Food Storage Do-Over Week 7: Long Term Supply Planning

We are excited to be starting week 6 of our Food Storage Do-Over 2015! Last week we saw more great progress from all those participating in the water do-over and we are excited to keep going. If you didn’t catch last week’s post on revisiting your 3 month supply you can see it here. Also Jodi did a post on how she revisited her 3 month plan here.

Remember this is a 17 week process that we will be going through together. If you want to join in with the group on Facebook click here. If you’d like to receive email notifications of each week’s do-over assignment you can join our mailing list here. Or you can always post in the blog comments with your progress as well! It is so much more fun and motivating doing it as a group so find a way to connect!

WEEK7FACEBOOK

In BabyStep 4: Long Term Supply Planning we discuss the process of coming up with a plan for your long term storage. Whether you plan to purchase just-add water meals, get traditional long term food storage, or a combination it’s important to have a plan.

startingfromscratch
If you are new and haven’t started on your long term food storage yet, there are several tasks you’ll need to do to get ready for this. Don’t get overwhelmed, remember this week we are focusing on making our PLANS, not actually buying anything.

Determine which type of long term storage you want to purchase

Read our What Can You Do With YOUR Food Storage article for ideas of the kinds of foods you can make with traditional food storage (wheat, beans, rice, etc.). Then determine what is more your style for your family’s food storage plan.

Method 1: Traditional food storage (calculator-based)
This type of food storage includes a bulk of grains and legumes and other life-sustaining foods but can also be supplemented with fruits and vegetables, meats, etc. You store a certain quantity of food and learn how to cook with those types of foods. You don’t stress about having exact meals planned, you just have the core ingredients to make a variety of foods. It will be important to collect recipes and practice different cooking techniques for this method.

HELPFUL PRODUCT: Our Food Storage Made Easy eBook Set can help immensely with the traditional food storage approach. It walks you through your purchases and education in a series of 26 checklists. You can purchase it at a discounted price (just $14) during the Do-Over and use whatever parts are relevant for what we are working on.

Method 2: Traditional food storage (recipe-based)
This type of food storage is similar to above, except you use a simple meal plan using simple foods with a long shelf life and calculate out exactly how much to store based on your recipes. Many people will come up with a 7 day rotation and multiply that by 52 weeks. This gives you the confidence to know you have all the additional ingredients required to make complete recipes/meals. For example you don’t to store 300 pounds of wheat but none of the ingredients needed to make bread.

HELPFUL PRODUCT: Our cousin put together an entire Can’t Fail Food Storage Plan which includes shopping lists, meal plans, and recipes for a SIMPLE full year supply of basics. It takes the guess work out of creating your own plan. It’s exactly what I have wanted to make for years. I love it!

Method 3: Regular foods
Some people choose to just store extra of their regular foods rather than learn how to cook with traditional food storage. Instead of the typical 3 month’s worth of regular foods that we recommend, they would multiple that by 4 and not bother with wheat, legumes, etc. Shelf life will be a major concern with this method so rotation is critical.

HELPFUL PRODUCT: Our Meals-in-a-Jar eCookbook can give you some ideas of great shelf stable, kid-friendly, regular meals that could be incorporated into your plans. Since they are made using freeze-dried foods with a longer shelf life they can be great for this method of planning.

Method 4: Just add water meals
This food storage does not require a lot of education. These meals typically come in mylar pouches inside plastic buckets or in #10 cans. They have a long shelf life so rotation is not much of a concern. These meals are more expensive but also much more convenient. Taste and quality can vary widely between companies. You will need to store more water if you plan to use this method.

HELPFUL POST: There are a few different considerations when storing just add water meals. We created a post on What to Know When Buying Just Add Water Meals that may help you as you research this topic.

Calculate how much of each food you need for your family size

If you are Use method 1 or 2, our food storage calculator will help you to determine how much of the basic foods you need to store depending on your families needs and goals for long term food storage.


Excel Spreadsheet
Tutorial Video

The Food Storage Calculator is also available in printable pdf format

If you are using method 2 or 3, you may find our three month supply calculator helpful as it can help type in individual recipes and come up with a shopping list for all supplement ingredients, not just the basics.

To determine how much food you need for Method 4, we recommend you come up with a calorie goal per person per day and use that to determine how much to store. Many companies sell packages based on “servings” but servings are only 150-200 calories. So 3 servings a day could only be around 500 calories and would not be life sustaining.

Consider individual dietary needs

Allergies
If you have food allergies in your family, you will need to modify your food storage plan to reflect your own needs. Read our post about Food Storage and Allergies for ideas on how to adjust your long term food storage to meet your needs.

Health concerns
For those interested in a more healthy food storage you may want to make adjustments to a traditional food storage plan as well. We have a whole section of the blog on healthy food storage which you can explore including alternative recommendations and some healthy recipes to try.

Personal Preferences
Do you have picky eaters in your family? We sure do! Make sure to make recipes in advance or try out “just add water” meals BEFORE you have an emergency. It won’t do much good to have tons of food that no one will eat.

Make a purchasing plan

Now that you know how much you will need to store, look at your family’s budget and determine how much you can set aside towards your long term storage goals each week/month. Make a goal to get a full 3 months worth, and then move up to 6, 9, and then a full 12. It’s better to have 3 months of everything than a full year supply of wheat and no salt, oil, or yeast to make bread with it.

Consider saving up and purchasing when there are big sales. Most food storage companies do large Black Friday sales and periodic smaller sales throughout the year. If you can stock up when items are at their cheapest it will be the most cost-effective way to buy all your food. Consider reading our post on Best Ways to Purchase Traditional Long Term Food Storage for more ideas.

