This post is about other items you may want to have in stock and on hand besides food.
Linens & Towels
Blankets can be air packed to take up less room and protect them from elements, pests, & rodents. No matter where you live blankets are good to have in your food storage, not just for warmth, but coverage, padding, etc.
Towels are always handy to have in your food storage. Like blankets they can also be used for a number of things from the kitchen, bathroom, outside, padding, protection, and even as filling for a weighted blanket.
Sheets take up hardly any room and can be used for a number of things from curtains, bedding (obviously), tablecloth, holding items, shade, sewing fabric, and so much more. You can usually find a flat sheet for $4-12. If you know how to sew, fabric is also a good thing to have on hand for blankets, clothes, or any other needs that may arise. You don’t need anything expensive or fancy. Bolts of fabric can be found pretty cheap when on clearance and one bolt would store pretty easily and still provide plenty of fabric for any needs. Sheets also make great fabric for sewing projects and can be just a few dollars each. In an emergency fabric, sheets & towels can also be used as bandages for medical needs. If you are going to store fabric for making clothes and things, don’t forget to store needles, thread, extra needles for your sewing machine, a good pair of scissors etc.
Think about all the things you might run out of if you were unable to go to the store (or have Amazon deliver) for a month, 3 months, 6 months, a year…..Toilet paper is one of those things we don’t always appreciate until we run out!
Household consumables is anything that you use regularly or even monthly that needs to be replaced. (non-food or clothing items) Every household is different with different needs, here are a few ideas of some household consumables you may want to include in your food storage, again, your household may not need all of these items or there may be some not listed that you need. Personalize your list to your family:
- Toilet paper
- Paper towels
- Paper plates
- Plastic ware
- Saran wrap
- Ziploc bags
- garbage bags
- Feminine hygiene (pads, tampons)
- Condoms (if applicable- you also don’t want to have to rely on birth control pills if you aren’t able to get any)
- Contacts & solution
- Shampoo & Conditioner
- Body Soap
- Hair products
- Laundry soap
- Dish soap
- Cleaners (Clorox wipes, bleach, etc.)
- Air fresheners
- Vacuum bags
- Tape- all kinds
- Glue- all kinds
- wood (fireplace)
- gasoil- for cars or generators
Also a good idea to have on hand are these 5 gallon buckets with Gamma lids. Not only for food, but any other item you want to protect from the elements or pests.
Anyone who knows me will tell you what a huge fan I am of solar power. It’s a FREE power using the sun light that otherwise goes unused, it just makes sense!
If your house is solar powered, a lot of the worst case scenarios of no power may not apply to you (but it’s still good to be prepared). Even if your house isn’t solar powered, you’re renting, etc. there are still ways you can use solar power. Some of my favorite solar powered gadgets are listed below with links where you can find them:
Solar power bank- I LOVE these! We use them pretty often, not just for emergencies, but when traveling. The best was when we took one to a theme park and had someone ask us to use it to charge their phone with ours while waiting on a tour ride. They usually have at least 2 USB charging ports, and a built in flashlight. They’re super convenient.
Solar drip charge- These are great to use for car or RV batteries. They are a drip charge, so slow, but perfect for camping to keep your RV batteries from going dead.
Solar motion/security lights-These are great to have outside your house. They charge during the day and will turn on at night if/when something moves by them. Also good to have on your RV while camping.
Solar String Lights– These are great to use at night time if you don’t have power for a few days. We use them every year as our Christmas lights. They come in multiple styles, sizes, and even colors.
Lanterns– These particular lanterns are powered by either solar, batteries, or you can charge them with a power cord. The 3 different options make these a great addition to your food storage.
Solar Oven- You can make your own solar oven using tinfoil and a cardboard box if you need to, but if you’d rather just have one that comes ready to go with some accessories this is a good kit.
Solar Powered Radio- This may be your only source of information if the power or cell phone signals etc. goes out.
Solar Powered Fan- If you’re cold there are heating options of fires, propane fueled heaters, etc. But if you’re hot and there’s no power you may be very grateful to have a solar powered fan like this!
Those are a few of my top recommended items to include with your food storage.
Remembering fuel can make or break your food storage.
Depending on what you have and what types of fuel it takes will depend on how much you need and how to store it.
Gas for vehicles, generators, equipment, etc. But remember gas looses it’s octane as it sits so it’s not something you can just store in a bunch of gas cans for years. If you need a large amount you may want to look into some larger gas storage options. Be sure to rotate it often.
Propane for a BBQ, heaters, or other items may be handy as well. If you don’t have power you could cook food on your BBQ that is heated by propane. Also, if you have a RV they usually have propane powered fridges and appliances which are great to fall back on, just make sure you have the propane to use.
What other things take fuel? If you plan on using a camping stove or lantern you’ll want to get the special fuel canisters for them.
Weapons & Tools
Mostly for stage 3 food storage which hopefully never happens. But it is important to be able to protect your family from harm be it animal or human. Protection as well as possibly survival makes having a gun and ammunition necessary. Aside from guns there are other weapons that could come in handy such as a knife. Knives are considered a weapon, but have many more uses that could come in handy in an emergency situation. An axe is another example of something that can come in handy if wood is needed for a fire.
