Last week, I talked about how much food to grow. Today, I’m going to list some other supplies that you might want to stock up on, maybe even some things you hadn’t thought about purchasing or storing.
Let’s look at the basics. Everyone uses toilet paper, but how MUCH do you use? That’s where you start, with every item you plan to store.
We use about 2-3 rolls per week, which comes to maybe 10 rolls a month. With 114 rolls in the supply closet, we’re good for nearly a year.
Because we have messy pets, we go through maybe one roll of paper towels a week—by the way, I use regular dish towels and older kitchen hand towels for many things, such as letting garden vegies dry after rinsing; you can too. Paper towels are handy, but you could certainly get by without them if you had to. We have enough stored for about six months.
We also stock tissue and garbage bags, large and small, but tissue count is hard to determine and garbage bags can have multiple uses, so we just keep a fair amount on hand, for whatever is needed. Freezer bags are a must for preserving food; I also use them to divide up packages of meat for the freezer.
And what kind of prepper would I be if I didn’t have half a dozen rolls of aluminum foil?
I’ve also stocked enough dish soap—for sink washing; I don’t have a dishwasher—for several months, and two extra-large jugs of laundry detergent. That I can make more of, if I were to run out.
Bleach is another important item to keep on hand. Whether or not you use it for cleaning—we do, sometimes—you can also use it to purify water or disinfect items. I keep a dozen gallons on hand. Probably overkill, but bleach is cheap after all . . .
Personal care items are another area to keep an eye on. What do you use? How often do replace items, such as your toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, shampoo? Plan for six months, to start. You can often pick up these items for a dollar apiece. When SHTF, you won’t worry about brand quite so much. Bar soap is easier to store than body wash, but it depends of course on your preference; however, mice LOVE soap, so keep it protected.
Which brings me to dryer sheets. When SHTF, you likely won’t have a dryer to use. I have one, I’ll use it when it’s freezing outside, but I do buy dryer sheets. Toss one or two on the floor in your storage area or the bottom of a cabinet, and the mice will go elsewhere. It really works—we used to keep them in the feed bin for our horses. No mice.
Fuel is, particularly in the winter, extremely important. We have a large propane tank out back that we use only, at this time, for the cooktop and the barbeque grill; it’s hooked up to both. We also have a couple spare canisters for the grill and some smaller ones for a propane firepit. Don’t forget lighter fluid for the occasional use, and especially stock up on matches, unless you’re skilled at starting fires with only a couple sticks or a piece of flint.
Sterno, batteries, kerosene and lamps, battery lamps, and batteries. That’s a lot of batteries, and yes, I said them twice. Think about all the things you use that require them. Most people just buy them when some gizmo stops working—but what if you can’t find any? I have, since I just did inventory again, 77 AA batteries, plus a lot of the other sizes. Sounds like a lot, but remember that most things will take at least two, and some more than that.
Always, always think about the ingredients, so to speak, of things you can potentially make yourself. Store these things too. For instance, you can freeze loaves of bread, but you can also store flour and yeast to make your own. Baking soda, honey, peppermint oil, and coconut oil make an awesome toothpaste. Think outside the box, and remember, Google is your friend.
At least, until SHTF and the Internet goes out.