Storing Items Other Than Food for your homestead

Storing Items Other Than Food for your homestead

Let’s highlight storage mechanisms for items other than food.

Storing Fuel

You may want to consider having a fuel storage system if you are in an off-grid homestead or almost 100% self-sufficient. Power outages are virtually inevitable in such contexts, and it becomes your responsibility to ensure that your homestead can still function without any power. Your animals don’t care if your power goes off. They still require maintenance, so you will need fuel. These systems will allow you to run your emergency generator and equipment despite experiencing power outages. Or you can learn how to do things by hand or have equipment that you can use that does not need fuel.

  • You will want to set up a fuel station on your homestead. It must be big enough and safe enough that children or animals don’t have easy access to it.
  • You can store diesel and gasoline in tanks for emergency use.
  • You can get your fuel delivered every month via truck.
  • Make sure to keep your fuel tanks stocked up. When there is an emergency and fuel shortages start around your area, you want to be able to rely on what you have stocked up in your fuel shed.
  • Make sure that your tanks are at least filled up halfway most of the time.
  • You can utilize additives to prolong the shelf life, especially if the fuels are stored for up to six months without rotation.
  • Diesel cannot be stored for many years. This is a common misconception, so ensure that you invest in additives.
  • If you are unable to purchase gas tanks, having up to 10 gas cans can be effective since these can store up to 50 gallons of gasoline.
  • You can opt to have gas stoves in your home because most work without power when hooked up manually.
  • Natural gas or propane stored in your tanks will allow you to cook for a long time. These gasses (natural and propane) have an extended shelf life and can last for several years while maintaining optimal functionality.
  • A backup heating source is another fundamental requirement.
  • Most rural homesteads should try to invest in wood stoves as these provide heat for cooking your meals and the house.
  • Having a woodlot is essential for this type of alternative fuel source.

Storing Hay

If you have larger animals on your homestead, you must take hay storage seriously. Adequate storage will allow your hay to remain high quality and last until the next growing season.

  • The primary concern with storing hay should have a safe and dry place. When hay is exposed to the elements, it molds and decomposes. In addition, an assortment of fungi breaks it down when it is exposed to water. Therefore, hay should be stored in a dry, clean, and protected environment.
    • Keeping your hay in the right place will ensure that your animals remain fed during winter.
    • If you find your hay wet (green), do not store it in the barn. This type of hay was not fully dry before baling.
    • This causes it to decompose, like grass clippings in a compost pile. Decomposed hay begins to heat up, and therein lies the danger.
    • This makes it hazardous because the hay becomes subjected to spontaneous combustion.
    • If hay has come into contact with water, it is an extremely high chance that it will mold in some capacity. This makes it unsafe for animal consumption since it can make your livestock ill (in some cases, these diseases are lethal). Therefore, having a moisture-free storage area should be of the utmost importance.
  • Aside from this, you should ensure that your hay is free of rats and mice.
    • A rodent infestation can render your hay inadequate for consumption since rodents disseminate diseases that can easily be transferred among your animals on the homestead.
    • Having animals for pest control like cats can be an effective and natural rodent management tool.
    • You should aim to conduct monthly barn checks and catch any potential rodent infestations.
  • Another important fact to consider in your storage process is the ventilation of the storage areas.
    • Stagnant air can easily breed moisture, mold, and dust, so try to get as much air circulating in your storage place as possible.

You may not have a barn, which makes storage a bit more complicated since you want to ensure it stays safe. However, you can look for alternative ways to keep your hay dry.

  • A garage built into your home is one of the most convenient and safe places to store your hay. This area is relatively dry and often comes with a concrete floor that is adequate for hay storage.
  • The main issue you might encounter is pests, so you must be on top of your inspection game.

If you don’t have a built-in garage, then you could look into building a pallet hay system. Purchase some pallets and stack them to create an elevated surface, keeping the hay away from dirt and moisture. You can also use this method to increase your storage area with a barn.

Alternatively, you could begin storing hay in a shed.

  • This is primarily effective for hay that is meant to feed smaller animals and is, thus, less abundant.
  • Placing your hay in plastic totes can keep the moisture out and is easy to ventilate while being surprisingly cheap (only four dollars per tote).
  • If you have any junk SUVs hanging around your homestead, put them to good use by storing your hay. You can also purchase an old SUV or bus for cheap.
  • This is an ideal method for someone who has a smaller homestead and wants to be economical with their space.
  • You can strip the car of its carpets, seats, and overall interior to provide additional space. Storing large quantities of hay allows you to make fewer trips to the store, and your animals will be provided with a year’s worth of sustenance, so it’s worth the investment.

Water Storage

Water is essential for life, and this is one of the primary reasons why homesteaders look for land in areas that provide a freshwater source. Your homestead may have an established water system, but you will need an alternative water source if a pump malfunction or there is a drought, ice storm, hurricane, or social upheaval.

If you reside in an area that is plagued by droughts, then you should set up a water-capturing plan.

  • Water is required for several things, one of the most important being consumption. You should aim to store up to three gallons of water per person for three days.
  • This will help to keep you and your family hydrated in case there is an emergency.
  • Your plants and animals also require water, so keeping track of how much water they require daily will help you determine how much you need to store for them.

An urban homesteading family may not struggle with water supply shortages since they live fully on the grid. But will still want water storage for emergencies. However, a rural homestead might need well pumps to ensure functionality is still on the table.

Therefore, it’s important to store water in your location, as some places require higher reserves in comparison to others. It is difficult to store a year’s worth of water supply because water takes up a lot of space, is heavy, and needs to be rotated. Aiming for storage for about three months is a manageable metric.

One of the ways to store water is to make use of plastic water storage containers. This simplifies the water storage process. Most of these containers are large and can contain a significant amount of water. If you don’t want to buy new drums due to the costs, then you can opt to purchase used ones, but you should clean them before use and keep in mind that there may have been chemicals used in the drums that are still lingering. Rotate the water every six months to ensure it remains safe for consumption.

Another storage option is a super tank, as they can harbor up to 500 gallons of water.

  • You will need to use a gravity-fed system to transport water from a spigot.
  • They aren’t portable like the plastic drums, but they can be effective for storage in an area that has enough ceiling space or space outside. Place these tanks in an area that makes them easily accessible.
  • Not everyone can lay out a large area in their homestead for water storage tanks. This is where using water bricks can come in handy.
  • These are smaller containers of five to seven gallons and are easier to stack and transport.
  • You can also use regular water bottles for storage, but keep in mind that the plastic used in manufacturing these bottles is not intended to be durable.
  • It is also important to prioritize thick, dark, and food-grade plastic containers as they won’t allow light to penetrate.
  • Light can cause bacteria and algae growth, so keep your commercial water bottles in dark, cool areas.
  • If you are not a fan of plastic, you can store your water in metal containers, but ensure that the water you store is free of chloramine and chlorine to avoid corrosion.
  • Rotate your stored water as often as possible. Water rotation should be done approximately every six months to keep the water fresh.
  • The last thing you want is to access your water during an emergency to find that it is no longer effective for use.
  • If that does happen, remember that you can still use stale water to clean your clothes, wash your body, flush the toilets, wash the dishes, and water the garden.

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