Space and Storage Calculator for Long-Term Food Storage

by Erich

I know that those of you who are just beginning to put together your long-term food storage are often overwhelmed with not only how much bulk food to purchase but also how many 5-gallon buckets you'll need as well as how much space you'll require to store those buckets.

Since I had a little time today, I decided to code up a quick calculator for those of you who are beginning with this process.

Many of you have seen the previous calculator I put together which figures out the suggested long-term storage needs based on the amount of weeks and number of people that you want to store away for.

After you arrive at that number, this next calculator will tell you how many 5-gallon buckets you'll need to purchase in order to store all that food, as well as the amount of floor space (in square footage) you'll need based on how high you want to stack your buckets.

Please let me know if you have any recommendations on improving this calculator as it is a work-in-progress.
Input Data
  Enter how many buckets high you are willing to have for each stack (the recommended number is 4-5): 
Enter the amount of food you need to store (in pounds)
  Dried Milk: 

Estimated Storage Requirements
  Total number of 5-gallon buckets needed: 
  Total square feet of floor space needed: 
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Comment by Jon
2011-04-12 08:21:31

The calculator is very helpful taking into account I would not store all this as my main supplies but the numbers work. I would like to know why you have macaroni and flour on here for 5 gallon buckets. The flour will store but my understanding is its better to make it as needed because wheat berries last longer. Using a grinder and pasta press you could make flour and macaroni if you shelled out the cash for those items. Storing it is easier but I think it would give flexibility by adding wheat berries to your stock since they have many uses unto themselves.

Great little tool and thank you for it. Gives me a better understanding of space requirements. I’m still lacking majorly in this area.

Comment by Tactical Intelligence
2011-04-12 10:04:54

Hey Jon,

Some good questions. Some people (like my family) like to store white flour for baking purposes even though it doesn’t store even close to what the wheat berries will store for.

At my house we make a lot of whole wheat bread from the wheat berries I store, however we still like to make baked goods that call for white flour (I know, not the healthiest but it tastes good 🙂 ).

As for macaroni (and dried pasta in general), it is very cheap and stores well. Again, it could be made from the wheat berries, however it’s convenient to have it already prepared.

Comment by Matthew
2011-06-16 08:17:29

Thanks for the info but I am just starting out and want to buy red wheat in 1000 lb increments from a farmer or mill in or around Virginia does anyone know how to find it and go about buying it like this. I could use any advice and it would be appreciated

Comment by Tactical Intelligence
2011-06-16 22:59:26

Hi Matthew,

That’s a great question and I have never thought of approaching a grain mill directly. I think the best option would be just to contact a grain farm in your area and let them lead you in the right direction.

If you do get an answer, we’d love to hear from you!

Comment by Bazzy
2011-10-31 14:32:42

Any of your food stores that are subject to insect infestation (insect larvae already present etc); you can safely take a few bay leaves and toss them into your flour, grains, rice or beans. This will biological stun them; they leave or die. Just a thought.

2011-10-31 16:48:11


Thanks for the great tip!

Comment by Erin Owl
2015-06-22 12:16:15

We were told to do this too. We put Bay leaves in all our flours, etc. When we opened them, they were still full of bugs.
The best solutions we have found are as follows:
(1) put diatomaceous earth in flours or in the bags around flours (put flour in a bag, put bag inside another bag which has diatomaceous earth in it) – google how much to put in based on how much flour you are storing – you can eat it (get FOOD GRADE). Tractor supply sells HUGE bags very cheap – bigger is cheaper – mixed with clay too and you can use it for your animals and selves for mineral supplement and dewormer. Also put the D.E. in bulk beans, macaroni, pet and animal feeds, etc. You can wash it off before prepping, but if you don’t, it is NOT toxic and is a mineral supplement.
(2) put CATNIP LEAVES (dried or fresh) around storage areas to deter mice – I do NOT know if purchased catnip is fresh enough. It will only last ONE YEAR – then replace it – which is EASY: grow your own – scatter seeds around the edges of house, fencelines, etc. Nip back to make it bushy on a regular basis. Place all nipped off pieces anywhere (on the floor in a storeroom – just toss them, inside dresser drawers, in kitchen drawers, etc. They will wilt and dry themselves if not too thick or you can hang and dry large amounts and crumble in your hands to spread behind dressers, in drawers, under sink, etc. No need to remove, just add more fresh leaves each season. Mice HATE catnip and it smells great. You can also drink it as a STOMACH tea – NON TOXIC.
Hope this is helpful.
Don’t waste your money on bay leaves – they were EXPENSIVE (we had to buy a huge bag to do what we needed) and they do NOT protect your food from any bugs WE have nor do they deter mice.
Best wishes to all.

2017-05-13 16:58:00


2017-05-22 05:01:19

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