So many people are overwhelmed when they first start a food and household storage plan and with good reason! It’s hard to decide what to focus on first! Today I am going to share how to make a simple food storage plan that your family will love. And trust me, it IS important that you have a plan that they will like!
I’ve always stored extra in our home since my 4th son arrived back in 2004. We went through some pretty lean times as a young family, so it made sense to me to have some extra canned goods in the cupboards and meats in the freezer for when our paychecks couldn’t quite meet our needs.
When we moved to a town in the mountains with a harsher climate and didn’t have access to the stores I was used to in the city, I learned to regularly buy extras of things and keep a rotating household stock and pantry to make sure we always had what we needed on hand at all times.
Once, a really bad snowstorm blew into our little town with very little warning, and all roads going out, and in, were closed. Trucks that normally brought in grocery supplies were unable to make their deliveries and the store stock was compromised. But nothing affected the running of our household. We had enough groceries and household supplies on hand to make it through the week with no issues at all. That’s when I realized the wisdom in having well-stocked household year-round.
A Food Storage Plan is a Wise Plan
As we all now know in 2021, the supply chain of a nation is a sensitive thing and can easily be thrown off balance! This past year has only confirmed how important it is to have a little extra security in our homes. Having a food storage plan is a wise plan and it’s even encouraged in the bible.
Go to the ant, you sluggard;
consider its ways and be wise!
It has no commander,
no overseer or ruler,
yet it stores its provisions in summer
and gathers its food at harvest. –Proverbs 6:6-8
The ant works hard all summer long and then is able to rest when winter and scarcity strikes. Squirrels are another animal to watch and observe, especially in Autumn. They are ever so busy gathering and storing in preparation for the time when their favorite fresh foods are no longer available.
Having extra food and household goods stored also has another benefit- it can save money! I once had a surplus of coupons for hand soap and my local grocery store put them on sale with a store coupon. When I used the store coupon plus my manufacturer coupon at the sale time, I only paid 17 cents per bottle of hand soap! I stocked up and didn’t have to buy hand soap for the rest of the year. I’ve done this with countless products and have been able to save so much money which has greatly benefited our family. To learn more about couponing, visit the Krazy Coupon Lady’s site!
How to make a simple food storage plan
The first step to making your food storage plan is to walk around your house and make lists of what your family already eats and uses on a regular basis. The problem with online prepping lists is that they are not unique to your family. If you store hundreds of pounds of canned peas and rice but your kids hate peas, it will make for a miserable meal time! When starting out, it is so important to keep foods that your family actually likes in your food storage area. These foods can easily be rotated and will be well received by your family members. Grab a notebook (or my household binder printables that include pantry and household inventory sheets!) and a pen and let’s go for a walk:
Look inside your pantry, refrigerator and freezer.
What do you purchase every shopping trip? Put those on your list. For me, I knew right away that every Costco trip, I buy canned black beans, green beans, corn and peas. We use these on a regular basis in our meals and my kids LOVE black beans as a snack. I also knew mac-n-cheese and ramen and taco shells needed to be on my list of extras to buy.
Remember, you are looking for foods that have a long shelf life and are easily stored. Obviously, items that require refrigeration will be limited. While some things can be frozen long-term, unless you have extra freezer space, you will be limited on storing large amounts of food.
Next, go to your laundry and bathroom.
What types of products do you use regularly? Bathroom tissue, bar soaps, hand soap, razors, shampoo, conditioner, shaving cream, shower gel, toothpaste, toothbrushes, floss, mouthwash. Laundry soap, spot cleaner, oxi-clean. On the list they go!
Now, check your cleaning products and add those to the list as well.
I included commercial and natural cleaning ingredients on this list as well. Baking soda, borax, vinegar, ammonia, lysol, all-purpose cleaner, etc…
Once you have your list together, you now have your starting point for your food storage plan.
Categorize the products and foods for easy reference. Then, pick one or two categories every shopping trip that you will buy a little extra to put back in storage. After about a month, you will begin to see what a difference buying a little here and there will make!
Moving on to Emergency Storage
You should have at LEAST two weeks of emergency storage per person in your family. When you are comfortable, begin adding emergency storage to your storage plan for extra security. Water is the number one thing to have in the case of a true emergency.
In our little mountain town, we had flooding one year that compromised our water supply. I was not prepared for that and had no way to provide clean drinking or cooking water for my family for a full 24 hours. You don’t think about how much water you actually use every day until you are without it! We couldn’t wash our hands, take baths or shower, flush our toilets, cook or drink.
Thankfully our local store had cases of water that I was able to run up and grab. By the next day though, all the stores were out of water! Water disappears quickly in an emergency. That showed me that I need to always keep water stored to ensure that we would have it when we needed it.
After water, the next thing your want to store are meals that have a long shelf life and that you can simply reheat or cook with minimal fuel and ingredients. Things like ramen, mac n cheese, pastas, soups, beans and rice, etc… And you want an alternate way to cook it all. A simple camp stove and propane fuel will do the trick.
We have our camp stove right in the kitchen for power outages and I’ve had to use it several times when bad storms knock out our power.
Simple is always more effective in the beginning
Remember, in order for your plan to be a blessing, it needs to be effective and unique to your family’s preferences. When first starting to put a plan in place, simple is always better! Once you have a good household and food stock, then you can branch out into other ways to provide extra security for your family.
Start with a two week supply. When you reach that milestone, build a one month supply, then a three-month supply if you desire. Most people are content with a one month storage plan. Others want to have a longer plan in place should their livelihood be compromised for an extended period, like it was for so many during this past year.