From time to time I get emails from my readers asking “How to safely store your preps”. While I usually respond with a few simple suggestions such as keeping them in a cool dry place, I thought it would be a good idea to discuss this in further detail in today’s post.
There are so many variables to consider when deciding on the best way and place to store your preps. A big one, being what is available for a place to store them. Some people have basements, and some have out buildings or large vacant rooms, while others have none of these and use commercial storage buildings to store their preps in. Each of these has their own advantages and disadvantages depending on how you look at it. The next thing to consider is what are you trying to store (i.e.…cans with liquid in them or dried beans and rice) and yet, what are they being stored in? (5 gal. buckets with lids, shelves, duffel bags etc.) All of this will determine the best way to store your preps for future emergencies. AS a result, we will look at a few safety precautions that you can take to get the longest shelf life out of your preps as possible, depending on how and where you store them.
First let’s look at location types and how they will affect your preps. Like I said in the beginning, a cool dark and dry place is always the best. If you have a place like this to store your preps, then you’re in good shape. However, if you need to store your preps in an empty bed room or a storage building that has wild temperature swings, then certain precautions should be taken to protect them. Items like containers with liquid in them need to be protected from freezing so they do not go bad or break if they are in a glass container. One way to do this is to place them in 5 gallon food grade buckets and surround them with old newspaper in all of the gaps between the jars or containers. The Newspaper acts as an insulator as well as padding for them. Then place the lid on them tightly and be sure they are sealed well. This will help insulate the containers for temperature variations that could accelerate their aging process. The 5 gallon bucket does also help block any extra light that might have adverse effects on your preps.
Something I do to go a step further, is to place a moving blanket over the buckets to further reduce the ambient light and help reduce the wild temperature swings that might be experienced in buildings that are not climate controlled. I get these at Harbor freight for about $5 a piece and they are 40 X 70 inches and work perfect for this purpose. The can also be used as emergency quilts in the future if need be. They reduce the light while helping regulate the temperature of the items being stored in the buckets. If you are storing these in boxes, then the same thing can be applied to the boxes to help maintain an even temperature in them.
Now, let’s say you are storing them in your basement or extra bedroom and you are putting them on shelves. Is there anything you can do to help extend the life of these even if they are stored in a temperature controlled environment? Actual, yes there is if they are in glass containers. When storing things in glass containers, you have to remember that light and not just temperature is its enemy. To help counteract this issue, you will need to hang a quilt over the shelves to block out any light from windows that may be in the immediate area. If the shelves are in the middle of the room, then you will want to hang thick sheets or quilts on both sides of the shelves to try to block all light from reaching them. This may seem a little extreme to some, but there is a reason that root cellars were underground besides the temperature aspect of it. Light contamination can ruin the color of any stored meats and vegetables; this can make them very unappetizing to look at and in some situations depending on what it is, it can also cause the contents to go bad much quicker and that is definitely not a good thing! If you are storing beans, pastas or rice, you should put then in Mylar bags along with oxygen absorbers then remove any excess air in the bag and seal it. I prefer to put two bags to a 5 gallon bucket and mix it up like half rice and half beans so I am not stuck with a large open container of beans or rice. It just seems to make sense to me.
I know that some people actually paint the outside of their buckets, but this could pose a problem further down the road if you need to use them for something else. Also, be sure that the buckets you get are “Food Grade” so as not to contaminate your food. What I recommend is that you put your name on the bottom of your buckets in case they are ever stolen. Thieves will not think to look at the bottom of the buckets and it could make getting them back or identifying them easier should you need to. While no one thinks their preps will get stolen, we still need to prepare for the possibility just to be safe. Well, that’s it for today and I hope you have enjoyed todays post and that you will be back tomorrow for more Prepping information here at the American Preppers online .com. Until then, keep on prepping!