Food Storeage/Emergency Prep Pros (or non pros with ideas) - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 16 Old 12-05-2011, 02:07 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I have read some existing threads already here, but would like to consolidate some info in one place.

 

I am just starting to embark on this, despite being raised by someone who is WAY into it. I am writing a few articles for a local publication about the process, as well.  Trying to make it reasonable for the average person to 1. consider and 2. do!  I don't want a fear-based take on it. Though many feel total collapse is realistic and imminent, most people don't want to go there. I'll focus a lot on job loss, illness, natural disaster possibilities that people can actually imagine for themselves.

 

What I'd love to hear is

1.  What did you budget monthly as you began to stockpile?

2.  How long did it take you to reach your goal (and what was that goal?  6 months?  1 year of supplies?)

3.  How you prioritized what you bought.  Did you focus on one type of food first? Or did you buy a little of everything?  Or whatever was cheapest?

4.  Where do you stash things? I'd love creative ideas.  This has got to be a major hurdle for some people. I know it is for me.

5. Are you and your SO on the same page?  If not, how do you handle the difference of opinion?

6.  What is your major concern that led you to store food?

7.  Where do you store water?

8.  Anything else newbies should know?

9. Oops....one more to add:  do you actually eat/use your stores?  Do you only buy what you eat? Or do some of you have food you don't plan to eat until you HAVE to? 

 

I recently signed up for monthly orders from ShelfReliance/Thrive foods to help get me started.  You can set a budget and the program helps you figure out how much you need.  That's been so helpful.  LMK if you want info on that.  But I don't see myself being able to get their fancy rotating shelves set up in this house. 

 

Anyway, my audience is other newbies, mostly families.  So I'm trying to get an idea of how other families got started.  Thanks so much for your time, wise ones!


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#2 of 16 Old 12-05-2011, 05:25 PM
 
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what do you mean by "stockpile" vs food on hand? If you have a large free standing freezer and a pantry is that a stockpile? at what number of meals are you considering "stockpiling"?

 

reason I am asking is we live in an apt- we have a freezer and a pantry with a combined total of 50 to 75 meals, I wouldn't say that is in any way a "stockpile" - we do not have 5 bottles of any one item (let alone large quantities of certain items) so I'm not real clear what type you are looking for


 

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#3 of 16 Old 12-05-2011, 05:53 PM - Thread Starter
 
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It could mean either and maybe that's something I should add or define.  Mostly I mean do you have enough food on hand to survive for 1 month?  12 months? should something happen to your family. Do you intentionally buy food to have on hand BEYOND your current menu? Many people who store food have a supply of food that they can live on if the power is out and they have limited power source AND they have the what's necessary to eat that food.  So for some that might be canned or dehydrated or freeze dried food or meals.  Others have wheat and a grinder, beans and other basics.

 

So a freezer does count if you buy plenty in case of a financial emergency.  But others buy thinking that the freezer may not work in the long term if power goes out.  I guess #6 would answer that. If you buy because you're worried about income loss, you would prepare differently than someone who is anticipating complete political anarchy.

 

I have no idea if that helped at ALL!  But thank you for responding, truly!


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#4 of 16 Old 12-05-2011, 07:06 PM
 
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we don't fit into what you are looking for (frankly I know no one who does what you are asking only on-line do I hear this) - we have what we do because it is practical. plain and simple, not thinking of a disaster, we have only a few things that would fit that and those are staples not "supplies" for long term- we buy seasonal foods, tomatoes in August and blueberries in July and they take up room in the freezer- some things are dried but not for reasons other then the use of them dried for certain meals- we spend no "extra" per-say except what we spend seasonally (ex. I buy more -almost 90% of our fruits and veggies in four months out of the year and more meats in other months based on butchering times- it all averages out to the same amount roughly divided by 12) but none for a stockpile

 

financial emergency or not certain foods don't last so we don't use that mentality here


 

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#5 of 16 Old 12-05-2011, 07:17 PM
 
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If the emergency were a Zombie Apocalypse I'm good to go.  Actually I've seriously thought about  food storage in case there were an emergency and I figured that I would probably end up giving most of it away to others who didn't think to store food and then I'd be starving within in days... So... not a good idea for someone like me. 

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#6 of 16 Old 12-05-2011, 07:30 PM
 
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I looked at  ShelfReliance/Thrive - we really don't fit in that - we do lots of fresh, organic, WHOLEfoods and I could never see a need for that. 

