Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Long Term Storage Tips

How's you long term storage of food, water, and other survival items going?  Generally we don't give much thought to storage until we get to extremes in weather--either super hot or super cold--and then we start to worry about whether all of the items we spent our hard-earned money on will last for as long a term as we had planned.  Throwing things into a storage shed will work but for how long?  Light, heat, cold, humidity, and bugs/animals affect not only the storage of fine wine and cigars but also the storage of packaged food and water too.  Ideally you would be able to store your year's worth of food and month's worth of water in a secure, dark storage area kept at optimum levels of temperature and humidity.  For most, people, however, this isn't the case.  We toss our stuff into the garage or storage shed and hope for the best.  Here's some ideas for keeping your goods stored for the long term:
  • Find a storage place that is as dark as possible (ie: the back corner of the basement is better than in the spare room which allows to sun to shine on your stored items).
  • Find a place that is as close to a median temperature as possible (ie: a dry basement is a better choice than a roasting hot/freezing cold attic).
  • Humidity varies with your environment so if the place you are storing your goods is too humid or not humid enough, you may need to place a humidifier/dehumidifier into the storage area.
  • Pick a place that is least likely to be affected by natural disasters.  While a cool, dry basement is often optimal, if you live in an area that regularly floods, you will want to choose a better long-term storage location.
  • Security is also very important, especially if you are storing high-value items such as firearms and ammunition.  I'm always appalled/amazed that people will spend thousands of dollars on their preparedness gear yet lock it away with a $5 padlock.
  • Bug/animal/rodent activity.  There's nothing worse than going out to rotate your food stock and finding that rodents and bugs have already beaten you to your stash.  For firearms and durable goods, this isn't as much of a concern but for food, be sure to store your items in a way that bugs and animals can't access it (ie: in tightly lidded, sturdy plastic or glass containers).
  • Rotate your food and water stock often.  Not only does this help cut down on the possible loss of the food due to pests or spoilage, it can be a good way to host a family reunion dinner or church potluck on the cheap.
  • Check out the packaging that the items you are storing comes in.  Often times, something as simple as cheap or improper packaging can lead to loss of your stored food.  Did you know that water has a much longer shelf life than the plastic bottles it comes in!  Also, I generally take grains out of the paper/plastic bags they come in and store them in tough, food-grade plastic containers to help prolong the life of the food.  Ditto for using commercial quality "seal a meal" systems to package everything from dried food items to ammunition.  Also, Mormon canneries are popular because they allow people to literally can (in large #10 cans) any type of items they like in order to help prolong the shelf life of the item.
  • Read up on some tricks of the trade for long term food storage.  For example, freezing grains for a week or so before storing them will kill the pests (weevils, etc) that are often present in the grains that you buy at the store.  You can also put a bit of dry ice in with your stored grains which will, in essence, fumigate your container of grain and kill any pests that may be present.  Nitrogen can be used in a similar way to preserve stored foods. 
For more information on long term food storage, check out this site.

1 comment:

  1. As an apartment prepper myself I struggle most with lack of space for my food storage. I found the solution in freeze dried meat, veggies and fruit. The large #10 cans are feather light that they can be safely stored 3 even 4 high on my closet shelves. They contain a large amount of servings and have a 25 year shelf life. You can get all your freeze dried items at a discount discount at We have been ordereing their food for a while now and everything tastes great!