How to Kick Start Your Food Storage Plan
It’s no secret that the world is a dangerous place. Natural disasters can, and will, happen. And when they do, being prepared can mean the difference between life and death. One of the best ways to ensure your safety in times of crisis is by having a food storage plan in place. But where do you start? And how much food should you store?
Please keep in mind that this is the bare minimum, my friends. The amount will depend on how many people are in your family and the ages of those you will need to feed and prepare food for to survive. We need to start somewhere, and this list may help those getting started.
Items I Highly Recommend:
Please remember to buy right the first time.
- Can Opener
- Larger Can Opener
- Electric Can Opener (not everything is for power outages)
- 5-Gallon Buckets with Gamma Lids
- 2-Gallon Bucket with Gamma Lid
- 6-Quart Rubbermaid Containers with Lids
How to Kick Start Your Food Storage Plan
What is a food storage plan?
A food storage plan is simply a way of ensuring that you have a stockpile of food that can last you and your family for a period of time in case of an emergency. This could be anything from a natural disaster to a power outage. Having a food storage plan means that you will always have something to eat, no matter what happens.
25 Pounds of Flour
To get your food storage plan going, you will need to start with a good supply of flour. This is a basic ingredient that can be used in many different ways, so it is a good idea to have a lot on hand. You can use it to make bread, pancakes, cookies, and more. Please learn to make bread. This is my no-fail recipe, if you start with fresh ingredients. Easy To Make Bread For One
20 Pounds of Pinto Beans
A food storage plan needs at least 20 pounds of pinto beans. This is a versatile legume that can be used in many different ways. Pinto beans can be used as a side dish, in soups and stews, or even as the main ingredient in vegetarian chili. In case you missed this post, Homemade Vegetarian Chili
20 Pounds of Rice
Rice is another basic ingredient that you will need for your food storage plan. It is a good idea to have at least 20 pounds on hand. Rice can be used as a side dish, in soups and stews, or even as the main ingredient in dishes like stir-fry. A good thing about rice is that it goes a long way. Watch what happens when you cook the rice and see how it expands as it absorbs the water.
10 Pounds of Pasta
Pasta is another versatile ingredient that you will need for your food storage plan. It can be used as a side dish, in soups and stews, or even as the main ingredient in dishes like macaroni and cheese. Like rice, pasta also goes a long way. When you put some in a pot to cook you’ll think it isn’t enough for a family meal. Then you see it expand as it cooks and absorbs the water.
25 Cans of Fruit
Canned fruit is a good addition to your food storage plan. It can be used as a snack, in desserts, or even as a healthy alternative to sugary drinks. Base your purchases on the fruits your family likes. There are so many options based on the variety of fruit, the brand, the size of cans, etc. I’m sure you can find a number of choices your family will love.
25 Cans of Vegetables
Canned vegetables are another good addition to your food storage plan. They can be used as a side dish, in soups and stews, or even as the main ingredient in dishes like ratatouille. Like fruits, there are a lot of veggies that come in cans, so your choices will seem endless.
25 Cans of Meat
Canned meat is a good addition to your food storage plan. It can be used as a main dish, in soups and stews, or even as an emergency food ration. We have found the canned chicken breasts from Costco to work well in salads, sandwiches, and other recipes calling for chicken. Give it a try, you’ll enjoy it, I promise.
10 Pounds of Instant Milk
Instant milk is a good addition to your food storage plan. It can be used as a drink, in cereal, or even in baking. Fresh milk is great to have in the fridge at all times. But, in emergencies that fresh gallon will be consumed in short order. Having instant milk gives you the comfort that you can still make those recipes calling for milk.
3 Pounds of Salt/10 pounds of Sugar
Salt is a necessary ingredient for any food storage plan. It can be used to preserve food, add flavor to dishes, or even as a survival tool. We use sugar in many recipes, 10 pounds would be the bare minimum.
