The FIFO Method Pantry

I have often discussed the need for a pantry as part of a preparedness strategy. Food is important, and the more you have stored, the longer you can survive without resupply. 

Of course your first line of defense is your kitchen cabinets. These cabinets should provide for enough food to last at least a couple of days. A larger pantry somewhere else in the house will provide room for even more stored food. Not everybody has room for a full blown pantry, but they can use other methods of storage such as a closet, under a bed, or even an old trunk which can double as an extra piece of furniture. 

The bottom line is to have extra food for an emergency. I have seen various articles whereby people buy large #10 cans of dehydrated or freeze dried food and put them away for up to fifteen years. The problem with this type of food storage is twofold. First, you are not eating that type of food regularly, and if you get stuck with only this food, it will become boring, and could affect your digestion system. Secondly, you need a lot of water to rehydrate that food. 

My recommendation is to store the real type of food that you eat every day.  This allows you to eat what you are used to eating. Some people will disagree as this type of food does not last as long as dehydrated or freeze dried. And they are right. But, it doesn’t have to!

Our pantry is set up using the FIFO Method. This means “First In, First Out.” In other words, we continue to buy what we normally eat, but we buy more than we need. It is stored in two pantries. We have a large pantry where all food that comes in is stored. This pantry feeds a smaller pantry that is closer to the kitchen. The food is constantly rotated using the oldest first. 

A large pantry can can hold the bulk of your food reserves. 

A smaller pantry closer to the kitchen can be fed from the larger pantry. 

However, the food does not go directly to the main pantry. When we shop and bring the food into the house (except for those items that go into the refrigerator) it is placed on a table in the cellar. Each item is then dated with a permanent marker, showing the expiration date of that item.  The items are then placed into storage.

For canned goods and bottled items, they are placed on shelves at the front right of a shelf. Newer items are placed to the rear and left of the older items. In this manner, we are always using the older items (First In-First Out), by taking the item from the right front.

Canned goods are marked clearly with the expiration date and are pulled from the right front.

Bottles are also clearly marked with the expiration date and pulled from the front.

For items like boxed pasta, cereal, soup mixes, crackers, etc., they are placed in large airtight bins or Tupperware containers. The expiration dates are written on the box so when you open the container you can see the dates and select the oldest date for use. 

Large airtight bins are used for larger boxes of pasta, cereal, crackers, etc.

Large Tupperware containers are used for other pasta such as spaghetti, etc.

Expiration dates are marked on top of boxes so when you open a large container you can select the oldest date.

There are other items, such as salt, sugar, rice, dried beans, elbow macaroni (which we use a lot of), etc., which are stored in 5 Gallon buckets. Some like sugar will have three buckets. We take from the first bucket until it is empty, and move on to the next. The first is then refilled and moved to the left. This way we are always using the oldest first. 

Food items such as rice, sugar, salt, etc. are stored in multiple 5 Gallon buckets.

We also maintain a smaller Tupperware container for sugar, rice, and elbow macaroni in the kitchen cabinet for regular use. When it is empty, we go to the pantry and refill it from the oldest 5 Gallon bucket.

Tupperware containers are kept in the kitchen for dried food such as rice, sugar, elbow macaroni, etc.

This shows my wife refilling the kitchen containers from the 5 Gallon buckets in the main pantry.

As you can see, this is not a difficult system. But it does allow you to store what you eat and at the same time store extra for emergencies. When an emergency arises you will have ample food and you won’t be stuck with just dehydrated or freeze dried food. It should be stated that I am not opposed to dehydrated or freeze dried food and we do store some. But we store the individual meals that are good for one or two people. They can provide for a quick meal when necessary. But we wouldn’t want to live on them. It should also be noted that we also keep a couple of cases of MRE’s just in case.

This shows some boxes of freeze dried meal packets that can be used for a quick meal in an emergency.

For items you might consider having on hand for an emergency situation, other than food, you might want to check out my article “Are You Really Prepared” HERE.

We hope you enjoyed this article and will help support our efforts by checking out our products. As always, Be Prepared To Survive!

Copyright © 2018 by John D. McCann