Dec222012

14 Comments

Every nook & cranny: Using empty spaces to maximize your food storage

This creative prepper, a single guy, ladies!, has come up with an ingenious method for packing food and other supplies in a cardboard box, using every extra nook and cranny.

He had noticed all the empty space around the 6 #10 cans that come packed together in a box and decided to put that space to good  use.

Here is a video showing just how he did it. You’ll find more details below the video.

And here are his How-To notes:

I wanted to have room to put a few other items in the box, along with the big cans. At first I mylar packed a lot of mac n cheese which is an easy to cook meal but I did not package them into the shape needed in order to properly fit in the center row in between the cans.  I mention mac n cheese as a backpacker because it is one of my favorite meals. It is cheap, easy to cook quickly, has lots of carbs and will fill one person or give two people enough energy to go on for a while.

I decided to mylar package everything except the tooth for a few basic reasons:

  • To protect the enclosed item from other items should the others items packaging break
  • To protect other items from this item should its package break like in the case of fuel tablet, lighters etc
  • All food was mylar packaged for long term storage and to protect it from exposure to air, moisture, and cross contamination
  • To prevent bugs and other critters from easily being able to infiltrate or smell the items.
Mylar bags were purchased from the LDS website and cut down to size. Sizing was trial and error at first. Once I figured out the right size for my needs, I cut a bunch of them that size and then sealed the cut edge until I had one open side which was a skinny side, say on 2 x 4 pouch a 2″ side was left open.
I used a mylar sealer from Amazon. I would set on the floor in the living room and cut and seal pouches while listening to the TV.  I used a craft paper cutter to cut the pouches. NOTE – I accidently hit the blade with a finger once.  It is very, very sharp and can cut fingers off if not careful. After sealing the pouches and setting over night insure they were sealed properly, I cut the ends of with cheap sharp scissors.  (These actually very good scissor for the price.)

Notes on individual packets

Portion Sizes – I tried to portion the foods out to make a hefty meal for two people by looking at the what a serving size per person, doubling that at least for one and then doubling that again for two.  The beans were portioned out to be eaten along rice. This portion size would give two active hungry people a decent meal.  Pasta was portioned out for two people with a tomato sauce.
Fuel – I purchased a lot of Esbit and Coghlan’s fuel tablets. I alternated which one I used per case.  Esbit I got from REI and the Coghlan’s were from Camping Survival, which had the lowest price at the time. Both Coghlan’s and Esbit have emergency stoves. The fuel tablets can be bought alone or with the stove. These are without. I have few boxes stowed with a stove.  The fuel tablets can be used to cook with and come in handy to get a fire going. I have used them numerous time to get a fire going quickly.
Tooth Paste – 6.2 oz., flavor of choice
Toothbrushes — There are two tooth brushes in each package, inserted with brush part at opposite ends or pouch, one firm and medium in each pouch, the cheap but good ones at Walmart
Matches are Coghlan’s waterproof purchased at Walmart.
Lighters are Calico purchased at Walmart, usually found in a display by the ash register line in a package of 5. I chose this brand because I used and carried them while backpacking and they never failed me. Also, they are see-through so I know how much I have left and are cheaper than other brands.
Candles are 6 hour emergency candles that can be bought from a lot of different places. I put 4 in each box because that was what would fit and were placed randomly where there was open space. I bought these at Deals Stores.
Food – All food was packaged with an oxygen absorber purchased online from Amazon.
White rice – 2 pouches per case, 10 – 12 oz. each. I bought bulk in 50lb bags at Sam’s Club. I kept it in the freezer for 2 – 4 weeks to make sure any weevel eggs were killed.  Chose it because it’s easy to cook and contains a lot of carbs. It can be added in stew or soup as meal extender, a person can survive a long time on beans and rice.
Beans – I packaged both Lentils and Split Pea in packages of approximately 6 ozs, three packages in each box alternating between 2 of one and 1 of the other item and vice versa.  takes a while to cook up but once the water brought ot boil, stove be shut and allowed to set and soak in hot hot water reheating water occasionally to keep hot, as long as water very warm the beans are absorbing water and cooking.  Can also be added to so soup or stew or used as meal extender.
Pasta – 2 per case is spaghetti pasta, 8 ounces, broke to size and a teaspoon of salt added to make it cook-ready. I bought this on sale whenever possible.  Easy to cook, cooks quickly, and it can be cooked alone or added as meal extender. It provides a lot of carbs.
Bouillon Cubes – 1 pouch of beef & 1 pouch of chicken were added to give rice flavor and they can be used for hot drink in cold weather or for a sick person, they can also be used in a stew or soup for flavor, purchased at Sam’s Club in a container of 225 each for $7.25  The written number on the outside of the packages says how many bouillon cubes are inside.
Instant Coffee – Package in approximately 3.5 oz sizes, as I packaged it, I crushed the coffee granules to get more in the mylar pouch. It is Maxwell House instant coffee bought on sale at Walgreens
Tea – is mostly Lipton tea, 6 per pouch and six pouches per case. Tea is an excellent hot drink in cold weather or you can make sun tea in the summer
Salt – is iodized salt 4 ounces, for cooking, or curing meat, making saline solution etc.
Sugar – Just plain ole sugar 4 ozs ea. for cooking quick energy, purchased the cheap brand Walmart in 10 pound bags.
One of each of the following three items per case, and all seasonings and gravies were laid on top of the cans:
Cocoa Mix – 2 packets of cocoa per pouch, 1 pouch per case.
Country Gravy – 1 packet per pouch, 1 per case
Tomato Sauce or Pasta Sauce – 1 per pouch, 1 per case (either a Zesty italian or Thick Italian per case).
Beef Gravies and Seasonings  – I inserted one of the following percase Taco Seasoning, Beef Stew, Sloppy Joe Mix, Chile Mix
Mushroom or Brown Gravy – one either in each case but not  both

