FREE Food Storage Buckets


Wanting to keep a stockpile of basic food staples, like flour, sugar, grains, rice and so on? Then you are probably wondering how to safely store these things to keep them fresh and free of bugs.

Plastic buckets with lids are the best way to do this, but you can’t just buy any bucket. You’ll need a Food Grade container; they are white, and have a #2 on the bottom.

You could buy these, if you don’t mind forking out $8 per bucket, but I found a better way, and it’s FREE!

All you’ll need to do is stop by your local grocery store and visit the bakery. Simply ask the nice ladies behind the counter if they have any empty icing or sugar buckets with lids. Usually, they are more than happy to hand them over, rinsed out and everything. I was able to pick up three yesterday, and was told to come back Saturday afternoon for more (since this is their busy cake making day).

Once you get it home, wash it out well with hot, soapy water and make sure it is dried thoroughly before using. I’ve had sugar and flour stored for over 6 months now in these kinds of buckets, and have never had a problem with any sort of bugs.

I did freeze the flour for 3 days before storing, which is something that I would recommend doing… just to be safe. As gross as it sounds, there is often bug’s eggs in the flour already, and if it is stored for a long time they could begin hatching. Freezing the flour before storing will kill any eggs that may be present.

Hope that’s helpful to ya! Let me know if you have any other ideas for scoring some free food grade containers!

About Kendra 1103 Articles
A city girl learning to homestead on an acre of land in the country. Wife and homeschooling mother of four. Enjoying life, and everything that has to do with self sufficient living.


  1. I also use the gama seal lids. I have five of them. All in different colors so I can tell at a glance my flour, sugar, rice, and different beans. Then I have other buckets with my regular bucket lids on them. When I run out I just rotate in more flour or sugar. I use the buckets with the gama seals to refill all of my kitchen containers. They work great and are so much easier to get into than the regular lids.
    If you have a large bakery in your area you might also check with them. The one in our area has given me over 50 buckets free. I have used them for everything from using in the garden to hold the weeds that I pull, to making nesting boxes for my chickens. Not to mention all of the food that I store in them.

  2. Hi Kendra!

    I’ve been storing food in buckets since 2004. It’s true buckets do work great. A few more tips; you can add an oxy pack to just about anything except sugar to make the food last longer. You can get some from I like Walton Feed. They have a huge selection of grains and other food storage items. Plus, if you really want to save, they allow you to do group buys and this will also help on the shipping price. 🙂

    Also another thing, since I rotate my food storage and I am constantly using my buckets over again, I found that it is a good idea to invest in gamma seal lids. Like these;

    Gamma seal lids are lids that you place on the buckets and then the upper part of the lid screws on and off. It’s really a good investment in my opinion because they’re easy to open and close, they seal better than the regular lids, and don’t break as easily as the regular lids do. Plus, with the gamma seal it keeps the food dry even when the outside of the bucket is wet.

    I currently have 2 1/2 years of food storage items for my family. It’s not easy. But well worth the effort especially if you plan for rotating the food items. I find that having food storage will save a great deal of money.


  3. I have two large freezers and since one of them is not full, and it is best to keep them full, I always keep my flour, meal, rice, etc. that I get on sale in the freezer until I get ready to use it. I have never had any to ruin yet. Great to get it on sale and not ever have to pay full price!

  4. Back when I lived in town and couldn’t have a garden in the yard, I used these for container gardening! You just put holes in the bottoms for drainage. I had to pay for mine from the bakery, but only 50 cents each.

  5. I have a friend that works at the bakery at Albertsons, and I’ve gotten a few of these buckets from her, they work great!

  6. I’ve heard the same thing about rice….that there are usually larvae in the bags. You can freeze it as well, but I’ve heard you’re supposed to freeze it for longer in order to kill the bugs. I hope it’s only 3 days, as that would be much more convenient, but I heard something like a month is what’s recommended.

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