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  1. On a solid flat floor, many used steel file cabinets from Goodwill/Salvation Army, vertical/horizontal, are vermin proof. Should have some sort of latch or raccoons etc can open them. Even without a latch, a bit of duct tape or a nail thru some drilled holes holding a drawer shut may work.

  2. We just use a black sharpie on our 5 gal food buckets with item , date packed and lbs per bucket. The lbs per bucket comes in handy when going to purchase items to refill. When Buckets are empty we simply line through it. We use a post-it note on buckets that are in use with a simple “open ” on the post-it note.

  3. Fire resistance is another important consideration. Clothing, bulk foods, toilet paper, etc. are all easily burned. Keeping light items in metal footlockers and heavy items in metal 5 gallon buckets will keep a candle-lit error from turning into an inferno.

  4. Large METAL food containers like Keebler export cracker and similar offer a good small rodent proof food container. The lids limit the odor which attracts them in the 1st place, and their shape makes them easy to store in corners. Writing a list of contents on a Post-It, then covering with tape on lid gives you an easy way to know contents without opening it. If you want more privacy, put the list on the bottom of container, where few people bother to check.

    1. Reused CHRISTmas pop-corn tins make excellent food storage (but will rust if kept directly on a cement floor). I buy them used at thrift stores for around .50 +- year round and of course during the holidays. If the corn gets too stale, feed it to the chickens but I cant recall ever having pop-corn get stale in our house…

  5. Shelf toppling – requires space, and 3 shelf assemblies, but works. Shelves 2&3 are adjacent to and perpendicular to shelf 1, forming a rough square. Wire rack support tubes are 1″ so 1″ U-clamps securing a horizontal support (angle iron, steel flat stick, even 1X3s work) across top, middle and bottom (20% from top, middle, and 20% from bottom – even with top and bottom shelves keeps it out of the way) makes it a rigid assembly. Same size units (ex: 48WX18DX72H – Home Depot, Amazon, etc. wire rack shelving units) forms a 66″ square with 12″ gap between #s 2&3, useful for hanging clothes or other stuff. It’ll move during an earthquake but not fall over. As always , heavy stuff on the bottom. JWR’s suggestion or wrapping shelves in bungee cords (or ratchet tie-downs) is good, especially for higher shelves.

    Inventory your stuff; it’s a PITA to do but a good and up-to-date spreadsheet tells you: 1) what you’ve got; 2) how many of ’em; 3) where they are (means devising some sort of reliable physical location methodology for that); 4) a recovery path in case of theft or destruction – insurance claims will require being detailed to get reimbursed, or if no insurance, at least you’ll know what’s missing. This, BTW, is important – you may have a valid insurance claim, the materials damaged/stolen may be covered by your policy (guns, jewelry, ammunition usually are not or have low, defined limits) but if someone steals a dozen 5 gallon buckets of vac-packed rice, or 20 cases of Mountain House, how will you prove you had it and what the value is? Take inventory pictures as backup, store securely. Expensive items (guns, jewelry, electronics) should also be photographed close-up enough to show ID info (model, serial) and with your ID (driver license, etc.) in the picture and readable. Electronic copies are fine IF there’s an easy way for them to be transmitted and viewed, but it’s best to also PRINT AND STORE THESE PHOTOS VERY SECURELY – a shoebox on a closet shelf ain’t it. Extra copies in a very secure remote location are a plus. CDs or DVDs are more secure than thumb drives but require destroying and re-burning if changes are made. Always identify what version the CD is AND the spreadsheet date on the spreadsheet. Including a purchase date field for each entry (will require multiple line entries for same type of goods) allows a quick sort by that column so you can track what’s reaching end-of-useful-life and needs replacement/replenishment.

    Keep the spreadsheet up to date as you add/use stuff, then review it quarterly and add/delete/correct content as necessary.

    Bins are great, small/medium are better – too much in a bin is almost as bad as no bins at all. Plastic bins work on secure shelves, but are fragile otherwise and not airtight/watertight. Label bins clearly USING CLEAR STANDARD DESCRIPTIONS. You may know what “SARBCA/2X” means (“Spare AR Rifle Bolt Carrier Assembly, qty 2) but no one else will.

  6. I can attest to the ruggedness of the KeepBox totes. Been using them for years for my construction company. They hold up to the abuses of commercial jobsites. Handy for all kinds of uses (other than a stepstool). They stack good too when empty or lightly loaded. My carpenters find ways to break all kinds of equipment, but not these totes. Being located in Ohio, I can find them for less than $10 at most Home Depots.

  7. I have two additional suggestions:
    – You should create and maintain a detailed inventory of where everything is and when it needs to be tested/rotated/replaced. I use multiple spreadsheets (one for each storage area) that I print off after each update.

    – I have installed AFO ‘Fire Ball’ fire extinguishers (https://www.amazon.com/Extinguisher-Suppression-Device-Safety-Product/dp/B01JVXFQ6E) in each storage area to reduce the chance of fire damage.

  8. Old [non-working] refrigerators make excellent storage containers. Dust free with doors closed. They are cheap (often free), built in shelves and drawers/compartments, easy to move around.

  9. also for those of us who forget that not everyone has a cookbook, when filling large containers with smaller packaged dry foods like pasta rice beans etc I cut the cooking instructions and caloric content section from the original container and either tape it to the outside of the new container or baggie it and store it inside the new container. It doesn’t help when some clueless husband decides to make a bowl of beans but ends up with a gallon because he didn’t know that beans SWELL UP.

  10. Speaking of storage- just took delivery of my 20’ connex box this morning. Scored it for free as it was abandoned on a jobsite of which the owner offered it to me. Only had to pay $400 for a flatbed to transport it. Talk about right place right time! Anyone have suggestions/ ideas on shelving/organization for a connex box?

    1. The 4-shelf heavy-duty wire-shelf warehouse racks from Home Depot are ideal for a CONNEX. You can line both sides and still have a walkway. Or do one side with the 30″ and the other side with 24″ for lighter items.

  11. Costco, and now Home Depot, carry the 27 gallon yellow and black Homz totes (or their lookalikes) for $8.00. (I have seen smaller ones at Lowe’s, but I don’t know if Lowe’s carries the larger ones.) These totes are very sturdy and stack very well. The lids do not provide a waterproof seal, but as long as they are stored upright and are not actually in water, they will work just fine. If the lids did provide a waterproof seal, it would likely be a problem opening them very easily, just as it is with a 5-gallon bucket.

    Harbor Freight has .50 cal. ammo cans for $12.99 currently. They are regularly $15.99, but I cannot go through a week without getting a 20% off coupon to reduce that price. A YouTube video demonstrates that these cans are identical in every respect to GI ammo cans: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UVpvF_s-wCg If they aren’t identical, I surely can’t tell the difference.

    If you want the best ammo storage, I would stay away from the plastic ammo cans. I saw a YouTube vide a few years ago where a fellow put several boxes of ammo in a plastic ammo can and several boxes in a military ammo can. He tied a rope to each and then threw them in a pond. A year later, he retrieved them and opened the cans. The plastic can’s contents were ruined. The military can’s contents were in pristine condition. (Geez, I had to wonder after I saw the video why this fellow put so much ammo in each can in order to test the cans’ waterproof integrity. One box in each would have seemed to work.)

  12. Though they don’t stack well, I found that galvanized steel trash cans are the best big inexpensive rodent-proof containers for grains, sugar, etc. They also are pretty innocuous if OPSEC is a concern, unless you have twenty of them lined up in your garage.

  13. You can purchase 5-packs of aftermarket label tape on Amazon. I prefer the 3/4″ yellow with black lettering. You can stick this to magnet tape to make labels which can be moved around when you reorganize things.

  14. I’m using disposable water bottles now for quick storage of various sizes of used brass. I don’t reload, so I can give to friends who do. We buy fresh cases of water (about 10 cents per 12 oz container) at WINCO just to make sure we keep current rotation, and share them with friends or use for travel after a couple months.

    If you have sturdy tubs missing lids, I urge you all to use them as Secondary Containment for any fluid containers: water, oils, paints, etc. It will save you some grief when something starts leaking while in storage (bitter experience here).

    I freeze all big sacks of beans, lentils, rice, and grains for 10 days to 2 weeks as cold as I can. It kills most biologically destructive mites and other pests that can ruin your food (another surprise when I checked poorly stored pasta after a year), before or after vacuum-packing. Some times I just place the frozen bags into black tub/yellow lid after bugs get froze..

