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How to Organize Emergency Food Supply

how to organize emergency food supply


Most preppers are not fortunate enough to have a large space for stockpiling food and water.  Many of us live in apartments and small homes.  However, even with limited amount of space, we can still build a sufficient stockpile if it organized efficiently.  In this post, we are going to discuss how to organize emergency food supply.

How to Organize Emergency Food Supply

Start off with a plan

When first coming into preparedness we don’t consider how to organize emergency food supply.  It is typically an afterthought.  We typically stock up what we can and then realize that we are not really organized.

This causes us to be frustrated.  Sometimes the food supply can get mixed with our regular food supply.  Then we begin to feel like we don’t have enough space.

So we need to start off with a plan.  Even if you have already built a supply it isn’t too late to put together a plan.  You don’t have to throw everything out to start over.

In order to put together a plan, we need to consider how much food do we realistically need for an emergency food supply.  It isn’t really possible to build an endless food supply.  That is unless you can afford massive storage spaces like the government or super rich.

In order to determine how much that you need you have to determine the threats you are preparing for.  Not all of us are preparing for the same threats.  At least, we shouldn’t be.  If you are trying to prepare for every threat known to man you will end up only being partially prepared in all areas instead of fully prepared in the important areas.

Not every threat has the same recovery times.  Some of us are only preparing for short-term recovery events like hurricanes or power outages.  While others are preparing for long-term recovery events like a nuclear fallout.

This is why in my book The Strategic Prepper I recommend conducting a threat assessment.  This assessment will help you to determine the most probable and relevant threats that you can face.  Once you have those threats identified then you can determine the recovery time for each specific event.

Put together a list

Now that you have an idea on how much food you will need then you need to start gathering a list of food.  When you consider how to organize emergency food supply you should research foods that have a long shelf life.

Now from that list, you should identify the foods that your family will ideally eat.  There is no point in stockpiling foods that they won’t eat or enjoy.  Being able to eat food that you enjoy will increase the morale during a catastrophic event.  This, in turn, will produce hope that is essential for survival.  After all, you can only survive 3 seconds without hope after a catastrophic event.

For short-term recovery events, you may only need canned and packaged foods.  However, for long-term recovery events, I would recommend having dehydrated and freeze-dried food.  This is because canned food has shorter shelf life compared to dehydrated and freeze-dried food.

Don’t get me wrong, you should have a good mix of canned, dehydrated and freeze-dried foods.  They are apart of emergency food preparedness basics.  Canned foods are cheaper and easier to access as compared to the others.  This will help you to build up a stockpile quickly.

However, the nutritional value in canned foods degrades a lot faster than dehydrated and freeze-dried food.  In long-term recovery events, you will need all the nutrients you can find.  Nutrients will help you to stay healthy and full energy which will be needed for such a recovery.

This infographic below breaks down the differences between canned, dehydrated and freeze dried food:

Identify storage space

Another important thing to consider when asking how to organize emergency food supply is storage.  Now that you know the type of food and how much you will need, then you need to find a place to store it.  Don’t build your emergency food stockpile around the space that you think that you have.  You can find many creative places to store your supply even in tiny spaces.

However, you shouldn’t store foods that can be ruined by hot weather in garages or sheds.  You could place water in these locations.  If you do, then they may need to be rotated frequently if you don’t store them in BPA free containers like the Aquatainer 7 Gallon Container.  Another option to store in these locations is canned water.

There are a few offsite locations that you can store food.  For example, you can store some of your supply in a climate controlled storage space.  Another option is to bury food supplies in cache containers.

I prefer to have quick access to my food supplies.  On the other hand, having an offsite storage location will give you a back up to your back up.  You never know if your place will be raided by the golden hoard should SHTF.

Track your inventory

Having an inventory tracking system isn’t important to have when considering how to organize emergency food supply.  The important thing is to know how much food that you have, their expiration dates and where they can be found. 

You will want to rotate expiring food every month.  I typically schedule the first Saturday of every month for rotating supplies.  For those that are expiring soon, you can remove them to eat or donate.

It is important to use the FIFO (first in first out method).  So when you go into your pantry all of the older foods are at the front of the shelves.  That way you don’t have to go digging through your supply to find what is expiring soon.  A great tool for this is a can rotation system.

Organize your pantry

If you are combining your emergency food supply with your regular food then you will want to keep them separated.  Place the foods and items that you use most frequently in areas that are easy to grab.  These are typically located at the shoulder or head height.

Then place your emergency food supply in other areas that are harder to access.  This will give you quick access to the food that you need every day.  At the same time, it will discourage you from digging into your emergency food supply when don’t feel like going grocery shopping.

You should also separate the food out by their types.  For example, you should keep fruits with fruits, meats with meats, etc.  You should also separate canned food from boxed or packaged food.  This makes it easier to stack and line up in your pantry.

Combine dry foods

Dry foods like rice and beans can take up a lot of shelf space in your pantry.  They are also quite heavy.  The weight of those items can break your shelves or cause them to bend which takes up more space.

One way to save space is by placing these foods in food grade buckets.  To extend the shelf life you can place Mylar blankets into the buckets first.  Then pour the dried items and top it with an oxygen absorber.

Another option is to vacuum seal the food.  This is a great method that prevents oxygen and moisture from getting into your food.  When food is exposed to oxygen it can decrease the shelf life.  I recommend the NutriChef Vacuum Sealer as it saves time and is easy to use.

If you would prefer using buckets then be sure to pick up some Gamma Sealed Lids.  They make the buckets airtight and are easy to screw on.  Again this will prevent oxygen and moisture from seeping in.

Label it

The last important thing to do when considering how to organize emergency food supply is to label your supply.  Believe me, it is a pain in the ass going through your supply trying to find expiration dates.  By having a big label on your supply it saves a lot of time.  So I would recommend picking up a label printer to speed up the process.

The labels on canned and packaged foods should contain expiration dates.  For the food buckets, you should label the type of food, the date it was sealed and the projected expiration date.


Altogether these would be my suggestions on how to organize emergency food supply.  If you have any questions or suggestions then please leave it below.  Your feedback will help the community prepare the smart way now so that we can thrive later.


how to organize emergency food supply