The Simple Rules I Use With My Storage Foods

Keeping a deep pantry can be a bit complicated, as I alluded to in my last post.

Sometimes though, simple rules can go a long way towards keeping the storage on an even keel.

What goes down must come up. – Sounds gross, I know. What this rule means, is that if there is a sale on green beans and I pick up a half a dozen cans, they are likely going downstairs to the main can storage rack. Upstairs in the kitchen we have enough pantry space for the more “normal” amounts of food, we keep about 3 days worth of canned fruits/vegg upstairs in that space.  So, with this rule, if I’m taking down a new influx of green beans, at least one can of green beans needs to come up to the kitchen. I find the oldest can or cans and those are what I take up to be used with meals for the next week or so. This helps rotate the old stuff out so I rarely have to throw any canned goods away.

Always have one unopened. – This is what I use with our flour and oatmeal and oils. We store 5 different types of flour. We buy the 5 pound bags at the store. I try to make sure we always have at least one bag unopened of each kind. That way we always have at least 25 pounds of flour, and if the opened bags are only half empty, we have 35ish pounds of flour.  Oatmeal, oil, same deal, with the largest containers I can get of those.  This rule gets used for cat food too.  I always have one unopened bag waiting for her.

Eat what you store, store what you eat. – This one I can’t take credit for, I’m stealing it shamelessly from one of my favorite authors. Sharon Astyk. If you need simple, approachable books written from a woman’s perspective on peak oil and the end of abundance and food storage solutions to those problems, you can’t do better than Sharon’s books. Depletion and Abundance, and  Independence Days. Anyway, this is where knowledge about your family’s eating habits is useful, and estimates on rates of usage. It won’t do you much good to store food your family should be eating. If the family doesn’t eat it now, they aren’t going to like to eat it when TSHTF. I make sure to store the crackers the boys like to eat. And some of the chocolate that I like to treat myself  with.

What about y’all? Got any great simple rules that help with the pantry problems? Share in the comments!

-Calamity Jane


Hey Everybody.  Jarhead Survivor here adding an addendum to Calamity Jane’s post today.  I just wanted to mention that I’ve started a Facebook page as a way for our community to shout out thoughts and ideas on whatever happens to be on your mind.  

It’s a more informal way of interacting with each other.  It’s all new and strange to me, so please stay with me while I get it working.  I’m hoping to draw in more people to add to our prepper family.  If you’re a prepper with Facebook experience help me out!  Give me some advice!

Here’s what I’m hoping is the link to it:  SHTFBlog Facebook link

14 comments… add one
  • rush2112 February 28, 2013, 7:06 am

    I would add anti-fungal treatment such as Lotrimin or Desenex. These skin ailments are no joke and my experience has been “natural remedies” are not very effective, offering only temporary relief.

  • rush2112 February 28, 2013, 7:16 am

    sorry folks, added the above comment to the wrong article.

    CJ: i use the same principle in my food storage. FIFO – first in, first out. My goal is to have a years supply of non-perishable food we normally eat anyway. Watch the sales and stock up. You save money and are prepared at the same time.

  • GoneWithTheWind February 28, 2013, 10:39 am

    One of the problems I have with food storage is that I will see something that looks good and have agreat idea how to use it so I buy six cans. Then I get it home, test out my idea and the family is less then happy with it. So now five cans of soup with an awesome looking picture on the label sit taking up space in my storage shelves. My solution, far from perfect, is to take at least on can or box of these orphan items and put them on the counter where I prepare a meal. That way they aren’t out of sight out of mind and new ideas crop up. It also works to remind me not to buy untested items in bulk but only after trying them and finding them to be suitable.

    • smokechecktim February 28, 2013, 12:39 pm

      boy is that the truth! Saw a great price on some items I had eaten years ago and was proud of my purchase. When I tried some it tasted like =====. Either my tast buds changed or the product changed a lot. Mixed it with dog food for our pups.

