Friday, July 23, 2010

Praxis: A storage idea for less than bucket load quantities.

Nairb has an interesting and useful idea here.

Coffee Cans for Storage. The plastic kind that just about every coffee brand has switched to in the past few years. There are a number of food items that I do not want to store in glass canning jars or five gallon buckets. Glass jars get nixed because of the potential for breakage when moving, and buckets get nixed because I do not want to buy such a quantity of that I can fill a five gallon bucket. The solution I have found is to buy the one gallon mylar food grade bags and pack them inside plastic coffee cans that I would otherwise discard. Between home and office I get about two of these each month. An added bonus is that six of the cans fit into the same size box as six number 10 cans. This size of storage container is ideal for spices, seasoning/gravy/sauce packets, and drink mixes such as Kool Aid. Once full and the mylar bag is sealed, pop on the lid and seal with 100% silicone.

I like the idea of putting the coffee containers into cardboard boxes of the same size as Number Ten cans. Storage is good. Storage AND portability is better. Also, boxing them up facilitates stacking.

In the past I have used both margarine and cottage cheese tubs with snap-on lids in similar fashion.


Anonymous said...

I use the big plastic coffee containers to hold a jumbo roll of Toilet Paper. Keeps it dry, dirt and bug free, plus it's easy to find in the bottom of a pack. Or just leave one under the seat in your vehicle. It better than that worthless pack of TP in your MRE's, or worse yet finding you have nothing. The alternative of using leaves or other wilderness detritus is just plain unpleasant.


Witchwood said...

The main downside being that you would have to consume the Country Crock to get to the container.

The coffee wouldn't be a problem though.

Dakota said...

A little imagination is all it takes, great idea. The restaurants get pickled banana peppers etc now in 1 gallon plastic jars with the screw lids. Glass has been discontinued due to favorite "sun tea" jars. I went thru the stack of boxes and found one that held 4 of these perfectly.

The one thing I like about glass is that moles and mice don't chew thru glass and will go thru plastic like paper.

Anonymous said...

I've been using regular coffee cans and these new style containers for years.....nails screws, small tools, reloading components, reload batches(temporary), sorting range brass,odds and ends ect.

The problem with boxing up containers is, that cardboard collapses over time in any environment and is susceptable to moisture, rodents and insect infestation.....they can even be the source of insects. Roaches love moist cardboard which is why I rarely keep/use any grocery store sourced boxes...I burn them or discard immediately.

Rigid type plastic totes for longer term storage(the type with the hinged two piece interlocking tops) although more expensive are much better for stacking, are easier to handle and hold up better in transportation. They can also be cleaned, reused and hold far more weight reliably than a cardboard box. There are clear ones so you can see the contents if necessary and opaque ones to conceal contents.

Atlas Shrug said...

I've been using the plastic coffee cans for years. They are very handy.

For short term use, they don't have to be sealed to keep items clean and bug free in the basement, pantry, garage, etc. Not just food items, but other things needing to be kept out of the elements.

Also, they are an excellent way to keep your brass sorted and organized. One brand has a through finger "handle" molded in that can help when moving ones that are full of brass. They also come in taller sizes where that is useful (at least in warehouse club offerings).

Keep your powder dry (perhaps even in one of these??),

Atlas Shrug said...

I found this site through

The coffee can idea is excellent - in fact we have a dozen of these same red containers which I've been saving for ideas just like this!

Bad Cyborg said...

I like to use duck tape to seal things. It's actually cheaper than silicone. Goes farther, too, and lots of uses for duct tape.

Bad Cyborg X

Flight-ER-Doc said...

Another good storage container (if you don't want to use ammo cans) is clean 1 gallon paint can get them from paint stores and the paint department at home stores.

They're durable, waterproof, inexpensive, and good 'gray man' camouflage.

Anonymous said...

Looks like we've all been doing the same thing. I do like the toilet paper in the plastic handled container idea. Will have to do that. I always used a 3# metal can that way for camp trips. Makes a good potty. Beats taking the kids out for a squirt in the dark and rain. Lid fits tight and everyone gets their own can. Be sure to put some paper or leaves and a little water in the bottom or that squirt will wake up the whole camp.

CorbinKale said...

I have saved almost 20 of those plastic coffee containers, thinking that they would be good for short term storage. I have used them for picking figs and blackberries. Now I have new ideas! Thanks!

One other thing I have saved is gallon milk jugs. I fill them with water and a bit of soap, let them sit in the sink overnight, then rinse and dry. Recap, string a wire through the handles, then clip the wire across the ceiling in the plunder room, and they are out of the way. Try to store them out of direct sunlight, as that makes them brittle.

Water is even more important than food. Having something to put water in is essential. Water at an OP, for example. If you need to abandon the milk jug, you didn't lose much. Maybe some good folks need a little help on their way? I can give them a couple of those jugs full of water. Handy for gathering pond water for toilet flushing. They even work for short term fuel transport. A supply of those disposable jugs allows for options.

Anonymous said...

