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How To Rotate Your Emergency Food Storage In 9 Simple Steps (And Make Your Food Last Longer)

by Russel Salonga March 23, 2021 4 min read

Ensuring you and your family have enough food to last through an emergency or long period of off-grid living requires a lot of planning and preparation. But you can’t just buy a year's worth of food and forget about it out in the shed.

One of the most important things you must do with your food stash is to rotate it frequently. Food storage rotation is critically important to keep your food supply fresh, up to date, and easily accessible.

Here are 9 tips to help properly rotate your emergency food storage.

Tips To Properly Rotate Your Emergency Food Storage

First In, First Out

One of the most important rules of food storage rotation is FIFO - First in, First Out. This means that you should be eating your oldest food first and your new food last. Whenever you buy and restock food, it should go directly to the back of the shelf.

It’s important to have a system for storing and removing food items according to type and date so you can easily find, remove, and replace those items.

Stock What You Eat, Eat What You Stock

This is a great tip for food rotation. If you and your family like the food you’ve stored, you’re more likely to eat it and properly rotate through your food. There’s nothing worse than buying food because it “lasts long” but tastes so bad that no one ever wants to eat it and it ends up spoiling.The best foods for survival storage taste good, provide high nutritional value, and are made to last

Rotate Older Food Storage Items Into Your Pantry

Proper food rotation includes mixing your food storage items in with your everyday pantry items. This way, you ensure regular use of items before they have a chance to go bad. Try adding longer life items to your regular food rotation a few times a week. It will help keep that item fresh in mind as well as get you and your family familiar with eating it.  

Longer shelf life products like Numanna, Nutrient Survival, and Wise Food Storage, sell full prepackaged meal kits with an extra-long shelf life that do not require rotation as frequently as regular canned and boxed items. However, it’s still important to rotate through these items eventually as well.

RELATED - How To Choose A Survival Food Kit

Inspect Your Food Storage For Spoilage

Proper food rotation will allow you to regularly inspect your food storage items for spoilage. Bulging, rusted, moldy, or dented cans should be thrown out. Anything that's leaking liquids, has a bad smell, or has dead bugs in it should be tossed as well. You want to avoid serving any food that has the potential to make you and your family sick (or worse).

Inspect Your Food Storage For Pests

As with food spoilage, proper food inspection will allow you to see if there are any pest or bug infestations. Spotting a mouse or its droppings around your food is cause for concern as any breach in a food container can quickly be devoured and lure more creatures to where your food is stored.  

Rats, mice, ants, cockroaches, and a variety of other animals are surprisingly good at getting through walls and ceilings, and can chew through pretty durable bags and containers if not properly stored. Investing in good qualityfood storage supplies and storage kits now can save you from replacing whole stocks of infested food.

Perform Regular Inventory

Depending on how much food storage you have, it can be difficult to keep track of exactly what you have, where it’s stored, and what the expiration date is. Keeping a detailed inventory of everything you have will keep things organized and available for anyone in the family to reference if they take or replace an item.

Make sure you keep a handwritten copy as well as a digital backup and store them in a safe and accessible place.

Label Your Food And Shelving

Most products have written expiration dates, but the effort it takes to sharpie on big expiry numbers will save you a lot of time searching for tiny printed dates, especially in low light. Being able to easily see use-by dates will help you identify and rotate your food more easily.

Along with individual food items, it’s a good idea to label the shelving to easily identify where things go. Shelf labeling is especially helpful if you have more than one person taking from and restocking items frequently.

Store Similar Items Together

Your food storage pantry should operate like a well-organized grocery store - with similar items being stored and shelved together. You want to store the condiments together, the canned meat together, the dried grains together, etc… Storing like items together will save you time and energy, and make taking inventories much easier.

Store Your Heaviest Items On The Bottom

A great tip that often gets overlooked is to organize your food storage with the heaviest items on the bottom and the lightest items at the top. The further something heavy falls, the more damage and potential for food waste there is. Consider the strength and reaching ability of everyone in the household before you decide where food is placed

Heavy-duty storage shelving might take a bit more room, but is a godsend for keeping things organized and secure. Attempting to stack 10 cans on top of each other is a recipe for disaster.


Hopefully you’ve found these food storage rotation tips and tricks helpful. By learning the ins and outs of proper food rotation, you’ll be eating food with the highest nutritional value, the most flavor, and prevent unnecessary food waste.

If you have any other tips and tricks for better food rotation, we’d love to hear from you. 

If you have any questions about food storage, camping supplies, survival gear, or off-grid living, please give us a call at 1-844-WILDOAK (945-3625) or contact us today. 

You can browse our website and view our full range of emergency food storage products online.

Russel Salonga
Russel Salonga

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