Half Way Thru 2012 And You Still Need Supplies

How to Prioritize What You Need to Buy

Yes, I wrote an article on the need to prioritize what you still should get. The problem is, I did not tell you how to do that. I gave no details. After a couple of recent conversations, I realized that I spoke in generalities, I did not give specifics. I said buy "staples" before "fun foods." Well, that is all well and good if you already have a clear picture of what "staples" are, and know how to figure out how much of them you still need to get. Soooo.... time for a little clarification.

Let's look at
  1. Keeping the body alive and healthy
  2. Keeping the body clean and warm
  3. Then, making the personality happy (although points 1 and 2 should make the personality thrilled ;o)

What to buy first to finish your food storage – you'll want the Basics to keep you alive, before looking at comfort food, fun food, luxury food items, etc

What additional items do you need after you have food (man does not live by bread alone, man needs toilet paper too) – you'll want the Basics to care for your body and biological processes before you look at books, music, electronics, etc.

So here are some of the details that I assumed were obvious but actually were not (at least not to everyone).

BASICS - What to buy first in the Food category

I provided an Excel food doc that showed the quantity of grains/pasta, beans/legumes, etc that are needed for one person for one year.  Click here for the document.  You need to double those amounts to have 2 years worth. What I didn't say is that the items are listed in order of priority.

This means that you want to get the grains and beans/legumes first. They are the very foundation of your food storage items. While potentially boring, 1 part beans/legumes to 3 or 4 parts grain will give you a complete protein, which will keep you alive and healthy (although pearled barley and white rice are pretty stripped of their nutrients, and brown rice and hulled barley are much more nutritious). The bottom line is keeping you alive and healthy and the grains + beans/legumes will do that. Happy is up to you :o)

Once you have these first two things then you go to the next couple of categories (some of these things can happen simultaneously – like buying a couple pounds of salt or sugar each time you go the grocery store).

How to figure out how much of each food you need

So, take the Excel list which shows target amounts of Grains/Pasta and Beans/Legumes that you need and go look at your piles of stuff.

Fill in how much of each grain/pasta and beans/peas/legumes you have. Do you have 250-270 lbs of legumes/beans/peas and 800 lbs of grain/pasta (that’s one person for 2 years)? If you don’t, this is where you start your Need to Get list. (Are you and a friend going to share a shelter? Then BOTH of you need to do this – each person needs to be responsible for them self.)

On your list, put how many pounds of grains/pasta you need and how many pounds of beans/legumes (and do not forget the 2 year thing). Now you have a definitive amount that you have and a definitive amount that you need to procure before you start buying a bunch of other stuff.

Then when you go to the grocery store and buy a couple of bags of beans, you know whether they are helping to complete your list, or if you are just willy nilly buying some of this and some of that and hoping it'll "be enough". (That is no kind of a Plan.)

The next clump of foodstuffs to acquire is your 2 years of fats/oils, sugar/honey/molasses, salt and milk powder. These items are still part of the BASIC ESSENTIALS, which you need to get before moving on to "luxury food items" like spices and tea/coffee.

Food – You need a way to cook it

Next, you need a way to cook that food and turn it into edible food, which means a stove and fuel that can be used in a shelter and in your house if you have no power. Again, this comes before luxury food items, because you need a way to cook your rice and beans to keep you alive. We are still in the Priorities category. (And you can’t just think “Oh that person has lots of fuel so I don’t need to get any, or at least not much.” That kind of thinking will find you back at your home, after coming out of a shelter situation, with no way to cook.)

Last of the Staples

By adding these next items, you can increase the number of things you can make out of your food storage items (above): eggs, baking powder, baking soda and yeast. You’ll want 2 years worth. If money is an issue, just get one year’s worth to start, then get year two after getting spices, fruits, veggies, beverages and meat products.

Last of the "Food Staples"

Next you can add spices, tea, coffee, sweetener, creamer, etc. (while you may THINK you’d die without your morning cup of tea or coffee, chances are you would live through that horror if you really had to ;o)

You need to decide what you like to drink. If it is tea, then how many cups per day do you want to be able to drink? Then multiply that by 365 days for one year, then double that for 2 years. We are all getting our own beverages of choice, what we want to sweeten it with or cream it with. If you are going into a shelter with other people, you can decide in the moment to swap beverage items, but you should show up with all that you want to have, not figure you'll be sharing their stuff. That's the fun of sharing a shelter – Gee, whatta YOU have? Really? I have THIS... ooo, want to swap? Better than when you went to summer camp (or lunch in 7th grade...)

