· Bright Ideas · Food Storage for "Dummies" (who are SMART enough read this!)

Food Storage for "Dummies" (who are SMART enough read this!)

For YEARS I have been hearing about and thinking about food storage and how important it is to BE PREPARED for an emergency.  But to be brutally honest, I have never actually DONE anything about it.  Oh wait, that’s not entirely true. I bought (2) 50 gallon water barrels a couple of years ago that remain EMPTY in the corner of my garage to this day!  How crazy is that???  I don’t know what it is…but I have a serious block when in comes to accomplishing anything in the food storage arena.  But all of the recent disasters around the world can’t help but make you pause and think….maybe I need to finally DO SOMETHING!

THINK ABOUT IT……just this year…..New Zealand earthquake (Feb)…Massive quake and Tsunami hit Japan…nuclear reactor meltdown (Mar)…Storms in Alabama kill 300+ (Apr)….89 killed in Missouri Tornado (May)…Famine in Somalia, 750,000 could die (Jul)…Hurricane Irene lashes US coast (Aug)…

That’s JUST THIS YEAR! Definitely food for thought. (No pun intended).

This week I came across this list on the internet:  52 Weeks of Food Storage. I had heard about this list before (I remember my sister telling me about it once when I asked her why she had so much SALT in her pantry! lol) but I had never gone looking for it.  Once I did some research, I discovered this list has been posted NUMEROUS times at many different places on the net.  There are a few variations here and there…but for the most part…it’s the same.

What the list helps you to do is obtain a years’ supply of food by purchasing specific items each week for 52 weeks. Basically breaking it down into manageable “bites” (if you will). Most of the lists I saw claimed it was a $5 a week plan.  I personally think it is probably closer to $10 a week in today’s economic climate.  But still, for $10 a week you can make some MAJOR PROGRESS towards being prepared for that disaster that common sense says will eventually touch your own life.

IMPORTANT NOTE:  These amounts are for TWO PEOPLE.  If you have more than 2 in your household, you will need to adjust the amounts.  BUT….don’t let that stop you!!!  If you can only start with the “2 people” amount…..do it!

So without further ado…..I present THE LIST!  My “Week 1” starts THIS WEEK!!!!

Week 1 – 6 lbs. salt
Week 2 – 5 cans cream of chicken soup
Week 3 – 20 lbs. sugar
Week 4 – 8 cans tomato soup
Week 5 – 25 lbs. flour
Week 6 – 6 lbs. pasta
Week 7 – 6 lbs. brown sugar
Week 8 – 8 cans tuna
Week 9 – 1 lb. each of yeast, baking soda and baking powder
Week 10 – 50 lbs. wheat
Week 11 – 8 cans tomato soup
Week 12 – 20 lbs. sugar
Week 13 – 10 lbs. powdered milk
Week 14 – 7 boxes macaroni & cheese
Week 15 – 25 lbs. rice
Week 16 – 5 cans cream of chicken soup
Week 17 – 1 bottle vitamins
Week 18 – 12 cans evaporated milk
Week 19 – 5 cans cream of mushroom soup
Week 20 – 50 lbs. wheat
Week 21 – 8 cans tomato soup
Week 22 – 10 lbs. beans
Week 23 – 8 cans tuna
Week 24 – 3 lbs. shortening, 3 lbs. oil
Week 25 – 25 lbs. rice
Week 26 – 5 lbs. honey
Week 27 – 10 lbs. powdered milk
Week 28 – 20 lbs. sugar
Week 29 – 5 lbs. peanut butter
Week 30 – 50 lbs. wheat
Week 31 – 7 boxes macaroni and cheese
Week 32 – 2 qt. mayonnaise
Week 33 – 1 bottle aspirin
Week 34 – 5 cans cream of chicken
Week 35 – 50 lbs. wheat
Week 36 – 7 boxes macaroni and cheese
Week 37 – 6 lbs. salt
Week 38 – 10 lbs. beans
Week 39 – 8 cans tomato soup
Week 40 – 25 lbs. flour
Week 41 – 5 cans cream of chicken
Week 42 – 20 lbs. sugar
Week 43 – 1 bottle vitamins
Week 44 – 8 cans tuna
Week 45 – 50 lbs. wheat
Week 46 – 6 lbs. pasta
Week 47 – 20 lbs. sugar
Week 48 – 6 cans cream of mushroom
Week 49 – 5 lbs. honey
Week 50 – 10 lbs. of rolled oats
Week 51 – 8 cans tomato soup
Week 52 – 50 lbs. wheat

You will end up with:  (for 2 people)