Learn to use your long term food storage

There are lots of sources to go for great information and recipes on using your long term food storage. Make sure to review the “Helpful resources” section below for ideas.

Don’t forget to come over and share your progress in our Food Storage Do-Over Facebook Group!

updating
If you already have a start on your long term storage but need to update it consider doing the following:

Jodi’s 3 Month Plan Revisited

This week we are going over building a three month supply as part of our Food Storage Do-Over 2015. I have been needing to do this for a while so I sat down and REALLY “did over” my entire plan. I’m going to share my thought process with you and how I actually implemented everything. It may feel a bit ramble-y but that’s the way my brain works, so go easy on me :) Here we go!

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Step 1. What is my current system?
Several years ago I made my 3 month plan using our excel spreadsheet. I basically just took my regular family recipes and pumped them in, planning to use freezer foods as necessary. I had all the pantry items purchased and put in the basement. Well over time I would start using them for my regular meals because we are supposed to “rotate” right? Sometimes I would remember to re-stock. Other times I would be sure I had things in the basement and then when I needed them I would discover I HADN’T restocked. ARGH! So at the start of this week I realized this system wasn’t working. I don’t ever have a FULL three months in my basement if I’m always stealing from it for regular meals.

Step 2. Create a new plan
I decided this time that I would use most of my regular meals but they would be ones that could easily be replaced with freeze-dried cheese and meats and powdered equivalents for milk, sour cream, eggs, etc. I don’t have enough freezer space to store a full three months worth of those items for my family any more after having a few more kids :) So I did the meal plan using a week of breakfasts and lunches just repeated multiple times, and thirty dinners that will multiply three times. I used all shelf stable ingredients in the plan.

3 Month Shopping List

Step 3. Shopping time
I already had a lot of these items on hand, so I cleared off a shelf in my basement food storage that will be exclusively for my three month supply items. I made a grocery list using my excel spreadsheet and logged in to my deals to meals account to find where the cheapest prices were for the items I needed. You could also search your local papers for coupons and deals. After buying everything I loaded it all up into box on the newly cleared out shelf space and labeled them “THREE MONTH SUPPLY – 2/23/15″. I listed the items in each box so if I DO need to steal” from them ever I can easily find them.

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Step 4. Rotation plan
So since all of these foods are my family’s regular meal foods anyway, it will be easy to rotate. I don’t need to rotate through the long shelf life items like freeze dried meats and cheeses, I will just keep them in my can rotating shelves and use as part of my long term plan. But for the pantry items I will plan to bring them upstairs after one year and incorporate them into my meal plans for the next several months. I can use the money saved on needing to buy those groceries and just replenish the whole three month supply with fresh items at that time. This way I will ALWAYS have a full three months downstairs (that I’m not in the middle of depleting) but I will also be rotating and using the food so it doesn’t go to waste. I created a chart for my 3 month plan that lists each meal and how many times I can make it based on what’s in my storage.

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Step 5. Meal planning
I have 30 dinners on my list, but there are a few other family favorite recipes that we like to make each month. So I worked out a plan to use/rotate my three month supply ingredients regularly and also still get eat our other family favorites. I made a list of my 30 dinners plus about 10 other favorites and printed it out. I wrote down all the groceries I need to buy to make those 40 dinners. So now I do a big grocery shop about every six weeks and know that I have all the ingredients I need to make those 40 dinners. As I make each one I check it off the list, and don’t make a duplicated until I have made all 40. Then I simply rinse and repeat and go shop for it all again. It’s also helpful for nights when my hubby needs to make dinner because he can just look at the list and know that we have everything to make those meals and he can just pick what to make. I did this before and it worked great, I’m excited to do it with my specific 3 month supply meals to make for easier rotation/replenishment.

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Step 6: Recipe binder update
I figured this was a good week to do a little update on my recipe binder to make sure that all of the recipes included in my three month supply plan are included in it. There were a few that were on websites or in random cookbooks that I didn’t have in there. I added them all and also updated the recipes to include food storage conversions in case I am using my shelf stable foods instead of fresh. To see how I organize my recipes view our post on How to Create a Recipe Binder.

How is YOUR three month supply planning going? Come on over and share your progress on our Food Storage Do-Over Facebook group. We’d love to hear your approach!

Food Storage Do-Over Week 6: 3 Month Supply

We are excited to be starting week 6 of our Food Storage Do-Over 2015! Last week we saw more great progress from all those participating in the water do-over and we are excited to keep going. If you didn’t catch last week’s post you can see it here.

Remember this is a 17 week process that we will be going through together. If you want to join in with the group on Facebook click here. If you’d like to receive email notifications of each week’s do-over assignment you can join our mailing list here. Or you can always post in the blog comments with your progress as well! It is so much more fun and motivating doing it as a group so find a way to connect!

WEEK6DOOVER

In BabyStep 3: 3 month supply we discuss the importance of having a three month supply of foods you regularly eat. We also give you lots of tools to help you plan and build up your supply.

startingfromscratch
If you are BRAND NEW with little to no extra food stored, you have four tasks for this week:

  1. Ask yourself these five three month supply questions to get started with the planning process.
  2. Make a list of foods you eat on a regular basis and determine how much you would go through in three months (our spreadsheet will help if you prefer a detailed plan).
  3. Inventory what you already have and fill in your spreadsheet or your notes with the quantities on hand.
  4. Purchase your three month supply foods using the shopping list from your spreadsheet or your notes. If you can afford to do it all at once you can feel very accomplished at GETTING THIS DONE! (The Deals to Meals website can help you get the best prices for a big grocery shop). If you need to spread out your purchase over time, see some of the tips below to help.

