How to plan and execute a rockin' food storage
Updated: Mar 25
I'll be honest I started this blog post over a year ago and it sat in my drafts folder collecting dust. I had other things planned for the blog this week, but with all the craziness it seems appropriate to dig this up and finish it up for all of you! Storing extra supplies has been a normal part of every day life since I was born, because the church I grew up in and still attend was constantly encouraging and providing resources for emergency preparedness. I grew up with a food storage and have had at least some stored food and supplies since I got married. It's definitely grown over the years as our family has grown and we've achieved a pretty dang good system for keeping it replenished, but first things first, How on earth do you know what you should have in a food storage?
In order to know what we need we have followed the recommendations given on our churches provident living website.
The website states "It is important to remember that you should not go to extremes when establishing your food storage. For example, it is not wise to go into debt to establish your food storage all at once. Develop it gradually so that it will not become a financial burden."
Couldn't agree more, which is why I'm sharing what we've done to build and grow a food storage slowly and through a system so you don't blow your saving on your supply.
Through these resources we have learned that there are 3 main components of food storage:
Short term supply
Short term supply is the best place to start. Please don't think you need your entire food storage done right now! When you start working on your short term supply you should eventually end up with a 3 month stockpile of food. Be sure to store food your family actually eats, this supply should get rotated quite regularly and honestly, it's not that hard to start or maintain it if you have a plan in place. Here's what we've done that's worked well for us:
1. Each week when you buy groceries start to buy extra storable supplies for the meals you already have planned. Start with buying twice as much of everything for one or maybe two of the meals you have planned that week. for instance, If you're making lasagna, buy 2 boxes of lasagna noodles and marinara sauce instead of just one. If You're making enchiladas buy double of the sauce, beans, ( If you have a deep freeze you can freeze some of the fresh ingredients too like cheese, tortillas, chopped onions) and start with that. Each week as you shop for my family, plan to buy extra supplies for one or two family meals. It could be as simple as a box of cereal or a couple cans of soup.
This way when you're stocking your basement with food, it's food your family actually uses and will rotate though. I can't tell you how many times my food storage has come to the rescue when I could't get to the store.
2. Once your 3 month supply is stocked, it's important to start using it so it doesn't go bad. In order to keep it stocked, start using the supplies you bought for the meals. Put some blank paper on a clip board and keep it in your food storage room with a pen or a pencil. Anytime a family member takes something from the supply, they should write the item(s) on the paper. If everyone does this, when it's time to shop each week, you will have a list of what needs to be replaced in your short term supply. If you use things from the storage that you would already be buying for your family, your grocery bill shouldn't go up and you can continue cycling through this food knowing if an emergency happens, you can feed your family for up to 3 months.
3. Once you have your food supply it is helpful to store a supply of hygiene items like toothpaste, soaps, detergents, feminine products and even medications that your family may need over a 3 month period. You can add these to your supply the same way you did with food, Little by little, One or two items a week and add them to the replenish list just like you would with food.
Long Term Supply
"Where permitted, gradually build a one-year supply of food that can last for a long period of time. Focus on foods such as wheat, rice, pasta, oats, beans, and potatoes that can last 30 years or more when properly packaged and stored in a cool, dry place"
I think of my long term food storage supply as a sort of insurance policy. It's not something I use everyday, and actually something I hope I don't need to use but it's there and I feel okay spending the money on it because if a major emergency does happen, I know my family can survive. I currently have, white sugar, white rice, several types of beans, dry milk, potato pearls, oats and wheat in my food storage room. These are all stored in #10 cans, which look like GIANT food cans (think canned corn) that are sealed to last up to 30 years. Some of my long term food storage I've been rotating though since 2008 and its still super fresh and delicious because it's been stored the right way. However, this is not the only good way to store your food long term. there are SO MANY options and they can all be found here.
How much is enough for a whole year?
The recommendation is to:
store 25 pounds of grains (wheat, white rice, corn, other grains) per month per adult.
& store 5 pounds of dry beans per month per adult.
You'll have to do some calculating to figure out the right amount for your family and
Yep, That is a LOT of food, but just like you did with your short term food supply it's smart to build it slowly and start with maybe a few cans here and there. I have a large food storage but it's still not complete and is always a work in progress.
When storing your long term storage it's important to keep it somewhere that stays 75 degrees or lower. A cold storage is ideal, but obviously not an option for everyone. If you live in a hot climate the garage is probably not a great place to store your food. Get creative, if the top of your kids close is the only spot you have, use it!
How do I purchase long term food storage that's stored the right way?
I used to rent a canning machine and can the food myself, but I've found that buying them online is so much more convenient and doesn't seem to cost me much more. I buy all my food storage here, but you can find food storage companies all over the internet if you want to compare prices and products.
"Store drinking water for circumstances in which the water supply may be polluted or disrupted. If water comes from a good pretreated source, then no additional purification is needed; otherwise, pretreat water before use. Store water in sturdy, leak-proof, breakage resistant container. Consider using plastic bottles commonly used for juices and soda. Keep water containers away from heat sources and direct sunlight."
For years, I saved every soda and juice bottle we used and filled it with water to create my water supply, we now use these water storage containers and try to refresh the water once a year. If you're wondering about water purification there are several methods that can be found here.
That's just about all you need to know to get you started on your food storage, remember don't stress about not having it all right now, start with your 3 month supply buy a few things at a time, once that's up and running, start on your water supply and your year supply and before you know your emergency storage will be flourishing and you won't have to rush to the store to buy toilet paper when the rest of the world is panicking. 🙈😂 Happy Storing!