Best Places To Store Emergency Food Stockpiles | Build a Stash

This article may contain affiliate links where we earn a commission from qualifying purchases.

Key Takeaways

  • The best places to store emergency food stockpiles are the basement, pantry, garage, cellar, insulated shed, freezer, and closet.
  • Make sure that any storage location you choose is dry, dark, cool, and away from direct sunlight.
  • Emergency food stockpiles should ideally be kept in an environment that is 40F to 70F and 0 to 55% humidity throughout the entire year.

If you want your emergency food stockpile to be safe and secure for long-term storage, you need to choose a suitable location in your home to keep your goods.

The best places to store emergency food stockpiles are the:

  • Basement
  • Pantry
  • Garage
  • Cellar
  • Shed (Insulated)
  • Freezer
  • Closet

After researching food storage techniques and survival strategies, I have gathered enough information to determine the best places to store emergency food stockpiles. In this article, we’ll be taking a closer look at the best storage locations in your home to preserve the quality of your stockpile for the long haul.

Table of contents


Best Storage Conditions for Emergency Food Stockpiles

There are plenty of places around your home that should be perfect for storing emergency food. However, before you commit to any storage location, you should consider the ideal storage conditions for an emergency stockpile.

Each person's home is different, and many preppers are often limited by the layout of their residence and the space they have available for storage. So long as the space you choose meets the following storage conditions, it should be a secure location for your emergency food stockpile:

  • Cool temperature (ideally 40F to 70F)
  • Stable humidity levels ( 0 to 55%)
  • Dark storage conditions
  • Away from direct sunlight

Best Places to Store Emergency Food Stockpiles

Food storage is more popular than ever, and understandably so. More people are taking the initiative to ready themselves for emergencies, with supplies being a key part of any survival plan.

Whether you are expecting the next pandemic, a zombie apocalypse, or simply like the idea of being prepared, having adequate food storage at home is the best way to cope with any disaster scenario.

With that said, when preparing for food storage, it’s important to not only choose the right emergency goods but to also find a suitable place in your home that is ideal for long-term stockpiling.

Regardless of which place you choose to store your emergency food stockpile, remember to pick an area that is cool, dry, dark, and away from direct sunlight. Keep the following storage locations in mind for your emergency goods.

1. Basement

The most popular prepper storage location is the basement. Traditionally, basements have been the go-to area of a home to gather during an emergency and to keep necessary supplies.

This room is usually below ground and offers a spacious and stable environment for long-term storage. The main reason why basements are so ideal for stockpiles is that the year-round temperature of the room does not fluctuate nearly as much as other parts of your home.

You want to keep the temperature of the storage location as consistently cool as possible. However, each basement is different, and ultimately you need to evaluate the conditions of your home to determine if this is a logical place to keep your goods.

If you decide to use your basement to store your food supplies, check the temperature and humidity levels throughout the year to ensure that they are stable. In addition, keep your food items on shelves or on top of pallets to prevent the ground temperature from affecting the quality of your food.

Aside from that, basements are usually very spacious and can fit an entire family-size stockpile in a single space. Most basements receive very little sunlight throughout the year, making this a perfect storage location for virtually any food item that does not need to be refrigerated.


  • Cool storage location
  • Stable year-round temperature
  • No direct sunlight
  • Spacious


  • Potential rodents
  • Problematic for flooding
  • Potential humidity

2. Pantry

Never rule out your pantry when picking a storage location for your emergency food stockpile. Most household kitchens feature a pantry, and this room was specifically designed for storing and preserving non-refrigerated goods in your home.

Your kitchen pantry should offer a stable environment for keeping the bulk of the food items. Pantries receive virtually no direct sunlight and the conditions are consistently dry in most homes.

A factor you should consider is the year-round temperature of your kitchen. Generally speaking, pantries stay quite cool but if your region experiences extreme heat in the summer, you need to consider how this will affect the goods in your stockpile.

In addition, some pantries are considerably larger than others. If you have a large walk-in pantry with plenty of room, you should be able to fit all of your emergency goods inside. On the other hand, if you have limited space, you may not be able to rely solely on your pantry to store all of your supplies.

Lastly, you should consider the emergency you are preparing for when storing goods in your pantry. Given how elevated your food items will be, natural disasters such as floods should not pose a serious threat. However, unsecured food items in your pantry could be damaged and knocked down by earthquakes.


  • Easy to access
  • Minimal pests
  • No sunlight or moisture


  • Potentially hot and humid (summer months)
  • Space limitations

3. Garage

The garage is often overlooked as an ideal place to store emergency goods. Most garages are known for being quite cool throughout the year, offering storage conditions that are suitable for food supplies.

You ultimately need to evaluate the condition of your garage and determine whether the temperature and humidity levels fluctuate throughout the year. If you can confirm the area does not get too hot or humid during the summer, especially if the space is insulated, the garage should be a perfect place to keep your emergency goods.

One of the best things about using your garage is that there is generally a lot of space to keep your items. You can create an organized system in an area of the garage that is designated for food storage. This way your goods are out of the way and contained.

That said, the security of your food items is something that you should consider if you want to use the garage for storing your stockpile. You may be more vulnerable to pests in the garage, which is why I recommend keeping all food items properly contained in durable storage boxes.


  • Spacious
  • Relatively stable temperature


  • Potential rodents
  • Humidity levels may fluctuate

4. Cellar

If you own a wine cellar or any cellar for that matter, this is the perfect place to store your emergency food stockpile. Cellars were specifically designed to store food long-term. This space was traditionally used for preserving food, and many people still use their cellars for this reason today.

