home storage centers

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has home storage centers all over the United States, Canada, and Central America. They also have locations in the Caribbean, Africa, Tonga and Samoa. Click here to find a location near you. There you can donate time by packing food for the welfare program or you can arrange to pack food for yourself.

The home storage centers offer some of the cheapest prices on bulk foods. The cost to can these bulk supplies into #10 cans is nominal. Our favorite food storage product to get at the home storage centers is the apple slices. Our family loves them straight out of the can. You can also rehydrate them to make applesauce or an apple pie -- and they cost less than $6 a can. And though the "wet-pack" products are not generally available, they might offer you a chance to buy "extra" product if you donate your time to help with the production lines or clean up.

Here is the link to the home storage center order forms. They also have an order form available in Spanish. The storage life of the different food products is included on the order form.

Each Home Storage Center uses different guidelines. But this site at Family Food Storage gives unofficial information about the Lindon and Salt Lake City Home Storage Centers in Utah.



In addition to grains, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints recommends beans for longer-term storage. Beans are a fantastic protein source and are the perfect complement to many of the grains all stored. In fact, beans and rice (or beans and cornbread) make a complete protein which is full of amino acids and all sorts of good stuff.

Our family really likes black beans and refried beans -- so that's what we've stored. I've actually stored both pinto beans as well as canned refried beans. I categorize my refried beans into my three-month supply and the pinto beans count for longer-term supply. I also store a smaller supply of northern beans, white beans, navy beans, as well as pork and beans. I have a bean soup "dump" recipe that calls for all of these so I rotate a few in and out of my storage each month. Pork and beans are great to have on hand for family picnics and also work for 72-hour kits (especially if they have a pull-tab).

Beans are not cheap. I've seen them recently for about $50 for a bucket of 25 lbs of beans. The church cannery offers them more cheaply. It's cheaper to buy the beans in bags and dump them into a bucket (with a gasket lid). The Provident Living website states that the beans will store for 30 years or more. You should store 5 lbs. of beans per person per month (or 45 lbs for a 9 month longer-term supply).


peanut butter cups

No - not Reese's, but individual servings of peanut butter. I saw these at Costco last week. These would be perfect for your 72-hour kits. You would have to make sure to rotate these every year or so. But pair them with those little packets of jam and some fun crackers, and you'll have complete comfort food for the kids!



You might already be familiar with storing wheat and rice, but corn? What about storing some popcorn or corn meal? We use both at our house regularly. Popcorn kernels are easy to store like any other grain. Corn meal , like flour, must be rotated more regularly. But just like wheat can be ground into flour, corn can be ground into corn meal. All you need is a good grinder (watch for a future post on grinders!).



Rice is a cinch to store! It doesn't typically get bugs, doesn't require cleaning and has a multitude of uses (including rice heating pads). Rice can be ground and used as rice flour. It's also the perfect accompaniment to black beans, in my opinion, of course. I buy large bags of rice at Costco or whenever it's on sale. I transfer those bags into large plastic buckets. Rice is probably the most rotated longer-term storage item that I have. I keep one bucket upstairs in my pantry with a gamma lid (look for a future post on gamma lids) on top for easy access.

Brown rice is not ideal to store long term. It still has some fat in it and will go rancid. You can store smaller quantities in your freezer. Storing some white rice, jasmine rice and basmati rice can add variety to your storage.



Wheat is one of the recommended grains for longer-term storage. It has a shelf-life of 30+ years. And like the Word of Wisdom states, grains are "the staff of life."

There are several different kinds of wheat:
Spring or winter -- which just refers to the season in which is was harvested.
Hard or soft -- hard wheat mills more consistently and has more protein (gluten).
Red or white -- which comes down to taste & texture preference.

You really have to figure this one out for yourself. My personal preference is hard white wheat. You may not know what to do with wheat, but don't let that stop you from storing it. My recommendation is that you acquire your wheat and then figure out how to use it.

In order to take advantage of that 30+ years of shelf life, though, you have to store your wheat correctly. Choose storage methods that help you avoid moisture, light, heat, and bugs. I personally use food storage buckets. I buy my wheat from Lehi Roller Mills. The wheat is clean, prepackaged and stored in a bucket with a gasket. Wheat prices are super high right now. I noticed that Costco is selling a 45 lb bucket of wheat for about $28. Last year, I bought the same bucket for about $17. I've heard that prices should fall once additional crops are harvested. The church cannery sells wheat in bulk and in #10 cans. Their prices are typically competitive. Some wheat comes in sturdy bags that are meant for storage (they are typically labeled "for storage" if this is the case). You can also seal your wheat into mylar bags within plastics buckets (ideal, in my opinion). If you buy your wheat in bags, you'll need to transfer and clean your wheat using a dry ice treatment. Instructions on how do this can be found here.


maceys emergency preparedness sale

For Utah readers of this blog, you might be interested to know that Maceys is having their Emergency Preparedness Sale right now until August 26.

