Recently I read an article on a prepper site that talked about the items we should hoard now. Are you kidding me? We have been labeled as hoarders and there are government agencies that would like to outlaw food storage and limit the amount of food we have in our homes to a two week supply. Why are we adding fuel to this fire by calling ourselves hoarders? We are not! Hoarding is purchasing more of an item than you need, or can use in a timely way, when that items is in short supply. Hoarding denies others the opportunity to get what they need, leaving them without. Stockpiling is stocking up on an item when it is in adequate supply so everyone can get what they need. The television show “Extreme Couponing” drove me crazy; that was hoarding. When someone goes in and purchases all of an item so there is none left for others, they are hoarding.
Let’s stock up now on these non-food items enabling us to care for ourselves, and others when a crisis affects our home or neighborhood. The list can be overwhelming but, as we do with food storage, take it one week at a time and add something. Take an inventory this week and make a list of the items you are still in need of. Then get started.
- Toilet paper. It should be obvious why this is my number one item. Would you want to be without? Would others want to do without? No, therefore I suggest you stock up on plenty to share and to trade. What would you trade for a roll during a crisis? TP, is a great barter item.
- Toothpaste. I know there are substitutes for toothpaste but I would prefer minty fresh to baking soda any day. Toothpaste stores well and again I would trade for it if I were without.
- Toothbrushes. Stock up at the dollar store on both child and adult sizes. You never know who may need to evacuate to your home. Be sure to change toothbrushes every six months. Poor dental care can lead to serious illness so never underestimate the importance of dental care supplies in your General Store.
- Dental floss. While you may immediately think dental care, and you should, be aware there are many emergency as well as everyday uses for dental floss. See your April 2010 Totally Ready Newsletter for ideas.
- Shampoo and conditioner. With the power out and little water there won’t be much bathing, but you’ll be glad you stocked up on shampoo and conditioner if your emergency is a job loss or other family financial emergency. Remember we are preparing to be self reliant under all circumstances not just during and after a weather disaster.
- Feminine hygiene products. Store many and various sizes. Sanitary napkins are also wonderful to us as compresses for bleeding injuries.
- Hand sanitizers. You won’t want to use limited water to wash hands in times of limited clean water. We are seeing deaths in the Middle East, Africa and Europe right now caused by the coronavirus. This virus is very deadly and experts are stumped as to how to treat it. Stocking up on hand sanitizers will help you through times of medical emergencies such as this virus or even an outbreak of chicken pox, pandemic, and of course cleaning up debris after a disaster.
- Bath soaps. Again for the same reasons you are storing shampoo, store soap. Also, as with all of the toiletry items they are great for bartering as most people will not have thought to store them.
- Sunscreen. There is no need to add a sunburn to your distress during a time of crisis.
- Lip balms. When cleaning up after a disaster you could be in drenching rain or blistering heat, why add chapped lips to the pain?
- Five gallon buckets. Get a few of these from your local hardware store. They can be the really inexpensive ones. They can be used for port-a-potties, washing machines, (see your July 2009 Newsletter), grab and go kit items, to organize your car kit, extra oil and hoses in the trunk, to collect rain water and much more.
- Food grade five gallon buckets. There is a difference and you do not want to be storing food or drinking water in a non-food grade bucket. Use a food grade to collect rain water for drinking and of course use them for storing food.
- Paper cups, paper plates and paper bowls. Using paper during a time of crisis will save on your limited supply of water and are easy to burn when garbage collection has been halted. Purchase a variety of sizes, all your meals will not be dinner size. Also purchase a various weights, all do not all have to be the heaviest variety as the cheapest are sufficient for a simple sandwich. You will probably use more bowls than you think as Dutch oven meals are often one pot and appropriate to eat from a bowl. Bowls are also perfect for snacks for the kids as well as the obvious, oatmeal for breakfast. Be sure to have cups appropriate for both cold and hot drinks. NO Styrofoam, just two different weights of paper cups.
- Plastic utensils. Save water by using disposable utensils. Consider what you will be eating, lots of oatmeal and soups, then you will want lots of spoons.
- Coffee maker filters. There are so many uses for these other than as a coffee filter. When serving a PB and J sandwich simply wrap it in a filter, saves a plate and also the napkin. Check out the uses in your July 2012 Totally Ready Newsletter.
- Napkins and paper towels. This may not be politically correct but as someone who is preparing to be self reliant under all circumstances these are essential. I personally use rags at home to clean counters and we use cloth napkins, well not always. During an emergency when water is scarce you will want paper so it can easily be disposed of and will not use precious water supplies.
- Facial tissues. I guess you could use TP or paper towels but if you are dealing with a crisis situation and become ill you want to make the patient as comfortable as possible. If your emergency is a pandemic you will want everyone in your home to have their own box to avoid passing along germs as much as possible, maybe a few boxes each.
- Diapers. If you have children or grandchildren you are planning for always store diapers a size too large.
When the child reaches that size use your stash and replace it with a larger size.You never want to be caught with diapers that are too small but large ones can be made smaller if the need arises. Diapers are also great covering for bleeding wounds.
- Aspirin. Aspirin is a pain reliever useful to relieve the pain of a bee sting, just apply directly. Aspirin can protect your heart. Take an aspirin at the sign of a heart attack to thin the blood and keep it flowing. Aspirin is not appropriate for everyone, so check with your doctor before you begin an aspirin regimen.
- Ibuprofen. Ibuprofen temporarily reduces inflammation, fevers, and relieves minor aches and pains.
