Tuesday, January 20, 2015

A Quick Look at My Long Term Dry Bulk Food Storage Revised 3-2017

The intention of this post is to show my actual low-cost storage for people who want to prepare with bulk food storage so they can see exactly what it looks like. Hopefully, this will help. To make dry bulk food purchasing easier go to this link:http://livingprepared.blogspot.com/search/label/Food%20Storage%20Dry%20Bulk%20Servings%20Per%20Pound  and there you’ll find a list of the most common dry bulk foods converted into ‘pounds per gallon’.

What kind of meals can be made from my storage below if in an extended disaster situation? Simple ones. These meals may be meager with only homemade whole wheat or white bread and a bowl of pasta, soup, beans, rice or other grains stored. It sounds meager but they're far better than the possibly of living in a FEMA Concentration Camp!

I'm only showing here bulk packed foods in 5-gallon buckets and 5-quart jugs and a shelf of #10 cans. It does not cover all of my #10 cans of dehydrated foods and the can food in my pantry including home canned foods.

Below is what I currently store at home of Dry Bulk Purchased Long Term Foods and home canning jars. It has taken several years of attempts for me to finally figure out what works best, stores the most in the least space and still be easily accessible and organized. Also, the storage shelves are fully adjustable to accommodate changes in container sizes or amounts as I built my food stocks. My access to all the food stored is easy and not handicapped by stacking buckets 5 high in a closet or with fixed position shelves or home built shelves etc.

How many 2 cup servings can I prepare from 1 gallon of dry Bulk Food Storage?

Typically, 1 cup of dry food when prepared doubles and some triple in volume. Each 1-gallon Mylar bag contains 16 cups and when prepared = 16, 2-cup meals.

In each of my 5-gallon buckets there are 4, 1-gallon Mylar bags filled with 1-gallon of food and each gallon bag will produce 16, 2-cup servings of prepared food or 64, 2-cup servings per bucket. If survival eating and you are eating 2-meals a day each bucket will provide 32 days of 2 meals per bucket.

For example, with my current bucket storage of 20 buckets total (18 buckets of food) means I have from the 18 buckets of food = 1,152, 2-cup servings. For one person eating two servings per day = 576 days (19.2 months) of survival eating or = 288 days (9.6 months) for two people. (This does not take into consideration of my pantries can food stocks)

What's in My 5 Quart Jug Storage? (13 jugs)
Each jug of food when filled with 1 gallon of food produces 16, 2 cup servings of prepared food. In total there are 160 2-cup servings or 80 meals or 2.6 months of eating just in these jugs. Combine the jugs with the bucket storage I have a total of 1,232 meals or 21.8 months of eating for one person or 10.9 months for two people eating two meals a day. (* means refillable 1 gallon at a time from the 5-gallon buckets)

Rice, White Long Grain*
Barley, Pearled*
Wheat Grain*
Oats, Rolled
Salt, Table*
Salt, Canning
Egg Noodles*
Elbow Pasta*
Navy Beans*
Corn Meal

What’s in My 18 Buckets of Food?
20 buckets total if including one each of sugar and salt
Barley Pearled
Barley Pearled
Elbow Pasta
Elbow Pasta
Egg Noodles
Egg Noodles
AP Flour
AP Flour
AP Flour
Lentil Beans
Navy Beans
Wheat Grain, hard white

See photo showing all foods listed as stored at the end.

About my food storage let me be clear!
This particular type of dry bulk food storage is for “Hard Core Survival Eating” or simply eating to stay alive in the worst of times. Not included or discussed here is my pantry with can meats, fruits, vegetables, home canned food, spices and the #10 cans of dehydrated veggie foods that will increase the amount and quality of the meals stored.

How much storage space?
I currently use 3, six shelf shelving units, but only two contain long term food storage as shown in the photo below. The 3rd unit, not shown is for household paper products, laundry products, pop and everyday bottled drinking water.

I use two storage container sizes for my dry bulk food storage:
Five-quart jugs and 5-gallon buckets that work together.