Here are some of their prices:
5 gallon plastic buckets - $3.99
5 gallon plastic water container - $3.99
55 gallon plastic water container - $39.99 ($34 is the cheapest I've ever seen these at)
24 pk water (half liter bottles) - $2.79
20 lb. bag of rice - $10.99 (25 lbs of rice at Costco for $12)
25 lb. sugar - $8.88
45 lb. bucket hard red/white wheat - $21.99 (this is just an okay price for wheat)
16 oz. saf-instant yeast - $1.99
Gamma Lids - $5.99 (were at Wal-Mart for $4.75 earlier this summer)

I've heard some comments that the butter powder (44 oz. for $16.99) and the whole eggs (36 oz. for $18.99) are good prices. They have beans in buckets, but the beans are almost $10 cheaper if purchased in bulk from the cannery and then transferred into buckets (no special treatments needed).

The Maceys circular is available online now at http://www.maceys.com/Circular.aspx


packing and storing

When it comes to keeping your longer-term storage -- well, long-term, you'll have four main enemies: moisture, heat, light, and pests (bugs/rodents). You can almost eliminate heat and light as concerns if you have a nice cool, dark basement in which to put your storage. Moisture and pests, though, are harder to control. The kind of storage container that you choose, can help eliminate three of the four storage enemies (even the best containers are affected by heat). So, it pays to pick your containers and their locations carefully.

If you don't have a cool, dark basement, then choose storage spots that are as cool and dark as possible. You can stack containers to make bedside tables. I've seen food storage under beds, on top of cupboards, and in sheds. Don't store items directly on cement floors. Many storage containers can leach chemicals and moisture out of the cement. It is better to use shelves or pallets, if possible.

Here is a list of storage containers and advantages/disadvantages:
*Plastic buckets (need to have a gasket in the lid; permeable; light gets in; can be heavy; reusable)
*Mylar bags/Foil Pouches - control light; rodents can rip; hard to stack; hard to move in big quantities; only reusable with right equipment.
*PETE bottles - don't control light; easy to move; readily available.
*#10 cans/aluminum cans - durable; control light; need a can opener; only reusable with right equipment.
*Glass jars - light gets in; rodents can't open; breakable; reusable with cheap & readily available equipment.
*Plastic bags - light and rodents can get in; harder to stack and move in large quantities; reusable; convenient.
*Burlap bags - moisture and pests get in easily; reusable; hard to stack and move in large quantities.
*Paper bags - moisture and pests get in easily; hard to stack and move in large quantities.

I use a mixture of these methods. I live in a very dry climate so plastic buckets work well for my wheat, bean and rice storage. I also have glass jars, cans, #10 cans and one double-bagged bag of wheat. I often buy my supplies in bags and then transfer into buckets. I don't do this with my wheat, though, as wheat requires a dry-ice treatment when transferred (see upcoming post on wheat storage). Oxygen absorbers are available to add to many of these containers. If your climate is very moist, buckets may not be adequate. A sealed Mylar bag inside of a bucket is often called a "super-pail." In my opinion, this may be the ideal storage container for large volumes of grains or beans.

Here are some links:
Packing Recommendations - providentliving.org
Oxygen Absorbers - providentliving.org
Storage Conditions - providentliving.org


longer-term supply

"For longer-term needs, and where permitted, gradually build a supply of food that will last a long time and that you can use to stay alive, such as wheat, white rice, and beans. These items can last 30 years or more when properly packaged and stored in a cool, dry place. A portion of these items may be rotated in your three-month supply." (All Is Safely Gathered In: Family Home Storage)

This is the "new" category that I think is most closely related to the traditional food storage. They've tweaked it, though, to be much more simple to understand. These products are intended to help us "stay alive." The church has recommended *Wheat, white rice, corn and other grains [25 lbs per person per month] and *Dry Beans [5 lbs per person per month]. All of the recommended products have shelf lives of 30 years or more.

