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How to Store Your Stockpile Safely in Difficult Climates

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I’ve lived in the South for most of my life, where our weather has a reputation for being…difficult. From hurricanes and tornadoes to humidity and endless rain, stockpile storage can be as much of an art as a science, especially if you store items in your garage or basement.

If you face difficult climates or temperature extremes in your area, these tips will help see your stockpiled savings safely through them!

What is a difficult climate?

No matter where you live, we all have them at certain times each year. If conditions become very dry, very humid, very cold, or very hot, certain items in your stockpile can suffer the consequences.

Luckily, there are things you can do to help your treasures endure changing weather conditions!

5 Tips to weatherproof your stockpile

If you have experience with climate-proofing your stockpile, we'd love to hear about it in the comments section!

1. Know what to do when it freezes.

Even here in Texas where I live, we are now getting at least a few days each year where temperatures dip below freezing. This is new to me—and to my stockpile.

The truth is, freezing is great for dairy products, certain produce items, and of course ice cubes. It's not so great for canned goods and many liquids.

The key to stockpile survival in freezing temperatures is insulation. You can insulate the stockpile storage space or the items themselves.

Good ways to insulate the storage area include straw-covered plywood, garbage bags (the industrial strength black ones) and even a space heater on a timer. Good ways to insulate the items include wrapping them in newspaper or garbage bags, locating them in the center of other items that are unaffected by temperature drops (such as paper goods), or even bundling them up in blankets and then in boxes.

2. Know what to do when it heats up.

In the same way, some items tend to do poorly in hot and humid weather conditions (like the kind we get so frequently here in Texas).

Here, one key is finding storage space inside for much of your stockpile. Air conditioning cuts the humidity by as much as 75%, which can be a lifesaver for items that tend to mold or spoil in the damp.

If you have a large stockpile and storing it in a garage, attic, or basement area is your only option, you may want to consider purchasing a de-humidifier or moisture absorber (prices here range from a few bucks for absorber bags up to $200+ for a quality de-humidifer, so think carefully about whether your stockpile savings are worth the extra investment!

Note: For a super-cheap de-humidifying option, make your own with buckets filled with rock salt!

3. Insulate items for long-term pest-proof storage.

If you plan to store your stockpile items through one or more extreme seasonal changes, you’ll need to think about heat, cold, humidity, and (yuck!) pests. If your weather is particularly extreme, it may be worthwhile to limit stockpile storage to a few months at a time to reduce item damage.

However, items like paper goods, razors, party decorations, foods that are pre-dehydrated or freeze-dried, and dental care products can be stored for much longer, provided you can keep the pests out. Rodents can easily chew through plastic and cardboard and even some thinner plastic or wooden containers. Then smaller pests will happily invade these smaller spaces.

So what you need to do is make your storage area as unpleasant for all pests as possible.

Try these options (depending on the type of pest problem you have):

  • Keep all stockpiled items off the ground.
  • Decorate the area with scented fabric softener sheets.
  • Sprinkle peppermint oil around the stockpile area to deter ants.
  • Install cedar shelving.
  • Store edibles in chew-proof plastic containers with metal liners (look for "food grade storage bins" online).
  • Seal bins with hot craft store wax or Rustoleum.
  • Neem oil, bay leaves, even borax powder can repel pests without damaging your stockpile.

4. Be aware of how liquids respond to heat and cold.

By "liquids," we are talking about more than just milk or juice. Oil, shampoo, soap, soda, and other liquids can also behave in unusual ways when it gets very hot or cold.

The good news is, for canned goods packed in liquid that contains salt or sugar, this actually lowers the point at which they freeze by several degrees.

But your best bet is to try a "trial run" of liquids the first year you’re building your stockpile to see what the result is. Then you can plan what to store where and how much for future years.

Finally, keep everything in your stockpile out of direct sunlight, period.

5. Avoid creating a hazardous stockpile space.

This is perhaps the most important stockpile storage tip of all. If your stockpile is near a gas stove, water heater, fireplace, or even products that are marked "flammable" or "hazardous," think twice.

There are really no stockpile items that are safe to store near these potentially hazardous appliances or products. The only safe option is to move them to another location.

This is a post by Shannon C. from Texas.

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