There are some advantages of using plastic storage bins for some of your food storage.
Here are a few of them…
One way to store food is to use plastic storage bins. Although there are costs involved, the advantages may make it worthwhile to store some of your food in bins.
For some food it does not make the best sense to use bins, but for others it may be helpful. For example, long term storage of grains, legumes, and other similar commodities makes good sense to utilize sealed Mylar in 5-gallon pails; whereas other items like canned foods or other processed foods might be convenient stored in bins.
The advantages of bins include the following…
There are nearly unlimited choices of shapes, sizes, stack-ability, strength, colors, and lid styles; and they are widely available. Bins are ‘ready to go’, as in, grab-and-go (if you have to). They can be labeled, organized, and neatly stacked.
The variety of shapes allow you to customize and utilize your space according to your needs. For example, there are shallow bins that will slide underneath a bed, enabling you to take advantage of that space for storage. While most bins are rectangular in shape, the dimensions do vary. The storage bin itself helps protect the food from moisture, critters, and the environment.
The volume of space within the bin itself (how big, how deep, etc.) again allows you to customize. Don’t forget that the larger it is, the heavier it will be when filled! This is particularly important when considering the weight of canned foods.
Not all bins stack the same way. Some are not meant to stack, although most are designed with that in mind. Some designs will tend to slide around more than others while others are more secure when stacked. Some stack such that the force of the weight from the bin on top will push down entirely on the lid, well inside the sidewalls of the supporting bin (not so good for heavy stacking). Whereas others are designed such that the bottom of the upper bin meets the lower bin at or near the sidewalls, which provides more support and less sag.
Most ordinary plastic storage bins that are commonplace in the retail market seem to be inferior in strength (too thin, flimsy). I would spend extra and buy heavy duty, non-flimsy bins. Bear in mind that the plastic WILL deteriorate fairly quickly if left out in the sun for long periods of time. The UV rays will make the plastic brittle and it will crack or shatter eventually. I’ve experienced this (with a fairly cheap bin) which took about one year outside in the sun until it broke from handling. Buy Heavy Duty.
You might choose opaque bins (non-see-through) or you might prefer see-through clear bins. It may be advantageous to see what’s inside through the clear plastic, while it also allows ‘anyone’ to see inside (which may not be your desire). It depends on your preferences and where they’re stored I suppose. Adhering a label on the outside is VERY helpful.
Not all lids are created equal. Many in fact are cheap. These should also be durable and heavy duty to help support the weight of stacking bins. I also like the bin style with handles that snap up and over the lids. They’re more secure.
In summary, while plastic storage bins may cost more than other methods of containment (5-gallon bucket, cardboard boxes, etc.) they do have their place in an overall food storage plan for some items (or items other than food).
I would be curious to hear your stories, preferences, alternatives, or suggestions as to what you use for storage containment for some of your items…
Of the many varieties of plastic storage bins, I probably use these two the most for some of my preps and other such things. Pretty strong and stack well…