300 lbs. wheat—–need 600 lbs.–includes rolled oats, pasta,
12 lbs. pasta
50 lbs. rice
50 lbs. flour
10 lbs. rolled oats
100 lbs. sugar—-need 120 lbs. –includes honey, brown sugar
10 lbs. honey
6 lbs. brown sugar
20 lbs. powdered milk—-need 150 lbs.
12 cans evaporated milk—
3 lbs. shortening—- need 70 lbs.
3 lb. oil
2 qt. mayonnaise
5 lbs. peanut butter
2 qt. mayonnaise
5 lbs. peanut butter
24 cans of tuna fish—-need 40 lbs. of meats
20 lbs. beans—need 190 lbs of legumes
1 lb. yeast
1 lb. baking soda
1 lb. baking powder
12 lbs. salt
2 bottles vitamins
1 bottle of aspirin
11 cans cream of mushroom soup
20 cans of cream of chicken soup
40 cans of tomato soup
21 boxes macaroni and cheese

Another suggestion I found was to take the $5 or $10 a week and set it aside EVERY WEEK….whether or not you spend all of it.  If you have some left over one week….save it for the weeks when you might have to spend more.  Or save it for some of the other recommended items:  canned fruit, vegetables, jams, jello, etc.

You’ll notice the list doesn’t include WATER!  You’re on your own there….but here’s a guideline:  FEMA recommends one gallon of water per person/day. An active person will use 1/2 gallon just for drinking.

Is it a PERFECT PLAN?  No.  But it’s a plan…a plan we can all follow…..
so let’s get started.

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Jill Nystul (aka Jillee)

Jill Nystul is an accomplished writer and author who founded the blog One Good Thing by Jillee in 2011. With over 30 years of experience in homemaking, she has become a trusted resource for contemporary homemakers by offering practical solutions to everyday household challenges.I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

About Jillee

Jill Nystul

Jill’s 30 years of homemaking experience, make her the trusted source for practical household solutions.

About Jillee


Bright Ideas

  • The trouble with yeast, baking powder and baking soda is that, compared to the rest of the list I looked at, their shelf life is the least finite, only a couple of years at the most.

    • I bake all of our bread, and buy my yeast in 1 pound bags at Costco. Store it in the freezer and decant it into one of those little brown jars. I’ve never had baking powder or baking soda go flat, but I don’t see why that can’t be frozen, too.

      After you collect all of this good stuff (and Lawsy, where do you store it?) you could rotate it, using one “old” box and buying a new one to replace it.

  • Maybe I’m one of the dummies but what do you do with all this wheat and where do you buy wheat? Big bags of raw grains of wheat? I don’t think I’ve ever seen any in my grocery stores.

  • Among other “passions” PREPAREDNESS is a big one and winter preparedness even more so. This 52-week list is LOT of food. You don’t include information on the actual storage. Do you have another post which addresses long-term food storage? Or, perhaps links to other sites that address it?

    To maintain this amount of food I am assuming that it is not intended to be static. I would use this 52-week supply of food stuffs in my day-to-day food preparation. Basically a first-in-first-out rotation?

    I’ve seen storage racks for canned goods that are new into the top; out from the bottom for easy rotation. Canned goods can last a long, long time. I am interested in the actual storage of 50# flour, 120# sugar products, 300# wheat products, 190# legumes, and an assortment of other ‘dry’ goods.

    How are you storing these somewhat huge amounts of food items?

    Thanking you in advance……………

  • We bought Wisefoods 25 year shelf life containers of meals that are really delicious and less storage space to find I have them on a closet shelf but the main emergency kits are two containers in the garage that have all the wind up flashlights, radio clothes outfits for summer or winter, shoes jackets, gloves totally filled medical kits with everything in them for all types emergencies.cooking equipment silverware like if you were going camping. Best to be prepared the foil emergency blankets ,very warm toilet tissues salt, soap, towels wash cloths thinks you use on a daily basis. machete, ax emergency whistles, blow horn.Everyone should be prepared with kits at all times.always have your vehicles gas tank full and gas cans full, propane tanks full portable heater that goes ontop of a propane tank..All these items are available, small enough not to take up alot of room to store but no one should be without what you need to survive.

  • I take pleasure in, cause I discovered exactly what I was taking a
    look for. You’ve ended my four day lengthy hunt! God Bless you man. Have a nice day.


  • just a note
    – always make sure what you purchase for your prepping stash, make sure you actually eat it and use it. dont purchase 300lbs of beans if you dont like them, and dont know how to cook them.
    – i dont have a big budget, so i make sure most of my items come off the clearance shelves, then i can buy a few extra and i wont break the bank. like today i got bladder control pads and Right Guard for $1 each! you always need deodorant and sterile pads for both men and women.
    – make sure you have extra tampons. fill a soda bottle with water, then stick a tampon in the top, making sure it gets wet and expands. then turn it upside down, and it will drip water, which is an excellent way to filter water if there is only dirty water available! works great on a bloody nose and other emergencies.
    – if you use kitty litter, reuse the jugs, they are great for storing water to use for the toilet!
    – Be sure to take your time and get what you need first! i drink plain tea, and hubby likes sweet tea. we buy him the fruited drinks in the package at WalMart for $2, and its a small price to pay because it will be comforting for him in time of an emergency!
    – Dont forget things you can snack on. gum, life savers, hard candies, fruit leathers, something yummy can help in an emergency to keep people calm. Yes, make sure dad has a cup of coffee, if that was something he liked for breakfast! little things make a world of difference to keep people calm in an emergency!