Month Supply Tips

  • Plan your recipes for your three month supply and have them readily accessible in a binder or recipe box (see resources below for tips on recipe/meal planning)
  • Gradually purchase these foods in bulk as they go on sale if you can’t afford to get them all at once (understanding store sale cycles can be helpful).
  • Combine sale prices with coupons for even more savings as you stock up
  • Use and rotate these foods in all your daily cooking.
  • Constantly replenish the stocks of these foods as they go on sale again (check out Deals to Meals for help on finding items at the best prices).

Don’t forget to come over and share your progress in our Food Storage Do-Over Facebook Group!

updating

If you already have a pretty well-stocked pantry full of foods you normally eat, here are a few ways you can participate in the Do-Over this week. It’s always a good idea to re-evaluate, update/rotate, and add to your preps.

Assess any changes to your three month supply needs
Have you been counting freezer foods but would like to switch to all perishables? Have your family’s dietary needs changed? Are all of your recipes ones that your family enjoys? Make any necessary changes to your three month supply planning sheets.

Inventory your food supplies
Take stock of all the food you have that is on your three month supply list. Make a note of the items you need for your full supply versus items you already have. Make a shopping list of all items needed.

Replenish any necessary supplies
Take your shopping lists and hit the stores to fill out your complete three month supply of food. If you can’t do this all at once, try to purchase the items when they are on sale or combined with coupons. The Deals to Meals program and this sale cycle link can help you out!

Don’t forget to come over and share your progress in our Food Storage Do-Over Facebook Group!

products

Deals to Meals: Compares prices of the major grocery stores to Costco, Sams Club, and Walmart. Tells you where the best deals are to stock up your food storage and freezer. Offers a two week free trial with no obligation, no contracts to sign, cancel at anytime
CanSolidators: Sturdy plastic can racks perfect for storing your three month supply canned goods in. Can be adjustable for any width of small to medium can. Available in three sizes and will fit on a regular shelf or in a pantry.

helpful
Here are some resources both from us and all over the web that can help you if you want more depth on any areas or are looking for even more ideas of items to include in your plans. It’s always a good idea to look at multiple approaches and decide what will work best for you! And don’t forget to check out the discussions on our facebook group to catch anything we are missing or see what others are doing!

3 Month Supply Planning Tools
3 MONTH SUPPLY PLANNING SPREADSHEET – Recipe based planning guide
3 MONTH SUPPLY SPREADSHEET: Basic Tutorial Video – Learn how to use the basic worksheet
3 MONTH SUPPLY SPREADSHEET: Advanced Tutorial Video – Learn how to use additional features
3 MONTH SUPPLY PDF WORKSHEETS – for those who don’t have excel or prefer paper
3 MONTH SUPPLY PDF WORKSHEETS: Tutorial Video – Learn how to use the paper worksheets
List of Spreadsheets and Inventory Lists – from Prepared Housewives
3 Month Supply Overview Video – from Everyday Food Storage

Couponing/Savings on Groceries
PINTEREST BOARD ON COUPONING/GROCERY SAVINGS
Understanding Sale Cycles – See what is on sale during different months of the year
Deals to Meals – Program to help find the best deals at multiple grocery stores
Saving Money on Groceries Made Easy – Julie shows how she uses Deals to Meals
Pinching Your Pennies Forum – Great forum for money-saving tips

Meal Planning / Recipe Organization
PINTEREST BOARD ON MEAL PLANNING/RECIPE ORGANIZATION
How to Create a Recipe Binder – from Food Storage Made Easy
Using Meal Plans to Prepare for an Emergency – from Mom with a Prep
Menu Planning with Inventory Tracker – from Endless Crafting
FREE Shelf Stable Recipe Book – from Food Storage Made Easy


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WEEK6PIN

Food Storage Do-Over Week 5: Water

We are excited to be starting week 5 of our Food Storage Do-Over 2015! Last week we saw more great progress from all those participating in the shelves and organization do-over and we are excited to keep going. If you didn’t catch last week’s post you can see it here. You should also make sure to check out our Tutorial: How to build a rotating rack in case you missed it.

Remember this is a 17 week process that we will be going through together. If you want to join in with the group on Facebook click here. If you’d like to receive email notifications of each week’s do-over assignment you can join our mailing list here. Or you can always post in the blog comments with your progress as well! It is so much more fun and motivating doing it as a group so find a way to connect!

WATERFACE

In BabyStep 2: WATER we cover the basics of how to properly store water, how much to store, and what to do when your stored water runs out. water is critical to your preparedness plans as you can survive much longer without food than you can without water.

startingfromscratch
If you are BRAND NEW with no water stored yet, you have four tasks for this week:

  • Determine how much water to store (we recommend 1 gallon per person per day for 2 weeks)
  • Buy or obtain water storage containers. (This post lists pros and cons of different containers)
  • Fill your water containers
  • Purify your water. The easiest way is using bleach but you may use other methods as desired.

If you are feeling ambitious, look through the helpful links at the bottom of this post to get a feel for some additional ideas for more longer term water storage plans (purification, finding other water sources, conserving water, etc.)

Water Storage Tips

  • Store water in “FOOD GRADE” or PETE plastic containers (stay away from milk jugs, but soda and juice bottles are suitable).
  • Store water away from too much light or heat.
  • Clean, sanitize, and rinse all containers prior to use.
  • Do not use containers previously used to store non-food products.
  • Store water in multiple sizes of containers to suit different emergency needs
  • Do not store water containers directly on concrete. Place on cardboard, carpet, wood pallets, or other materials.
  • Rotate your water storage at least once every year

Don’t forget to come over and share your progress in our Food Storage Do-Over Facebook Group!

updating
If you already have your basic water storage needs met, here are a few ways you can participate in the Do-Over this week. It’s always a good idea to re-evaluate, update/rotate, and add to your preps.

