Thursday, July 10

What's all THAT for?

New Mexico. Mrs. Fidel Romero proudly exhibits her canned food.. [Two women standing in a kitchen pantry. Pantry contains preserved fruits and vegetables.] - National Archives and Records Administration, via
There was a time when almost every household had a pantry crammed full of canned & non-perishable foods, bulk ingredients and supplies. Thanks to the convenience of corner grocery stores, take-outs and drive-through's the value of having a stockpile at home seems to have diminished for most.

Fortunately for me though, I caught the stockpiling bug and I just can't help myself! We've had a pretty rough year, and thankfully I had a stock of food items that we could eat off of when there just wasn't time/resources/ability to go to the store. We've been snowed in, blacked-out and suffered some hefty family disasters, but still we had food on the table. I'm in the process of building my stockpile back up again and have decided that I really need to work up to a 6 month stocking level (I've kept about a 30 day supply thus far) so that if we have really lean times, we'll be prepared.

Stockpiling goes hand in hand with budgeting, couponing and shopping the sales. Regularly there are sales & coupons for Buy One Get One offers. Rather than just get the one I paid for and the one I get for free, I'll max those out and get 8 or 10. At a minimum I will purchase enough of the sale products to total what I'd expect to pay retail for a single item, that way it doesn't really impact my budget but I'm still stocking up on items that we use.

When you do start your stock pile, you do need to do a couple of things:

- Only stockpile foods/items that you will actually use. Don't stock items that you feel you'd ONLY use in an apocalyptic scenario... chances are more likely that you'll be using them at a family picnic or snacking on them on a snow day.

- FIFO or First In, First Out. Make sure you face your product on the shelves so that newer product sits behind older product. Periodically go through and check expiration dates and use old items up before they expire.

- Organize! Get some type of organizational shelves. Packaging (and sanity) can be damaged if you simply lump your stockpile into a big heap in your garage. Pick up some nice pantry shelves on sale at your local hardware store, or search Craigslist for free shelving that is an appropriate size for your space.

- Decide what you are stockpiling for. Are you preparing for the end of civilization? Just live in an area that's hit by bad weather or faulty infrastructure? Would you feel safest with a 2 week supply or a 2 year supply? Figure that out and plan your purchases accordingly.