During any natural disaster, you don’t have to flip through too many channels to see that people weren’t prepared with an adequate food storage. I am sure that I am not the only person who feels a little skip in their heartbeat when they think of how their family would be prepared in such a situation. Creating an extra supply of food takes that worry away. And besides the preparedness part of food storage, it’s pretty nice to not ever run out of brown sugar when you are making cookies or be able to have that extra can of black beans that you neighbor is trying to find for a pot of their famous chili. What about a job loss? If you or your spouse lose your job, it can be a scary time. But if you know you have a food supply waiting for you, the stress of feeding your family will be gone.
I know what you are saying in your head right now: “Where do I even start?!” Never fear! We have a step-by-step guide on how to get started. And then once you complete these steps, you it won’t be so daunting anymore and you will be ready for anything that comes your way. Let’s dive in!
- Make a big list of what food your family eats. What shelf-stable items are always on your grocery list? What is on your meal rotation a lot? Take a minute and write it all down. Every family is going to be different. You might have chickpeas on your list while we don’t. You will find a lot of lists around the internet and Pinterest of what to put in your food storage, but if you don’t know what to do with hard wheat, don’t buy it. But do buy a crap load of black beans and salsa if you guys love those. (free printable list here)
- Have a place to store all your food. You will be much more motivated to build up a food supply if you have a place to keep it all. If you are lucky, you might have a basement with a cold storage area, but if you don’t, don’t worry! There are other solutions. For me, I have two food storage cabinets that I had made. Each one is 6 feet tall, 4 feet wide and 2 feet deep and doors that close shut. They have very sturdy shelves that can hold a lot of weight. I keep them in my garage.
- Now comes to stocking part. You could spend a big chunk of change on your initial food storage haul, or you could do it gradually. To do it gradually, just buy a little extra of what you already buy at the store. Tape your list of what your family eats to the inside of your kitchen cabinet and each time you make your grocery list, add a few things that are on your food storage list. Like instead of getting one bottle of red wine vinegar, get three. And let’s say as you are grocery shopping, you notice that cocoa powder is on sale. Buy a few. When you are at Costco, buy a case of tomato sauce. You don’t have to spend a lot of money if you can’t. Just little by little. You are thinking “How much of each thing should I buy?” I would start with aiming for 16 of your canned items, 4 of your bottled items and 4 of your bagged items. And two big 25 pound bags of sugar and flour. You might find you don’t need as much of one thing, but more of another. Just do what works for you.
Are you beginning to feel like this is more manageable? They key is to start small and then build gradually. Before you know it, you will have a great stockpile and peace of mind. And we all know, peace of mind is priceless.