Divided or Not?

Is it better to have one big container of your basic stocks — such as sugar, flour and pasta — or to divide it up?

My preference is to divide pretty much everything into at least two containers.  Usually, I have three:  a smaller container that I get into “all the time” and then my main stock divided between at least two airtight bins. There are several reasons for this:

  • If something happens to one container — say bugs get into it or it gets moldy — you haven’t lost your entire stock of that item.
  • The more often you get into a container, the greater the chances of getting contamination or bugs in it.  So having containers that you aren’t getting into will decrease the chance that those containers of food will have a problem.
  • It’s usually easier to find places to store smaller containers.
  • Smaller containers are lighter in weight and much easier to handle when the boat is moving.
I also try to divide cans between different lockers and not put all of one food in one.  That way, should there be a problem that causes cans to get pinhole leaks, again I haven’t lost all of a particular food.  Be sure to read more tips specific to storing baking supplies, dog food and canned goods.

Paper products — particularly toilet paper and feminine hygiene products — should also be divided in case of a leak in a locker.  You really don’t want to lose your entire stock of either one.  Read more tips on storing paper products.

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6 Comments
  • Helen Marie Stanfield Bell
    Posted at 19 August 2013 Reply

    Great article ..thanks

  • Bruce
    Posted at 19 August 2013 Reply

    With respect for a backup to using toilet tissue, most of the world – the ‘third’ / ‘developing’ parts are typically too poor to be buying toilet tissue. In many countries some form of ‘tabo’ is used – essentially a large dipper like a plastic saucepan – to dip water out of a bucket and pour on your backside with one hand while washing with the other. This skill can be tricky to learn and difficult to use on a moving boat. For people without a lifetime of using a ‘tabo’, I find a small watering can with the sprinkler head removed is a major improvement for control of the water stream. For the first sixty+ years of my life I had no idea that this could be done. Living here in the Philippines where the ‘tabo’ is common introduced me to the method. I use it on the boat now with the watering can which I fill with seawater just before going into the head. Just knowing about the option can be handy if there is a problem with the tissue supply.

  • Bradley Washburn
    Posted at 04 July 2014 Reply

    Everybody in Western Hemisphere is American. I’m a citizen of USA.

  • Patricia Bryk
    Posted at 04 July 2014 Reply

    As a Canadian living in the Western Hemisphere, Happy 4th of July!!!

  • Colin Mombourquette
    Posted at 05 July 2014 Reply

    Happy Independence Day from your northern cousins, thank you for being a great neighbor and friend.

  • Boater's Planet
    Posted at 03 January 2017 Reply

    I like all different sizes for different things. I also save all size prescription bottles and use them for keeping screws,nuts and bolts organized and labeled when I take things apart to keep from loosing them and stay organized. I try to keep everything in some sort of airtight container not only for the saltwater environment but organization. Makes a big difference.

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