10 Pounds of Oats
Oats of various kinds are a good addition to your food storage plan. They can be used as a breakfast cereal, in baking, or even as a healthy snack. Many of us don’t realize how many packaged food products are made with oats. They are healthy and can help keep you “regular” due to the fiber content.
5 Gallons of Honey/ One Gallon of Coconut Oil
Honey is a good addition to your food storage plan. It can be used as a sweetener, in baking, or even as a medicine. Please store your honey in quart jars, in case it crystallizes. If it does, you can set a quart of the honey outside in the sun to soften or melt it back to its original form. Coconut is a good oil to start with, I store olive, and vegetable oil as well.
15 Jars of Spaghetti Sauce
Spaghetti sauce is a good addition to your food storage plan. It can be used as a pasta sauce, in soups and stews, or even as the main ingredient in lasagna. Plan on using it along with the pasta you have stored to make many meal choices.
3 Cans of Coffee
Coffee is a good addition to your food storage plan. I don’t think anyone needs a reason WHY you should store coffee, you just should. It’s a must-have food item in any food storage plan.
3 Cans of Tea
Tea is a good addition to your food storage plan. It can be used as a drink or in baking. It’s also a home remedy to help with an upset stomach.
6 Jars of Peanut Butter
Peanut butter is a good addition to your food storage plan. It can be used as a spread, for baking, or for sandwiches! It’s also a great protein source directly from the jar. Oatmeal Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars and Peanut Butter Chocolate Bars are both great recipes to make with leftover peanut butter.
25 Cans of Soup or Broth
Soup or broth are both good additions to your food storage plan. They can be used as a drink, in cooking, or even as survival food. Vegetable Beef Soup is one of my favorite recipes to make with broth!
3 Pounds of Chocolate
Chocolate is a good addition to your food storage plan. It can be used as a treat or in baking. My family goes through so much chocolate that this is a MUST-have in our food plan! Is Dark Chocolate Healthy For You?
Now You Have Food In Storage, How to Care for it is Important:
How often should I switch my food out?
You should plan on switching out your food every 6 months to a year. This will ensure that your food is fresh and doesn’t go bad. You can also rotate your food storage by using the oldest items first and then replacing them with new ones. This is called the “first in, first out” method.
How much water should a person store?
A person should store at least 1 gallon of water per day. I have always suggested to my readers that they store four gallons per person per day. This will ensure that you have enough water for drinking to stay hydrated, cooking to properly prepare meals, and sanitation so your personal hygiene is maintained. You should also have a plan for how you will purify additional water if necessary.
- Water: Do You Have Enough Stored?
- How To Store Water For Drinking And Cooking
- How To Store Water For Drinking And Cooking
What are some other things I should include in my food storage plan?
In addition to food and water, you should also include items like a can opener, eating utensils, plates and cups, a first aid kit, soap, and personal hygiene items, as well as clothes and bedding. You may also want to include items like a flashlight, radio, and extra batteries.
More Food Storage Tips:
- 15 Reasons People Love Food Storage
- Why You Should Invest in Food Storage
- 7 Reasons Why Food Storage Is Common
This is just a small list of items that you will need for your food storage plan. Of course, you will need to adjust the quantities depending on the size of your family and how long you plan on storing food. But, this should give you a good starting point. Happy planning! May God Bless this world, Linda
40 thoughts on “How to Kick Start Your Food Storage Plan”
When i started my food storage, i did it because our family was in a crisis, with more outgo 7 months of the year than income..I had 3 months to make a budget work. I found an item i could cut the cost on, in my case it was homemade laundry powder.when i purchased ingredients took money i usually spent for one month and made enough for 3 months. The next week, i received an unexpected gift: and purchased 3 boxes oats, 10 lb flour, 4 lb sugar,cheese, eggs-( breakfast-in amounts for 4-6 weeks).