- Acetaminophen. Ibuprofen and acetaminophen are both good as fever reducers and for pain relief. Acetaminophen does not reduce inflammation.
- N95 face masks. Be sure to get the N95 rated face masks as they will protect you against the spread of germs in case of a pandemic or other contagious illness. These can be used for general clean-up as well, but other masks will not protect against illness.
- Borax, washing soda, Fels Naptha soap. Together these three ingredients make a great laundry detergent that is cheap, easy to use and does a great job. The soap make a great pre-treater for stains.
- Vinegar. White vinegar can be used for dozens of applications including cleaning and even in place of fabric softener. Cheap and effective.
- Non-perfumed bleach. Bleach without perfume can be used to purify water, sanitize canned foods after a flood or to disinfect following a disaster.
- Charcoal and propane tanks. Be prepared with fuel to cook in a variety of ways during a power outage. Never rely on just one type of fuel and have a plan B in case your disaster lingers longer than expected or you need to share.
- Firewood. Even if you don’t have a fireplace a wood fire in a fire pit can keep you warm outdoors or be a great place to cook. If you do have a fireplace be sure to store as much as you would normally use in a year. During a disaster you will not have your heater to supplement your heating and you will go through your woodpile quickly. Be sure your wood is seasoned for at least a year and that at least some of it can be kept dry for immediate use. Commercially manufactured logs are a great to use as kindling to start a wood fire.
- Matches. These are cheap and easy to store so stock up. Wooden matches are the best and can be stored with sand paper to serve as a reliable striking surface.
- Duct tape. Enough said? This can be used for anything from creating a prom dress to repairing a broken tool to patching a leaking hose to repairing clothing.
- Canning jars and lids. If you are on your own for weeks and you know you will be buried in bills for the foreseeable future you will want to be able to preserve any free fruits and veggies you can get. Freezing may not be an option so be sure you have everything you need to can.
- Isopropyl alcohol. Not only is this important to have on hand for medical uses but also to use in Paint Can Heaters/Stoves during an emergency when the power is out. (see the June 2013 Totally Ready Newsletter)
- Garbage bags. Bags can be used for lining a port-a-potty, non-burnable trash, to protect salvaged items from damage, to haul away trash, and so much more.
- Lotions. Skin hydration is important and often forgotten. There are many reasons for lotions in your store. When clean water is in short supply and you are using hand sanitizer, when your hands dry out from using chemicals to disinfect following a disaster, during a pandemic when trying to prevent spreading germs thus washing your hands repeatedly, all will cause you to need more lotion.
- Disinfectant wipes and liquids. After a disaster these will disappear from the store quickly as everyone will be in need of these items to clean their homes to make them safe for their family. No one wants mold which will prevent them from returning home.
- Manual can opener. All that food in your General store is of no use if you can’t open the can.
- Kitty litter. Great to use in a port-a-potty as well as for traction during a winter weather emergency.
- Sleeping bags. One per family member for winter power outages or if camping in your yard while you house is still unsafe to occupy.
- Tent. During a power outage set up the tent in the room where you have a heat source such as a fireplace, or in the room with the fewest windows. Naturally this is a must if you need to evacuate.
- Gloves for cleaning. Keep from having cracked and damaged skin while cleaning after a weather emergency.
- Medical gloves. These are great for craft projects now and a must have when caring for a loved one during a pandemic.
- Work gloves, Enough said. Store enough for volunteers who may come to help following a disaster.
- Dish washing liquid. When the power is out you will have to wash dishes by hand. Of course this also makes for a great car wash and is an essential ingredient in bubbles!
- Steel Wool. Did you know that steel wool is a great fire starter? Create sparks by rubbing the steel wool lightly over the power end of a 9-volt battery while holding over kindling.
- Pens, pencils and paper. You will want to be able to leave messages at your home for loved ones and first responders but pens, pencils and paper are also important to journal your experiences and to keep track of information for insurance forms. Don’t forget a manual pencil sharpener. A sharpie marker is very helpful to mark items which should be discarded and distinguish them from items to be kept when cleaning up following a disaster.
- Needles and threads. You may need to size down clothing, create new, and mend following a disaster.
- Safety pins. A thousand uses!
- Paracord or rope.String up a clothes line, hang your HAM radio antenna in a tree, haul debris, build a shelter, make a fish trap, there are so many uses for rope. Don’t be caught short.
- Pet food. Don’t forget the other members of the family.
- Batteries. One of the first things to fly off store shelves during an emergency is batteries. Think about Christmas mornings, birthdays, kids reading in bed or power outages, do you want to be caught without batteries?
- Glow sticks. I love these as they are safe around children, provide light that lasts all night without running down batteries, and are great to have on hand to make children more visible at night, especially Halloween.
Hoarders? No, we are making it possible for others to have items available when the challenges comes, because we won’t need to be shopping! Let’s stock up now on non-food items so when the crisis comes others, who have failed to prepare, can run to the store while we sit home comfortable in the knowledge that we have the resources necessary to care for our families.
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KerryJune 12, 2013
Ma'am, you forgot to add "A truck to haul it." I've been doing emergency prep since 1975, and the idea is to survive, not have all the comforts of home. If you're going to spend money: #1 water, #2 fire/signal, #3 survival tools/first aid, #4 personal hygiene, #5 cooking, #6 anything else. Also add spare prescription medicines, spare eyeglasses, and personal ID to your list.
Suzanne June 5, 2013
Thanks for these tips. I had not thought about several of them.