How I store Dry Goods the cheap and easy way

Hello my friend and welcome back to another of our Post.  I recently had a reader ask me how I store my dry goods and is it hard to do?  I have a way that I and many others use to store dry goods and in today’s post, I’m going to share it with you so grab a cup of coffee and have a seat while we visit.

First off, what do I mean by dry goods?  We are talking about things like rice, all kinds of beans, flour, sugar and cornmeal just to name a few.  The reader appeared to be concerned with the fact it cost more to prepare them for storage than it does for the items themselves.  I could see where that could be the case if you went out and bought everything online with all of the fancy bag sealers and all, but I don’t do that, instead I only buy the Mylar bags and Oxygen absorbers on-line.  The rest I get locally and with a little improvising, I have been able to save myself a lot of money so let’s get started shall we.

Let’s start with what you will need to do it my way.  First you will need some 5 gallon buckets with lids.  Now if you buy these online, they can be very pricy!  What I have found is that places like Lowe’s and Home Depot sell food grade 5 gallon buckets and lids in their paint section for a fraction of what you would spend online.  They are just as good and you don’t have to pay shipping on them either.  You can also check other building supply stores in your area and they may have them or can get them for you at a good price.  Try to get the food grade if possible.  While it may not make much difference while they are used to store you supplies in, you will want to use them for other things after they are empty and food grade just makes them more usable for other items.

The next items you will need are the 5 Gallon bucket sized Mylar bags and oxygen absorbers that you can get online for a really good price if you shop around.  They have also started making them with a built in zip-lock seal so that once they are opened, they can be resealed so whatever is in them will not go bad while you use up its contents.  Yes, they still have the space above the zip-lock seal to heat seal your bags for long term storage.   The ones with the zip-lock feature cost a little more, but are well worth the expense in the long run.  For example, let’s say that you need to open a bucket to start using the flour or rice in it.  The big concern becomes keeping the bugs out of the food.  While you could simply just put the lid back on the bucket, anyone that has tried this method knows that it is not a pleasant one, especially if you will need to keep getting things out of it for use as you go.  Trust me when I say that the few extra pennies that it cost for the bags with the zip-lock feature is well worth it.  When you get the bags, also order some Oxygen Absorbers as well.  These are important as they will help remove any oxygen in the bag and keep the food from becoming stale, just remember not to eat it!

Here is a very important step to take when packing grains like rice, flour and cornmeal.  Before you pack it up, place the bags in a plastic bag and then put them in your freezer for at least 48 hours to kill any bugs or bug eggs that may be mixed in during packaging at the packaging plant.  This is very important as failure to do so could cause you to find your food crawling with bugs when you open it.  It cost nothing and could save you a lot of headaches down the road.  After the food has been frozen for 48 hours, take it out and let it come to room temp, then take a Mylar bag and place it in the bucket for storage.  Now place your items in the bag and fill it as much as possible.  If you don’t have enough to fill it, consider adding other smaller portions of food to the bucket as well, just be sure to seal them in some kind of bag so they do not mix together in the bucket.

Once you have your items in your Mylar bag you will want to use something to draw any excess air out of the bag. I use a shop vacuum to do mine.  They provide a lot of suction and serve as a vacuum cleaner when you’re not using it to seal bags.  You will also need a small board about 2 feet long, an old clothing iron and a piece of cotton cloth.  First you add an oxygen absorber to the top of the bag.  Next you close the zip-lock on the bag and leave about a 2 inch opening at the end.  Next, place the hose of the vacuum cleaner just outside the opening of the zip-lock and suck all of the excess air out of the bag and finish zipping it closed.  You will be surprised how well it works. Once the excess air has been removed from the bag, quickly finish zipping the bag while keeping the hose a short distance from the opening to keep air from slipping back in.  Next, pre-heat the clothes iron and place the wood across the top of the bucket and the portion of the bag you want to seal across the board.  Place the cotton cloth on top of the Mylar bag and use the Iron to slowly move back and forth across it to seal the bag.  If your bag has a zip-lock seal on it, be sure that you stay above it and the quick tear section; otherwise you could ruin your seal when you open it for the first time.  If you don’t have bags with a zip-lock seal on them, then you could seal all but about 2 inches of the bag and use the Vacuum to draw the excess air out of the bag, and then quickly finish sealing the bag with the iron.  Place the lid on the bucket;, put a wide piece of tape on the bucket with contents and date,  and you are ready to add it to your preps.

