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Daily Bread

We just started partnering with Daily Bread, a company committed to promoting sustainable living and emergency preparedness. Below are some quick tips from them.

5 easy ways to start your food storage

by Dirk Puckett

Building up your family food storage is a wonderful idea—but if you haven’t started yet, it’s likely that you feel overwhelmed about where to start and how much to spend. Getting started with food storage can be easy and inexpensive if you use common sense and plan ahead. When you break the process down into manageable steps, you’ll soon be on your way to having a versatile, long-lasting emergency family food supply to sustain you during hard times.

Here are 5 easy ways to start your family food storage:

1. Make a list

Forget freeze-dried gourmet dinners and focus on simple, practical food items you can find at the supermarket that are high in nutrients and store well. Focus on versatile, tasty foods like pasta, rice, dried beans, canned meat, pancake mix, peanut butter, canned fruits and vegetables, nuts, and powdered drink mixes. The food items on your list also need to be things your family will actually eat. Don’t make plans to store canned lima beans if you know your children will never eat them. Then, consolidate your list to just 12 to 15 items. Once you’ve built up a basic food storage supply, you can expand on it.

2. Set a budget

Look carefully at your grocery budget and see how much you can divert to building up your food storage. Even with as little as $10 per month, you can get started. Over time, you’ll build up enough to help you and your family out in a crisis. Another good idea is to save up all your spare change during the month and put it toward your food storage budget. Even a little bit of change can generally cover an extra can of tuna fish or a bag of hard candy every month.

3. Buy a little at a time

Once you have a list and a budget, you can begin to purchase a few food items every time you go to the grocery store. Whenever you shop, add some of the food storage items to your cart. Don’t forget to take advantage of the sales on your food storage items, such as two-for-one sales or loss leaders.

4. Set up a purchase schedule

If your food storage items are not on sale, keep organized by setting up a purchasing schedule for your list of items. For example, if you have $15 to spend each month, start by buying a 5-lb. bag of rice, a 5-lb. bag of beans, and three cans of tuna fish. The next month, choose three more things on your list to buy. Keep purchasing until you’ve gotten some of everything on your list, then start over. This way, you’ll have a variety of foods in your storage, rather than too much of one item.

5. Designate storage space

It doesn’t take long for even a basic food storage supply to grow bigger than you thought. Get creative when it comes to storing your food and look beyond the obvious. If you aren’t lucky enough to have empty shelves in the garage or basement, make room elsewhere. Try adding a bookshelf in the closet of the spare room, stacking totes under the stairs, or getting long, flat containers that fit under your bed.

Dirk Puckett writes about food storage, emergency preparedness, and self-sustainable living for Daily Bread.