I planned by Meals. Meats, and compliments to make our recipes we normally eat. example Hamburger meat in bulk of 5 #, divided in portions, hamburgers, spaghetti meat, meatloaf..and the supporting things for those.. onion powder, seasonings, spaghetti, +sauce. after i had supporting things in pantry,I would get the meat one week in bulk..and the supporting things for some meals the following month.. I would add in a snack+condiment every month… popcorn, chips and dip.salsa,relish , ketchup, mustard were frequent flyers. I also rotated purchases of fruit, going with dried ones like raisins and prunes to get started then a few cans of pineapple,peaches, pears each time as i was able to save on one items purchase
. By month 4 we had enough to cut our grocery bill in half, still buy what was needed on rotation, and be able build to the 8-9 month by expanding our canned veggies @33-45cents a can( those were the days!) Within that year we went to care for a DFM -Dear Family Member- 300 miles from home for an extended time… we took a good portion of required needs with us-to ease the strain of unexpected expenses. That was the first time our food storage plan rescued us.
Hi Denise, oh thank you for sharing this detailed plan with all of us. What a blessing! I love this!! Linda
Your comment reminds me of the woman in Proverbs 31. You are impressive. Keep up the good work.
Janet, That is a goal I still strive for, Thanks.
Definitely a FIVE STAR rating on this post!!!! This one makes it simple for those who are starting out. I just hope those who are starting out work quickly. The time may be quickly coming where we will have to rely solely on our preps.
In addition to the five gallon buckets with gamma lids, we also have a few 2 gallon buckets with gamma lids. Those are useful for the ladies to more easily move and access for items that do not require large storage capacity. Just a suggestion.
Hi Harry, thank you for the lovely comment, my friend!! Those buckets in the picture are 2-gallon buckets with Gamma lids! Yes, they are so much easier to handle! I need to add the link to those. Thank you!! Linda. P.S. Mark paid $5.19 a gallon for gas today. urghh
Here in Olympia WA, I saw gas at $5.49 at the least expensive station!
And for single people, 2gallon buckets would be great!
Hi Leanne, I totally agree about the 2-gallon buckets. The 5-gallon ones are down low to scoop out of, not lift! Great reminder! Linda
I have not yet expanded to buckets. How do gamma lids compare with food grade buckets that come with lids? I don’t store alot of flour because we don’t bake alot from scratch, although we do have a large quantity of box mixes. We also don’t store pinto beans simply because we don’t use them. We do have 10 pounds of rice and 20 pounds of pasta. I’ve got the fruit, veggies, meat and salt covered, although very little sugar. We have the makings for spaghetti sauce, plenty of peanut butter and jam. Lots of soup for by themselves or basics for other dishes. We have enough coffee to satisfy my husband and chocolate for me.
HI Chris, years ago I had the buckets with lids that you had to pry off the lids. Then Gamma Lids came out, there is no comparison. Let me see if I can you a picture of how we put them together. You have to snap the base of the Gamma lid on the bucket and the lid twists on. This post shows how I make my washing machines. I have some buckets coming from Pleasant Hill Grain for salt and charcoal for posts I’m writing. Stay tuned. Linda https://www.foodstoragemoms.com/make-emergency-washing-machines/
I just added this link for the 2-gallon buckets with Gamma Lids. These will last a lifetime. https://amzn.to/3b8XVjs Linda
Great point. We have several friends who could definitely benefit from those. Glad you brought it up.
Your recommendation for 25 gallons of honey must have been a misprint! Other than that, this is a great starting list.
Hi Gwen, thank you for catching the typo! I just changed it to 5 gallons, thank you so much! Linda
Wonderful list as always. I noticed this morning that my socks were ragged. I went out to buy more and found a limited selection. I am unsure if there are supply issues or if the store hasn’t restocked that area. Anyhow, you might want to check things like socks and underwear.