Much like a basement, cellars are generally underground and are known for maintaining a stable temperature throughout the year. The space is not always as large as a basement, but it should be adequate for most full-size stockpiles.

Humidity levels are also ideal in cellars, with dry storage being a key characteristic of this space. You can safely store your goods in a cellar all year without needing to worry about the conditions fluctuating much.

One of the main issues with storing in cellars these days is that they are becoming much less common. If you do not own a cellar, you may need to construct one from scratch, which can be quite costly. Furthermore, installing additional shelving into the space will be mandatory for keeping an organized and reliable stockpile.

Rats, mice, and other pests can potentially get inside your cellar by coming through entry points such as crawl spaces, vents, and other openings. Taking additional measures to repel and prevent rodent activity in your cellar will be necessary to ensure the security of your stockpile.


  • Cool, dry, and dark location
  • Balanced humidity levels


  • Potential rodents
  • May require installation

5. Insulated Shed

One of the last places that you should consider storing your emergency goods is in a standard tool shed. However, if you buy a quality shed or take time to install insulation into an existing one, this may prove to be an advantageous place to keep food supplies.

Insulated sheds are an excellent place to store emergency food. This is a particularly popular choice among homeowners who lack basement and pantry space for their stockpiles. Sheds are located on the outside of your property, which comes with certain advantages and disadvantages.

Given that your stockpile is not inside your actual home, the supplies will be out of the way. However, this can make monitoring your goods more challenging, particularly if pests are a problem in your area.

If you are considering a shed as a storage location, it’s imperative that you confirm the year-round conditions of the space before you commit. An insulated shed kept in a shaded area of your property will offer stable conditions throughout the year, but you need to confirm the integrity of the structure first.


  • Stable temperature (if insulated)
  • Does not take up room in your house


  • Space limitations
  • Potential humidity
  • Potential rodents

6. Freezer

Many preppers often forget how useful their freezer can be for storing emergency food supplies long-term. This is perhaps the best place to keep your food, provided that you can keep the power on during an emergency.

Unlike every other storage location that we mention, the freezer is completely contained and protected from the external environment. The storage conditions are cold, dry, and never in direct sunlight, making this the perfect place to store virtually any food item.

In fact, you can actually push the shelf-life of your food storage supplies back exponentially by keeping goods in the freezer. Most properly stored foods can last indefinitely in the freezer, regardless of their contents. There is no threat of rodents, pests, or other infestations given that the freezer is 100% sealed at all times.

One of the main drawbacks to using the freezer is that space could become an issue. If you own a huge chest freezer that can support your stockpile, by all means. However, most homeowners can’t afford to keep their goods in the freezer due to space being prioritized for everyday meals.


  • Indefinite shelf-life
  • Cold, dry, and dark location
  • Safe from rodents


  • Power issues during an emergency
  • Space limitations

7. Closet

Not everyone has a basement, pantry, or wine cellar to safely secure their goods. If space is an issue in your home and you are running out of options to store your emergency supplies, never rule out the closet as an ideal place to keep your food.

Although I recommend prioritizing other parts of your home before using a closet, this storage location should provide suitable conditions for keeping your goods. If you have unused space in your closet you may be able to fit a reasonably sized stockpile inside, especially if you have a walk-in closet.

Naturally, you should confirm how stable the temperature and humidity are before using the space. If the conditions are ideal, there is nothing wrong with using your closet for food storage.

Unlike other storage locations such as basements and garages, closets are not as easily penetrated by rodents. Due to most closets being inside your home where there is a lot of foot traffic, you can expect the area to be more secure from various types of pests.


  • Safe from rodents
  • Easy to access


  • Temperature and humidity may be unreliable
  • Potential space limitations

Tips for Storing Emergency Food Stockpiles

If you want your emergency food stockpile to last as long as possible, choosing a suitable storage location is mandatory. There are a lot of places to consider around the house, and you should choose a location based on what is logical for the size of your stockpile and the layout of your home.

That said, there are some key factors that you should be aware of when creating a food storage system. Keep the following tips in mind when building your stockpile and choosing a location for your emergency food storage.

1. Do Not Use Your Fridge

It can seem instinctive to use your fridge for your food supplies, but you should avoid doing so at all costs.

The main reason for this is that survival food is known for being dry and the fridge is a notoriously humid space that can contaminate your emergency food supply.

2. Inspect Your Stockpile

Regardless of which storage location you choose, you should remember to inspect your stockpile regularly.

Check up on the condition of your goods and the storage location to ensure that it’s still secure. I recommend observing the area for any leaks, changes in the environment, as well as rodents. Lastly, check the condition of the actual food by looking for any mold or visible openings on the packaging.

3. Monitor Temperature and Humidity Levels

Any storage location that you choose should be dry, cool, and dark throughout the year. However, it’s also important that you check the temperature and humidity levels routinely.

This is particularly important if you are testing out a storage location for the first time. I recommend installing a thermometer and humidity reader in the area where you chose to store your goods.

If needed, invest in an air conditioning unit and a dehumidifier to protect your long-term food storage from the external environment.

4. Prevent Pests

Your survival food storage may be vulnerable to pests such as rats and mice. Keeping these rodents out will be essential to secure your emergency goods.

I suggest using repellents and traps when necessary, but the most important thing you can do is ensure your goods are contained and that the space is clean. Always inspect your stockpile and look out for any signs of pests such as droppings and chew marks.

5. Use Reliable Storage Containers and Food Supplies

You can choose the best storage location for your supplies, but your goods will not be of much use to you if they are not properly contained.

To start, make sure to only buy food items that are designed to last such as canned and dried goods. In addition, package all of the items in your stockpile in reliable airtight containers such as food-grade buckets, mason jars, and mylar bags.