 

if it works for you great but cost wise and what you are getting do not equal food to me-not going after what you hope to gain but I would never think to spend the money let alone server that stuff- it comes across as a bunker mentality and I just don't relate to that

 

I even know people that shop day to day based on where they live and their life style and that "reliance/thrive" is just out there to me

 

if someone wanted to even keep large amounts of food on hand I don't get why go that way and not spend far less and get more real practical food- I just can't imagine serving that stuff and the effort and time that is involved with rotating and eating it-sorry I just don't get it

 

I can see why you are asking how to afford it and still buy regular food at the same time- I would simply have no answer 

 

 

 

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If the emergency were a Zombie Apocalypse I'm good to go.

 

 

we feel the exact same way and wouldn't be around for the meals


 

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#7 of 16 Old 12-05-2011, 09:17 PM
 
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1.  What did you budget monthly as you began to stockpile? I have been stockpiling so long I don't remember.

 

2.  How long did it take you to reach your goal (and what was that goal?  6 months?  1 year of supplies?) I just kept working on it, but as my family grew our needs changed so it never really feels done, it's a work in progress. I don't buy much "emergency food" (MRE's, etc), I just keep enough of our staples on hand and buy grains/dried beans, etc in bulk (by the 25 or 50 lbs bags). We could live 3 months if we were careful, we have 6 people in the family.

 

3.  How you prioritized what you bought.  Did you focus on one type of food first? Or did you buy a little of everything?  Or whatever was cheapest? When I find bargains I stock up. We have a grocery outlet and I will buy 12 of one thing and nothing else, if they have a deal on one item we use regularly.

 

4.  Where do you stash things? I'd love creative ideas.  This has got to be a major hurdle for some people. I know it is for me. We lived in an apartment some years back and there was a large linen closet in the bathroom that I used. Now I have a large space in the garage, and I use a quarter of the hall closet and a small pantry for home canned goods. Under the bed works. Food storage buckets under the kitchen table or on the ground of any closet...

 

5. Are you and your SO on the same page?  If not, how do you handle the difference of opinion? He leaves it up to me, since I do the cooking and shopping and he knows it's important for my sense of well being. During a layoff or when things are tight, I can pare down the grocery budget a bunch and focus on the pantry for a long time. When we have more $ I stock up more.

 

6.  What is your major concern that led you to store food? Being a single mom with very little income kind of threw my desire to have a pantry into overdrive, that was 14 years ago.

 

7.  Where do you store water? I don't store a lot of it right now, though we do have bleach. What I have I store with the food in the garage.

 

9. Oops....one more to add:  do you actually eat/use your stores?  Do you only buy what you eat? Or do some of you have food you don't plan to eat until you HAVE to? I don't buy anything we wouldn't eat, and I use it. I put new things away behind the older stuff so we use the older stuff first. I take any and all produce anyone offers me and make jam, pickle it or can it as is.


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#8 of 16 Old 12-06-2011, 09:21 AM
 
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I don't know of any family that really, truly stockpiles. With that said, at any given time, I think we have about a month's worth of food in the freezer since we tend to shop for deals near the end of each month (before most people get their salary) since then the stores have the best prices for things we use regularly. Especially meat of different sorts.

 

I do think one very important thing to consider when stockpiling is that you should never, ever stockpile food with "stockpiling" in mind but rather with regular use in mind. The reason being that if you fill up your pantry (or other storage area) with food items that you tend to use in your regular cooking, your stockpiles will never expire since they will always be rather fresh. The oldest products being eaten before they expire and new ones added in their place. If you should ever be in need of your stockpiles you have thus ensured that your stockpile really will last you your set amount of time, since the oldest products will not be near their expiry date.

 

 

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#9 of 16 Old 12-06-2011, 10:53 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks, ladies. Truly appreciate you sharing. I DO know people who truly stockpile, so it IS a reality for some!


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#10 of 16 Old 12-07-2011, 04:50 AM
 
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I know people that stockpile (via coupons) and hoarders but both do not have "stockpiles" of real food for long term- 20 bottles of mustard don't had much to the dietbiggrinbounce.gif


 

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#11 of 16 Old 12-07-2011, 03:44 PM
 
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I  would like to have more but right now we have 6 gallons of water stored (working on it) and 2 boxes of MREs along with normal pantry items. I am working on decluttering but an emergency kit is important to our family. we also have basic survival items and are working towards getting everything consolidated in the house. 


