People that know me in real life, often know that we have a healthy food storage. I make it my goal to never to run out of anything, and it rarely happens. In fact, if we run out of something I am shocked, as is my husband! One of the most popular questions I get is how we store our food, and how are we able to use it/rotate through it.
For us, we unlocked what worked for us early on in our marriage. All thanks to my Grandmother (who passed on last year). When we were first married, she brought us a white bucket that she got free from the Safeway Bakery. At first, I was at a loss at what to do with it. We soon realized how incredibly useful they were and asked her to get us more. As our family grew, we needed more and more buckets. We went to our local Safeway and asked in the Bakery Department if they had any white buckets that they didn’t need (they would get frosting in them). Sometimes we’d get one, sometimes none. Then we checked the Safeway in the town over, right next to my husband’s work, and they would always give us LOTS of buckets. Up to 10 at a time! SWEET! We stopped going in and asking for buckets, when our collection got to about 36 buckets (our goal). We figured out how many pounds of food we should store for each person (simply google it) and then figured out how many buckets we’d need to fill. We customized it to the food that we would use and eat regularly.
These buckets are the key to our Food Storage. They are food grade and airtight, and can store about 25lbs of flour, sugar, rice beans, etc in each bucket. They also are fairly easy to open/close and they are REUSABLE (unlike #10 cans!). When I empty a bucket of flour (or sugar, or rice, etc.), I simply buy a new big, bulk (ie. CHEAPER) bag at Costco/United Grocers, refill the bucket, and put it at the bottom of the stack. We have our buckets numbered, so we know which bucket to use next. My husband also writes dates on the buckets. As long as you fill them in order, when you empty say Sugar #3, then you move to Sugar #4 (or back #1, if you only have 3 sugar buckets). We have enough buckets to last us well through a year and since we are always using and rotating the buckets, we don’t have problems with the food getting old/bad. I obviously bake alot, so the flour, wheat flour, and the sugar buckets get used often! But we also have beans, oats, rice, brown rice, lentils, etc. Anything dry that has a long shelf life.
I thought about this post, because a local recycling place was selling the buckets for $.10 – a steal of a deal for Food Grade buckets – simply clean out (clean them REALLY well! but it is nice to get them cheap, and recycle something too!) and you have your own buckets. Now if you don’t have a place that will sell you food grade buckets cheap like I do, or your Safeway will not give you buckets for free like mine did, you can buy the buckets online at many food storage companies (like thrive or emergency essentials) or off of Amazon.
We built a special storage place in our garage out of spare wood for them. We like to keep them off the ground, so there is some wood under them. We then stack them about 3 buckets high.
I Simply LOVE our bucket system. It works really well for us. It is an easy way for us to store the essentials and they are stored in a way we can easily use them, rotate them, and replenish when needed.
Other than our bucket system, I pick up canned food when it goes on sale at the grocery store. Stock up when on sale, so I always have it and don’t need to run out and buy it not on sale. You can slowly build a supply simply by just buying a few extra cans each time they go on sale. I also can fruit and jam during the summer. We love enjoying our delicious canned pears during the winter. So much better than what you buy in the store and WAY cheaper too! I don’t think I could go back to store-bought jam after eating my homemade canned jam now for so many years…..
Also, only buy what you will eat/use! There is no point in storing something your family does like and won’t eat/use. Simply buy, store, and rotate what you eat regularly.
I also have mentioned I buy my chicken in bulk from Zaycon – we almost exclusively eat chicken here (I grind it into burger even). We store it in our freezer, but I know people who can it! Then I simply supplement it with sale items or Costco pork roasts ($1.29 last time I stocked up!)
That’s about it. Once you get a good storage going, it is not too difficult to keep it up. In fact, I am considering going and buying some of those $.10 buckets being sold and add a few more to our collection… I mean we did just add another baby to the family 😉 Plus, I always think of my grandma when we use our buckets 🙂