Let’s ‘Build’ a Deep Pantry. “Storage Containers”

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Guest Article by NRP & Blue, April 28, 2021.

Ok, so here we are starting to “Build” a Deep Pantry, GREAT!!!!
You are working on your list of what you believe you want in the Pantry, Even Better.
Now let’s yack a little about what you’re going to Store that ‘Stuff’ in when you start gathering your Larder.

Water Storage:

Ok, let’s start with Water:
HEAVY!!! Let me say that again HEAVY!!!!
As I have mentioned before Water is very heavy to store and can be a real pain to move about.

The Water Tote above is a good example of one way to store a little extra water. The Handles are very nice and these are stackable. Be careful how high you stack these, remember the weight you’re putting on the small space on the floor.
Also, these are rather expensive. Another thing about these, while the water will last a very long time, sooner or later you should clean the totes and change it out to freshwater, once every 6 months to a year max. A lot of water to be moving around. I do like these for Camping I will admit, I have two I keep filled and are ready when it’s time to head out.

Personally I like to just to buy Bottled Water and stack it 3-4 high where I can. I do keep a case in the fridge to use all the time, so it is rotated out simply by using it.

I also use old 5-gallon Water Bottles that sit on top that Water Cooler you see in some offices, but again heavy and not stackable.

One thing to remember and I will mention this often: Label AND Date the Bottles, Cases, or Totes when you fill or buy them. Rotate out your provisions.


Food Storage Containers

Canning Jars:

Ok, let’s start out with my Favorite: Canning Jars.
I LOVE Canning Jars, these things are so neat I use a LOT of them.
Yes a little expensive and hard to find right now, ‘Covid’ and all that Panic Buying BS that’s going on.
BUT, take your time, check on Yard Sales and Rummage Stores, you can find them usually at a “Fair” price.

Ok, how do I use them you ask? Well not only for Canning the Garden stuff (I will do an article on that later on)
I store Spices and Herbs in them, a variety of Beans, Lintels, Pastas, Yeast, Brown Sugar… The list is long. I also store a lot of home dehydrated foods in them, they keep for many MANY years with no problems.
I use a Food Saver to ‘Vacuum Seal’ them closed with (there is an attachment for both Regular & Wide Mouth jars), this also removes most of the Air from the jar allowing the foods to last a LOT longer and keep it’s Freshness a LOT longer also. AND they are very hand on the Counter or in the Kitchen Pantry. And for those that ask, yes I use the lids over and over again on the Vac-Seal jars.

A word of Caution, YES they will break if you drop them on the floor, SO my recommendations… Don’t Drop them: go ahead, ask me how I know.

An added note, I was at Big-R farm store yesterday, they had LOTS of Canning Jars, most were off brand, but Glass is Glass.

Food Grade Food Buckets:

Now moving on to a little Larger Storage Vessel

Food Grade Buckets are God’s gift to the Deep Pantry for sure: these things are made for the person that really believes in keeping their Families Safe If/When.

So where do I begin? The old Beans and Rice thing I guess, Yes a 5-gallon bucket will hold a good 35 pounds of Beans, Rice, or even Wheat Berries. AND a lot of other things, basically you name it you can store it in these puppies.

A quick note, a very good friend of mine bought a pallet of Red Wheat Berries one year. Split them into Buckets and placed a stick of Wrigley’s Spearmint Gum in each bucket……. He did this almost 28 years ago.
YES!!!! The Wheat is still as good as the day he bought it. I know I have eaten some of his Wheat Bread about 5 weeks ago.

Ok, one added thing on the Buckets, I use the Gum OR a Bay Leaf in each bucket, this keeps the Bugs away, Don’t know how Bugs are going to get into a sealed Bucket, but oh well.
I also like to use one of those Gama Lids (see photo) on the Bucket I’m currently using.

I do store Flour, Sugar, and stuff like that (With Gama Lids) in the Everyday Pantry.

Buckets are Cheap, and sometimes free (Free is good) from Store Bakeries, just ask nicely and they will (most of the time) give you an assortment of sizes, make sure you thank them. The Gama Lids are not so cheap, around $8 per lid, but very well worth the cost.

Mylar Bags for Storage:

Good to have around: these are (IMHO) for very long storage, these are supper sealed and will NOT allow any air or moisture in (if used/sealed properly).
They come in a variety of sizes from 1/2 pint to 5 gallon or bigger.
I have some and like them for bulk spices/herbs that I store in the freezer for longgggggg term storage (many years). A word of warning, the bags are thin and some spices will poke a hole in them.
I also like keeping my Garden Seeds in them, some come with a Zip Top and can be used many many times.
For sealing them you will need a Sealer and I like to vacuum most of the air out. Also an O2 absorbers are good to use.
Again for very long term storage.


Boxes, Boxes, Boxes everywhere:

Let’s Get a Stacking STUFF!!!!

Boxes are everywhere for the asking, try Wally World for a few thousand.
You can get about any size you will need. So be picky with what you use.

My suggestion, if you buy in Bulk, use the boxes it comes in, Such as Soups, buy a case of Soups and just keep them in there, no need to repackage then. On the other hand, when buying individual or “broken lots” find the ‘perfect’ box for them….