If you have any questions about how this or any other post I’ve made, please don’t hesitate to drop me an email and ask.  I live hearing from my readers.  Until next time, stay safe, stay strong and stay prepared.  God bless America!

-The Sargent-

The Sgt.

Prepper, Patriot, and Proud U.S. ARMY Veteran.

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15 Responses

  1. mophead says:

    I’ve been keeping dry goods in 5 gallon buckets for years. I just recently started using Mylar bags for some items, like powdered milk, but with my flour, sugar and rice, I just placed the bags in the buckets. So far, those items are still edible. In fact, I recently opened a bucket to find a large bag of rice that I’d opened at least 5 years ago. I had just twisted the bag shut and put the lid on the bucket. Well, I decided to try that rice anyway. It cooked up perfect and tasted great. I was amazed.

    BTW…I love your website and look forward to getting your daily updates in my inbox. Unlike other “newsletters”, this one always has something useful. Thanks for all you do. You’re an asset to us “preppers” and I appreciate it!

  2. RayK says:

    You can get good 5 gallon bucket oxygen absorbers in the Outdoor section at WalMart. Buy the ‘hand warmers’; same thing, large size, cheap.

  3. Illini Warrior says:

    Sorry, but you get an “F” grade on the article …. you committed the cardinal sin & major mistake in using the long term food storage system and food/water storage – it’s ALWAYS food grade container required … Homer buckets and the other paint buckets from the home improvement stores ARE NOT food grade – you get what you pay for and a bucket under $3 isn’t going to be FDA food grade certified ….

    • The Sargent says:

      I strongly disagree!
      If you are storing your preps in sealed Mylar bags first, then the grade of the bucket makes no difference at all. As long as the food does not come into contact with the bucket it’s self, then it has no effect on what is stored inside of it. If they are in a Mylar bag with the excess air removed and and sealed,a cheap bucket will work just as good as a food grade bucket. As for the price, if you shop around, you will be surprised what you can find. Oh by the way, you can buy food grade buckets at Lowe’s and I know this for a fact because that is where I get mine.

  4. Tumbleweed says:

    Rodents have been known to eat through plastic buckets, so instead I use large and medium size tins such as those that are filled with goodies for holidays. I buy them at thrift stores. They’re cheaper than the buckets and can also be made into Faraday cages for your electonics by lining them with cardboard.

    • The Sargent says:

      Good thinking! Thanks for sharing! 🙂

    • mophead says:

      I like the idea of using the metal snack tins. I think I have a few stashed somewhere that I’ve saved. I’ve also bought some 5 gallon stainless steel buckets at one of the big hardware stores. They have a lid that locks on with the handle. A while back, someone suggested to me that to free up floor space, they could be hung from hooks in my basement ‘rafters’.

  5. Craig Katcher says:

    What is the recommended cc size of the oxygen absorbers? When is checked on line they ranged from 60-cc to 2000-cc and several inbetween. Is there a chart that helps with food volume to OxyAbso cc ratio?

    • The Sargent says:

      That is a really good question and maybe one of our readers might know of one. If not, I will try to locate one and post it here as soon as I can. Great question and thanks for asking!

    • John Walker says:

      2000cc for 5 gallon bucket size

    • poorman says:

      2000 cc is recommended for a 5 gl bucket. I generally use twice that. O2 absorbents are not expensive and I don’t want to take chances with my long term food.

  6. 101st says:

    Fortunate to live close to Lexington Container. Owner is one of us. If I have enough $$ I buy food grade. I’ve also got Mylar in regular buckets. Pest deterent most critical.

  7. placing a small chip of dry ice in the container prior to sealing eliminates all bugs