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  • […] Then there is the 52 Week Food Storage Plan I have adapted to the needs of my family. I have found this posted several times on the Internet and each one seems to be geared toward the needs of the immediate members. I have been spending $5 to $10 a week and stocking up slowly. Here is what I have started for my family (adapted from the list I found at One Good Thing By Jillee): […]

  • I have been looking into emergency food storage because my one and only New Year’s resolution is to finally “be prepared.” Since I live in So. California, the possibility of an earthquake is all too real. Any preparation is better than none, but I can’t see myself being able to store that many pounds of wheat or using it if I had it. Also, since I can’t imagine wanting to grind my flour and baking on my gas grill (which will evenutally run out of propane) for a year. Also, since Appetite Fatigue is a real issue (actually starving when food is available) when you just can’t stomach the idea of one more meal that is like the one before and the one before that, the list needs to include “junk foods” or comfort foods, if you will. I found another site that for me is a bit more practical. You take your family’s 6-8 favorite meals and multiply them to make 3 month’s worth of meals. Then you figure out the ingredients, adjusting for storable items (using canned meat for the fresh, dried herbs, etc) and you buy and save the ingredients for those particular meals. It is not a plan for a year, like this one, but 3 months is a very good start. Since it is for a shorter term, it is easier to rotate the food. That site is: http://kimmccrary.blogspot.com/2011/03/food-storage-made-simple.html and yes Stargazer, it is another Morman site but they are into being prepared and thankfully they are willing to share their knowledge. Thank you Jillee for getting people to think about food storage and I did not mean to hijack your site.

  • This looks very helpful. I would like to know where people store such large quantities like this and what sort of rotation system they used so that it doesn’t go bad.

    • I have the same questions: where to store, and how to rotate? We live in Florida, so this is a good idea, with a few additions/modifications, but we have no basement for storage. Thanks for suggestions.

      • I know this post is like way old, but I still thought it useful to share the advice for anyone coming in.

        We have shelving units in our kitchen instead of a pantry and most of our every day food goes there, but one idea is to store it around the house (at least the canned goods) we’re watching an old PBS special right now called Frontier house and the glen family keeps all of their canned goods and such under the bed. There are also closets and such. Certain things should just be kept in the kitchen or pantry ( such as the wheat) but you’d be surprised how much space you have for storage. As for rotation, my wife and I mark the date we bought an item on the item when we bring it home and circle the Expiration/sell by date and keep a note book updated with this information. then we just watch for FIFO first In First Out. So as time goes on we make sure to start using the stuff as its getting closer to time to replace it.

  • This is great and a good idea. I was lucky enough to be super prepared before Katrina hit, however’ that was before I found out I had celiac and can’t have gluten. I know your family has gluten issues as well……….. so how do you handle this with the list??? Processed gluten free food is pretty pricey and wheat is just out of the question as you know.

  • Living in Houston, I am always prepared for shelter in place or evacuation in case of Hurricane. I would make two suggestions. Have something to flavor all the water you store, after awhile water is just boring. I have the Kool-Aid singles packs in our kit,. The other thing is to have a bit of sweet stuff, hard candy etc, because we all crave that something sweet when we’re stressed!

  • As I was reading the list, it seems pretty accurate, except for the 1 bottle of asprin. Really. I ahve 3 kids so I would be popping them suckers like candy. I am going to buy me, myself and I a dang case of them!

  • Hi Jillee

    This is great, would have to do a little adaptation for Australia but that’s all good. I’d really like to pass this on to others but I can’t see the re-blog option that I usually see for other Wordpress hosted sites. Do you mind if I link to it and maybe include a couple of excerpts?


  • We had something in North Alabama which was unheard of recently after the tornadoes. All the towers supplying power to our area were knocked out. The first problem was gas, no transportation unless you had a full tank before they hit. Then they say that the power will be out a solid week. Cell Phone coverage, very iffy and have to charge by running your car. The stores, not open. If they are open, then no lights and registers, only cash. No refrigerated food, all that was ruined. No way you could get ice, unless you found it and were willing to fight somebody for their bag. Food in freezers thawing and neighbors gathering to cook and feast on thawing food from their freezer, that is if you had charcoal. No restaurants open, well Waffle House, but very limited menu and cash only. Fear that water would go next, but it remained intact. Generators, forget it, unless you are willing to race to beat somebody else out if you heard some came in on the radio, but then you'd better save your gas. Just wanted you to know, in Alabama, this actually happened, in 2011, so I will always be prepared. Biggest factor, gas and cash and charcoal become very important. Keep your freezer loaded, if not, have gallon milk jugs with water frozen to increase the mass. I actually didn't lose my freezer loaded with pastured chickens, even though it was out (chest freezer) for a solid week. After all that, people think that was so cool we should have a blackout week once a year because neighbors got to know each other again, kids played in the yard. Neighbors sat by candlelight and visited into the late night, singing and playing music.

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