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#12 of 16 Old 12-08-2011, 09:21 AM
 
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I stockpile, in that we could probably survive on what's in the house for at least a month, if the electricity held.  One of the reasons to look into solar panels, TBH, since we're in earthquake country. 

 

I have a free-standing pantry, a canning closet, and what's in the kitchen cupboards, along with 2 chest freezers in the basement (no other food in the basement - too many rodents). 

 

I only buy food we'll eat (I've made that mistake in the past), and since we eat mostly local and organic, that's limiting in the long-term storage options.  And as it starts aging, we either eat it or give it away (to friends/family). 

 

As for water, I keep 2 cases of bottled water on hand.  In the past I've tried keeping larger containers on hand, but they invariably start leaking at some point and I don't notice until the carpet is soaked.  With the bottles, I will periodically use them for a party or something similar and replace them with fresh.  I do have bleach on hand, although for different reasons, but it's in the kitchen cabinet.  I also have several gallons of vinegar on hand at any given time, as well as plenty of salt, sugar and alcohol, so I can preserve anything I needed to should it come to that. 

 

Where we'd have an issue is in cooking, since our stove is gas and our oven is gas with electric controls.  If the gas gets shut off we'd be stuck with just a crock pot and espresso machine (assuming we still had electricity, obviously).  I've considered a solar oven, but they're pricey.  But if we were to get solar panels, I'd get a toaster oven at minimum. 


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#13 of 16 Old 12-08-2011, 04:05 PM
 
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When I started out, I wanted lots of freeze-dried foods and MREs on-hand in case of a short-term emergency, like a big snowstorm or other temporary disaster.  But the more I read, the more I realized that our entire industrial food system isn't sustainable.  That lead me to try to become more self-sufficient overall, and to start growing and raising more of our own food, canning and freezing what is in season at the moment, and eating more seasonally overall.  I buy as much local, organic food as I can.  My pantry changes with the seasons.  Right now, coming into winter, I have a freezer stuffed with meat and veggies, and a full pantry of sauces, fruits, jams, and broths that I made myself.  We also have "staples" like pasta, flour, sugar, rice, etc.

 

1.  What did you budget monthly as you began to stockpile?

   I didn't, really.  I just started buying more of what I already knew we used when it was on sale or I had a coupon. 

 

2.  How long did it take you to reach your goal (and what was that goal?  6 months?  1 year of supplies?)

   I'm not there yet.  Ideally, I'd like to get to a point where I can come into winter with enough food to last until the next growing season starts.  I'd also like to have at least a week of "emergency" meals, like MREs or something else portable that we can just grab and go if we need to.

 

3.  How you prioritized what you bought.  Did you focus on one type of food first? Or did you buy a little of everything?  Or whatever was cheapest?

   See #1.

 

4.  Where do you stash things? I'd love creative ideas.  This has got to be a major hurdle for some people. I know it is for me.

  DH built some awesome shelves for me in our basement.  They're on a "track" system (like these only more heavy-duty; we found them at Menard's, and each bracket is rated to hold 200 lbs), and we used 1/2" plywood as the shelves.  The nice part is that we were able to adjust each shelf to be only slightly higher than the items on that shelf, so there's not much wasted vertical space.  We also have a large-ish pantry cabinet in the kitchen.  Our freezer is an upright and sits under the basement stairs.

 

5. Are you and your SO on the same page?  If not, how do you handle the difference of opinion?

  Yes, though I am the main planner for food, as I do most of the cooking.  He worries more about defense, and he's in charge of stockpiling ammo.  The rest, we work on together.

 

6.  What is your major concern that led you to store food?

   It started when DH was injured and couldn't work for 12 weeks.  It was a wake-up call for us, and we realized that if we hadn't had to worry about groceries, we'd have been a lot more calm during that time.  It snowballed into emergency/disaster prep, with a sprinkling of "end of the world" type thoughts.  But we're really most concerned with living a more self-sufficient, sustainable lifestyle.

 

7.  Where do you store water?

   Also in the basement.  We have mylar bags right now, but I'd like to get a well bucket, as we have a drilled well.  I also have a water filter, but we're about 1/4 mile away from a lake.

