Are you concerned about rising food prices and aren’t sure how to prepare? Here’s a guide to Practical Food Storage to prepare for price increases!
Practical Food Storage and How to Prepare for Price Increases
Have you ever wondered what you would do if the prices of the things that you buy the most, food and clothing, suddenly went up? Would your family be able to survive on the same budget you live on now? Or would they suffer under the weight of the new costs?
Many times when the prices of consumable goods increase, it’s only a temporary increase. That just means that we need to learn how to weather the storm. Of course, we can always focus on long term helps such as being able to grow a garden, being as self-sufficient as possible, etc. (Learn how anyone can be more self-sufficient!) But this article will focus on things that you can do for those short term price increases. This series is based on a series originally posted on Little House Living in 2011 and has been updated. Let’s dive in!
If you aren’t sure why you would stockpile be sure and check out this article first – Why Stockpile?
Creating a 3-6 Month Needs List
Before you start your food and items storage you need to figure out what you will need. The easiest way to do this will be to make a list of what you use.
If you meal plan, this step will be much easier. Take a look through your old meal plans and figure out how much your family eats over a month. Write down how many pounds of hamburger, how many packages of pasta, ect.
It’s also a good idea to do this with your health and beauty and toiletry products as well. I’ve mentioned before how I make a How Long Does It Last Checklist. This would be a great way to easily be able to create your health and beauty stockpile. And don’t just use this method with health and beauty supplies, think facial tissue, toilet paper, and things like that too.
Don’t think that you need to have all pantry items for your food storage. Even though having shelf stable items is the most sustainable form of food storage, it’s not necessary to be totally dependable on one form of storage. If electricity isn’t a concern for you, work on your stockpile in your freezer as well.
Once you have a good list of what you need, don’t feel like you need to buy everything all at once! If you are working towards buying the food items on your list, check out this article on How to Build a Stockpile with $5 Per Week.
Rotating Your Stockpile
Almost everything expires or goes bad over time. Even if you create a stockpile that should last you at least 6 months, you should be prepared to rotate it on a monthly basis. Although they claim that some sealing methods will keep food good for 20 years, do you really want to have to open a bag of 20-year-old wheat berries down the road? Me either.
When you put an item in your food storage you should clearly mark on the package or container what the product is and the date you sealed the package. Depending on the product you will want to go through both your food storage and your health and beauty stockpile about once every 6 months or once every year to rotate out the older products and eat them or use them up and replace them with new fresh products.
Remember, we aren’t building a stockpile here to last through the ages, we are just building a practical stockpile should something happen with the economy or consumer prices in the near future.
For your health and beauty stockpile, it doesn’t hurt to write on the products the expiration date in large permanent marker so you can read it easily. Make sure this part of your stockpile is sorted through every 6 months to a year and take out the products that are close to their expiration date. Use them up or donate them.
A clean, well-organized stockpile is a happy and efficient stockpile. Things will be easier to find and you don’t have to worry about wasting money on products that are no longer good. Whenever you buy a new product for your storage or stockpile, mark it with the expiration date or the packaging date and stick it in the back of the closet, pantry, or wherever your storage may be, and move the current stockpile items up further so they can be used first. In a grocery or retail store, it’s called facing, bring the older products up to the front so they can sell first and make room for the newer products. Your stockpile is your personal little store!
Something that should be high on your priority list when creating a food storage and products storage stockpile is a water stockpile. Every person needs water to survive so learning how to stockpile water is very important.
It is recommended that you store enough water for each person in your family for 2 weeks. Each person should have 1 gallon of water each day in the stockpile so if you have 2 people in your family, you should have 28 gallons of water. If this is too much for you (if space is an issue) you should at least have 3 days of water stored for each person at the bare minimum.
Why stockpile water? In case something contaminates your water source, in case you may be out of electricity and your well can’t function, in case bad weather comes and freezes your pipes. There are many different reasons to stockpile water, each one of them as important as the last. You can read more about our time with our running water in my article on How to Survive Without Running Water.