If you are anti-gun or weapon a suggested alternative would be a paintball gun. Paintball guns do not cause fatal injuries, but the sting of getting hit might deter an unwanted animal or human intruder. Paint balls are made from fish oil and are biodegradable if you are concerned about environmental issues. Paint balls do expire however so if you are going to store one make sure you check the expiration dates. A pellet gun or air soft gun might be another alternative.
A standard tool box of miscellaneous tools is a good idea to have. Most households probably already have a basic tool set including: hammer, screwdrivers, nails, screws, duct tape, and maybe even some more advanced tools such as a cordless drill, level, tape measure, etc. Years ago I purchased a box full of a variety of different nails and screws in different sizes; it has come in handy around the house and would be a great addition to food storage preparedness.
Duct tape is another staple. I’ve heard people jokingly say all you ever need is duct tape and a hammer, if one doesn’t fix something the other will. WD-40 would also be a good item to have with your tools.
Different widths of rope can also come in handy. For use as tie-downs, animal leads , clothes-line, tent supports and other needs.
Think about each degree of food storage and what items would come in handy under those circumstances. Tarps, tape, glue, paint, rope, hammer, nails, screws, etc. Also, what items will you need to make them work- batteries, power, etc.
Originals or even copies of important documents such as birth certificates, passports, social-security cards, wills, titles, and so on are important to have in a safe place. Fire and water-proof document safes can be purchased reasonably cheaply and provide a safe place to keep your important documents and cash for emergencies. If you have more than just a few important documents a larger safe may be necessary– for instance if you want to protect family heirloom jewelry, journals, photo albums, or even to keep guns safe from children.
Keeping a photo id as well as an emergency credit or debit card or cash in 72 hour kits are also a good idea. Just make sure that you replace the credit or debit card as it expires.
For those important documents that you use regularly and are not practical to keep in a safe, make copies and keep the copies in the safe. Driver’s License, credit cards, Social Security cards etc. would be examples of things to keep a copy of in a safe.
It is important to have cash included in your food storage. If you are unable to go to the bank to get money, or have a financial struggle having enough cash in your food storage to provide for your family’s needs for a few months could be a life saver.
Money can be saved for food storage in many different ways that won’t require a drastic financial burden. Here are some ways I have saved money:
1. Each time you are at the store take out $20 extra when checking out with your debit card. Especially after pay day this $20 may not make a big difference at the time, but when added to your food storage cash it will add up quickly.
2. Save your change. At the end of each day place any change into a jar or piggy bank. Make a habit to never use change when at the store– always break a dollar so you get more change. Your change will add up and can be taken to the bank and totaled then given the dollar amount. Because of space you will probably want to store the dollars rather than the change.
3. Create a way to earn a small amount of money for the sole purpose of food storage cash. Have a yard or bake sale, sell things on eBay, clean houses, etc. When it’s a small job or task that can be done occasionally for one specific purpose it can be fun and exciting to do.
4. There is also the basic savings plan where you put aside 10% of each pay check towards your food storage cash. You might also want to consider adding gold and silver to your food storage. The value of the dollar could drastically change, but gold and silver usually stay steadier.
With all of these it takes discipline to follow through and keep the money set aside for its purpose.
Clothes are only necessary to have in your food storage only for stage 3. However, you can still save money by purchasing clothes in the off-seasons for the next year. In the Spring for example you can usually find Fall and Winter clothes at extreme discounts. Usually for kids you can guess the size they will be in when the season comes around, and for adults it’s even easier since the sizes don’t change as drastically. If you are going to purchase some clothes for 72-hour kits or food storage keep to basic durable clothing such as jeans & t-shirts, or overalls. Aside from never being out of style, jeans are also very durable and work for cold or warm weather. If there does come a time that you or your children need to wear them you more than likely won’t care about name brand or designer clothes at that point.
If you know how to sew, fabric is also a good thing to have on hand for blankets, clothes, or any other needs that may arise. You don’t need anything expensive or fancy. Bolts of fabric can be found pretty cheap when on clearance and one bolt would store pretty easily and still provide plenty of fabric for any needs. Sheets also make great fabric for sewing projects and can be just a few dollars each. In an emergency fabric can also be used as bandages for medical needs. If you are going to store fabric for making clothes and things, don’t forget to store needles, thread, extra needles for your sewing machine, a good pair of scissors etc.
When my oldest was 3 months old almost overnight she outgrew most of her clothes. As new parents we were unprepared for this and had hardly anything for the next size. In an unforeseen shopping trip for clothes at a cheap department store we ended up paying $80 and got 5 onesies, 3 outfits, and 3 pair of pajamas. Boy did I learn my lesson! After that experience I started to buy clothes during the off-season and by the time our oldest reached her 18-month-old growth spurt I pulled out an entire wardrobe I had purchased months before during the off-season. When I totaled the price tags of the wardrobe it totaled almost $350. However, buying them all on off-season clearance I had paid only $60! I was converted to off-season buying! Off-season shopping does require a little bit of space to store the clothes until they are ready to be worn. If you are well organized you can keep them in bins or hung up in your child’s closet until they’ll fit.
