Preparedness 101: Creating Your Own 5 Gallon Food Storage "Working Pantry"

emergency preparedness home systems organization survival systems Sep 25, 2021

When I shared my food storage pantry on instagram, you all had a lot of questions about it, so I figured I would share exactly what I did here.

If you have any more questions, feel free to ask down below in the comments! I lived a mile away from Azure Standard in high school (in an adorable farming community of 600 people) so I have always loved their heart and system for getting wholesome foods into homes across America! 

I am no expert on long-term food storage . . . but I have a lot of personal experience. We packed 5 gallon buckets like this with various shelf lives many times, and I've eaten out of 5 gallon storage for my whole life (I mean, with 10 siblings, I don't even know if this was considered "bulk," haha). Along the way I've discovered a few things that can go wrong, and developed a system that is manageable and  practical and I hope it can serve as a helpful road map for you! 


How long will it last?

If prepared correctly, food will store in 5 gallon buckets with oxygen absorbers for 30 years! 


What's in the Buckets?

I think it's helpful to use what you already use in your kitchen, even if you don't usually prepare them dry. For instance, maybe you don't soak your beans, but you do eat black beans, so you'd know how to cook some up in a pinch. I don't use split peas . . . Elisha would probably rather starve than eat my split pea soup . . . so even though they are a great dry food storage option it's not best for me. 

I personally put: 

Himalayan Salt 
Cane Sugar
Pinto Beans
Black Beans
Brown Rice
Garbanzo beans (Chick peas)

I would like to add: 

Brown Rice Pasta

Some other great options are: 

White Rice
Kidney Beans
Split Peas
Dry Milk

Tips to Make Life Easier: 

1. Buy the majority of your food first before packing it into buckets (you don't want to buy one bag of rice when you plan on buying 5 and only be able to fill 3/4 of a bucket. This is mainly for buckets you're going to pack into mylar bags or use oxygen absorbers for. If it's your working pantry buckets, no biggie. But some of those buckets will be harder to access so stock up first! 

2. DO NOT put oxygen absorbers in sugar! It's unnecessary and will turn sugar into cement (or so the legends say). 

3. Put the mylar bags into 5 gallon buckets first before sealing them . . . unless you like the idea of trying to stuff a 25 pound pancake into a sausage wrapper. That works too. 

4. Home Depot, Winco, Walmart and Lowes often have Food Grade storage buckets in the paint or hardware section. It costs more for food-grade buckets, but I think it's worth it when it comes to the unknowns of chemicals leaching into our food. 

5. If stacking more than two - three buckets high, placing a board in between the buckets to help redistribute weight will keep the bucket lids from caving in and cracking.


Cost Breakdown: 

$275 first bulk food order
$250 second bulk food order
$70 First six buckets and lids
$100 12 Gamma Seal Lids
$100 12 Additional Food Grade Buckets
$26 10 Mylar Bags and Oxygen Absorbers (I didn't use them all yet)

Total for 90 gallons of food: $821


Bulk Organic Non-GMO Food and Produce Supplier 
Mylar Bags with Oxygen Absorbers

5 Gallon Buckets with Lids 
Gamma Seal Resealable Lids

Let me know if you have any questions down below, and I would be happy to answer them! 

If you are looking to create more systems that simplify your home, check out Katie's Free Masterclass to learn her top three tips for creating a peacefully productive home!

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