If it works well for you, I’ve seen large food grade 55 gallon drums that you can store water in. If you are short on space but still want a decent water stockpile, this may be a good option for you. You shouldn’t use milk jugs when storing water long term because they aren’t meant to hold liquid long term and the plastic will eventually break down.
A good way to store water is in old pop/soda liter containers or gallon size vinegar type plastic jugs. The plastic is thicker on both (and if you order them new you can get BPA free I believe) so they will last longer without breaking down. You can also get nice water storage containers online that hold more than 1 gallon and some are even stackable!
Store the water in a cool, dark area (like a pantry or a basement) to avoid wearing down the containers prematurely. Be sure and change out the water every month or every other month if possible.
You may also want to consider having a source of clean drinking water if you are planning for a longer-term (since you can’t exactly store water to last 3-6 months!). We have been using a Berkey Water Filter System for many years and I highly recommend it!
Prepping by Learning Basic Skills
Alright, if we are assuming the prices of everything will rise and we are learning to barter and more…doesn’t it make sense to learn some other basic skills?
These are things that we pay for now, but if we lived back in the 1800s or early 1900’s we wouldn’t even consider paying for luxuries like these! I’m just going to list a few here that I suggest you learn. I’ll also be including items that you will need to utilize these basic skills.
Remember, there are SO many basic skills that you can and should learn, but in this article, we are just focusing on the very basics…how to feed and clothe yourself for a short period of time.
Baking I’m surprised at how many people don’t know simple bread baking skills! I think it’s because I grew up in a bubble, my mom made bread, my grandma always made bread. Even though I knew you could get bread from the store I thought it tasted pretty nasty. Bread baking is a skill learned best by being shown by someone that knows what they are doing. After you get the hang of it it’s really not that hard! But I can guarantee you that your first loaf won’t be perfect! I remember years of 4-H judges telling me what was wrong with my bread…now my hubby can’t wait for me to pull it out of the oven so he can munch on it like candy. Being able to bake is a very good basic skill to learn. Here’s my Basic White Bread recipe to start practicing with.
What are some items you should stockpile to be able to utilize your baking skills?
- Yeast. Get the already vacuum-sealed packages and when you open one, but the rest in the freezer to keep it good for a long time.
- Flour, sugar, salt. Basic baking foods.
- A good bread pan or baking sheet. I recommend stoneware.
Sewing I’m even more surprised at the growing number of people that have no idea how to sew. I didn’t go to public school in high school so my husband had to inform me that they are no longer teaching Home Ec anymore! I am not the best seamstress but I’m glad I have the skill. I use it to sew up rips and tears in otherwise perfect clothing. I have a sewing machine but you don’t need one to be prepared. Just get thread, needles, and some felt or other thicker fabric and start practicing. Look up some videos on YouTube if you need some visuals or buy a basic sewing book. You will catch on fast!
What are some items you should stockpile to be able to complete your sewing skills as needed?
- Threads, several colors.
- Needles, various sizes. (Dollar store!)
- Scrap fabric for patches. (Learn where to buy cheap fabric here.)
- Good scissors.
If there are other basic skills you are learning, don’t forget to stock up on what you need for them! I love to crochet and I make all my own washcloths and dishrags out of a cotton yarn, when I found out the price of cotton was going to go up I started stockpiling my favorite 100% cotton yarn so I could continue making dishcloths for us. It’s smart to plan ahead when you are able!
Hopefully this article has given you some ideas on how you can begin to create some practical food storage solutions for a short term issue. Whatever your reason for prepping (job loss, economic downturn, zombies), if you prepare in advance, you will be better off in the end. And if it turns out that you don’t need to utilize your stockpile like you think you were going to have to, at least you had practice in building a stockpile and can take off a month or two from buying groceries.
What are some ideas for practical food storage that you can share with us? Do you consider yourself a prepper?
This article on Practical Food Storage and Stockpiling Water was originally posted on Little House Living in October 2011 as a series of articles. It has been updated as of September 2019.