Ellie and I have moved twice while we’ve been active on social media platforms. First, we moved from a small apartment to a HUGE (to us) townhome. We were so excited to have more space for our growing family. During the moving process, we were able to show the small food storage we had built in our small apartment. Yeah, we got made fun of a little bit. “Over buy much?” “Save some for the rest of us!” “You know that’s all going to spoil, right?” “You’ll never use it”.
No matter, we liked having a food storage, because we wanted to be prepared in case an unlikely event happened that required us to use it. Well, time passed, and we were able to move from our townhome that we were outgrowing into the house we live in now. Again, we documented this process, and the same comments about our food storage came up again. In all honesty, it didn’t really bother us. We’ve seen first hand the benefits of having a food storage.
The Unthinkable Happens
Not too long after Ellie and I got married, her dad lost his job of 20+ years. In the blink of an eye, all sources of their income suddenly vanished and they had no idea how long this would last. One month turned to two, and two turned to three. During this time, they carefully managed their budget using their savings, however, the thing they took advantage of the most was their food storage. Ellie’s parents had been building a 1 year+ supply of food storage for a long time and they NEEDED it. This stretch of time turned into 8 long months of no new income. Luckily, they had this food storage. They were prepared.
With the coronavirus running rampant throughout our lives right now, we’ve had a lot of people ask us about our food storage. On Instagram a while back, I showed a little bit of what we’ve done to prepare, but in all reality, most of it was already done. A lot of the people who mocked us for having it were suddenly praising us. “How did you build it up?” “Did you buy it all at once?” “How do you know what to get?”
You Asked, We’ll Answer
So, I’d like to answer some basic questions about our food storage. Hopefully, these answers can help you start out your food storage whether it be for one person, a large family, a short period of time, or even an extended one.
I think the most important thing I can say is that our food storage wasn’t built overnight. This took a long time to build, find, and refine. When Ellie and I first got married, we knew that building a food storage was something that we wanted to do. Both of our families have had food storages and we’ve been taught our whole lives to have some sort of storage. At the time, it was just me and Ellie. Only two mouths to feed. When we went to the grocery store, we found items that we liked, especially non-perishable items like beans, corn, or soup. Instead of buying one or two cans, we would add one more and put it in our food storage. If we ate, we noted it. If we noted it, we bought another can at the store. We ate what we bought, and we replaced what we ate. Using this mentality, anytime we went to the grocery store, we bought another can or two of something we knew we would eat (if we could afford it at the time). Slowly but surely, we began to stock up on food items we used and enjoyed (lots of items from The Griffiths Cookbook!). When we used a can or food item, we put it on our grocery list to buy again and put the brand new ones in the back of the stack. This way, we were using the oldest first and cycling through.
As time went on, we were able to test the waters of our food storage. We tried living for a week solely on the things that we had from our food storage. Surprisingly, it was pretty easy! It was easy because we’d been using those same items for so long, not much was changing. We were comfortable. Our recipes and routine weren’t thrown for a loop.
I think one of the biggest misconceptions about food storage is that it’s locked away and only used in emergencies. While some items are, like 72-hour kits, etc, most items are used, reused, and rebought. When a crisis happens, you will already be thrown for a loop. You don’t want to add the stress of foods that your body isn’t used to or foods that you don’t like to that.
How did we know what to get for our Food Storage?
Well, a lot of that was trial and error. When we could (time and affordability), we tried new things. If we liked it, it stayed, if we didn’t, we found something else. Luckily, our families and the internet have done a lot of research for us! There are lots of companies that supply food storage kits. They’re great, but my biggest recommendation with those companies is to taste test them, just like you would any canned food item. There are lots of websites that have lists of suggested items. I suggest you look those up, try them out, and see what you think! Think of things that you use a lot. There’s a bit of a meme around toilet paper and panic buying. Just like we’ve bought an extra can here or there over the years, we’ve done the same thing with paper towels and toilet paper. We’ve bought an extra package of toilet paper each time and haven’t had to buy a new package in about 4 months. Or, you can be next-level by going paperless and get a bidet! 😉
Here’s a good breakdown of what types of items you can get divided up over an entire year!
12 Monthly Emergency Prep Lists
January: Water, Beverages, and Water Storage
February: Breakfast Foods and Communication
March: Tomatoes, Pasta, and First Aid
April: Soup, Fish, Beans, and Sanitation
May: Condiments, Spices, and Emergency Cooking
June: Grains, Vitamins, and Bread Making
July: Summer Foods, Emergency Drills, and Canning
August: Fruits, Vegetables, Shelter, and Bedding
September: Meat, Potatoes, and Earthquake Prep
October: Oils, Fats, and Fire Safety
November: Holiday Baking, Emergency Heat, and Clothing
December: Baking Basics, Power and Light Sources
A few things to think about before you stock up!
- Take your time. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither will your food storage. We’ve talked a lot about testing, trial and error, allow time for that.
- Budget for it. Allow some extra funds each month to go to your food storage. Plan for it! Look for coupons!
- Check your space. Build your food storage for the space that you have. We have a cold storage room that stays quite a bit cooler than the rest of the house. This room is primarily dedicated to our storage so we can stock up as much as that space allows. However, before we lived in our house, we used closets, under beds, the garage, anywhere we could store things, we would! But there was a method to it. We knew exactly where the items were because we used them frequently. It wasn’t a scavenger hunt trying to find these items.
- Check what you eat. Pay attention to what your family is eating on the regular. Look to recipes you know you and your family love. Keep that in mind as you plan for storage.
GIVE ME THE FOOD STORAGE DETAILS!
Here’s a good example of a list that has a 3-month supply. It’s for one person, so you can multiply as need based on your family. Again, this isn’t perfect, but it’s a good basic starting point for you to take and make adjustments to. It’s also laid out in a good format for organizing.
So listen, Our food storage isn’t perfect. There are lots of changes that we can do to make it even better. But, as I mentioned, this is a trial and error process. Right now, we’re using it as we hunker down during this “quarantine” period due to the coronavirus. Just remember, it’s a continually changing thing that grows with you and your family. Also, we’re not perfect, nor are we professionals. These are the teachings and advice that we have received as we’ve grown up and researched ourselves. I hope that this helped you and I’d love to know if it did!