Is it better to have one big container of things like flour and sugar or is it better to divide it into two or more containers?

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.

Is it better to have one big container of things like flour and sugar or is it better to divide it into two or more containers?

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  • 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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