Food Storage – How much do I get and where do I put it?

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Building up a stockpile of canned and boxed goods is a great way to build up food storage and use your coupons to make it affordable.  Another approach that can be great in stretching a budget is to store items for long term use.  Cooking with dry, basic ingredients can be so healthy, not to mention cheap and tasty.  Getting a true one years supply at an affordable rate just takes a little time and organization.

Step 1 – Make a list of the food you would need for one year.  (Don’t worry, this is very, very basic – I’ll be showing you things you can add over time and how to use them to get the same foods you would at the grocery store.)  The following is one example for a family of 5:

Grains: 400 lbs/adult 2000 lbs total
Milk: 16 lbs 80
Sugar: 60 lbs 300
Salt 8 lbs 40
Oil 10 qts 50
Legumes 60 300

Each group can (and should) be a mix of different items.  Like under sugar you can use a mix of honey, white sugar, brown sugar, xylitol, or other sweetners that your family is used to using.  Grains can be rice, popcorn, flax, oats, wheat, things you are familiar with.  Before you buy 100 pounds of anything, try it out a few different ways.

Step 2 – Decide how you will preserve it.  You can use #10 cans, buckets, bags, etc.  My favorite method is to use a square 5 gallon bucket (to cut down on space).

Step 3 – How do I get it out of my front room?  Once you decide this is something you are serious about doing, I promise, you’ll find a place.  We live in Nevada, which means no basement and the garage is not an option at 120+ degrees.  After our food is bucketed, I use it for our beds.







Here I have used a traditional bed frame and filled the underneath with my buckets.

One nice advantage of having a solid mass of buckets under the bed is that there is never stashing under it!!!

To keep the feel of the room clean, I picked up a bed skirt on clearance for $1.50 to hide my buckets.

I can just about fit all my bucketed food under the beds.  Each have a small space at the end where I couldn’t quite fit the last row that the kids use for their shoes.

Using a food grade liner keeps your food fresh, and if your bucket were to fall over and crack or open, it gives your item another layer of protection.

I purchase my buckets for $2.50 and the liners (both are reusable) for $0.20 from a small company in Utah called Food Storage Now.

If you are just starting a long term storage, it seems to be a bit easier to focus on one area at a time (ie. grains) until you have made it through all the basics.  Watch for follow up posts on how to use these simple, basic ingredients for things like home-made mayonnaise and pancakes (without a wheat grinder!) so that these items help cut the cost of your grocery bill without cutting the variety.

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