Add more containers:
Since you have the basics down, now is a great time to look at other water storage containers that might be useful for different situations. Is all your water in 55 gallon buckets? Maybe you could add a few waterbricks or juice bottles in an upstairs closet or under a bed. We challenge you to add an additional gallon or two per person to your actual stored water this week.

Rotate that water:
This is always something we INTEND to do, but don’t get around to doing it as often as we’d like. There is some debate about whether this is necessary, but after opening a water container and finding algae in it, I’ve decided I’d rather rotate once a year than face having to drink that in an emergency. Yes you can purify it when you need to use it, but rotating seems so much better! Don’t forget to read our tips on how to rotate water so you avoid wasting it.

Research longer term water storage solutions:
Very few people have an actual YEAR SUPPLY of water. The recommendations are normally only a 3-14 day supply. So what do you do when that runs out? Where is the nearest source of water to your home? Do you have the supplies needed to collect rain water? How will you make sure the water is safe to drink? How can you use the least amount of water necessary for non-life-sustaining activities? We address MANY of these topics in the helpful links section below. Spend some time this week doing a little research and perhaps invest in a high capacity water filter/purifier.

Don’t forget to come over and share your progress in our Food Storage Do-Over Facebook Group!

products

Boxed Water Kits: 5 gallon mylar pouches that store inside cardboard boxes. Stackable up to three high. Only need to rotate every 5 years.
WaterBricks: 3.5 gallon capacity bricks that can stack. Durable plastic that can store inside or outside. Great for storing in small spaces like closets or under beds.
Berkey Water Purifiers: High quality filters that both purify and filter water. Useful for emergency water storage as well as every day drinking water.
Sawyer Bucket Filters: These filters have a Manufacturer’s 1 million gallon guarantee. They offer protection against bacteria and protozoa, and are the first portable filtration devices to remove viruses mechanically. You can purchase either a one bucket or two bucket system depending on your needs.
Lifestraw Personal Water Filter: This portable lightweight water filter is perfect for emergency kits. It is a filter not a purifier so it will not get out viruses. weighs only 2 ounces and will filter 1000 gallons of water.

helpful
Here are some resources both from us and all over the web that can help you if you want more depth on any areas or are looking for even more ideas of items to include in your plans. It’s always a good idea to look at multiple approaches and decide what will work best for you! And don’t forget to check out the discussions on our facebook group to catch anything we are missing or see what others are doing!

Water Storage Series FAQ @ Food Storage Made Easy
How Much Water Should You Store? @ Your Own Home Store
Water Storage Containers: Pros and Cons @ Food Storage Made Easy
DIY Double 2 Liter Bottle Tote @ Food Storage and Survival
Water Filtration Versus Water Purification @ Food Storage Made Easy
Emergency Water Filtration Solutions @ Homestead Dreamer
Water Purification @ Food Storage Made Easy
Water Pasteurization and the Wapi @ Food Storage and Survival
How to Make an Evaporation Still @ Food Storage Made Easy
How To Deal With Long Term Water Loss (Water Saving Tips) @ Food Storage Made Easy
DIY Rainwater Catchment System @ Survival Prepper Joe
Water Rotation Ideas @ Food Storage Made Easy
Alternate Water Sources @ Food Storage Made Easy
How to Keep Water from Freezing in Your Vehicle @ The Survival Mom
WATER STORAGE BOARD ON PINTEREST


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WATERPINTERST

TUTORIAL: How to Build a Rotating Can Rack

One of our most popular posts is the rotating can rack tutorial we created back in 2009. We updated the instructions after we’ve made a few more of them and included the new and improved version in our Food Storage Made Easy eBook program. However, we never got around to updating the blog post with the new info. So as a special treat for you as part of the Food Storage Do-Over WEEK 4 we are giving you brand new instructions and even including the pages from our ebook so you can have a handy printable, yay! So if you are organize your food storage areas and planning your shelving needs this week, hopefully this will help you out a bit.

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Instructions

Step 1
Print out the shelf diagram and determine what size of shelf you want to make. Click below for printable diagram and instructions.

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Step 2
Take a large cardboard box and measure out the pieces. The easiest way with the least amount of cuts and gluing is to measure for the entire length of both sides and back. For example, the vegetable can length would be a total of 31-1/8” by 10”. We recommend using a carpenter’s square to measure, mark, and cut, but any ruler will work.

   

 

Step 3
Cut out all of your pieces using an exacto-knife or other sharp blade. We couldn’t find our exacto-knife so that’s why we used this pocket knife. It didn’t make perfect smooth edges but it worked just fine. You could actually even use scissors if you want. If you used a long piece for the side/back pieces then you’ll need to bend the side pieces in to the right shape. We used our carpenter’s square (ruler) to help bend a straight line.

   

 

Step 4
Take the side and back pieces (or the one large piece) and make sure the can fits properly. If not, back to the measuring board! Mark the shelf lines on the side pieces so that you will know where the shelves need to go when you glue them on. All measurements will vary with the size of unit you’re building, so make sure to get them right!

   

 

Step 5
Glue the pieces together. Hot glue is fabulous for this step! We used a low temp craft gun and the glue started to set a little too quickly, but it was still workable. With the big piece open, glue each shelf in place. Then glue them to the back. Don’t forget to put in your wedge, and make sure a can will still pass between the wedge and shelf 2. The other side is the hardest part, because with our gun the glue started to set before it was all in place. After the other side is on, take the front pieces, with the edges bent in ¾, and glue them into place, one side at a time.