HI Janet, a great reminder on the socks and underwear! Yes, please stock up on those. Linda
Underwear and socks are low..certain types are harder to find than others and larger sizes almost impossible.5-7 are generally available.I buy the same socks i buy for hubs for me. my foot is a 10 mens/11.5 womens and his is a size bigger.I get several packages that have multiple designs at the same time, and i take one color for mine.. check a large discount like ollies or big lots…
I get extra things when Alberstons has things on sale and when Smiths or Sprouts have things on good sales. We have a 19.5 Square foot freezer we have filled, a 6.5 square foot freezer we also have filled a really small freezer that is stocked for my son and daughter in love and 3 refrigerator freezers totally stocked. Each and every freezer is fully stocked along with all 3 refrigerators stocked with things we need. We gave a 12 foot shelving area in the garage filled with can’s and bottled items and one kitchen shelving area in the house full and a small kitchen cabinet filled with things. Along with a bedroom we changed into a pantry for dry goods. I am going to make the other small bedroom into my storage for dry good and make the other bedroom back into a bedroom for guests. We also have a huge barn (for us) that we use for things we don’t have room in the house for.
HI Jackie, oh I love the sales at Albertsons and Smiths in my city. It feels so good to have freezers and pantries full! Good job, my friend! Linda
Jackie, your list makes me feel like I haven’t even started. Congratulations.
We had a friend give us 1/4 of a cow and my daughters boss gave us a goat he butchered for us. We also have other meat that others have given us. So it wasn’t so much us getting it done but friends doing it for us.
Hi Chris, you are doing great. I have very little meat in the freezer but I have other things. The idea is to think about what we do have not what we do not have. I would love a freezer full of meat, it’s not going to happen and I’m good with that. I will not cave to the prices of meat these days. It’s all good, my friend. You have chocolate….Love it! Linda
Of course, Amazon is currently out of stock on the 2 gallon buckets with Gamma Lids per your link. There is another one available for $25.00 each. OR a set of 3 3.5 gallon buckets for $39.99. 3.5 gallon buckets would be better for me than the 5 gallon buckets but 2 gallon buckets would be ideal.
Hi Leanne, yes, they are not unavailable. I can get the buckets at my favorite store Pleasant Hill Grain but not Gamma Lids. I did find these for https://amzn.to/39GRTqc The gallon ones are the best, easy to lift over to the counter. It’s exhausting how many shortages we have to deal with now. Linda
That link is for the $25.00 one I mentioned. Per the answered questions, that is for ONE bucket/lid. Seems pretty pricey to me.
Hi Leanne, yes, thank you for telling me about it. I agree, everything is pricey now. I don’t think prices are going to go down anytime soon, either. In fact, most things will become obsolete very soon. If anyone needs something of high quality like these buckets you need to grab them now. Linda
I have to assume, knowing you Linda, that the buckets with the Gamma lids are a better deal than purchasing the buckets and the lids separately. But it looks like the prices have gone up which is of no surprise to any of us. My question is how many of each size would you suggest.
I have a Cosori dehydrator which I hope to start using very soon and to fill up all our food storage containers. (Trying to get canning jars and repurpose what I can) Some have suggested that if packed into Mylar bags or glass jars with oxygen absorbers or vacuum sealed that I can expect a longer shelf life. As I keep researching the subject, many report a long enough shelf life to provide plenty of time to garden and grow fresh produce or to have time to replenish your supply before running out due to deterioration.
I hope to do much more, but I have been grabbing up anything that you have mentioned (the basic staples) I see at a low price. And I have a BJ’s membership and went to Sam’s with a friend and was surprised to see a lot of good foods for a home food pantry. On the positive side there is still time to prep and stock up before hurricane season or other potential problems.
