A Working Pantry and A Storage Pantry
As an Amazon Associate/Influencer, I earn from qualifying purchases, and this post may contain affiliate links to products that I love, at no additional cost to you. Please see my full disclosure page for further details.
There are two sides to the spectrum of prepper pantries that you can create. The first one is called a “working” pantry, and the second is a “storage” pantry. Both of these pantries have their own pros and cons, so it is important to know which one works best for you as you begin to gather supplies and consider what you are preparing for.
Have you missed one of our Prepper Pantry Posts? Check out this to get up to date: Your Prepper Pantry and Why You Need One!
What is a working pantry?
A working pantry is something you can use even if there is not an emergency going on. You would have a lot more in it than a regular pantry, though. Instead of just one jar of peanut butter like a normal pantry, you would have enough for maybe a month. (Or however long you have the space for) For this kind of pantry it is important to follow FIFO— “first in, first out” as you use it. Keep your oldest items in the front and restock from the back to avoid spoilage.
What are the pros of a working pantry?
A working pantry is the easiest to start. All you need is a little patience to build up whatever you have room to store. It is a very customizable style of pantry and is really perfect for the beginner prepper to get their feet wet by learning to keep track of how much their household uses up in how long. You can try it out with some basics first and expand or experiment with other things as time goes by. As you get more comfortable with it, you can even try making batches your own shelf-stable foods!
What are the cons of a working pantry?
A working pantry is not usually conducive to a long-term plan, since it would generally have things you use regularly. These things can last a while on a shelf, but they are not necessarily non-perishable. A working pantry also tends to be very small, and at most, would only be able to provide basics for maybe a month. Think of the working pantry as the bare minimum of prepper pantries.
What is a Storage Pantry?
The storage pantry is what you build up with non-perishable supplies like MREs, dry rice/pasta/beans, canned goods, etc. You would buy these types of things in bulk, and they would stay stored in the prepping pantry until needed. This pantry is very important to keep organized, temperature controlled, and pest proofed. The supplies will need to be able to last for months, or even years before and after a disastrous event. When you pull from this pantry, you re-stock. Your ultimate goal is to NOT deplete your storage pantry.
What are the pros of a storage pantry?
A storage pantry is stable for many years once you get it fully stocked. It is the pantry you would think of when you imagine a place like an emergency bunker. Giant cans, pallets stacked with supplies, and it all can last for years unopened. A storage or long-term pantry is perfect for you if you are planning to need a lot of necessities for an extended period of time. I tend to pull from this pantry only when necessary, I look at it as my emergency grocery trip without leaving the house. This is your ultimate prepper pantry.
What are the cons of a storage pantry?
Building up a storage or long-term pantry can be very expensive, and you do not get very much say on the quality of the food you get, unless you do your research and be very particular. Some of the food that lasts years is very, very processed and not exactly dietary restriction friendly. Highly preserved foods are also not guaranteed to taste very good, so this can be especially difficult for families with children that will need to eat in a crisis. Do your research, compare all ingredients and choose wisely. Also, only store food (even long-term) that your family loves and will eat.
All that being said, I recommend Legacy Food Storage if you are looking to purchase long-time storage and just stock it away. I did my research before deciding to suggest this company. They have more nutrition packed into their food, free shipping, a pay-as-you-go plan, lowest cost per pound and a commitment to no GMO’s and also gluten free options. Check out their video below:
Legacy Food Storage also has a blog, with a good variety of topics. Here are a few to get you going, that I enjoyed:
I hope this list has been helpful and that you can use this pro/con list as a guideline to finding a happy medium that works best for you and your loved ones.
Beyond Food—What Else Should You Keep on Hand
As a prepper, the biggest and most immediate concern is starvation. However, there are a lot more things you will need in a catastrophic emergency situation. Other than food, you need tools to prepare the food, medical supplies, ways to keep up with hygiene, and more! Keep reading for a comprehensive list of things to keep on hand beyond food.
- Toilet paper
There’s a reason this is number one… Toilet paper is a very important part of our lives. Make sure you have kept track of how much your family uses each month and have enough for the amount of time you are prepping for. This will help keep a bit of normalcy through a bad situation, and it will save a lot of water that would need to be used without it.
Dehydration is another top concern for preppers. Water is an absolute necessity, and we need it to drink, bathe, cook, and clean. Running water can also be used as a force to run a water wheel you can hook up to a generator. It has so many uses, so it is important to have as much of it stocked up as possible. You should also be sure to delegate between drinking, cooking, and bathing water and use with extreme prejudice. You should have enough drinking water for every family member to drink for however long you’re planning for. In addition to this, you need enough remaining water for everyone to cook, clean, and bathe with. Suffice it to say, you can never really have too much water.
- Power sources
If you don’t have a fancy water wheel generator like we mentioned above, you are going to need alternative power sources. Batteries, solar panels, and/or a regular generator are all great to have. You need a way to provide light and regulate the temperature of your space. Extreme temperatures can kill as quickly as anything else, on top of causing lots of health issues. Fire is great for this, but if you are in a place that is not well ventilated, it could suffocate you. Fire also does nothing to help during any kind of temperature spike. You must be able to constantly feed a fire as well, and that can be very taxing on your supplies. Stock up on batteries for heaters, cooling fans, and light sources; get a solar powered generator—and a backup generator just in case; and make sure you have some kind of burner to cook your meals or boil water on.
- Cooking supplies
Cast iron is great for this because it is all one piece, and very durable. Just make sure that you have high heat proof gloves or silicone handles to handle it with. You can find cast iron pots and pans in all shapes and sizes, so stock up and keep them in your designated space until you need them. Knives, can openers, peelers, and cooking utensils will be needed as well. Do your best to find ones that are simple, durable, and all one piece. You do not want tools that will fall apart over time. You will also need plates, bowls, and eating utensils; so, get enough of those for everyone. I would recommend stainless steel for its safety and durability.
- Medical supplies
You definitely need first aid supplies and backup medications for anyone that may need them. Stockpile these things carefully, and make sure you pay attention to expiration dates and interaction info. Have bandages, disinfectant, compression wraps, gauze, stitching tools, antibiotics, expectorants, vitamins, supplements, crutches and even a wheelchair if you can. You never know what could happen and prepping is all about being prepared for anything.
Knowledge is power, and books cannot be deleted or drained of their battery power. Have books about local plants that are safe to eat, how to hunt and dress game, field medical care, etc. Most importantly, READ THEM. They are useless unless you have studied what you need to know from them. So choose the books you need, read them, and make sure everyone else in your family has access to them to be prepared as well.
- Basic tools
Having a big toolbox can be a lifesaver in an emergency situation. Make sure you have one with all the basic hammers, screwdrivers, and wrenches; and build from that if you can. A dremel, soldering iron, drill, and more are also very useful. Be sure that you have plenty of nails, screws, nuts, bolt, and rope in case you need them as well.
There you have it, some things to keep on hand when you are a prepper. Be inspired by this to take another look at your supplies and make sure you really have all the things you could need in the event of an emergency situation or catastrophe.
Stay prepared, not scared,
Stay Prepared, read more Preparedness articles here: