My Grandma Shirley’s Food Storage is AWESOME!

Let me introduce you to my amazing Grandma Shirley:

My grandparents, hubby and I, and our two littles (before my newest one came along)

She is the mother of five, grandmother of 20, great grandmother of 15 and a half … and a famous gun-shooting, knife-collecting, life-long prepper. Some of my most distinct memories as a kid were having Grandma teach us how to shoot and sneaking down to her food storage room to look for candy. Even though it was always a bit stale, there was sure to be some there.

As I grew older, I knew that my Grandma was well-prepared and I would secretly tell myself that I could just go to her house in an emergency, because I didn’t think I could ever get myself as well-stocked as she was. Well I’m finally on my way thanks to taking things in BabySteps, and now I appreciate Grandma’s efforts even more! I wanted to share a glimpse of her storage area with you all so you can see things from the perspective of someone who has been doing this for a LONG time. Hope you enjoy this virtual tour!


What’s behind this door?

Grandma’s storage room!
 

Some water storage

Bulk shampoo, soap, laundry soap, etc.
 

Water + large buckets for washing

More water, Grandma knows what’s important!
 

Lots of fuel

Kerosene cook-stove
 

Luggable loo, never been used, phewph!

Water filtration kit
 

Warm blankets in case of lost heat

Manual wheat grinder (can attach to a bike chain somehow)
 

Lots o’ paper goods

Bags and buckets of long term storage
 

More paper goods, someone doesn’t want to be washing dishes πŸ˜‰

Various pantry foods
 

A portable butane cooker, fuel is stored in those little cans

Wheat stored in these garbage cans
 

Fruit jars-notice the earthquake slats across the front

Buckets of long term foods, and a bag of noodles on top
 

Even MORE water (don’t get those green ones, they LEAK!)

Supply of seeds stored, along with gardening guide (she’s prepared even though she doesn’t garden right now)
 

Files of important info. (home childbirth, spice inventory, soup mix recipes. What info might YOU need?)

Games for the littles, this is cute because her only littles are great grandkids now
 

Lanterns on their nightstand (love my Aunts 80’s hair in her photo)

Trout from 1992 … yummy
 

Home-canned chicken from 1991 … I would guess this is not safe to eat πŸ˜‰

Home bottled cherries from 1998 … who wants to taste test these?
 

Pro Vita Mix container

Pro Vita Mix seeds for sprouting
 

Big buckets of my favorite Cox Honey

Lots of extra winter coats
 

Gelatin from 1990

Oldest items on the top shelf. Dehydrated carrots from 1989 (This was the oldest thing I found)


  • Rebecca Perez

    I would like to know more about her water filtration kit. Is it home made? Do you have a how to?

    • I didn’t snap a picture of the contents list. I’ll see if it’s still around next time I visit my grandpa. Grandma is sadly no longer with us πŸ™

  • Peggy

    thank you for the look. I need some more storage shelves and the hubby thinks I’m bonkers. going to show him this πŸ™‚ I also need more water even though everyone that sees my stash jokes about it.

  • Amanda

    I love this post! It’s really helpful to see what someone else’s storage looks like. I’m in the very early stages of creating food storage and organizing is proving to be challenging. It is so great to see what works. Would you consider doing a series of posts like this? I’m sure your other readers would be happy to submit photos of their spaces!

  • Amanda

    I love this post! It’s really helpful to see what someone else’s storage looks like. I’m in the very early stages of creating food storage and organizing is proving to be challenging. It is so great to see what works. Would you consider doing a series of posts like this? I’m sure your other readers would be happy to submit photos of their spaces!

  • AutumnGal

    Being prepared, used to be the norm then it became fashionable to buy groceries once a week. Consider the store sales ads designed to require the shopper to return next week for those sales. Now some buy “fresh” foods every day. Grandma Shirley is the results of the “Great Depression” when the only thing great about it was woman like her who knew how to manage, make do or do without to survive. Often called “Stirng Savers” by those who believed themselves to be of the “more enlightened” crowd. What an admirable woman and thank you for allowing us to meet your Grandma Shirley. She’d probably give you her last bite of food but you better not try to steal it from her. Lol (I so relate!)

  • Awesome! I love that she has a ton of water storage. I just read an article that said the two most important things to START with are water storage and a 72-hour kit. Just common sense stuff, but I hadn’t thought of it that way. Thank your Grandma for the tour!

  • Awesome! I love that she has a ton of water storage. I just read an article that said the two most important things to START with are water storage and a 72-hour kit. Just common sense stuff, but I hadn’t thought of it that way. Thank your Grandma for the tour!

  • Awesome! I love that she has a ton of water storage. I just read an article that said the two most important things to START with are water storage and a 72-hour kit. Just common sense stuff, but I hadn’t thought of it that way. Thank your Grandma for the tour!

  • Kudos to grandma, but I’m sad that so much stuff went un-rotated and un-used. Makes me even more aware of how important it is to be organized!! Thank you and your whole family!!