Even though there may be four people showing up to the party, each needs to have supplies as if they were going to be by themselves for 2 years. Food, TP, fuel, water purification abilities, transportation, all of it. There should be no “Oh well, SHE has lots of that so I don’t need to get any (or much).” What happens if it’s only 3 months IN a shelter and then a year and 9 months OUT of the shelter back at home? And you were counting on someone else’s fuel, or TP, or water filter? Then you would be up a creek without a paddle, aye? (or in the dark without any matches)

What additional items do you need?

You will also want to prioritize the additional items (unless you have a proverbial money tree out back, in which case I'd advise just buying every last thing in the next several weeks).

BASICS, to take care of the body

Toilet paper. 2 years worth (I have mine, but it is mine. Do you have yours?) How many rolls do you need? NOW is the time to figure how much you need per week, then you need 104 weeks' worth (1 year = 52 weeks x 2). And something to put it in. Take it out of the plastic packaging before storing.

TP should have a very low cotton content or no cotton content so the worms can turn it into compost (this means no Cottonelle or super thick cottony type TPs. It is fine to store too much TP: DU TP and UT TP (down under TP and up top TP for after coming back up – you are still gonna need TP once you are back out of the UG doncha think?)

Hand soap, shampoo, dish soap. How many bars do you go thru in a month, 3 months? Figure it out. How much shampoo if you wash your hair once a week? (or once every 2 weeks). If you are washing your hair in a washtub, are you going to want the super sudsing, takes forever to rinse out shampoo or something simpler? Figure it out. Put it on your list. "I need 8 bottles of shampoo" (or whatever). Have a plan.

What do they say? Plan Your Work, and Work Your Plan.

Toothpaste and toothbrush. A tube lasts you how long? Remove from box if it came in one.

Deodorant (please ;o)

More items:

Moisturizer and hand cream

Chapstick (lipstuff, whatever kind)

Fingernail clippers/file

Brush/comb/hair clips/bands/etc


Earplugs (watch for our Earplug special next week. Best earplugs on earth. You can sleep in the Great Hall with 1000 of your closest friends and not hear a thing. Really! Teri)

 Batteries for your headlamp or lantern – Nothing personal, but just because I like you enough to hang with you in a shelter situation doesn’t mean I like you enough to give you half of my headlamp batteries (or lantern batteries).

Basics - for water

Having the AVAILABILITY of water is of utmost importance. Then being able to make that water SAFE to drink is next. So having a way to make water potable (safe to drink) is critical. If you're a family, having a portable water filter and then one for your "base camp", your shelter or your home is important. (Example: water purification tabs or a SteriPen for your car kit, and aKatadyn Ceradyn Gravity Drip Filter for your home or UG/shelter).

But what if there are several friends that have decided to share a shelter? Is it OK as long as at least ONE of you has a filter? What if there is a long term power outage but all of you are able to stay living in your own home (and don't have to use your shelter/UG)? Each person must have their own water filter/filters.

The same would apply to fuel for cooking. If each of these 5 people had 2 years worth of fuel, it could get crowded in the shelter. 2 years, 5 people: they could each provide 5 months of fuel for a total of 2 years of fuel in the shelter, and then have the rest of the 2 years of fuel supplies stashed at their home or another safe place. So each person needs to have the "pitch in fuel" and the "stashed at home" fuel.

Now you can move on to the "Luxuries" (like Light)

Lanterns: Are you going to be using headlamps and battery operated lanterns? Candles? (Remember, candles use as much oxygen as another person using up your air supply.) I can't imagine a shelter/UG scenario without my Petzl headlamp. You can bet your bottom dollar I'll have mine along with a bunch of AAA batteries. And I'll have a super bright 10 Day Lantern for kitchen work and similar things where I need a bright light (along with the D cell batteries to go with it).

But how MANY batteries, you ask. How do you figure THAT out? For my Petzl headlamp, this is how I figure out how many AAA batteries to get. I first say, I will probably use it for 5 hrs a day. So 5 hrs per day times 365 days + 1824 hours totlal. My headlamp uses 3 battries at a time. So 55 batteries woiuld last me 1 year, and 110 should last 2 years

So you get the drift here. How many hours each day do you think you'll use that lantern? then you figure how many hours a week that is. Then there are 52 weeks in a year. So now you now how many hours per year. Double that, and tyou are good to go.

Hope this helps. Comments and questions are always welcome. I finally started up my wormbin to handle toilet paper. So in 3 months, I'll report back in with my results. I'll be asking for other peoples results in a couple of months or so. Then I can share our results.

Have a great Day!

Teri Simpson



0 #2 Carolyn 2012-06-15 10:42
Thanks to you and Terry for the article on supplies. I have been prepared for years, but it was wonderful to take stock again and see if I missed anything. I did add a couple of items – all is well.
0 #1 aurora 2012-06-09 12:05
THis has helped a great deal to figure out how much is enough! Thank you so much!

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