These are ok ideas but you must think about space.Use a food saver. Bag food in meal size for one meal for the family at a time that way if one bag gets opened you don't lose it all. It works for a lot of things.

Unknown said...

I use the 'freezer' grade plastic bags for brass, loads etc. They're a little thicker than sandwich bags and hold up better. The freezer aspect means they not a moisture permeable so they protect a little better than average. I use the coffee cans to store state quarters. I'm not sure why we still save them. We have several cans full of quarters at the moment.

skybill said...

Hi Mike,
Yup, all good ideas. Pakrat storage! 'Hardly a container or tin can doesn't get scrutinized for re use. if nuthin' else, they make great targets!


Dedicated_Dad said...

In re: milk jugs -- in recent times they've begun making them of biodegradable plastic, so they begin falling apart in days or weeks.

I've had water, used motor-oil and a little bit of watered-gas all leaking from a milk-jug after only a day or three in recent weeks.

It's possible the sun played a role, though every one leaked from the bottom and seemed to be "oozing" as I couldn't find any obvious leaks. Nevertheless, I had the mess underneath and the lowered volume to prove that they had - in fact - been leaking.



Son of Sam Adams said...

Note: coffee cans are not rodent-proof...not even the metal ones with plastic lids. If you're storing a rodent-free area, that's not a problem, but it does have to be considered

Anonymous said...

Even better: The big plastic jars that bodybuilding supplements come in. They're very durable and they have strong screw on lids.

Not exactly cheap, but if you use it, or know someone who does, they really are the best.

CorbinKale said...

Dedicated Dad,

I agree with your assessment of the milk jugs. Those jugs are definitely NOT for storage. I keep them ONLY for a no-cost, disposable way to carry small amounts of liquid from place to place, without cupping it in my hands, or damaging my dedicated water storage containers.

One other use I forgot to mention is a great water jug for shredding. I fill it about 3/4 full, freeze it, layer 3 of those thin, plastic shopping bags around it for insulation, tying the loop handles around the top, and top it off with water. Through the day the ice melts, providing me with continously cold water. If it falls off the tractor and gets shredded, no big deal, because it is bio-degradable.

CowboyDan said...

If you go to church, they often have coffee and food containers; I'm sure they'll be glad to get rid of them.

Back in the day, we coated Frisbees with Armor-All. I don't know that it's a food-safe coating, but it protects plastic from color fading and becoming brittle.

If you are fairly close to your opponent, a Frisbee can make enough noise to distract them for a moment. There's more than one way for that split second to save a life. Plus, throwing disks is a good form of exercise,even for old farts like us. Helps hand/eye coordination, etc.

As to mice, they HATE peppermint. A few drops of peppermint oil on a cotton ball will repel them for a good while. Used dryer sheets are also good for mouse proofing, and as mosquito repellent.

If you fill jugs with water, put them in the freezer. Having ice in the freezer means you'll cool less air, and you'll have coolant for stuff you want to travel with.

I'll have more suggestions later, I'm sure.

Loren said...

Look up the nearest LDS "bishop's storehouse." They have #10 cans and will help you pack foodstuffs in them gladly. They'll make you pay for food you order through them, but they'll order it for you, even nonmembers I've been told, and you can use their equipment to pack it. I'm not sure they'd appreciate you bringing in ammo or something like that to pack, but you can check with the particular people in charge.

Key thing is that a lot of it will be bulk foods, and may not be efficient for small groups even in #10 can quantities.

pdxr13 said...

The point is that these consumer-grade containers are available at no additional cost if you, or someone, uses the original food contents. The world is a hostile place full of damp and corrosive gasses and fluids, water not the least of them. Any protection is appreciated.

My favorites are M-60 ammo cans painted with grass and plant shapes (using trimmed grass and plants as templates), but surplus cans and spray paint requires a little bit of money spent, while food containers are no-charge.


tjbbpgobIII said...

g the last big snow storm, here in B'ham. the wife and I were cut off from everything for about a week. I used two of the large metal coffee cans in a charcol grill as stove eyes. Filled up with charcol and with holse 'church- keyed' all around the bottom and in two places at the top(for a bailwire) we made less than 5#'s of charcol last a week by closing the air off after cooking. You can't do that with plastic.

Anonymous said...

Keep in mind that if you store any food in containers that have a strong smell (like coffee), the food will acquire that smell/taste. I know of one family that put both dinner mints and some pasta together in a plastic container, and the pasta came out tasting kinda funny. No problem with making anybody sick, but mint-flavored spaghetti is pretty weird.
Just make sure you air out the container 'til the smell is gone.
Of course, this only matters if the 'resident' flavor of the container will actually be a negative.

kenlowder said...

The idea of these for storage is great and I will use it for items that I am in the process of using up. As in take out a gallon at a time and reseal the larger bucket. I like the idea of paint cans even better. Steel will keep the rodents out and most come with a steel handle. That makes if so much easier to grab and go. The molded handle in the coffee cans is good for holding and pouring, but you can string a few paint cans together and hang them out of the way and still be ready to grab and go.