    For anything stored on concrete at all, I urge you to get leftover chunks of sheet vinyl flooring, lay them down directly on the cement as a moisture barrier (e.g..” How did that chest freezer start rusting so badly???”). Another lesson learned…cement slab is actually a water sponge.

    God Bless

  15. I find these comments and admonitions on keeping foodstuffs rodent and insect free sort of region specific. Here in SE Wisconsin in my basement I never have either a rodent problem nor any insect infestations. I keep all sealed in 5 gal buckets, or totes that seal up well. Never have any issues. Of course my house has 3 cats that might dampen the rodent population somewhat. But no insect issues ever. I suspect the humid south/southeast has those issues. But not us here. Of course I keep my area dry and free from moisture.

  16. I will never forget this oddly comforting and special moment of my life… I was a single mother who had recently moved to Montana. My dream was to have a substantial supply of food for my farm critters. (I had already secured food for my children and myself.) Hay storage took place first. That was a large chunk of my budget. Then, after a while, I obtained 6 large galvanized trash cans, which I slowly (over the course of a few paychecks) filled to the brim with animal feed. I had managed to fill a can of dog food for the dogs, cat food for the barn cats, and a can of layer feed for the chickens, along with cans of Omalene (sweet feed), corn, and oats – all of which I used to stretch the chicken feed or make my own supplemental winter grain mixes for my horses and newly acquired cows, if needed (based on the animal’s age, activity, and other nutritional needs). I also had splurged for a dolly for each trash can, enabling me to move the filled cans with relatively ease inside the feed-bunk portion of my barn. (May I highly recommend making any “splurge” that will save your back from injury and enable you to move items you would otherwise be unable to move?) When I was finally done with this project/goal, it was such a peaceful feeling, standing in the barn that very cold evening, looking at the purchases of stacked hay and carefully selected grains. It represented much hard work on my part and as I was to later learn, it was really just an humble start… but it was a good start! I remember opening the lid on the Omalene can, smelling the scent of sweet molasses, and suddenly being overwhelmed with gratitude and feeling ridiculously happy over such a simple thing. Life is good! Keep prepping and stay optimistic! God’s got this. Little by little, you’ll get there.

  17. I use CONEX for almost all non-temperature sensitive and other supplies. I block the top vents with new screen and add a cover external. These containers are nice and secure, particularly with a modified locking system, rodent proof and weather proof. Sugar, salt, honey and the like are not particular temperature sensitive and store well in 5 or 6 gallon buckets. Several nested together covered with a roofing tin top and sides separated from the containers by a foot or so provides a nice breeze and keeps the sun from direct impingement.

  18. I use the Homz black plastic totes with yellow lids from Cosco to store a variety of soft and durable items (no food). I have used these in the back of my pickup bed camping in snow and rain with no leakage. I have also used them in my shop, garage and in an enclosed utility trailer with no evidence of rodent breach.

    I use the Wise Outdoor Utility Dry Boxes to store magazines. The boxes have straight walls, are durable, stack well and have a good interior capacity and shape for magazines. They stack well within a vault or safe. Magazines fit below the removable top tray, allowing for placement of small items or desiccant packages. Never had a problem with flexing under weight or damage to contents.

    I use the Rigid (eq brand) Steel Job Site Security Safe Boxes with recessed shackles and inset lock wells to store my cutting tools, drills, bits, hack saws, pry bars and other breaching equipment. This prevents progressive open board guests from using my own tools to gain access to other items on my property.

    1. While the Wise Outdoor UtilityDry Boxes are made of hard plastic, they don’t mar or damage other contents in the safe or vault when moving them around. Unlike the steel ammo boxes (which I also use, as they have a useful place in storage), which more easily scratch firearm stocks and metal surfaces. The Wise boxes also weigh less than the metal ammo boxes, making them useful and prevent damage to other contents in the safe.

  19. Costco has the cheapest ammo cans I’ve seen. Two pack of NEW 30 and 50 cal for sub $20, $16 IIRC. Don’t visit the hardware/auto aisles regularly, but was there last time I checked.

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