I know how you feel. Just take a deep breathe and compartmentalize…..it can be very overwhelming at first.  That’s one reason I found these buckets – people were telling me that for a year’s supply I had to vacuum pack and re-vacuum pack etc…drove me nuts! It’s like I invaded Fort Knox each time I wanted to cook!


My opinion is to first focus on the minimum 1 year useful pantry.

It’s the one you will get into on a regular basis now and learn to build meals from….so that ‘in case’ of emergency you are also skilled in cooking from storage goods. I mean, even if you drag your feet on the survival storage, you’re still good for a year! And you are not waiting time by having it just sit – you’re learning to use it.


The fact is most people go day to day with food – stopping at the store daily on their way home from work. Many go week to week. Several people go month to month. A FEW store for a year (to me the best jumping off point) and very few store for survival.  Some survivalists don’t have a year’s working pantry, they just stock up and store until needed. I call it the “store/ignore” or “stash-n-dash” plan.  It is a risk, in my opinion, because you’re just going day to day and ‘hoping’ you sealed stuff up okay for use at some undetermined time in the future.


To me the best is to do a combo of the last two. We are still building the survival inventory every few months, but the year-long pantry is up and running.


Here is a pretty good tool for at first starting the dry goods pantry for a year.




Now, we are not Mormon…but the tool is nice. Some items we just don’t use. There are also items we ‘figure’ differently. For example:

A year’s supply of organic sugar for our family is 50lbs. Stored right in the bucket in the pantry. As that gets low we restock to be prepared for a year.

The survival amount would be the same for that for us (because it is a luxury, not necessity) stored in the buckets but also in mylar bags with absorbers (not nitrates!) tucked away and ignored until the emergency. Even then, there is no guarantee it’s in perfect shape.


Note: Never use mylar bags without putting them in a serious plastic container for survival storage. Bags (and even flimsy plastic containers) can be chewed through by mice.


We keep 5lbs of every type of dried bean in storage (not bags but smaller food grade buckets with spin lids) in the pantry and about 25lbs each in ‘back up’ – which we still get into once in a while to replenish the 5lbers – so we really don’t keep too much that is completely ignored yet. Same goes for rice (only it’s about 15lbs in the pantry for each 3 types of rice). We’re not big rice eaters. Grains, yep we have about 400lbs of wheat at easy access in those spin lid buckets. I see and smell and use them several times a week. We are working on the survival amount stored of about the same amount.


So you can start with the one year pantry (or even a 6 month pantry) and ease into survival storage. It is harder to do it the other way around because the very need to pack for survival does not allow you to get INTO it often and learn how to use it.


That’s our philosophy on the whole thing.


Secondly and running alongside this is having enough to share with those who did NO preparing at all….To me, that’s a ministry. So my one year pantry may only last 8 months depending upon who needs help….but it’s okay. That’s where the survival part comes in later….but right off the bat, I know we can last a good while with what I’m already familiar with and can get to quickly/easily.


Hope this is making more sense than causing more anxiety….Sharing ’Peace’ really WAS my intention.




Good idea….I will video my pantry before too long to show a visual of how we do it.


Anyway – don’t let learning to store longer term cause you too much stress…it can… believe me….just start with the one year workable pantry (or smaller 6 mo) and any extra can go to: first replenishing it occasionally (or growing it to a year’s size) and then to survival storage (serious hide-out, store/ignore, stash-n-dash).