Make darn sure to make what’s in the boxes as you fill them, makes Inventory and Finding what you need a LOT easier

One last thing on Boxes, don’t get carried away with HUGE Boxes, most food is heavy, and putting 75 pounds of “stuff” in a single box is not such a good idea..

Clear Plastic Totes:

Well, I know a lot of people that use Totes in their Deep Pantry:
I don’t for a few reasons.

First of all, you have to buy them, they are fairly cheap, but I believe Free is a lot cheaper (boxes)….. Right?

Yes, you can see what’s inside them when you look at them, but is that not why we Label our boxes and other packaging??? Plus in the Deep Pantry you should have a “System” to know what’s in those Boxes/Buckets/Mylar-Bags it’s an Inventory/Labeling system so you don’t have to go looking for stuff.

Second, I have found that usually people don’t fill the Totes properly and waste a lot of room, because, again, they want to see what’s inside. Notice the Totes in the photo above.

Now don’t get me wrong, in the Everyday Pantry or even in some cases in the Kitchen Pantry I have no problem with them……

But again just my preferences.

Milk Creates:

Like Buckets, I love these things.

You can stack quite a bit of heavy stuff in these, the Handles are FANTASTIC, and they stack great.
If you look in the right places you can also get these for free. Make DANG sure you ask for them, do NOT just grab them behind a Store.

I like these for placing my filled and sealed Mylar Bags in. the Create helps protect them and to keep the shape of the Bags, unlike a Box these won’t bend and deform much at all.

Also, these will take a lot more abuse from handling than Boxes, but theoretically, you’re not going to be moving your ‘Stuff’ that much once it’s in the Deep Pantry.

Let me reiterate if you buy stuff that’s already packaged up in handy size lots, just keep it that way, no need to repack stuff that’s already boxed… Right?

Ok, those are some hints on how to store your “stuff” in so it can be stacked in your Deep Pantry; if you have other ideas please let us know.

List of things you believe you would need:

Ok Ok Ok, I’m a pain in the BUTT about getting your List going.
Please get that Monthly Use List started and continue on with it.

If you’re really serious about being there for your Family If/When TSHTF, and I seriously believe it IS coming, then get started with your “Deep Pantry” and Knowledge you’re going to need.

Think on it this way, If/When the Power goes out, aka Lights Out, can you take care of your Family like you are living in the 1800s? Can you Cook, Clean, Teach, Eat, Restroom, Medical, all of the things we do now WITHOUT Electricity? Think about all the “Stuff” we have now, can you live the same way if there was no Power and Running Water?

Think on that the next time you sit down for a Dinner with your Family, take a good look at them, don’t you want to make sure they will be “Safe”?

3 Replies to “Let’s ‘Build’ a Deep Pantry. “Storage Containers””

  1. Toni (in Niagara)

    Thanks so much for sharing all of your great ideas! We live in the country and sometimes mice and their larger cousins find a way into the house. We’ve learned not to store food in anything that can be chewed through. Large metal garbage cans hold out flour, sugar, and oatmeal. We pick up large square metal cookie tins and canisters and glass canisters with metal lids from thrift shops or garage sales as we find them. We even found a vintage metal bread box that now holds boxes of pasta. We clean the pieces well and use bags inside the metal containers – or boxes, just so the food is not directly up against the metal – for example, six packages of egg noodles still in their original packaging fit perfectly in one of the cookie tins. Sometimes you can get Vlasic pickles in huge tall glass jars (we eat a lot of pickles and they supplement home canned.) Anyway, the jars hold a ton of rice or chocolate chips, or whatever. It’s very economical b/c for 5.99, you get a lot of pickles, but also a storage container that would otherwise cost more than 5.99 I believe.
    We try to keep an eye out on recycling day too – restaurants sometimes have 2-gallon jars from condiments or other things sitting in the bin.
    Anyway, we try to avoid storing food in plastic so that no sharp-toothed critter can get into it. Have you ever had that problem?

  2. NRP & Blue

    Toni (in Niagara)
    Your Welcome: and thank you for the Comment.
    I will agree with you totally on the “critter” problems, GREAT Ideas on the Metal Trash Cans. PS: they make a good Faraday Cage for protecting “not in use” electrical equipment.
    Had to chuckle as I read about the Vlasic Pickle Jars, as I looked behind me and spotted 1/2 dozen sitting there staring at me saying “Fill me, Fill me” HAHAHA
    One question for you, how do you get the Pickle Stink out of the Jars and Lids? I just soak them with Dawn Dish Soap for a few days setting in the Sun, seems to work well, don’t want the Chocolate Chips tasting or smelling like Dill Pickles for sure.
    Great idea on the Restaurant Jars; will look into that for sure.
    Back to the Critters, I had a small invasion of Pack-Rats one time, lost only two Mylar Bags of Buttermilk Pancake Mix….. Pack Rats did NOT win that War….. Now I keep a few traps set, still have not found out how they got into my Deep Pantry nor have they been back.

    1. Toni (in Niagara)

      Oatmeal chocolate-chip pickle cookies? Hey, it could be the next new thing!
      I just wash them as usual and don’t store them with the lids on. I’ve never had any jars smell like their former contents, but maybe a little baking soda in the container of lids might help.
      I like your thinking – I will set up some traps in out of the way places and see what happens.
      Thanks again, and have a great day!