Before you can work too hard on building your prepper food storage list, you have to know what you need. It can seem daunting to plan for a year’s worth of food in one sitting. I’d like to outline a prepper food storage strategy you can use for determining the amount and type of food you should consider for your long term storage. This approach is a little different from others out there. It works better for the way my brain is wired. I hope you find it useful.
Simple Steps to Figuring out What to Store:
- Start by finding twenty one dinner meals that your family enjoys. These could be simple or complex, large or small. Most home cooks have a library of about that many meals that they regularly cook. Create a spreadsheet that you can use to track your twenty one meals and the major ingredients. On the first sheet, fill in your favourite meals and all the ingredients you need to make them. Don’t forget seasonings and garnishes. You can decide to delete those items later if you want, but for now, include all the ingredients. If twenty one is too challenging, then fill in as many as you can.
- The next step is to transfer all the ingredients to the second sheet. You will probably have some duplication of items on this sheet. It’s up to you if you want to combine them or not. Some find it easier to keep track if the items all remain separate.
- Step three is to inventory your pantry, freezer, and other food storage locations. See what you have. Use the third sheet to itemise your prepper food storage. You may prefer to organise by ingredient type (meat, dairy, grains, etc.) or by storage location (pantry, freezer, basement, etc). Use what makes sense to you. Make a note of expiration dates. Use the items that expire first so you don’t waste money.
- Step four is to make a shopping list of items you need to get for your prepper food storage. Keep this list handy and shop sales or in bulk to fill out your storage needs. You don’t need to purchase everything at once. Keep it simple and smart. Buy a little extra at the store and take advantage of weekly sales.
- Step five is to then take this food storage plan and modify for lunches, dinners, and snacks. You’ll use the same strategy as for dinners. It may be faster to complete this planning because you already have your inventory complete.
Don’t forget to keep this spreadsheet up to date! As you use items, deduct them from your quantity on hand. As you purchase items, update the new quantity. I keep my spreadsheet online at Google spreadsheets so I can access from my phone or tablet when I’m on the go. Plus, I can update my inventory from the basement storage without having to try and remember to do it later.
Well, having planned your prepper food needs – the actual storage part isn’t rocket science really, but there are certain techniques and ways of going about doing it if you are prepping for an emergency.
Just buying food with the intent of storing it away for a rainy day just won’t suffice!
Tips on how to to safeguard your prepper food storage from spoilage & wasted money:
A friend of mine used to run a small online sports memorabilia store. Those familiar with sports memorabilia know that you have to have in place certain safeguard’s to protect your investment.
Otherwise you risk losing that investment to air, insects/rodents, light, moisture/humidity, temperature or any combination of the five.
You probably look for the best deal. You’ll probably have a room to show off your investments. You probably have them organised according to player or team. I would venture to say that you know every single piece that you own (or at least a list of items written down somewhere).
Prepper food storage is no exception. You should treat it with the same care, respect, and upkeep as your memorabilia. I have made a list of 5 tips to make your food storage investment worth its weight in gold. You will be proud of it. You won’t display it publicly, but it will have its own room. You will have it organised and properly rotated. These are some of the basic foundations for making and maintaining successful food storage.
Food Storage Room
You have to have a place to store your food! I am not talking about a pantry. This is a great start, but if you are to get a years supply of food, you will need something a lot bigger. Living in an apartment is a bit harder, I would know! You usually aren’t allowed to start taking down walls and adding to the apartment. I am single and had a pantry that was big enough to store about 3 months worth of food (which I had). I started moving my other food items to my closet as a starting point. You can always find room for your prepper food storage.
How big should my room be? Well, that all depends on your plan. In general, 17 cubic feet is needed for one person for a year supply of food storage. That could increase depending on your food storage plans. The 17 cubic feet per person is a great starting point and all that I am going to mention for this post.
Organize Your Prepper Food Storage
Organizing your food storage and having prepper food storage containers will better allow you to find what you have and how much of it you have. There are many companies that sell can rotation systems to organize your food. You can buy prefabricated shelves and put them together! This video has some great tips on deals about food storage:
I have built a food storage room and shelves from scratch. You can go this route if you want to have a customized food storage room. We haven’t added a can rotation system yet, but it is worth doing. Whether you build your shelves or buy them, make sure that you secure them to the wall or floor. In an earthquake you could loose and or damage all of your food. Plus, the added time to have to reorganize it again!
Rotation can be considered part of organization. When you have your food storage properly organized, it makes it easier for rotation. I worked in grocery for over 10 years and have learned the value of rotation. You can loose so much of your hard earned money to improper rotation. One way to help minimize this is by using a rotation system of some kind. It isn’t necessary, but does make it more efficient and less time consuming.
You can build your own system or buy one, the choice is yours. If you don’t put in some kind of rotation system, you will have to make a considerable effort to make sure that each item is getting rotated like it should be. Rotation will literally save you thousands of dollars on wasted product, and keep your investment and investment. You can read more about survival hygiene here.
Buying Bulk Food
You get more for your money when buying a 25 pound bag of beans vs. a 1lb bag of beans. This is common knowledge and shouldn’t be anything new to you. But you will still see people buy 10-1lb bags of beans and put it in their food storage! This isn’t being productive or financial sound with your hard earned money. The investment is a little higher for bulk food, but you get a whole lot for the money. Here are some items to try and see if you can buy in bulk at your local Costco or Sam’s club:
Black Beans, Pinto Beans, White Rice, Brown Rice, Granulated Sugar, Hard White Wheat, Hard Red Wheat, Flour, Pancake Mixes, Instant Potatoes, Non-fat Powdered Milk, Oats,…
Inventory Your Food Storage
Creating an inventory of what you have better prepares you for what you need to buy. You could end up with 200 lbs of beans and only 20 lbs of wheat. In a crisis situation, that isn’t going to be too fun having to eat beans everyday! Not to mention that you aren’t getting your correct daily nutritional amounts.
As I mentioned above the best method that I like to use to keep my food storage inventoried is through Google spreadsheets. This method allows you to track how much stuff you have, what you are low on, what you need to buy and not buy, what you have too much of, etc. You don’t have to use a computer, but you should have some sort of inventory program set up. You should also include a Check In/Check Out sheet in your food storage room to help you keep track of what is being brought in and taken out.
I know some of these tips may seem like a lot of work, or maybe even unnecessary. But implementing them and making them a part of your daily life will put you on the right track to becoming an expert at food storage and better prepared individual.
Hope you figured out some easy-to-follow guidelines for prepper food storage. For digging deeper into “on the move” food needs and inventory, you can take a look at “what should be in a bug out bag” here!