More than just food storage.

There are quite a few good lists and calculators on the web for figuring food storage. There are sites that recommend specific non-perishable staples along with a deep and diverse pantry of canned, short to medium-term examples of foods you and your family already like, and eat. Finding them is only an internet keyword search away. Additionally folks lay up MREs and Mountain House by the case, because they store well. There are diverse means of storing water, and purifying what one finds. All of this is smart. I just want to remind folks also to store consumables that aren’t food or water. There are many reasons to keep these nonperishable, nonfood items, job loss and other economic privation are among the most likely. These items are important to maintaining health in the event of a prolonged emergency.

The American Dental Association recommends a new toothbrush every three months. Using two years as our guideline, that’s eight new toothbrushes per family member for two years. What about toothpaste, floss, toilet paper, soap, shampoo, feminine hygiene needs, deodorant, laundry soap, and dish washing detergent? Do you have adequate diapers, baby wipes, and diaper rash cream? What about pet food and other items needed for your pets care? These will require keeping track of how much you use in three months and again multiplying by eight. That will give you a solid two-years’ worth, assuming that your family dynamic doesn’t change (new children, leaving children, visiting relations, etc.). Why obtain two years’ worth of food and supplies? It’s just smart. Be smart.

Make a list of all of the consumables you use regularly. Those are the same things what you want to store. When you go to the store to purchase one of these items, get two instead, so as not to spend too much money all at once. There is no reason to try to purchase everything at the same time (unless you have the inclination and the financial means).

Preparedness and survivalism aren’t about living like a Mad Max post-apocalyptic refugee. It’s about maintaining a comfortable and civilized lifestyle in the event of a disaster, short or long-term. Play the “What if?” game. Condition, exercise, and engage your brain. What if you lose your job and every cent has to go to pay the mortgage or rent? You won’t need to direct limited resources to purchasing razor blades. What if a natural disaster leaves the stores closed for six months? You won’t need the Red Cross or LDS Church to bring you a hygiene kit because you already have soap and shampoo. Cleanliness promotes good health, and keeps one from looking like Joe the Ragman.

Procure the means to wash clothes and dishes by hand. Large washtubs are inexpensive. Find a place to run a clothesline. Invest in some cast iron cookware that can withstand heavy use. Store a good supply of disposable forks, spoons, plates, and cups, to conserve water in the event of its scarcity. Prepare to burn garbage if the emergency disrupts service for more than a day or two. Garbage accumulates quickly, attracting vermin and breeding disease.

Parents have the responsibility of providing for their children’s needs, both in times of plenty as well as times or privation. Foodstuffs are a priority, but one must take additional considerations in securing a family’s health and wellbeing. No one wants to see a starving child, just as no one wants to see a child plagued by head lice. Make preparations now, so that weathering a disaster is as complete, pleasant, and with as little disruption as possible.

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