Making an Inventory for Long Term Storage

Wait, you might ask, don’t I already have an inventory for my 3-month supply? Why do I need a different one for long term storage?

Yes, and keep it. It’s still just as important since, for right now, there won’t be much overlap between the short and long term storage. That comes much later after we cover the basics.

There are two ways to think about making this inventory.

#1: The Simple, Easy Way

1. Evaluate your current usage of grains and beans. Pick your favorites and rank them by how much you use them.

2. Using the chart of long-lasting foods found here,, make a simple inventory that follows the guidelines set on the webpage (300 lbs. grains and 60 lbs. beans per person, per year.)

3. Make sure to calculate enough for each person in your family. (I calculated enough for 5 adults even though I currently have 2 small children. It doesn’t hurt to be prepared.)

That’s it! If you’d like to set a more lofty goal, then try this.

#2: The More Complicated Way

This is the way they tell you to do it in food storage classes. It’s tedious, but it’s more informative than the simple way. Also, if you ever have a million dollars, you will have a detailed list of everything you might possibly need, not just the basics. This is in no way required for a long term supply, but having this inventory takes care of all the math right now instead of putting it into another step. Your choice. Since I like to be prepared, I did use this method just to see how it compared to #1.

1. Choose 7 breakfasts, 7 lunches, and at least 7 dinners that you could eat for a year. I recommend choosing dishes that are light on dairy and meat products (or even better, vegan). It is pretty easy to add meat and dairy to recipes but not as easy to take them away.

2. Write down all the ingredients used in preparing these meals down to the last teaspoon of spice.

3. Multiply by the appropriate number of weeks to get how much you need of each ingredient for the year. (For a meal you eat once a week, X52, if you have 14 meals, then X26, and so on.)

4. Make your list if you haven’t already. I organized my list very similarly to my 3 month supply. The main difference between long term storage and the 3 month supply is the way you store the foods. They’re canned or dried instead of fresh because there’s no way fresh anything will last for a year. I color-coded my list to reflect how each item will be stored (canned foods, #10 dry pack cans, etc.)

5. Refer back to the recommendations found here: (300 lbs. grains, 60 lbs. beans per person) and add to your inventory to make sure you will have these amounts. I used this inventory method but came up short on both grains and beans based on meals alone. That makes sense because if I only had the dry foods and not the extras, I’d definitely need more beans/grains to be sure to get enough to eat.


It’s important to follow the storage guidelines suggested on because it will be a very long time before I have everything on my list (like meats). It would be foolish to be lacking in the basics just because I’m trying to buy the fancier stuff.

In theory, once you store a year’s worth of everything you ever buy, you will have extras of the staples (grains and beans). I don’t consider that wasteful because they last practically forever.


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