 

8.  Anything else newbies should know?

   Know how to eat what you store.  Don't buy a bunch of wheat and a grinder, if you have no idea how to make bread.  Do some menu planning.  Don't assume you can buy random foods and just "figure it out" when you need it.  If the sh*t really hits the fan, you'll have enough to think about.  Keep in mind that when people are stressed out, eating strange foods is going to be difficult (especially for young children).  If you can, buy and preserve your own food by canning, dehydrating, and freezing.  It's more flavorful than storebought, and you know exactly where it came from.  If you buy in season, it will also be cheaper.  Don't forget toiletries/cleaning supplies.  Think about skills you can learn, in addition to just stockpiling (butchering, hunting, archery, soapmaking, etc).  And most importantly, don't panic.  You can only do so much, and every little step you take is more than what you were doing before.  It's a process.

 

9. Oops....one more to add:  do you actually eat/use your stores?  Do you only buy what you eat? Or do some of you have food you don't plan to eat until you HAVE to?

   We do eat and use everything, even the freeze-dried food.  I camp/backpack, so I take the freeze-dried stuff with me when I go, as well as some home-dehydrated meals.  When we get MREs, those will just sit and wait til we need them, but we don't plan on having a huge amount of them (maybe 1-2 weeks worth).


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#14 of 16 Old 12-12-2011, 12:50 PM
 
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You might want to check out the forums and info at Backwoods Home site. It's dedicated to self reliance, homesteading, and surviving a short term issue like a flood and long term if we have a zombie apocolypse. Definitely people talking about their Prep Lists.

 

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#15 of 16 Old 05-17-2012, 10:35 AM
 
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I feel like the best way to prepare for these situations is to have the skills needed to function in a world that doesn't revolve around the dollar! Gardening, raising chickens, canning & preserving, hand washing clothes, cooking, sewing, fishing & hunting, starting a fire,  and using natural ingredientes to take care of your needs (baking soda, vinegar). A lot of the people in the world live like this and people have lived this way for most of human history!

 

Having some extra rice, beans, seasonings, and seeds in the pantry IS a wonderful idea, and so is stocking up on baking soda & medical supplies.

 

But I see that a lot of these preppers are stocking up on ravioli and tilex... that is just a temporary answer and if they don't know how to survive when that runs out, what will they do?

 

You have to have food and water to survive, but I feel that human history has shown us that those who are able to adapt to new situations are the ones that survive bad stuff. If you cannot adapt, you will not survive. Some people have lived hard lives and are more able to adapt to whatever comes there way, others have had everything handed to them and will not be able to handle new situations with ease. I feel like it's important to prepare ourselves mentally and accept that we will not always have control over our situations and we will have to learn how to deal with situations that we may have never imagined for ourselves. We see that everyday when people are diagnosed with cancers, lose their spouses, lose their jobs, or even lose everything. Those that are willing to fight and learn to deal with the situation they are faced with have better odds of getting through than those that give up and lay around feeling sorry for themselves.

 

One other thing, we have to learn to be creative and work with what we have. If you come to a time in your life where you don't have the conviniences you are used to, you have to be able to think outside of the box! You have to know how to make stuff work when you don't have everything you need. Do some DIY projects and try to learn to repurpose things and use what you have before you buy new stuff. You will need that skill to survive any crisis, small or big!

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#16 of 16 Old 05-24-2012, 09:32 PM
 
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We started a homesteading lifestyle as a family when our son was born over 6 years ago.  Only recently we realized that it's also a "prepper" lifestyle.

 

One thing to remember is that no family can prep the same way...you do what works for you!  You do what will benefit your family most and what you're most comfortable with.

 

We rely heavily on self reliance, so that's led us to learning a lot of new skills, keeping up extensive gardens and some animals.  We don't have much money, so this helps us in that way as well and since we're busy enjoying these activities as a family we're not too focused spending money on other things.

 

1.  What did you budget monthly as you began to stockpile?

For our family of 3 we have $400/mo that we use for food, household items, fun, etc.  If it's not a house payment, utility bill, gas budget, animal feed budget item or taxes it comes out of that $400.  So depending on sales and opportunities I use what I can when I can to stock up on items we use regularly.

We DO NOT buy items we don't use regularly.  I've talked to people who have buckets of beans and don't regularly eat them.  I was actually told "I have no idea what to do with them but I have them if something happens!"  To us that's just insanity.  You stock what you use and use what you stock.