   

 

Step 6

Cut some little notches out of the side pieces near the bottom to enable you to pull the cans out more easily. At this point you can paint the whole thing with white latex paint if you want to strengthen the cardboard and have a nicer looking shelf unit.

 

Other Shelving Options

In case this task seems a little daunting, we do recommend a few options for rotating shelves that you can purchase. These are worth a look at if you don’t have a lot of time or you want something a little sturdier.

CanOrganizers: The cardboard rotating racks fit on any shelf in your cupboard or pantry. Three sizes available to best suit your needs. These come in large sheets and you fold them into shape and use tabs to hold them together.
CanSolidators: Sturdy plastic can racks from Thrive Life that can be adjustable for any width of small to medium sized can. Available in three sizes and fit on a regular shelf or in a pantry. These are a little sturdier than the cardboard options.
Deluxe Food Rotation Systems: Thrive Life (formerly Shelf Reliance) produces high quality shelves are customizable in any shape and size to fit everything from tuna cans to #10 cans and more!

 

Here’s a pinnable image if you want to save for later!

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Food Storage Do-Over Week 4: Shelves and Organizing Spaces

We are excited to be starting week 4 of our Food Storage Do-Over 2015! Last week we saw more great progress from all those participating in the car kit and evacuation list do-over and we are excited to keep going. If you didn’t catch last week’s post you can see it here. You should also make sure to check out the Jodi’s Car Kit Post where she talked about what she did for her do-over.

Remember this is a 17 week process that we will be going through together. If you want to join in with the group on Facebook click here. If you’d like to receive email notifications of each week’s do-over assignment you can join our mailing list here. Or you can always post in the blog comments with your progress as well! It is so much more fun and motivating doing it as a group so find a way to connect!

WEEK4

In BabyStep 1: SHELVES we cover getting an area set up and designated for your food storage. We talk about different shelves to consider buying and areas to considering storing food. While it’s not crucial to have everything completely mapped out (because your storage will grow and evolve) it is important to have a place you feel good about putting your food. If you don’t have a place to bring food home to it will be hard to get started and visualize your goals.

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SHELVES

If you are BRAND NEW and don’t have anywhere set up for your food decide on and clear out an area. Determine which type of shelf system you want to use and purchase one shelf to get started. Build your own, buy plastic or metal shelves, or splurge and buy a fancy can rotation system.

  • Don’t let small spaces intimidate you. For a comprehensive list of helpful ideas view our Small Spaces Storage Solutions post
  • There are a wide variety of shelf options available. Determine the amount you feel comfortable spending and consider what will suit your needs best.
  • Options for canned goods and other Three Month Supply foods:
    • Build Your Own – Cheap & offers the most flexibility, but time-intensive
    • Inexpensive metal or plastic shelving (i.e. from Walmart) – A cheap and easy way to get started, shelves may not be as durable. Be careful with cheaper metal shelves as they may bow in the middle.
    • Higher quality metal shelves – Heavy duty hardware store shelves should have no problem with bowing or collapsing under heavy food weights.
    • Deluxe Can Rotation System – Most expensive option, but very convenient for easily rotating through foods. Found at ThriveLife.com (formerly ShelfReliance.com)
  • Start with one set of shelves and add more as your food storage grows.
  • Plastic may be better than metal for storing heavier items (cheap metal shelves tend to bow in the middle).
  • Adjustable shelf heights will be useful as you store different types and sizes of foods and cans.
  • Clear a space near your shelves for 5 gallon buckets/water containers/etc. Cover with old carpet or pallets to avoid storing directly on concrete.

Don’t forget to come over and share your progress in our Food Storage Do-Over Facebook Group!

updating

SHELVES

If you already have an area set up for your food storage consider some of the following:

  • If your family grows and you need more storage space do you have a plan for that?
  • Are you shelves set up to maximize rotation? What can you do to change it?
  • Do you have glass canning jars stored in a manner that would protect them from earthquakes or other potential disasters?
  • Do you have a 2nd area where you store some extra food in case your main area was compromised?
  • If you purchased cheaper shelves when you started are you ready to upgrade? Maybe move your old shelves to your garage where you can store other lighter items.

KITCHEN SHELVING AND CUPBOARDS

Having your kitchen set up in an efficient manner allows you to use and rotate your food storage more frequently. How does your pantry look? How does your spice cupboard look? Consider cleaning and re-arranging those areas. Here are some ideas:

  • Store small amounts of your grains in smaller containers in your pantry so you will use them. Thinking about having to go tackle a big bucket in your storage each time you want to use a grain will cause you to use them less frequently.
  • Store bulk spices in your food storage area and smaller containers in your spice cupboard to keep it cleaner and easier to use.
  • If using your wheat for making bread is a priority for you, consider creating an area in a cupboard for everything you need for bread. That way each time you want to make bread it’s simple and fast.
  • When you go shopping bring your food straight to your food storage room and then bring up food from the food storage room to your pantry. Don’t just put the new stuff in your pantry or you won’t be rotating efficiently.
  • Here are some tips from a spring cleaning post we did awhile back that shows these ideas with pictures and more details.
  • Don’t forget to come over and share your progress in our Food Storage Do-Over Facebook Group!

    products

    Deluxe Food Rotation Systems: Thrive Life (formerly Shelf Reliance) produces high quality shelves are customizable in any shape and size to fit everything from tuna cans to #10 cans and more!
    CanSolidators: Sturdy plastic can racks also from Thrive Life that can be adjustable for any width of small to medium can. Available in three sizes and fit on a regular shelf or in a pantry.
    CanOrganizers: The cardboard rotating racks fit on any shelf in your cupboard or pantry. Three sizes available to best suit your needs.

    helpful
    Here are some resources both from us and all over the web that can help you if you want more depth on any areas or are looking for even more ideas of items to include in your plans. It’s always a good idea to look at multiple approaches and decide what will work best for you! And don’t forget to check out the discussions on our facebook group to catch anything we are missing or see what others are doing!