  • Leslie Anne February 28, 2013, 12:25 pm

    I’d be less than happy with a meal made from canned soup, too :)

    • GoneWithTheWind February 28, 2013, 9:24 pm

      Sure, but where were you with that advice when I bought it? :>)

      I was thinking outside the box. It looked good on TV. It made some sense in the context of this article I had read where you create a meal using four components “a MEAT, a CARB, a VEGETABLE, and a SAUCE”. Some of the combinations I have tried turned out OK. So the take home lesson from this is it’s OK to experiment but until you test the results resist the temptation to buy a case of some untried can or package of “stuff”.

  • DaytonPrepper1 February 28, 2013, 12:39 pm

    I found some plans where you can make a food rotation cabinet out of 1 sheet of plywood and some other misc scraps of wood. It is a really neat thing. It works very similar to other food rotation devices that are available for purchase. You load your items in the front, they roll down a sloped shelf, drop down when it hits the back, then rolls forward on the next shelf. It works great.
    I also like to work with spreadsheets so I created a neat little spreadsheet that helps me track my inventory. I created a stock #(SKU) for each item that keep and input the calories, serving size and all of those kinds of things. When I put something in, I log the SKU number, the location on the shelf and the Best Used By date. I have several different reports that I can use to see what inventory is getting close to the BUB date, how many calories are on the shelf, etc. It has been a great fun little project.

  • ORRN on LI February 28, 2013, 1:32 pm

    Similar situation here, I will only buy what I know the family will eat, too much of my hard earned $$ has gone in the trash after they turn their noses up at my great culinary ideas. But I still have stuck in a few hard times staples in there that keep like rice, dry beans, tuna, peanut butter and powdered milk. If SHTF and hunger hits, they’ll eat. As for Jarhead’s Facebook thing, I don’t FB, don’t particularly like that kind of media ( or is it the users, or over users should I say). You guys run a fantastic blog here, and if you think it would serve it well, then consider this my “like”.

  • JL February 28, 2013, 2:40 pm

    I always rotate my food. There are some foods we eat more of, like beans so I keep a lot of cans of bean and bags of dried beans. My cans are not very organized, my 3 year old likes to stack them.
    Whenever I buy a new item to try, I only buy 1 if we like it I will buy a lot while on sale. If I have coupons to get a new item for free I will get a lot. If we end up not liking it I will donate it to charity. This reminds me I need more flour. I’m down to 8 pounds.

  • Novice March 1, 2013, 11:31 am

    I use the old retail mantra “one to show, one to go” (keep one on display and one ready to carry out if someone wants to buy it). Whether it’s toilet paper or canned goods. I always have one full container somewhere to replace the one that I empty. Then when I open it, it goes on the shopping list to get replenished. It does more than just keep me “prepped” it also avoids the hassle of running out and having to make a last minute trip to the store.

  • PrepperDaddy March 1, 2013, 11:41 am

    You will probably be able to grow vegtables…it is a LOT harder to grow meat. Get as much meat in jars as you can. By last count I had around 600 pounds of meat, of all kinds, in jars. Eating meats/foods that I stored in 2008 and replacing 2 for every 1 I take out.

  • Babycatcher March 2, 2013, 12:38 am

    Tip for Facebook users…don’t post anything that might compromise opsec…I don’t post anything but hi, bye, and howyadoin…

  • JerryMac March 3, 2013, 9:49 pm

    What we are working on now that we have long term food storage is comfort foods, and i have found an awesome way to do it…we use wuart or half gallon jars, in these you can store anything from breakfast cereal, pasta, hamburger helper, to peanut butter crackers and cookies, use a food saver with hose n jar attachment, add contents, put lid only on, seal it up, then screw lid on….i opened some cereal that had been in a jar for rour yers, tasted like it just came out of the box….use your imagination to store many more dried foods.

  • N AZ March 4, 2013, 12:18 am

    When we used to get our food shipment at the restaurant that I used to work at, we would use a permanent marker to mark the can or container the date that we received them. This way, if the cans or boxes got moved around, we would still know what to use first. We also mark the date that we opened the boxes or containers, so that we would know when to throw stuff out when they got old.


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