The Food Storage Mistake That Can Result In A Major Pest Problem

Many people stock up on certain shelf-stable goods when it comes to storing food. It's also becoming increasingly popular, even among young people, to stockpile food or supplies in case of emergencies. But whether you're holding onto five or 50 packs of ramen, how and where you store your food matters. Though there are plenty of hacks to secretly add more storage to your kitchen, many people utilize their basement space for extra food storage.

Unfortunately, storing perishable food in the basement can bring spoilage as well as pest issues into play. After all, do you know who else likes a basement? Rodents. It isn't just human food that captures the attention of basement-dwelling rodents, either; rodents also love pet food and birdseed, which must be stored tightly to keep them out. 

To know if food is perishable or non-perishable, consider its lifespan. It is perishable if something needs specific temperatures or to be eaten more quickly (think meat vs canned vegetables) to avoid spoiling. In general, perishable foods in weak or fragile packaging should be kept in the kitchen, where they have less chance of attracting pests. That said, before you prep to dismantle your food stockpile, remember that some foods are fine to store in a basement as long as their packaging is air-tight and secure. 

Don't store perishables in the basement

If you absolutely need to store perishables in a basement, place them in a lidded, plastic container to keep pests out of them — while also paying attention to the required temperatures. That way, you keep your food and hopefully won't trade hot dog buns for mouse droppings. Otherwise, keep your perishables in areas that are less likely to attract pests, like the kitchen. You should be able to store non-perishables in cans that are difficult for rodents to access, or other secure packaging, on shelves without issue.

Regardless of the size of your basement pantry or stockpile, it's important to rotate out your items every six to 12 months to avoid spoilage. You can also keep your goods in order using the first in, first out method to make rotating or using easier. No matter where you put stored food, you'll want to remember the best way to organize the pantry, which includes adding drawers and racks and keeping everything in its appropriate place. 

In either case, another way to keep rodents out of your basement food storage is to keep smells around that they don't like. You won't have to worry about mice again with secret weapon hacks like white vinegar and essential oils. Place a sachet of lavender or some cotton balls with drops of peppermint oil or undiluted vinegar around the basement. These smells will keep rodents away from your stuff and make the area smell better at the same time.