    BABYSTEP 1: SHELVES OVERVIEW
    Small Spaces Storage Solutions
    How To Build a Can Rotating Rack
    DIY Wall-Hanging Food Storage Solution
    Can Organizers
    5 Gallon Buckets and #10 Cans: How Much Can They Hold
    Attic Storage Space
    Cute Shelf Labels
    Creative Uses For Old #10 Cans
    PINTEREST BOARD ON SHELVES


    Please pin and get your friends joining in too!

    WEEK4

Car Emergency Kit Do-Over

This week we are working on updating our car kits and our evacuation plans as part of the Food Storage Do-Over 2015. I have been working a lot on trying to figure out the best car kit situation for my family. I put together a small kit for my husband to keep in the car that he drives because we don’t usually have the children if we are driving that car. I have a much more intensive kit that we keep in the van that includes items for the entire family. I’ll show you details of each kit below.

car-kit-do-over

Family Car Kit

For the basics I bought an Auto Emergency Kit from Thrive Life. Here’s everything that was included in the kit:

thrive-kit

The basic kit comes with a little bit of water and a 3600 calorie meal bar. I supplemented with some additional snacky foods that my kids would like. The fruit pouches from Thrive Life are great snacks with a long shelf life.

car-kits2

I made a little coffee can heater to provide some warmth. The toilet paper goes in the smaller can and then you pour the alcohol over it and it will burn cleanly and provide a little warmth. It all stores inside the larger can.

car-kits3

Next I looked at all of the emergency tools and supplies. A lot of good things were included in the basic kit. I added a compass, some extra fire starter tools, an all-in-one tool, a headlamp, a couple flashlights, and a radio. I like the hand-crank items so I don’t have to worry about batteries.

car-kits4

For keep warm and covered we needed more than the basic kit provides. I bought enough emergency blankets for each member of the family. I also threw in some extra blankets and an old comforter in the back of the van. I have a tube tent and also a tarp and extra rope. They won’t be awesome shelters but are better than nothing! Hand warmers and foot warmers are great too.

car-kits5

The basic car kit had a small first aid kit. I supplemented that with a few of my own items like children’s medicines, cough drops, wet wipes, carmex, etc. I figure those things are great for those little everyday emergencies, I might as well throw them in.

car-kits6

Last but not least, spare shoes. My kids are notorious for running out of the house in bare feet and I sometimes don’t notice it until we are at a store, restaurant, etc. Well if there was an emergency and we had to WALK far, they would be in trouble. I went to a second hand store and bought one size too big for each child and a pair of cheap running shoes for myself. (I often am out and about in high heels and wouldn’t want to have to walk far in those). I’d like to add spare sweatshirts or jackets for each child too but I didn’t get that far yet. I also threw in a card game and an extra water filter bottle.

car-kits7

I put everything in a large rubbermaid bin and it resides permanently in the back of the van.

Individual Car Kit

For the basics I bought a second Auto Emergency Kit from Thrive Life, then I filled an animal cracker container from Costco with everything else. It’s a great sturdy little container and can fit a lot of stuff. Here is a list of things I added:

  • Coffee can heater and alcohol (the green chilis can in the picture)
  • Matches
  • All-in-One tool
  • Snacks
  • Water pouches
  • Basic tube tent with rope
  • Emergency blankets
  • Wet wipes

  Screen shot 2015-01-30 at 1.47.27 PM

Food Storage Do-Over Week 3: Car Kits and Evacuation Plans

We are excited to be starting week 3 of our Food Storage Do-Over 2015! Last week we saw more great progress from all those participating and we are excited to keep going. If you didn’t catch last week’s post you can see it here. You should also make sure to check out the amazing spreadsheet Julie put together for us all as part of her do-over.

Remember this is a 17 week process that we will be going through together. If you want to join in with the group on Facebook click here. If you’d like to receive email notifications of each week’s do-over assignment you can join our mailing list here. Or you can always post in the blog comments with your progress as well! It is so much more fun and motivating doing it as a group so find a way to connect!

WEEK3FACE

In the Emergency Prep Basics section of our website we cover putting together a car kit and evacuation plans. Car kits can help provide life-saving resources in case you get stranded in your vehicle somewhere, and they can also be helpful in case of a quick evacuation if you don’t have time to grab 72 hour kits.

startingfromscratch

Car Kit

If you are BRAND NEW and don’t have any emergency supplies in your car yet, spend this week creating your car kit. Here is a list of items that you may want to consider including, modify as necessary to meet your needs.