Hi Frank, I’m excited to hear you bought a Corosi Dehydrator. I was looking at those they look awesome! In our move I broke the top of the knobs on my Excalibur and ordered another one when we arrived at the new place. Anyway, I store my dehydrated food (I dehydrate) in quart and pint mason jars using a FoodSaver with nothing put in the jars but the food. I have hundreds, literally of 5-gallon buckets with Gamma lids. My wheat is in in 6-gallon buckets with Gamma Lids I replaced the other lids with. I do not have garden this year due to building our home and the water lines to a garden would be torn up. Here’s my take on how to I do my own dehydrated food. I grow, harvest, and dehydrate what I can as it grows. I usually have my dehydrator going every day literally. We eat this “batch” and start again next spring. As far as the cost of buckets, once you buy them they last a lifetime, literally. I have been stocking for years. No one can afford to buy all the buckets they need at once. My advice is to buy right the first time. The bakery buckets you can get for free or a $1.00 are not the quality of the buckets I buy. I can’t afford to make a bad purchase in containers. My advice is buy right the first time. a little at a time. Be sure and “condition” your food before sealing them. Let me grab a link so you can read about conditioning. Linda
What if you have flour that you bought from last year that expired a couple of months ago? They are stored in their original content in a storage tote container in the cold storage room. Is okay to transfer into the gallon buckets if the lids do close properly. Or to place them into Ziploc bags and vacuum seal them with a handheld vacuum? Just overwhelmed and can only do so much. Would you recommend Simply Clean Foods for those with food allergies? It’s easier to get what you need when it’s on sale and while you can. No matter how much or how little one prepares lasts temporary.
Hi TruthIsUnbreakable, it depends on how much flour you have in the original containers. I would place the flour in the freezer if possible until you can use it up. I never recommend using a vacuum sealer with bags or jars to store flour. It may damage your FoodSaver tubes. I understand being overwhelmed, it’s okay. Step back and do a little each day. I just checked out some of the prices, they are pricey like every other company. I guess it would depend on the allergies. This popped out to me: I quote “BULK BUY TEN YEARS OF LONG TERM STORABLE FOOD (SOLD OUT UNTIL MAY 2022)
$19,000.00 now $17,950.00”. Start small and add the foods you can eat without issues. Linda
A lot of good information here, Linda.
I’ve been steadily stocking up but continuing on and filling in any gaps I saw for more in what you’ve shared.
I’m making my own laundry soap, make my own breads, have a garden thriving and will be canning a lot. I don’t depend on my freezer so much although I do store some foods that could be used quickly or canned fast if had to over fire outdoors. If power grid goes down and my freezers are full then I’d be screwed.
Being on a limited income doesn’t stop me from buying every time I have money coming in after bills paid.
I was fortunate at one point in time I did get commodities with tons of beans and canned goods before they said I received too much social security. I put all dry goods in the freezer for a time then mylar sealed with oxygen absorbers. Flour is stored but definitely want more since use it to make bread and a lot of other things.
I’ve been steadily saving water and filter in my Berkey as well as have one pond done and one more to go to capture rain water. I have animals so never enough water can be put back if in an emergency or disaster happens.
I’m hoping to get a few laying chickens soon after the coop is done. I’ve been able to water bath some eggs thankful to the Seed company near me that sells eggs with bloom on.
We just all have to keep going and stocking up and not let fear paralyze us. I want to stay focused, at peace and not let overwhelm take over.
Thanks again for sharing. It helps me to see areas I can add more.
Have a wonderful Saturday.
Hi Cindy, great comment today. You are so right when you say do not let fear paralyze us. Stay focused and do what YOU CAN DO and the rest will fall into place. Linda
Great article, Linda! Will be sharing for sure!
We just had to clear out our camper for a family member to move in. We had been using the camper as storage for a lot of our basic supplies until I can get the back bedroom in our small house cleaned out & reorganized once I finally retire next week.
Good news is we do have a significant amount of those canned goods & vacuum sealed staples we frequently use! Kleenex & honey are about the only things we don’t have a full year’s worth of right now. We will hopefully get the honey at the next Farmer’s Market Day.
Places like Tractor Supply, Rural King, Lowes and Home Depot often carry food grade 2 & 5 gallon buckets & individual Gamma seal lids. I find the Tractor Supply buckets to be better quality than the Lowes/Home Depot buckets…..those other buckets cracked on the bottom when filled.
