janet Skinner also is dealing with higher prices for flour.

The price jumped is blamed on last year's poor wheat crop, increased demand from overseas and the ongoing push for corn-based ethanol fuel.

"They are using land that's normally used to grow wheat to grow corn,' Reeves said. "So that's cut back on the wheat crop which has increased the price of our wheat and increased the price of our product."

That leaves Hearth Bakery officials hoping congress will do something to help deal with the price of wheat - mainly hoping lawmakers earmark more land for wheat farming. Bakery Officials also would like to see limits on wheat exports.

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My point is .... right now, we depend on farmers growing wheat without incident, like no blight or drought or floods. We depend on availability of low-cost fuel to transport that wheat to the bakers. We depend on the bakers being able to buy all necessary ingredients at affordable prices so they can provide us with pasty low-nutrition bread for our burgers and sandwiches.

We need to get back to basics. Learn how to grow wheat, rice and corn. We grew a "test patch" of corn and did well for our first year as gardenrs. We'll change the kind of corn and increase the amount planted next year, in addition to trying to grow wheat. A friend of mine up in the Rocky Mountains is experimenting with growing rice right now.

What about you?