  • Water (mylar pouches or cardboard boxes are best for extreme temperatures)
  • 72 hour kit food, high calorie meal bars, or other snacks
  • Cash ($20-30 in small bills and include some change)
  • Diapers/Wipes if you have kids
  • Emergency blankets/hand warmers (and/or an old spare comforter)
  • Jumper cables
  • Car shovel/pick
  • Pocket knife or multi-tool
  • First aid kit
  • Radio (hand crank or battery operated)
  • Flashlight (hand crank or battery operated)
  • Package of batteries (for flashlight and radio)
  • Toilet paper roll
  • Spare clothes/walking shoes for all family members
  • Coffee can heater

Evacuation List

In order to prepare for a quick evacuation, the best thing to do is have a list already written out with the items you need to grab in order of importance. You can get very in depth with this or just jot down a simple list and tape it near your exit door. An example of some of the things you may want to include are as follows:

  • 72 Hour Kits
  • Emergency Binder
  • Pets/Pet supplies
  • Photo albums/scrapbooks
  • Journals
  • Extra food/fuel/water
  • Camping equipment

Don’t forget to come over and share your progress in our Food Storage Do-Over Facebook Group!

updating

Car Kits

If you already have a good start on your car kits chances are you will need to do a little update/refresh to make sure you have everything you need and rotate food and water supplies. Here are some ideas of things you might want to check on:

  • Make sure jumper cables work (I had a set of broken ones once)
  • Rotate food items that have a short shelf life
  • Check water supplies, rotate as needed
  • Swap out kids clothing and shoes for proper sizes
  • Check expiration dates on medicines in first aid kits
  • Test/swap out batteries for radio and flashlight if necessary
  • Review some of the posts in the resources section below for other ideas on how to bump up your car kits with additional items you may want to consider adding

Evacuation Plans

If you already have your basic evacuation plan and grab list in place there are some advanced things you can do to really “Do-over” your plan. This topic can be as simple or as complex as you feel it needs to be for your personal needs.

1. Split your grab list up by person and in order of importance. Have separate lists taped up in the area near your 72 hour kits. In case of an emergency each person will grab their list and go down it until you run out of time. If a family member isn’t home someone else would grab their list and work on those items. Make sure to include tasks like “Load small children in car”, “Grab purse/wallet”, “Load pets and pet food in car”. Things you would think are automatic, you may just forget in an emergency. (ok you probably won’t forget your kids but it helps to know when in the process you will get them loaded so they aren’t underfoot and slowing you down)

2. Go through the 13 Part Evacuation Plan from iGetReady.com. This is the most in depth plan we have come across. Her plan is to have your items separated into bins so you can grab the bins based on why you are evacuating and you go in order of importance as well. I have loved working through her lists and filling in the holes in my evacuation plans. We highly recommend it!

Don’t forget to come over and share your progress in our Food Storage Do-Over Facebook Group!

products
Thrive Life Auto Emergency Kit
Emergency Essentials Auto Emergency Kit
Auto Emergency Kits on Amazon.com

helpful
Here are some resources both from us and all over the web that can help you if you want more depth on any areas or are looking for even more ideas of items to include in your plans. It’s always a good idea to look at multiple approaches and decide what will work best for you! And don’t forget to check out the discussions on our facebook group to catch anything we are missing or see what others are doing!

View our Car Kits board on Pinterest
View our Evacuation Plans board on Pinterest
How to Make a Coffee Can Heater from Food Storage Made Easy
How to Create a Mommy Emergency Car Kit from Food Storage Made Easy
How to Keep Emergency Water Unfrozen in the Winter from The Survival Mom
Assembling a Car Emergency Kit and Printable Checklist from Food Storage and Survival
15 Items for Your Car Emergency Kit from Food Storage Moms
How to Make a Coffee Can Survival Kit for your Car from Survival Life
13 Part Evacuation Plan from iGetReady.com
Evacuation Imminent – How to be Ready from Your Own Home Store
Are You Ready for an Evacuation? from Cooke’s Frontier
Thoughts on Fire Preparedness and Evacuation from Food Storage Made Easy


Please pin and get your friends joining in too!

Food Storage Do-Over Week 3 - Car Kits / Evacuation Plans

Financial Preps: Julie’s Do-Over

For our Food Storage Do-Over this week we are focusing on financial preps. Like all aspects of food storage and preparedness you can’t just do this once and be done with it forever. You have to “rotate” so to speak. In other words, you need to update.

For a complete list of things we have thought about updating see the week 2 do-over post here.

Today I’m sharing one of the things I have been working on this week. This isn’t a one-size fits all kind of project. It’s personal, some of it private, and custom to each families situation. Some of these ideas may help you. You may have additional suggestions or experience. I’m just sharing a portion of what I have been working on today.

WHATIFFACE

THE BIG WHAT IF?


While I did work on updating my emergency binder, wills, passwords etc… my main project was to come up with a list and set of instructions on how to pay the bills for my husband should a big “What if?” happen to me.

Now before you go all “gender role” critical on me… my husband is great. We are great. We have a great marriage. Just because I do the physical act of paying the bills doesn’t mean anything. I had to get that out there because I’ve seen people get critical on this subject matter. In our house we divide and conquer and I manage paying the bills.

Before going on vacation, having a baby, or putting our tax paperwork together I always start worrying. What if I died? That’s hard to even type. It’s a thing no one likes thinking about or talking about. However, if I did die there would be a whole lot of C-H-A-O-S around here and just the thought of that makes me want to be better about “preparing” for that.

So this week I made a list of ALL the bills we pay, how we pay them, and when to expect them etc. I used my credit card statements and bank statements for the last year to check myself in case I forgot something. Since I was doing my taxes anyways I had all this stuff pulled out. It was the only silver lining that came from doing my taxes this year.

I thought you all might like to see a template of what I did. So I made a more generic file to give you that you can modify and make your own. If you use excel you can type it all in. If you don’t have excel there is a PDF version with an example on page one and a blank one on page 2 you can download and use.