  • Kudos to grandma, but I’m sad that so much stuff went un-rotated and un-used. Makes me even more aware of how important it is to be organized!! Thank you and your whole family!!

  • Wow. First I want to comment on how neat it all looks. Your grandmother sure likes keeping things organized. Second I want to comment on how awesome it is that she seems to have thought of everything! Put aside the fact that she definitely needs to rotate the food and do inventory more often, she’s ready for anything!

  • Annie

    Hi. I don’t know anything about sprouts so I was going to invest $129.95 in a sprouting kit. But on second thought, maybe I should order the Pro Vita Mix since it has all the ingredients in one container.

    How do I grow sprouts from this mix? What equipment do I need?

    Love your website.

  • She may want to check on those cherries. My mother-in-law shared some cherries that she canned in 98 and they were a bit more like cherry wine. . . .

    Other than the that, though–I have a really similar storage. I have a box for home birth equipment as well, though I tend to rotate that on a regular basis (I have 6 children, all born at home, and my oldest is 9 πŸ™‚ ). For those who are looking to have a home birth kit to keep on hand at home, In His Hands Birth Supply (they are in TX) sells several kits; it’s where I get mine (every 18 months or so). They have an emergency only kit as well. Their prices are great, too!

    My husband took our portable toliet on a fathers and sons campout, and he said it was completely worth it!

    Having lived on our storage for over a year and living on it now, I can say that if you need a gift for your grandma, you can add more dish soap to her supply. It is amazing how much MORE dish soap you go through when you are living on your storage, because you are cooking so much more from scratch. We go through lots of pots and pans every day, and mixing bowls, muffin tins, cookie sheets, measuring cups and spoons, etc.

  • Anyone who plans to create an ample food storage pantry can not do it fruitfully if they have no idea of what they are storing up on. You simply can not procure foods at random and expect to be properly prepared for emergencies.

  • Grannies are AWESOME!! We have soooooooooo much to learn from them and their great wisdom! What a great example of dilligence πŸ˜‰

  • T Moseley

    I don’t have enough storage space but I’m glad to see what a large enough room would look like. Can’t imagine reaching that point but I’m working on it.

  • Your Grandma’s storage room is huge. I mean when I first saw the title I thought she would only have food stored. But even so, I never imagined that much food and any other stuff either. I mean it looks like a supermarket. Did you ever consider selling those things? I’m just kidding, it’s nice that she is so well-prepared. And water is really important.

  • Mariah

    Wow! Grandma Shirley knows what she’s doing. Thanks for the tour.

  • Casey

    I am working on my food storage, I have a ways to go to have as good as hers. Thanks for sharing.

  • Camille

    just came across your blog and i love it! i am getting the food storage fever… thanks for all your great ideas! your grandma is amazing!

  • Rbonner

    Wow – that’s all I can say. Thanks for sharing! I think I’ll get off the computer now and go work on my room!

  • Guest

    The chicken canned in ’91 is still safe if the lid is still intact with a seal. But, I noticed one thing, canned jars should not be stored with the rings on them (as per the Nat Cntr for Home Preservation). When they have rings tightened on them, if a jar is bad and expands, the lid can’t just pop off when the pressure becomes too great. The jar will break and what a mess! Plus, I’ve actually had some beets that I thought were sealed go bad and the only way I knew later was that the lid had unsealed. Had a ring been on it, I wouldn’t have known and might have used it.

    • LNW

      I’ve often heard that you should remove the rings, but I’ve never heard any reason why. This makes a lot of sense. I sometimes wonder if the act of unscrewing the ring might disturb the seal and weaken it, though.

      • notdoq

        The lid will stay in position under air pressure. As the contents of the jar heats up the air inside expands and the seal acts as a one way valve. As they cool the air cannot seep back in and the air pressure keeps the lid more tightly sealed. Removing the ring will make any ingress of air self evident. If it leaks without the ring, you don’t want to be eating the contents. Not my wisdom – my grandmothers’ and she’d be 116 if she were still with us.

    • Echo Moon

      if your going to store your jars with the rings on to prevent a lid explosion or to protect the threads of the jar and the edge of the seal from getting clipped or knocked?? then what you do is once the jar is sealed tight you simply back the ring off slightly so that it’s not tight.

  • 1930sgirl

    Wow…go Grandma Shirley!

  • 1930sgirl

    Wow…go Grandma Shirley!

  • Brchbell

    Looking at her storage was great. Bet she lives in Utah where it is nice and dry. Here in Missouri most of it would be worthless the way she has it stored. between, bugs, pests and high humidity those moving here from Utah are in for a big surprise! Metal trash cans full of wheat! Oh my that would be crawling with bugs and mold within two weeks! Metal or plastic containers of honey crawling with bugs within a year. Got to know how to store things in each area of the country. If You are moving to a new area, you better do your research so you don’t loss it all! We have filled dumpsters from folks moving here from Utah who thought they knew it all and found their storage crawl, rotting later on.