Both buckets & Gamma Lids have gone up in price, so expect to pay around $15 -20.00 for a Gamma lid & 5 gallon bucket. Also be aware that squirrels, rats & mice will eat through Gamma Lids & buckets if there is food stored in them. So keep food buckets indoors, not out in sheds or garages. And check ’em frequently, ’cause with all the different situations… well, rodents may become another problem we face!
Here in NW Florida gas is about $4.35 – $4.85, diesel about a dollar per gallon more. Baby formula & diapers still in very limited supply in the stores. Feminine products take up half the space & brands are limited. Peanut butter very limited. Pasta, rice, dried beans are in 1# or 12 oz packages now. Bulk rice still available at Sam’s. Canned goods either somewhat limited or just the very high end brands available in the local grocery stores & Wal-Mart.
Dog & cat food … dry foods available but bags are smaller & prices are outrageous. Canned or pouched pet food available but even store brands are close to $1 for 2 oz can.
Livestock feeds are very expensive… decent grass hay for horses $12, cows/goats $8 – 12. I’m working on building up a year’s worth of chicken feed & hay for my 3 little goats. Glad they have as much pasture as they do.
HI BDN, thank you for this update! Wow, prices are creeping up on everything and yes the boxes, bags, and jars, are smaller. I have all of my food storage in a climate-controlled storage unit. I’m praying our food is okay when we finally get to move into our home. We have the plans, the engineered plans but the city wants a couple of changes. Urghh! We are still living with our daughter in one bedroom, with a queen bed and our two dogs. We look like hoarders, we have to laugh or we would cry every day. LOL! It’s been 8 months but who is counting, right??? LOL! Thank you for sharing the prices you are seeing. I just ordered more 5-gallon buckets with Gamma lids, they have indeed gone up. I order them often and have seen the prices slowly rise, it is what it is. But I have to protect the food or whatever I purchase. I worry for small farmers, hobby farmers, and large farmers for the cost of feed. The price of diesel for our truck drivers that work so hard to deliver what we need. Stay safe, Linda
Linda, Alaska Prepper just put up a video this morning on some vacuum sealed Zatarain’s rice & red beans in a Mason jar that had been sealed in 2012 & kept ever since year round inside his vehicle as part of his Get Home Supplies…. the Rice & Beans were excellent! Rudy did use common sense…. examined his jar, checked that there was no damage to the seal, checked that the contents looked & smelled good! So take heart that your supplies in the climate controlled storage unit will be good whenever you need them!
Know that we pray your new home will be completed soon!
And I meant to add that we have recently had 3 Aldi stores open in our area. The one store we visited was fairly small, but had great selection & reasonable prices for fresh fruits & vegetables, nice selection of store brand crackers & breads, canned store brand veggies and fruits for 50 cents to $1 a can & some wonderful sandwich meats & cheeses for very reasonable prices. We will make a stop at Aldi’s when we travel to that area of town!
HI BDN, thank you for your encouraging words! I have heard really good things about Aldi stores. Yay, for great bargains! I love hearing this! Linda
Just recently, I got 2 gallon gamma lids from Baytec Containers (bayteccontainers.com) $35 for 6. That was the best price I could find.
Hi CT, oh my gosh, that’s a great price, thank you for sharing this awesome tip with all of us!!! Linda
One of the problems I run into is that living alone big containers of things aren’t practical for proper rotation but some of the things I need only come that way or are much less expensive in bulk. I’m a bit wary of repackaging affecting the life span of some items. The vacuum sealer is good but doesn’t really help with powdery foods. I tried putting things in ziplock bags then sealing in an outer vacuum bag but it doesn’t always work out well. The cool storage space I originally planned to use in my new place is plagued with an unpleasant musty smell and depends on a sump pump to keep it dry so I won’t trust food in there. I figured out another space that will work however, once I get some wire shelves with wheels sorted. There is another space that would be perfect except it’s too near the wood stove. I let my storage run low when I knew I was moving and have to partly start over again so this is timely advice. One step forward, two steps sideways. Sigh.