 

2.  How long did it take you to reach your goal (and what was that goal?  6 months?  1 year of supplies?)

We aim for a year's worth of basics.  As "homesteaders" we have a few chickens, ducks and our gardens for fresh meat, eggs, fruit and veg should we be unable to reach the store.  We're considering getting goats again in the next year or so for dairy and meat.  The way we see it, if you can buy an extra can of food or box of pasta during each shopping trip you're that much closer to helping yourself out should any hiccup in supply or income happen.

 

3.  How you prioritized what you bought.  Did you focus on one type of food first? Or did you buy a little of everything?  Or whatever was cheapest?

I respond to sales and opportunities.  Recently I've been able to get 25lb boxes of roasted pistachios for $5, so I have about 3 full 5 gallon gamma sealed buckets of pistachios.  Now to someone who doesn't love pistachios and whole foods that may seem nuts.  But we I eat them regularly and have already gone through a lot of those nuts.  LOL  I never stock anything that wouldn't otherwise be used by it's expiration date if there wasn't an emergency....we don't have much money so what we do needs to be spent wisely.  It's how we invest in our future.

Personally I focus on foods that would be just fine should the power go out for an extended period.  A freezer full of meat is no good to me should a hurricane hit and knock out our power for days so I focus on dry goods, canning what we can and dehydrating.  I've also shifted my cooking habits to help minimize or cut out items that would be very hard to get should we be unable to go shopping regularly.  We use far less butter, meat, etc. then we otherwise would and rely more on things that we can grow.

 

4.  Where do you stash things? I'd love creative ideas.  This has got to be a major hurdle for some people. I know it is for me.

In my dining room I have a tall bookcase with home canned goods, stacked next to that are 4 full 5 gallon gamma seal buckets with various dry goods (these 4 are pistachios, wheat, mixed nuts in the shell and dried plums I think).  Our small house has 4 bedrooms with one designated as my "sewing room" that holds all my crafting items, soapmaking items, homemade wine that's busy doing it's thing, our pedal powered grain mill and about 12 of those gamma sealed buckets full of dry goods.

 

5. Are you and your SO on the same page?  If not, how do you handle the difference of opinion?

My husband and I lucked out and we're both completely on the same page.  We keep coming up with things we'd like to try or do and are nervous the other won't approve but when we talk about it the other one is always "Heck yeah, let's give it a try".  We are quite lucky that way.

 

6.  What is your major concern that led you to store food?

We have the "hope for the best, prepare for the worst" mentality.  We don't have one huge concern, we just do our best to be as self sufficient and prepared as possible for whatever may come whether it be a job loss, natural disaster (we get hurricanes and tornadoes), economic collapse, emp, etc.

 

7.  Where do you store water?

I used to have a major Diet Coke addiction and so we have about a gazillion 2 litre bottles of water stashed under beds, tables, in closets, etc.  We also have a Berkey water filter and have rain barrels to the tune of 1600 gallons when they're full.

 

8.  Anything else newbies should know?

Many people start down this path out of fear or anxiety.  Please don't let that rule you.  It's good to be prepared but if you're really worried or scared of something and don't have the means to get all your preparations done overnight it'll make you miserable!  Take it one step at a time.  NO ONE is prepared enough for everything that could happen.  But those little steps add up and they get you that much closer to getting through whatever you think may happen.

There are a lot of shows and articles that make it seem like you HAVE to have a bunker, 2 years worth of #10 cans of food, an arsenal, etc.  Be sure to take a step back everyday and evaluate if it's something you can get along without or not.  More often then not what people insist you MUST have is just dead weight and clutter.

 

9. Oops....one more to add:  do you actually eat/use your stores?  Do you only buy what you eat? Or do some of you have food you don't plan to eat until you HAVE to?

We store what we eat and eat what we store, being sure to rotate things so nothing expires.  Now, that may mean we may be eating more pistachios then we normally would since I found a deal but that's not a bad thing!  About the closest I ever get to having food we don't eat until we HAVE to would be most of our birds and some herbs.  There are a few herbs I don't normally use but would come in handy should other spices get scarce.  And as far as our birds most of them are more valuable as layers while we can get commercial food...that might change should something happen.

 

 


loving a small homestead with DH and DS (12/2005) keeping it natural, frugal and back to basics :
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