If you add nine-months of these long term storage items to 3-months of short term storage, then you get your traditional one year of food storage. Below, I've calculated 9-months worth based on amounts found on the Provident Living website:
*Store 225 lbs of grains per person.
*Store 45 lbs of dry beans per person.

I would say that this is a good minimum goal for a family.

Here are some additional links:
Product Recommendations: *Wheat, white rice, corn and other grains. [25 lbs per person per month] *Dry Beans. [5 lbs per person per month]
Choosing Dry Products (Examples of products to avoid)


financial reserve

"Establish a financial reserve by saving a little money each week and gradually increasing it to a reasonable amount." (All Is Safely Gathered In: Family Finances)

We recently used the talk, One For The Money, by Elder Marvin J. Ashton as the basis for a Family Home Evening Lesson. Our kids range from ages 2 up to 12 years-old. This was definitely a lesson more suited to the older kids. Anyway, as I prepared that lesson, I read the following quote, "Liquid savings available for emergencies should be sufficient to cover at least three months of all essential family obligations." I think three months worth is a pretty good beginning goal. I've heard some financial planners state that we should save at least six months worth. Some try to have a one year supply of finances as well as food.

You probably have a sense of how secure your job is -- though no job is completely secure. I think that knowledge coupled with the guidance of the spirit can help your family decide how much of a financial reserve you need.

At first glance, you might assume that three-months' worth of savings is a huge amount. And I guess it is, IF you make tons of money already. But for the rest of us, the amount is not as big as you may first think. The amount of money saved is used to replace your salary, but many normal monthly costs would not apply. For example, you probably already paid your tithing on money in savings (so no need to subtract 10%). Also, retirement, taxes, social security, medicare, and state taxes would not be taken out of your savings (this would differ depending upon your state/country). If you add up your normal bills for each month, minus any services that you could immediately cancel like cable, cell phones, lawn services, gym memberships, etc. (I'm assuming that you would cancel everything that you were able to -- but don't forget those "contracts" that bind you to a service for several years), then you can figure out what you would need to save for a month's worth. For our family, the amount we needed to save was roughly half of my husband's normal salary per month.

In many cases, this financial reserve may not be used to replace salary. It might be needed in an extreme health care situation. Or it might prevent you from having to use consumer debt when your clothes dryer, dishwasher and toilet all break on the same day (which happened to us yesterday). So obviously more is better than less.


three-month supply

Of the four basic points found in the "All Is Safely Gathered In: Family Home Storage Pamphlet," the first one, the three-month supply, is the hardest for me. Like the pamphlet suggests, I buy some extra each time I shop. It has been difficult, though, to track the food amounts and determine the quantities that I should have on hand. I think I have enough -- but then I'm never completely sure. Please share any suggestions that you have!

I did notice that some of my longer-term supply could be rotated into my three-month supply. I do that and it helps pad that category a little bit.

One strategy that helps maintain the inventory of my three-month supply is that I "shop" from my pantry rather than from the store. Does that sound crazy? It's not -- and it's the reason that my neighbors are always borrowing food from ME (I really don't mind). When food supplies, that I regularly buy, go on sale, I usually stock up. Which means, when I cook on a whim, I almost always have what I need on hand. There are exceptions to this, of course. Sometimes I think I have something, count on it, only to be disappointed that I've already used up my supply. Most often, though, there are five or six cans or boxes of what I need already on my shelf -- and I bought them on sale! If I'm really good (which is sometimes), I don't ever buy these supplies for full price. All it requires is a little forethought and a little bit of storage space. And voila! I have a good chunk of my three-month supply already.


72 hour kits

Did you know that the (general) leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints have never specifically told us to have 72 hour kits? If you have evidence to prove me wrong, I'd love to know about it! In preparation for a local Enrichment Meeting, I poured over the words of the prophets, trying to find a single quote suggesting that we need these kits. I couldn't find a single one. I found "Random Sampler" tidbits in the Ensign. I found direction from local leadership asking us to prepare 72 hour kits. I found a story or two told by the General Authorities that referenced 72 hour kits, but I couldn't find anything more specific than that.

In fact, I found it interesting to read this in the provident living FAQ:

"What about 72-hour kits?
Church members are encouraged to prepare for adversity by building a basic supply of food, water, money, and, over time, longer-term supply items. Beyond this, Church members may choose to store additional items that could be of use during times of distress."

