I see so many people on FB asking questions about stocking and being prepared for whatever may come our way. So many are new to the idea of not just having a weeks worth of groceries on hand. That really amazes me every time I see it. As long as I can remember, my folks and myself always had plenty of extra on hand. Even when I was little and my folks didn't have much money, they had food. Yes, there was a garden and Mom canned and froze - but even back then, things in the world were sketchy.
It has been prudent to have EXTRA for decades. You just never know what could happen.
HOW DO I GET STARTED?
You can go slow - you don't have to spend a fortune all at once. Most of us that have been stocking up, spend a little extra every week. We look for sales and deals. I understand that when getting started it isn't logical to go out and spend $1,000 or even a $100 all at once. Buy some extra every time you go to the store - EVERY TIME!
WHAT DO I GET?
You buy what you use!!!!!! What your family uses!!!!! Don't be buying things you wouldn't ever buy for normal day to day living (unless for barter purposes). Only you know what your family eats and uses - no one else can tell you what to get.
Make sure you think about things other than food. Health and beauty items, paper products, OTC medicines, first aid, pet products, cleaning, laundry, etc.
HOW MUCH DO I NEED?
That depends on how long you want to be prepared for. The best way to decide - is pick your time frame. A month, 2 months, 6 months, a year or more. Look at what you use per week - then multiply that amount by the time frame you are stocking for.
EXAMPLE - Use 2 lbs. of pasta a week - for 2 months you would want 16 lbs. on hand.
HOW TO ORGANIZE
Always remember - first in first out. Rotate your pantry stock. Keep the older products to the front for quickest use - place new items to the back. Always rotate items.
REMEMBER - "best if used by" dates are NOT expiration dates!!!!!! If kept cool and dry most items are good for waaaayyyyy past that date.
HOW DO I KEEP THINGS FRESH?
Most items can be kept for quite long periods of time. If you have dry goods to stock - think seriously about storing items in glass jars. You can use canning jars or get gallon size glass jars - nothing can get into them. Tins are great for keeping things like sugars, pasta, flour, etc. (like big popcorn tins). Food storage buckets can also be used. Place items in totes - just keep things protected.
Use bay leaves in your dry goods - they help keep pests away. Keep things dry and cool.
HOW DO I KEEP TRACK?
Do whatever works for you. I personally keep an inventory list of what is in the freezer (sort of). Yes I clean and straighten and make a wonderful list - then it kind of goes by the wayside! I'm bad!! But I have an idea of what I have.
I sort the freezer by types of meat or food. A shelf for frozen veggies, an area for pork, chicken, beef, etc. That makes it easier to find things.
In the pantry you can keep a running inventory as well. A pencil and paper will work - just change totals as you buy or use. Hang a clip board in or by your pantry with a list. Keep a notebook in pantry - make a spread sheet - what ever you want.
I like to keep the pantry organized in some way as well. Baking goods together, fruits, veggies, soups, pasta and rice, etc. I have things grouped together - make life easier.
I do this in my 'deep' pantry as well.
What is a deep pantry? Well, that is my extra - my grocery store at home. A place I can go and get stock to replace my daily pantry items that have been used.
You also need to know how to SUBSTITUTE. Don't have bread or can't buy it - make biscuits or tortillas. Can't get sugar - use honey. Not enough meat - look to and use other proteins. Know what you can use - just in case. Use your imagination and get creative. That is ever so IMPORTANT in stocking.
Life is all about getting creative and using what you have.
Every little thing you do makes a difference. I have said so many times that buying cheaply today is basically like money in the bank tomorrow!
Inflation happens - it will continue to happen, no doubt about it. There will be shortages at times. There will be tough times ahead. It may be illness, loss of job, weather emergency, age restrictions, economic problems, etc. There is a world of things that we prepare for.
Watch those sales. Watch for deals. Get things as cheaply as possible. Stock what you use. Use what you stock! Continue to add to your stock every time you go to store. Set you time schedule that you want to be prepared for. Keep your items safe from pests.
As my hubby used to say - PLAN YOUR WORK AND WORK YOU PLAN!!!!!!!!
Your future may depend on it!