If you have prescription medicines such as diabetic, prescription glasses or contacts, or other prescription products it’s important to have some on hand for an emergency. Some medicines are illegal or almost impossible to get a supply of more than one month because of cost or government control; for those there’s not much you can do. But having an extra pair of glasses, or buying your contacts in a 1-year supply is possible. Don’t forget the contact solution!
Over-the-counter medicines are good to have as well. These medicines are good to rotate as they have an expiration date and can get stronger or weaker with time. The last thing you need in an emergency situation is a medicine overdose from an expired product. Which brings to point ipecac is a good thing to include in your food storage. Ipecac will make someone throw up and is useful in an emergency situation where overdose may have happened. Activated Charcoal is another useful item to have– it helps with poison ingestion. If possible call the poison control first. These are only suggested to be used only as a back-up when no other options are available.
A good first-aid kit should be part of your house, food storage or not. More than just a few band-aids it should include things such as: rubbing alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, bandages, gauze, tweezers, tape, burn ointment, cleansing wipes, and scissors. You can purchase basic and advanced first aid-kits for under $20 and they are worth having.
Attending a basic first-aid class is also a good idea to learn how to take care of basic injuries, as well as what to do in a medical emergency. There are also medical emergency books that explain signs, symptoms and what you should do for illnesses. A resource like this could prove invaluable in an emergency situation.
Ways to cook food
There are a number of different ways to cook food if you don’t have power, here are a few suggestions to keep in mind.
SOLAR OVENS: Solar ovens use the suns light to create heat through reflective surface. You can even make your own solar oven using a cardboard box and aluminum foil. There are all sorts of versions of solar ovens and they are easy to make yourself from cheap to expensive. You can also purchase solar ovens if you’re wanting something a little more durable or with some bells & whistles like a thermometer etc. Cooking with a solar oven takes a little more time and patience, you have to make sure the reflective surfaces have a good angle from the sunlight to the oven where your food is. If you’re looking for a fun project to do with your kids in the summer try making your own solar oven and cooking something in it.
CAMPING STOVES: There are all sorts of different types of camping stoves. From single burner to large (and heavy) multiple burner ones. These are fueled by propane, depending on the size of the stove will be the size of the propane from small bottles the size of hair spray, to canisters about the size of a large can of pumpkin, to using a full size propane tank. Depending on the size of your family and what you plan to use the stove for would determine which size to buy. Personally I have a single burner for an emergency or short camping trips and a double burner one. Both of mine are fairly easy to store and don’t take up much space, however with our family size we plan on purchasing a large 3 burner one in the future. If you are looking at a camping stove purely for food storage/emergency use you may not need one if you already have a propane bbq since they will essentially do the same thing. You can buy camping stoves at Walmart, IFA, Cal Ranch, Sportsman’s warehouse, and those types of stores as well as online. They are everywhere.
CAMPING STOVE/OVEN COMBO: By far one of the coolest inventions in my opinion. This is literally like having your home with you. This combo has 2 camping stove burners on top with a 2 rack oven below. Giving you the ability to both cook and bake. If you are wanting something for emergencies, or you enjoy camping without a trailer this is a great item to have. Here is my Amazon link to a really nice one: https://amzn.to/3bqKHcQ
BBQ GRILL: Most people don’t remember their BBQ grill when thinking about emergency cooking but it is a great tool! Not just for Summer barbecues You can use your BBQ grill as you would a camping stove and cook with pans on the grill. If your grill has a lid you can also find ways to bake using it. Summer time is a fun time to experiment with some recipes, techniques, & ideas. VOLCANO: A volcano is basically a collapsible propane grill. It will work with a few different fuel types such as propane, wood or charcoal. Not only are they great for an emergency, but they also come in handy while camping. They run about $150. Here is my Amazon link to one- https://amzn.to/2xuSIyw
DUTCH OVEN: Dutch ovens are cast iron pans with lids. If you’ve never had Dutch oven cooked food you’re missing out! The flavor is amazing. Cooking with Dutch oven can be done directly in the fire, over charcoal briquettes, in a conventional oven, or on a BBQ grill. There’s a real science to cooking with the briquettes that’s quite interesting where the number of briquettes determines the temperature inside the Dutch oven. Dutch ovens are porous which means they have to be “seasoned” with a good oil, and wiped down with oil after every use. We made it a tradition to always make at least 1 meal in Dutch ovens every time we go camping. Dutch ovens come in multiple sizes and can usually be purchased from Walmart, sports, farm & specialty stores as well as online.
CAMPFIRE: In an emergency, or while camping you can always build a fire to cook with. If this is your preferred method or you want to be prepared for it, there are some really cool gadgets that make cooking with a campfire easier. Having an old phone book is always handy to use the pages to start camp fires. Make sure you have matches and lighters in your food storage! I really like this gadget that placed over the fire gives you the option of a grill, rotisserie, and spit. https://amzn.to/2vPiugz