Don't get me wrong. Clearly 72 hour kits are beneficial. But this quote above seems to suggest that family home storage is the first priority. Of course, your local leadership may give you specific counsel regarding 72 hour kits. If that is the case, then these kits do become a priority again.


family home evening

A great way to start family preparedness is by enlisting the help of your whole family. Becoming prepared, really, is a whole family endeavor. Preparedness projects such as stacking food storage, cooking, picking and canning produce, and growing a garden are much more fun as a family. Plus you get the added benefit of modeling preparedness and teaching your children as you go.

Family Home Evening is an ideal place to start implementing preparedness projects and teaching your children. There are premade Family Home Evening lessons about preparedness all over the Internet. Here are a few:

Power in Preparedness (1) by Teri Ebert
Week 1 - Water Storage
Week 2 - Earthquake and Fire
Week 3 - First Aid and Medicines
Week 4 - Emergency Lighting, Cooking, and Heating

Power in Preparedness (2) by Teri Ebert
Week 5 - Emergency Shelter and Clothing
Week 6 - Hygiene and Sanitation Storage
Week 7 - 72-Hour Kits
Week 8 - Vehicle Preparedness

Preparation by Shauna Gibby

Family Home Storage Lessons - Provident Living
*Family Home Storage and Finances
*Fruitful in the Land of My Affliction
*Joseph in Egypt

Family Finance Lessons - Provident Living
*Financial Responsibility
*Managing Family Finances
*Managing Family Finances
*Temporal Wealth and the Kingdom of God

Family Preparedness Activities - LDS.org

Please share any additional resources!


f a q

I've created a list (see side of blog) of links for LDS Guidelines for preparedness. These sites are fantastic and give detailed information about the principles contained in the pamphlets. One link that you might miss on these sites is the Frequently Asked Questions. It's worth taking the time to read.


all is safely gathered in: family finances

The second of the two pamphlets that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints released in 2007 is called All Is Safely Gathered In: Family Finances. Here are the major points from the pamphlet (I've included the accompanying letter below):

Pay Tithes and Offerings
Successful family finances begin with the payment of an honest tithe and the giving of a generous fast offering. The Lord has promised to open the windows of heaven and pour out great blessings upon those who pay tithes and offerings faithfully (see Malachi 3:10).

Avoid Debt
Spending less money than you make is essential to your financial security. Avoid debt, with the exception of buying a modest home or paying for education or other vital needs. Save money to purchase what you need. If you are in debt, pay it off as quickly as possible.

Use A Budget
Keep a record of your expenditures. Record and review monthly income and expenses. Determine how to reduce what you spend for nonessentials. Use this information to establish a family budget. Plan what you will give as Church donations, how much you will save, and what you will spend for food, housing, utilities, transportation, clothing, insurance, and so on. Discipline yourself to live within your budget plan. (See the Budget Worksheet included with the pamphlet.)

Build A Reserve
Gradually build a financial reserve, and use it for emergencies only. If you save a little money regularly, you will be surprised how much accumulates over time.

Teach Family Members
Teach family members the principles of financial management. Involve them in creating a budget and setting family financial goals. Teach the principles of hard work, frugality, and saving. Stress the importance of obtaining as much education as possible.

Dear Brothers and Sisters:

Latter-day Saints have been counseled for many years to prepare for adversity by having a little money set aside. Doing so adds immeasurably to security and well-being. Every family has a responsibility to provide for its own needs to the extent possible.

We encourage you wherever you may live in the world to prepare for adversity by looking to the condition of your finances. We urge you to be modest in your expenditures; discipline yourselves in your purchases to avoid debt. Pay off debt as quickly as you can, and free yourselves from this bondage. Save a little money regularly to gradually build a financial reserve.

If you have paid your debts and have a financial reserve, even though it be small, you and your family will feel more secure and enjoy greater peace in your hearts.

May the Lord bless you in your family financial efforts.
The First Presidency


all is safely gathered in: family home storage

One of the pamphlets that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints released in early 2007 is All Is Safely Gathered In: Family Home Storage. Four principles are emphasized:

Three-Month Supply
Build a small supply of food that is part of your normal, daily diet. One way to do this is to purchase a few extra items each week to build a one-week supply of food. Then you can gradually increase your supply until it is sufficient for three months. These items should be rotated regularly to avoid spoilage.

Drinking Water
Store drinking water for circumstances in which the water supply may be polluted or disrupted. If water comes directly from a good, pretreated source then no additional purification is needed; otherwise, pretreat water before use. Store water in sturdy, leak-proof, breakage-resistant containers. Consider using plastic bottles commonly used for juices and soda. Keep water containers away from heat sources and direct sunlight.

