1. light ~ Keep food out of direct sunlight. Exposure to light can affect the flavor and color of food. DH graciously installed shelving in the back half of my walk in closet to creat what he and the kids affectionately call "MomMart".
2. heat ~ For best results, food must be kept in a climate controled environment. The longest possible shelf life is attained when food is stored somewhere between 40 degrees and 72 degrees. For every 18 degrees above 72, food will lose its nutritional value by half, and over time, it will lose much of its original flavor, texture, and appearance.
3. humidity ~ Protecting food from humidity in Houston is almost laughable, but there are steps you can take to protect your food. One of the easiest methods is packing your food in Mylar bags and sealing them with oxygen absorbers. (I willd devote an entire thread to packing very soon.)
4. oxygen~ Oxygen breaks down food. When fats are exposed they oxidize and become rancid. If you've ever opened a bag of choclate from LAST Christmas and found it white and brittle...that's exposure to oxygen. Most foods need to be protected. Again, the Mylar and oxygen absorber method are one of the best for sealing in you food's goodness.
5. pests~ Rats, mice, roaches...yuck! Storing food makes them vulnerable to these critters. Many people have resorted to storing their Mylar bagged food inside 5 gallon plastic buckets (like the orange ones from Home Depot) then snapping the lid on. This adds a layer of protection against nibblers that want your stash! Don't forget the mouse/rat traps, poison, or some other layer of protection. *** Of course I'm STILL working on the most annoying and harmful pests of all...my children! Try keeping chew granola bars and brownie mixes stashed away....it's ALMOST impossible! LOL