Chicken or Turkey Gravies – One either per case but not both.

I add a variety of gravies and seasonings in an effort to switch out flavors, so that there was beef seasoning of some type, a poultry gravy (chicken or turkey) and side gravy (brown or mushroom) in each case.

I have been down and out, I have done long distance backpacking and served in the military, and I know that simple, basic things  can lift your spirits when they’re down.  If we preppers are right, things will get ugly one day and these simple, easy things we take for granted now may make all the difference when we are in the transition phase of modern times to times of a couple of centuries ago.

There may be links in the post above that are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission, which does not affect the price you pay for the product. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers.

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I'm the original Survival Mom, and have been helping moms worry less and enjoy their homes and families more for 5 years. Come join me on my journey to becoming more prepared to handle everyday emergencies and worst case scenarios.

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(14) Readers Comments

  1. Lisa, the video did not embed in your great post. Help. Love your site!

    • Thanks for letting me know! Sometimes the embed code slips out, not sure why. It’s fixed now, though.

  2. where’s the link to the vid?

  3. Love this video and since I don’t have mylar bags I am going to use my FoodSaver to bag things like this too. Just gave me a great way to use space for on my camper too…. LOVE IT! Thank you!

  4. Great stuff! I have been meaning to get into mylar bags for a while but this has really put me over the edge. I would probably work with something more meaty instead of carbs (maybe jerky) but the mylar will really help with the shelf life.

  5. Great tips! Thanks so much

  6. Why not seal the bag up to the last 2 inches (big enough to insert a vacuum cleaner handle tip, toss in a oxygen absorber, vacuum most of the air and then seal the last 2 inches?

  7. The only concern I have about this idea is not being able to easily keep track of what you have and where it is. Otherwise awesome.

  8. Pingback: Share Your Preparedness / SHTF Resources & Info - Page 4

  9. Have you found the LDS website to be the cheapest for Mylar bags? I have a huge LDS cannery near me that I really need to start taking advantage of. I never thought to buy bags there. Thanks for the tip.

  10. I never thought about using mylar bags on small serving sizes. I think the important thing is to make your storage and preparations specific to your individual families needs. Preparations is important for everyone. Everyone faces the possibility of a lost job, poor health or natural disaster situations. Take a hard look at where you are. If you have nothing get started on something. Get yourself a 72 hour survival kit. Store some water. If you have those things under control start saving for a rainy day and don’t forget to store at least a two week supply of food. Remember preparation starts with you, not the government.

  11. Can we divide the contents of #10 cans (dehydrated and or Freeze Dried food) into mylar bags
    with oxygen absorbers? Will the transfer of the food products be affected and shorten the
    storage life of the food product? Would like to create more space for storage. Please advise
    Thank You

    • I would love to know the answer to this as well. I have been wanting to make soup pouches with pre measured ingredients, but I am afraid to open the #10 cans if it will significantly decrease the shelf life.

  12. i read somewhere that one should use plain (not iodized) salt for curing meat.
    probably not an issue in this guy’s case, or for most of us, but just sayin’. . .

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