    • The metal cans actually contain bags of wheat, not just the grain poured directly in. I think she did it that way to keep mice out of it.

      Great tips for people storing outside of Utah. We are definitely spoiled here and have not had to worry too much about critters in our storage.

    • curious

      Your input with experience in a damper climate is very valuable. How do you manage the situation?

      • mari_s

        There are a few great videos on youtube with instructions on storing food long term (great for humid climates). I’m in Florida and use 5 gallon buckets with food-grade mylar bags AND oxygen absorbers. Here’s a link to the video I used: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vW7_cTn6YpE

    • April in Maryland

      Jackie Clay (a self-reliance expert who writes for Backwoods Home Magazine) puts her dry goods in those metal tins that are used for Christmas cookies or popcorn. She finds dozens of them for cheap at the Salvation Army. She says it keep the rodents out, but I’ve never tried it.

  • Ana

    Oh, Grandma has guns, don’t you worry πŸ˜‰

  • anonymous

    When it starts to go down, cigarettes and booze will be much better items to have on hand – think of the barter value of those products.

    Also, where is the shotgun to keep out the zombies?

  • Mimi

    Ive got some of those 1989 cans still on my shelf, I don’t know why I haven’t opened them! That was fantastic!

  • anonymous

    I am impressed that every single food item has a date written on it. How often do we think we’ll write it on later, or that we’ll be able to remember. Grandma Shirley spent many years as a librarian, and her training shows through in her organization in the storage area.

  • Cassi

    where do you get a bike chain powered wheat grinder?? I want one!!

    • stacy

      Yes, I was going to ask the same question! What brand is that?

      • I think she said she got it at Walton Feed. I will see if I can find out some more info!

        • JenR

          It’s a Country Living Grain Mill. They’ve been around a long time, and are supposed to be fantastic.

        • Agreeing with Jen here; I have one too. I bought mine through Pleasant Hill Grain. There are many different non-electric grinders out there, but many of them only crack the grain; they do not produce a fine flour. This mill is made in the U.S. Here is more info about it:

          http://www.pleasanthillgrain.com/country_living_mill.aspx

    • Chris

      we probably found it at a gun show:)

  • I’ve been building up a food storage system and love what I found on your blog. There were several things I didn’t think of in this post so I’m quite grateful! On my blog I’ve been running a pantry series and now have several friends who are starting to store food. A little at a time and we can all be ready for anything! I love your grandma’s storage room! Thanks for the tour.

  • Ana

    Another lesson I have learned from Grandma Shirley is to store with the goal of serving others in mind. She may be well past her child bearing and rearing years, but in her storage you find sanitary supplies, diapers, the toys you see above. Love it. (I’m Jodi’s cousin, by the way.)

  • Amydm711

    I use my gma dehydrated carrots from the 60s to see if they were edible yes that were my family ate a whole number 10 can in soups and tasted great

  • Delores

    G-Ma Shirley has given me ideas. My husband believes that one day we won’t be able to buy food, so I am canning everything I can think of. I’m really enjoying it, too. We are adding a room for storage. I also have a big family, and they tease us about our preparing for the worst. They joke and say “We know where to go, if we need food” I also have candles and matches stored. We live in a “what if” world, so it’s best to be prepared.

  • Jamielynn27

    WOW. I love seeing pics like that! Now only if my storage looked 1/2 as good as that! You go Grandma!

  • Brenda

    Considering how long she’s been storing, 1989 isn’t too bad for being the oldest thing you found! And I think I need to get more blankets and warm coats and stuff. Thank you so much for the tour. I have learned much!

  • Prepared Teacher

    Grandma is really ready, now all you gals have to do is get her rotating! I love the Home Child Birth stuff, Has she ever done that?

    • Grandma Lori

      She has never done home childbirth. But, information is power. Good to have it available.

    • I think the rotating gets harder as you get older. You are cooking less as the kids are all grown, and it’s harder for her to get down her stairs as often. There is always stuff to improve on for all of us, even the pros πŸ™‚

    • Chris

      She’s never done midwifery..but we have several nurses in the next generation. To mention how much Shirley gives to others, she even has a cowboy coffee pot…warm drink is soothing in a time of stress. She thinks of others.:)

  • Avon2891

    those wash tubs will be needed when you have no power and a large family. That is what I am getting when I go to the laundromat today. laundromat is expensive and time consuming. I have been washing things in the sink and it sucks.

    • Brchbell

      A brand new bathroom pluger and a mop bucket with dual roller to drain the map are great to go with those big buckets! I cut a hole in the lid and put the plunger in and mix away with a little laundry soap. Repeat to rinse in clean water twice and then ring them out in the clean mop bucket. We’ve tried it and it works great!

  • Evelyn

    That’s really impressive! I’m weirded out by the fuel stored in a living space, though, since all the canisters and tanks I have are labelled to the nth degree about that.