Emergency Food Storage in a Nutshell: How and Where to Store Your Food

hands holding a jar of rice in front of a shelf of survival food

You never know when something might happen, but you can make sure you’re always ready for it. Being prepared for an emergency means more than just buying the necessary food and supplies. You also need to know how to store it properly. Learn how and where to store your emergency food so it’s ready to go when you need it. 

Store Your Emergency Foods in Airtight, Durable Containers

The five biggest enemies of survival food storage are air, humidity, heat, light, and pests. To ensure your survival food is in good shape when you need it, you need to make sure it’s stored in the right containers. Mylar bags can extend the life of your food products by years, blocking out air, light, and moisture. 4Patriots survival food comes in triple-layer Mylar pouches1 with oxygen absorbers to help your food last for up to 25 years2.  

Food grade buckets are another option for long-term food storage. Use a gamma lid for an airtight seal and protection from the other storage dangers. The best way to store food for survival is by using a combination of emergency food storage containers. Put your emergency food into Mylar bags, and then pack those into food-grade buckets or durable containers like stackable storage totes.

Finally, canning is a great way to store fruits, vegetables, preserves, stews, and so much more. 

Keep Your Emergency Food Stockpile Somewhere Dark, Cool, and Dry 

Figuring out where to store emergency food is key. Remember, air, humidity, heat, light, and pests can ruin your emergency food. Find a place in your home that stays dark, cool, and dry year-round, like a basement, closet, or even spare room. If you don’t have a basement, or a room or closet to spare, you can get creative by putting your emergency food supply under beds, under the stairs, in crawl spaces, or any other appropriate place you can fit it. The place you pick might also depend on where you live. For example, if you live somewhere at risk for hurricanes and flooding, your basement might not be the safest choice.

Another thing to keep in mind is the option to separate your emergency food. This is strategic: if one stockpile is damaged or compromised, it doesn’t wipe out all of your food. Storing food in one spot is a common survival food stockpile mistake. Spreading out your supply also lets you find smaller areas to store your food instead of a large space. Food that isn’t damaged by temperature changes can be stored in the garage, dry goods in Mylar bags can be shoved into cramped spaces, large buckets can be stored in closets, and so on.

Store Your Food Off the Ground on Heavy-Duty Shelving

Food in airtight buckets and bins are okay on the ground. It’s important to keep everything else at least six inches off the ground to protect it from rodents and other pests. Choose shelves that are sturdy so they don’t collapse or fall over easily. Leave at least two or three inches between your shelves and the wall to improve airflow and prevent mold and moisture build-up.

In terms of shelf organization, it’s best to put your heaviest items on the bottom. This gives your shelves an anchor and prevents top shelves from collapsing from too much weight. Then, organize your shelves based on food type: soups together, dry goods together, sauces together, and so on.

Put Your Emergency Food Somewhere You Can Get to Easily 

Some people use root cellars or sheds for survival food storage. However, getting to these outdoor options during an emergency might be difficult and unsafe. If you keep your food in the garage, you risk losing it to temperature changes and even looting. It’s a good idea to keep at least some of your emergency food in your house. Be sure to put it in a place that you can get to easily but is hidden from visitors. Not everyone will prepare for an emergency as well as you do. You don’t want anyone to take advantage of your good planning later.

Survival food that hasn’t been stored properly might not be good by the time you need to use it. Keep your family prepared by making sure your food is stored right and ready to be accessed at a moment’s notice. Find all the survival food you need, and the storage totes to keep it in, at 4Patriots.

1 Mylar® brand is a registered trademark of DuPont Teijin Films. DuPont is not affiliated with and has not endorsed or sponsored this product.

2 4Patriots survival food is designed to last 25 years on the shelf. Storage conditions impact the shelf life of your food. For best results, always protect your food from heat, air and moisture. Avoid prolonged exposure to temps above 75 °F. Keep food sealed until ready to eat. Shelf life will vary based on storage conditions.