In Utah, we have the luxury of wicked resources in The LDS Church (a WHOLE lot of them). My favorite is the cannery. They let you play with all the big machines and can your own dry storage for super cheap.
Fortunately, there’s probably one right by you, and tanks to the internet, there are tons of other options if you don’t happen to live close to a cannery. (I’m living proof you don’t have to be a member to use the cannery, but you might have to go with a member).
Here are a few of my favorite links for food storage stuff: (I don’t recommend Emergency Essentials – SUPER expensive)
Keep it in your regular rotation.
Do not put it in your basement with the intent of eating it 20 years from now when you need it. What if it goes moldy? What if you get a wicked infestation of creepy-crawlies? If you’re keeping this stuff in your regular rotation and you find a bad box of pasta, you can toss one box instead of twenty. MOST important, if it happens this Wednesday you also have an option to replace it. If you have stuff going bad after the apocalypse, you’re in deep shit.
Keeping it in your regular rotation is also a GREAT way to get started. Buy an extra box of spaghetti, one extra can of tomato sauce, one 10# tin of dehydrated carrots every time you hit the grocery store. Little by little, you’ll “grow” a food storage.
Do not wait until you have extra cash to start on your food storage. There’s no such thing as extra money for this SurvivalMama. Your house may be different, but something comes up every month around here…and not always bad stuff, but there’s always an unscheduled expense. Some months it’s an extra camping trip, little boys who grow too fast and need new clothes, or *cough* a speeding ticket, but SOMETHING taps my food-storage-budget. I can always squeeze in $1.34 for a box of spaghetti, and the occasional $11 tin of dehydrated corn.
Do not buy stuff you don’t eat right now! I can’t stress this enough. If your family hates beans, don’t buy a 50# bag. Life after a disaster is going to suck, don’t add terrible food to the mix. Buy stuff you eat now, now how to cook now, and have the recipes memorized.
Do not forget the spices!! I cook with a lot of spices, and if the SHTF for a long period of time and I run out it’s going to be a bummer around here. The tricky thing about spices is the terrible shelf life. I don’t have any suggestions on how to keep thyme around and effective for any length of time, just don’t buy a massive tin and expect them to have any flavor Year 5.