Financial Reserve
Establish a financial reserve by saving a little money each week and gradually increasing it to a reasonable amount (see All Is Safely Gathered In: Family Finances guide).

Longer-Term Supply
For longer-term needs, and where permitted, gradually build a supply of food that will last a long time and that you can use to stay alive, such as wheat, white rice, and beans. These items can last 30 years or more when properly packaged and stored in a cool, dry place. A portion of these items may be rotated in your three-month supply.

There is a letter from the First Presidency that is included in the pamphlet:

"Dear Brothers and Sisters:

Our Heavenly Father created this beautiful earth, with all its abundance, for our benefit and use. His purpose is to provide for our needs as we walk in faith and obedience. He has lovingly commanded us to “prepare every needful thing” (see D&C 109:8) so that, should adversity come, we may care for ourselves and our neighbors and support bishops as they care for others.

We encourage Church members worldwide to prepare for adversity in life by having a basic supply of food and water and some money in savings.

We ask that you be wise as you store food and water and build your savings. Do not go to extremes; it is not prudent, for example, to go into debt to establish your food storage all at once. With careful planning, you can, over time, establish a home storage supply and a financial reserve.

We realize that some of you may not have financial resources or space for such storage. Some of you may be prohibited by law from storing large amounts of food. We encourage you to store as much as circumstances allow.

May the Lord bless you in your home storage efforts.
The First Presidency"


lay up in store

I admit I have a religious bias as I work on personal preparation. I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. We have received specific counsel as to how to prepare ourselves. I turn to that counsel as I determine my preparedness level. For years, the church has counseled us to have year's worth of food storage. Recently, however, the guidelines were changed. Bishop Keith B. McMullin in his talk, Lay Up in Store, given at the April 2007 General Conference, discussed these changes. (I'm going to include an expanded portion of his comments below because the quotes are so good). Anyway, the two new pamphlets, introduced at this conference (and subsequently sent to every member through priesthood leaders and the Ensign), form the basis of my preparedness plans. I'll discuss those pamphlets in separate entries.

Here is the quote by Bishop Keith B. McMullin:

"A cardinal principle of the gospel is to prepare for the day of scarcity. Work, industry, frugality are part of the royal order of life. Remember these words from Paul: "If any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel."13

Seated before us are the three presiding high priests who constitute the First Presidency of the Church.

From President James E. Faust, Second Counselor, we hear: "Every father and mother are the family's storekeepers. They should store whatever their own family would like to have in the case of an emergency . . . [and] God will sustain us through our trials."

From President Thomas S. Monson, First Counselor, we hear: "Many more people could ride out the storm-tossed waves in their economic lives if they had their year's supply of food . . . and were debt-free. Today we find that many have followed this counsel in reverse: they have at least a year's supply of debt and are food-free."

From President Gordon B. Hinckley, the Lord's prophet, we hear:
"The best place to have some food set aside is within our homes. . . .
"We can begin ever so modestly. We can begin with a one week's food supply and gradually build it to a month, and then to three months. . . . I fear that so many feel that a long-term food supply is so far beyond their reach that they make no effort at all.
"Begin in a small way, . . . and gradually build toward a reasonable objective."

Inspired preparation rests on the foundation of faith in Jesus Christ, obedience, and a provident lifestyle. Members should not go to extremes, but they should begin.

We call upon priesthood bearers to store sufficient so that you and your family can weather the vicissitudes of life. Please see to it that those entrusted to your watchcare receive these two pamphlets entitled
All Is Safely Gathered In. Exhort them to prepare now for rainy days ahead. Priesthood leaders, enlist the Relief Society in promoting family preparedness and homemaking. The women of the Church need your backing and will respond to your leadership.

Encourage our members to regularly put into their home storage a few wholesome, basic food items and some water that is safe to drink. They should save some money, if only a few coins each week. This modest approach will soon enable them to have several months' reserve. Over time they can expand these modest efforts into a longer-term supply by adding such essentials as grains, legumes, and other staples that will keep them alive in case they do not have anything else to eat.17

As we do our very best, we can be confident that "the barrel of meal shall not waste, neither shall the cruse of oil fail."
18 We shall enjoy greater wisdom, security, peace of mind, and personal well-being. We shall be prepared, and because we are prepared, we "shall not fear.""