Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Organizing A Long-Term Storage Pantry, Part 1

There is hardly any sense in talking about caring for your family, gardening or having a small farm if you don't seriously plan to keep a pantry. It's not enough to put up a few jars of tomatoes in the autumn. You have to give thought to what you might need to get through several weeks or several months of living off the food you and your family have stored in your pantry and freezer. It's not about TEOTWAWKI (the end of the world as we know it), it's about looking to uncertanity of the future. Income can be lost by sickess or injury, natural disasters may come your way - Lord only knows what might happen.

Nobody wants to survive on MREs (meals ready to eat). We need to find ways to prepare to feed ourselves and our families using food and supplies that are already familiar to us. And we need to find ways to accomplish this in a fairly easy, economic manner.

One thing we found that works well for us are the big, plastic buckets that contain kitty litter. These white plastic buckets have handle, a snap on, tight lid and are square or rectangular, which makes for easy storage. Once you have them, you can store all kinds of items. They are great for holding small, easy to carry amounts of rabbit food, grain, dog foods and very handy to store small tools, fence parts, etc that we may otherwise loose around the farm. They also make great watering buckets for taller animals such as goats and big dogs. 

Now we do buy kitty litter, but we'd never be able to get enough buckets to use for storage at the rate we buy the stuff - it's very expensive! HOWEVER - we have friends who save their buckets for us and you can get them all the time FOR FREE at the county recycle center. They are, in fact, so plentiful that you shouldn't even think about getting one that is beat up or dirty. Get nice, clean ones that will stack neatly with their flat, snap on lids.

 We also use them in great quantity for dried goods. Bags of rice, flour, boxes of spaghetti - anything that needs to be stored in a dry place can be stored in these buckets. One bucket holds four 5# bags of flour, two 10# bags of sugar, etc. This not only makes it easy to store these items, but easy to buy for storage, too. It is much less daunting to pick up an extra bag of flour or sugar to add to your stash than to even think about needing 100# of flour for a year. Buy two 10# bags of sugar, put them in your clean bucket, make a label, put it on your inventory list, carry it out to the pantry and you're done. 

There will be many more posts along this line and eventually, I'll compile them into an ebook which I'll make available through this blog. But right now, I just want to stress the urgency
of starting a pantry. It's not as hard as you might think and you'll be glad that you did.