Why do I use five-quart jugs?
I found it's the best way to begin Dry Food Storage. In the beginning, I didn't want to buy 5-gallon buckets of dry food without being able to at least create and test cook the recipes first. If I purchased 5-gallon buckets of a food then what if I didn't like it? I’ve just wasted that money so I needed a way to buy and store smaller amounts first and be able to test or practice cook the recipes it to see if we liked it. Supermarkets carry most all of the survival dry foods to store in small and inexpensive amounts of 1, 5 or 10lb bagged or boxed quantities.

The jugs also let me have a wide variety of food items in a small space and I can spend $5-$6 a week building the initial amounts while test cooking them along the way. I’m also a believer in using/cooking bulk stored food at least on a weekly basis because it saves on the everyday food budget and allows practicing recipes using it. Remember, store only food that you already know how to prepare and like eat. The jugs make this easy. With my jug system, I have 10 varieties of dry foods stored in 13 jugs.

Why do I Use 5 Gallon Buckets for Storage?
It’s the best way to store large amounts of dry bulk food that's organized, cheap and safe. In combination with the 5-quart jugs, they make refilling the jugs easy with freshly opened stock as each bucket is filled with four, 1 gallon Mylar bags with an oxygen absorber in each. When the jug gets nearly emptied I simply remove one bag from the bucket and refill the jug with fresh stock.

The Shelving Units I use for storage:
As you can see below I only need 20 buckets for my storage program and they fit nicely in two, 48 x 18 x 72-inch tall heavy duty wire shelving units purchased from Sam’s Club. You can also buy these wire shelving units most anywhere but warehouse stores are the cheapest at $99. Each of the shelves holds 600 lbs per shelf without wheels or 200 lbs with wheels, so they’re stout and will last forever. Mine are on wheels so it's easy to move the unit and clean under and behind. It's important to keep the food storage area very clean so not to encourage all types of critters from trying to help themselves to your food.
Manufacturers Description:
Heavy duty chrome plated steel shelving with caster wheels, height adjustable shelves and polypropylene shelf inlays. This heavy duty chrome shelving unit is attractive, versatile and can be used virtually anywhere. With its six height adjustable shelves and polypropylene shelf inlays, you can use it to store large or small items. Moving the shelving unit for cleaning or relocating is easy to when you attach the four caster wheels. Food safety is also taken care of with NSF certification.

·                     Heavy duty steel with chrome plated finish
·                     Six height adjustable shelves with polypropylene shelf inlays
·                     Four caster wheels (2 locking) and height adjustable leveling feet
·                     Triple truss shelves with 600-pound weight capacity per shelf evenly distributed using leveling feet
·                     200 pounds per shelf weight capacity evenly distributed using caster wheels
·                     NSF certified for restaurant capabilities
·                     Assembled size 47.75" x 18" x 72" w/leveling feet and locking casters.
·                     No tools required assembly 

Link to purchase shelves:

Note; You can if needed fit 6 buckets per shelf (I use 5 buckets per shelf) if using 6 buckets per shelf, the buckets do hang over the edge of the shelves by an inch or so. It’s a small price to pay for such a low priced, high quality fully adjustable shelf unit.

A look at my current, at home, 6-month bulk food storage.
I do use a storage location (within walking or biking distance) for addition bulk storage in case of street gangs breaking into my home and taking what I have stored here.
As you can the two shelving units take up little room to have considerable food stored. So don’t delay your food prep’s, get started today with the jugs and grow it from there.

I use a curtain to hide from neighbors eyes. A simple blanket, shower curtain or like mine was a camo fabric on sale for $2 each.


  1. jeesh, Mike. i got nothing more than just jeesh!

    oh and you are awesome!

    your friend,

  2. Don't forget that I've been at this for a while now. I hope it helps some people to understand about storing dry bulk foods.
    All I really need is your vegetable garden and we'd be set! Want to move closer????

  3. Impressive! Great organization, but then, I would expect nothing less. You are an inspiration, Mike. :)

    1. Thanks Lisa. I try to keep things simple and logical, seems to work the best.
      How's the electrical business going? I could have used Dan today but I can't afford his travel expenses! :-)

  4. Those clear plastic jugs with handles are great. Where did you find them? Could you share a link?

  5. Heidi, The jugs do work very well for everyday dry food storage, been using them for years now, I love these things! Here's the link to all the sources I use:



Your thoughts are welcome!