As you’ve probably already noticed, I have a strong belief in the importance of personal and family preparedness. I’ve been in the place where there was none and it was almost disastrous. It sounds strange, but the prospect of homelessness and starvation changes people…I know! Go figure. Now, in my home, we are prepared to live on our food storage whenever life throws us an unexpected difficulty. The best thing is I don’t worry about the big things anymore, or the small stuff either, for that matter. I know that if my husband and I come down with a case of the crud or we get hit with a North Carolina ice storm, we don’t have to drag ourselves out to the store.
Take the “Big Snow Storm” we had a couple of weeks ago, as an example. Everything was closed including the Walmart…yes, it was bad. The conversation inside our house went something like this…
Me: (gazing out the window, admiring the snow) Boy, it sure is snowing.
Hubby: Uh huh
Me: I sure am glad we don’t have to go out in this.
Hubby: Uh huh
Me: Are you hungry?
Hubby: I could eat.
Me: OK. I’ll get something out of the cupboard.
It was as easy as that. No searching the empty grocery shelves for the milk, bread and toilet paper you didn’t have at home. No standing in long lines to purchase whatever was actually left on the grocery shelves. No freezing your fingers clearing the snow off of your walkways and car. No trudging out in the snow and hoping to get back alive. No wondering if you will have enough food to last until the storm was over. Just hmmmm what shall we have for dinner and isn’t the snow pretty.
The other thing is we don’t think of our storage as only being there in case of some drastic emergency like an earthquake or civic unrest. We just consider it “food”, and I honestly think that using your food storage in your daily life is the only way to be successful in having a complete and efficient supply of essentials on hand. If it’s some big, weird thing, you aren’t going to do it regularly…if at all. If it’s just that you have a goodly supply of the things you normally use and eat on hand, it becomes your way of life.
Here are some thoughts about food storage:
Don’t panic at the thought of all the items you need and want to store. It can be an overwhelming task if you try and do it all at once. Remember, a year’s supply of food can’t be accumulated overnight. I’m going to coin a phrase right now…”Take a Year to Get a Year”. How’s that? If you think of it this way, every month you will try and amass another “extra” month worth of supplies. That way at the end of the year, you will be a year “ahead”, and happily prepared for the unexpected that we should always expect.
You should always plan your storage as a family. Another way of going about it is to set priorities for storing what you feel is most important first, then supplement it as time goes by. It’s up to you to decide how to go about it and how much you want to invest. There’s no wrong way. Any storage is better than none, and every little addition is great.
A simple, almost painless way to build your food storage is to just buy extra products every time you go to the store. This is how we started. Whenever you buy something, buy two. When something’s on sale, buy the limit. If there is no limit and you can afford it, stock up. Our first “food storage” addition was a case each of canned tomatoes, potatoes, green beans, peaches, mandarin oranges and beef chunks as well as 2 pounds of rice and 4 boxes of pasta from Aldi. We were so proud! I would open the closet door and admire it from time to time (not kidding). It gave me a feeling of peace and accomplishment to see my little cushion for times of trouble. I remember that feeling, and I want to pass it on to you. I want you to know that you and your beloved family are ok and ready to face the setbacks and crisis of life. Unfortunately, the “unexpected” is inevitable. I just want you to be a little more prepared for it.
Now, not only does your storage need to be kept in a dry, clean, cool and hopefully pest-free, it also needs to be organized (AAAAHHHHH). Sorry…but the truth is if it’s not organized, rotation will be difficult if not impossible. If it’s not organized, it’s also hard to see how much you have and decide what you still need. I speak from experience here…let’s just say I will never…ever…run out of honey and I presently have enough yellow mustard to last until my granddaughter goes to college (at this writing, she hasn’t turned 1 yet). On the down side, I walked into the “pantry” (I.e. our bedroom closet) yesterday to discover my poor husband gazing sorrowfully at the last can of mandarin oranges. Time to make an Aldi run!
If space is a problem, you will need to get imaginative. You may decide to sacrifice a piece or two of furniture (ex. China cupboard, potted plant, spare bed, end table, bedside table, etc.), and put some of your food storage in its place. If you find it impossible to fit all your storage items into one room in your home, you may need to break it up (ex.: water storage and camping gear-garage; canned food-kids’ bedroom; first-aid supplies-bathroom; boxed items-your bedroom; candles, batteries, & other emergency supplies-front room; paper products- basement
Don’t let the lack of space be your excuse not to prepare. Try unusual places like under the bed, inside coffee tables or end tables, behind the sofa, in empty spaces in drawers and closets, etc. If this is the method you are forced to use in your home, be very sure you keep a good record of where you’re putting everything. My husband and I live in a 300 square foot efficiency apartment. Trust me, we don’t own furniture, we own food storage containers! And last, wherever you store, just remember that the temperature must be cool, and it needs to be as dry as possible.