DOWNLOAD or pdf

Here are some disclaimers:

  • I erased all my personal information and put some pretend stuff in this spreadsheet so you could see examples.
  • It’s in excel so you can modify it to fit your needs.
  • When I made mine, I chose not to put the passwords directly on the saved file. I printed it out and hand wrote them in. As I update this each year I will have a great start and just check the passwords, add new bills, remove old bills.
  • I’ll store a couple copies in different safe, undisclosed locations. Well I’ll disclose those locations to my husband and another family member.
  • If you have any suggestions on things to add feel free to leave a comment or email us. I didn’t attempt to guess every single bill everyone would ever pay so just add line items to fit your needs.
  • This is strictly bill payment. In my emergency binder I have retirement account info, bank account info, a will, and a whole slew of other information.

When I told my husband this was all ready for him he got a panicked look on his face. He said “Can’t you just make me a video explaining this all and I’ll just watch it if I have to?”. Yes it’s hard to do this folks. But you’ll feel better after you do!

WHATIFPIN

Food Storage Do-Over Week 2: Financial Preps

We are excited to be starting week 2 of our food storage do-over! Last week we saw a lot of great progress from all those participating and we are excited to keep going. If you didn’t catch last week’s post you can see it here.

Remember this is a 17 week process that we will be going through together. If you want to join in with the group on Facebook click here. If you’d like to receive email notifications of each week’s do-over assignment you can join our mailing list here. Or you can always post in the blog comments with your progress as well! It is so much more fun and motivating doing it as a group so find a way to connect!

FINANCIALPREPS

In the Emergency Prep Basics section of our website we talk about how each family should have an Emergency Binder put together. Whether it’s a natural disaster, a death in the family, or some other crisis, every household needs a plan in order to survive, cope, and recover. By creating an Emergency Binder, you and your loved ones will be better equipped to endure unexpected adversity and enjoy peace of mind. It’s a great feeling to be prepared! Along with your emergency binder we want to look at a few other financial/legal areas this week.

startingfromscratch
If you are BRAND NEW and don’t have an Emergency Binder check out our post on how to make your own which includes compiling the following documents etc.

VITAL DOCUMENTS
✓ Birth certificates
✓ Passports
✓ Immunization records
✓ CASH – keep small bills
✓ Copy of your will
✓ Medical information
✓ Military and church papers
✓ Diplomas and transcripts
✓ Marriage certificates
✓ Adoption papers
✓ Current pictures of family
✓ Pet records
✓ Proof of citizenship
   INSURANCE INFO
✓ Homeowners insurance policy
✓ Auto insurance policy
✓ Life insurance policy
✓ Medical insurance policy
✓ Pictures and lists of all your personal belongings
✓ Contact information for insurance agents
   FINANCIAL INFO
✓ Copies of your credit
✓ Bank statements
✓ Retirement statements
✓ Social security statements
✓ Internet passwords
✓ Utility statements
✓ Work/tax documents that would be difficult to replace
✓ Deeds to properties
✓ Titles to cars, boats etc
✓ Warranty information

We recommend storing your binder in a portable waterproof/fireproof safe. You can grab it and run in an emergency but it will be safe in case your home burns or floods while you are not home. It’s also a great idea to make photocopies or electronic copies of all the contents and store it off-site in a safety deposit box or at the home of a trusted individual.

If you get your binder finished, consider looking at some of the “other” suggested tasks in the DO-OVER section below.

Don’t forget to come over and share your progress in our Food Storage Do-Over Facebook Group!

updating

Emergency Binder

If you already have a good start on your Emergency Binder chances are you will need to update it. Here are some things that require frequent updates:

- Password lists for all your financial accounts (Facebook thread on managing passwords)
- List of bills you pay, and how you pay them (auto-draft vs. check etc.)
- Wills
- Medical records
- Insurance paperwork
- Financial account statements
- Go over your plan with anyone in your family that needs to know this information

Other financial/legal tasks to consider this week

  • ONLINE BACKUP: Do you have a plan for backing up your computers and other devices? It’s always a good idea to have multiple backup options. We recommend backing up to an external hard-drive while also using an automatic online backup service such as Mozy, Carbonite, or Crashplan.
  • LEGAL MATTERS: A basic will should be included in your emergency binder but there are also other legal documents you may want to explore. We shared our learnings from a class on estate planning given in our church in this blog post that explains about wills, trusts, power of attorney, etc. Review that post and consult a lawyer if you think it is something you need to work on.
  • BUDGETS/RETIREMENT PLANNING: Preparedness planning includes being financially stable and planning for your future. Take a look at your monthly budget and see where you can cut any expenses. Look at your retirement accounts and commit to contributing a little more each month. Dave Ramsey has some great BabySteps to follow to really get your financial life under control. We recommend his book The Total Money Makeover.

    Don’t forget to come over and share your progress in our Food Storage Do-Over Facebook Group!

    helpful
    Here are some resources both from us and all over the web that can help you if you want more depth on any areas or are looking for even more ideas of items to include in your plans. It’s always a good idea to look at multiple approaches and decide what will work best for you! And don’t forget to check out the discussions on our facebook group to catch anything we are missing or see what others are doing!

    View our Emergency Binder board on Pinterest
    How To Create An Emergency Binder: Food Storage Made Easy
    Planning For Your Family’s Future: Food Storage Made Easy
    Basic Family Binder Printables: Thirty Handmade Days
    Assembling a Red File: Iwillprepare.com
    Facebook thread on managing passwords
    Financial Planning Advice: DaveRamsey.com
    products
    Prepare My Life Emergency Planner
    Fireproof/Waterproof Safes to store your binder in
    External Hard Drives for computer backup
    The Total Money Makeover


    Please pin and get your friends joining in too!

    WEEK2PIN