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What To Buy

I figured that whatever happens in the next few weeks to months, it always a good idea to go over the items that most households should stock up on.

Remember that preparing for disaster of any kind is different from hoarding. Don’t go feeling guilty for stocking up on essential items. You should have been stocking up on these things all year, but if you have just started thinking about it, that’s OK, at least you are thinking about it now. And it’s not too late to start putting together some supplies in case you are stuck at home for another few months.

How Long?

I have no way of knowing that, nor does any one else. Experts are extrapolating and best-guessing, but they don’t know either. So, change your focus from “Oh my goodness I have to find lots of food and supplies right now so we’ll have things for the next 6 months!” to “This is how I am going to shop and store items from this point on so that I won’t be taken off guard again.”

Here is a list of things you should be looking for now, to store for the future.

  • Easily stored dry foods like beans, peas, rice, pasta, crackers, flour or grains (like oats and quinoa), boxes of mac and cheese. These have to be stored correctly or you will lose your investment. They have to be kept out of heat, sun and moisture. If you store whole grains, be sure you have a way to grind them into flour. Be sure to put items like this in the freezer for 72 hours before storing. Freezing will kill any insects or insect eggs that might be in the food. If you don’t freeze this kind of food, it won’t be more than 3 weeks before those eggs will hatch and ruin your food.
  • Canned foods. Whatever your family likes, but remember that canned foods do go bad after a few years, so use what you store and replenish it regularly. Remember FIFO – First In – First Out. Store your foods with the oldest things in front of the newest things and use those older things first.
  • Lard, oils and fats. I prefer lard because it is easily stored and more healthy than anything hydrogenated.

  • If you anticipate being stuck at home quite a while, you may want to consider freezing some eggs to use in baking later. You just crack one egg into the compartment of an ice cube tray, freeze, then pop the frozen egg into a plastic bag. Label and date the bag, then you can take how ever many “eggs” out that you need, defrost them and use for baking and cooking. Fun Fact – Fresh Eggs, right from the bird, can be stored UNWASHED, in a cool place like a bedroom or mudporch for up to 3 months. If you wash them though all bets are off.
  • Water. It’s easy to overlook water, we’re so used to having it at our fingertips in an unlimited supply. I know people who store gallons and gallons of water and then use it, replenishing their supply as they go. We have rain barrels to catch water and then if we use it in the house I run it through a water purifier. For general preparing purposes, it’s great to have as much water on hand as possible. You can use empty, cleaned and sanitized 2 liter bottles to store water. For every 2 liters of water add 2 drops of household bleach. Store these bottles on their sides. Other makeshift containers will deteriorate and you’ll lose your water.
  • Rx Medicines. If you have prescriptions, get them filled. You may have to work around some of your insurance company’s regulations which means you may have to pay out of pocket for some refills but it’s worth it to have them on hand in case you can’t get to the store or the pharmacy is shut down a while.
  • OTC Medicines. Everyone should have a really good over the counter medicine stash. You should have things like acetominophen, ibuprofen, aspirin, Pepto, anti-diarrheal, antibiotic cream, cortisone cream, Benadryl, stool softener and laxative, vitamins, mucus relief, cough med, and anything else your family uses regularly. You also need a good First Aid Kit. if you don’t, then you need to go put one together. There are tons of helps online for doing that. It’s expensive, not gonna lie. But you need to have this on hand.
  • Cleaning supplies. Soap, bleach, laundry soap, shampoo, etc.
  • Pet supplies, including food. Whatever you need for Fluffy and Fido, get it now and have it on hand. Did you know that you can give both cats and dogs Benadryl for itching and allergies? Do some research about what to have on hand for pet care and emergencies.
  • Clothing. Make sure everyone has good socks, pants, shirts and underwear. It’s really irritating when you can’t get some type of clothing and someone runs out of socks.
  • Flashlight and batteries. When our children were at home, every child had his or her own flashlight and extra batteries. And extra flashlight is always a good idea too.
  • Weather Radio. With Weather Channels and Accu-Weather now its not as important to have a weather radio but it can be very handy when the internet goes out!
  • Paper products like TP, paper towels, feminine products
  • Alcohol. Even if you don’t drink, consider having a clear alcohol on hand 70% alcohol or greater, to make tinctures or other medicines from plants. If you had rather use vegetable glycerin for that, you’ll need to study up on it.
  • Games, paper, art supplies, puzzles.
  • Treats that you and your family enjoy like candy, gum, cookies, etc.


There are several ways to store things in bulk. If you are really getting in to storing food for months, then you’ll need a way to protect your investment. The best, and cheapest way, is to use food grade 5 gallon buckets and oxygen absorber packets.

Always store food that is in containers up off of the floor. This is a basic food hygiene principle. If you allow boxes to sit on the floor you increase the risk of insects, moisture and rodents getting in your food.

Freezing as much as much food as is practical is a great idea.

Always, label and date your food. You won’t realize the importance of this until you are wondering how old a home-canned jar of beans are. Or until you have a package of food from the freezer and don’t know what it is and risk wasting it.

That’s just a basic list and basic instructions. If you start here, you’ll think of things you need and you can store them as well. If you have questions, please ask.


  1. Linda

    We appreciate this so much .Thank you for your hard work.

  2. JoAnna

    You are a Angel! Thank you!