The task of gathering and storing large quantities of food can seem overwhelming and even a bit puzzling to some, but it does not have to be. Veteran preppers will often warn novice people that trying to shop, store and label a year’s worth of food in a short time frame can become a daunting and intimidating task.
Break It Down
Food falls into one of two categories; either perishable or non-perishable items. For those new to the stockpiling world it is often easier to start with the non-perishable category first. The focus of this article will be on non-perishable food items only because non-perishable food items can be stored at room temperature thus eliminating the need for refrigeration or freezing.
First, you should note what items you and your family use on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. Taking note of the items your family regularly consumes will be extremely helpful on your journey, as you would hate to stockpile a three-month supply of soup if you do not like soup. Start by focusing on items that keep popping up on your shopping list. For example if you eat a lot of spaghetti with pasta sauce or you eat vegetables at every meal you want to focus on stockpiling dried pastas, canned or dried pasta sauces and canned vegetables.
After you determine which items you consume most you will then need to focus on building a stash of basic food staples such as sugar, flour, salt, grains, legumes, oil and honey to name a few. Another thing to consider is what kind of cook you are. If you know how to take the basic ingredients and create dishes, good for you and plan on such. If you depend on boxed, pre-made meals and your cooking skills are minimal then you probably need to concentrate on buying pre-made meals to get you started and then focus on learning some of the basics of cooking a meal from scratch.
Short Term and Long Term
Start with reasonable goals for your family such as building a stash of food to last for three days and then work up to building up your supply to last you two weeks, one month, six months and then a year or more. Remember it will take some time to build up your stockpile. Set yourself small goals.
A common mistake novice preppers make is not having a plan in place to store all the extra food and supplies they are gathering. The peace of mind that often comes from knowing you have enough food to feed your family for a year is often overshadowed when you find yourself trying to maneuver around cases of soup stacked in your hallway or tripping over mountains of five gallon buckets of sugar that line your kitchen walls.
We would all love to have a large building dedicated exclusively to our stashes, but this is often not a reality for many. Instead, you will need to look for extra space around your house and garage and make the most of what you have all while being mindful of potential safety or fire issues. Maximize your space by eliminating as much space-stealers as possible. For example instead of storing thirty boxes of dried cereal, consider combining the contents of all into one designated storage container.
Off-site rental storage units may seem like a viable option, but when you consider the amount of time to travel to a unit, plus gas required it quickly becomes obvious it is not. Not to mention the fact is you need to have quick and easy access to your stash in the event of an emergency. For many, the best option is simply a few stackable shelves in the corner of a laundry room, garage or closet. The time to figure out where you are going to put all this stuff should come before your first shopping trip so you can avoid headaches.
Are you stockpiling food? Share your storage tips with us in the comment section.