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When you are building an emergency stockpile, you review and make a lot of checklists. The number of things you need, and their cost, can be overwhelming. Fortunately, most of the more expensive items—such as generators, radios, rain barrels, weapons, tents, and tools—last a long time.
Some necessities do not fall into the one-and-done category, though. In fact, there are some preparedness items you should have on your shopping list each month to make sure you never run low on them.
If your budget is tight, you can spread the costs out over the month and shop for bulk sales online and in stores. Of course, food and water are key to survival, but for this list, we will focus on non-food preparedness items you should buy every month.
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No matter how many containers of food you stockpile, you can run out. Growing your own food can be an essential part of long-term survival.
If you’re an experienced gardener, start saving seeds from your own plants. If you’re a newbie, begin with seeds that produce well in most climates like beans, squash, radishes, peas, and carrots. Don’t forget easy-to-grow herbs like rosemary, basil, and cilantro.
Like many of your other stockpiled items, the key to storing seeds long-term are the words “cool” and “dry.” Here are some other seed storage tips.
2. Canning Supplies
Now that we’ve got you thinking about your garden, it’s time to consider food preservation. You can’t really have too many canning jars, lids, and rings, and jars. However, they are some of the first things to disappear off store shelves when a crisis is looming.
You can buy new canning supplies in bulk online or in big box stores. Or, you can hunt for gently used jars in thrift stores and yard sales all year long. Just be sure to examine them carefully for cracks and chips.
Another way to make sure you have enough food is to stock up on hunting supplies, and that means ammo. Plan to add to your store of ammo each month, and this task includes supplies for all your weapons, including arrows. This article gives you some ideas of the quantities you should accumulate.
Other items to buy on a regular basis are fire starters. You’ll run out of waterproof matches in a hurry if you’re depending on them to light your campfire, candles, and torches. Also, consider stocking up on plenty of disposable lighters. They are light, compact, and inexpensive. While you’re at it, start saving your dryer lint – it’s free tinder.
Whether they are caused by nature or humans, emergencies are a dirty business. It’s a good idea to stock up on cleaners and disinfectants. Simple bar soap (we like Ivory) is inexpensive and versatile. You’ll also want to have plenty of laundry detergent and Borax on hand.
6. Toilet Paper
Many folks went overboard with their toilet paper supplies in the early months of the pandemic. We’re not suggesting that you hoard the stuff. But add it to your supply list every month so that you gradually build up your long-term supply. We all know it’s something we don’t want to be without. Otherwise, you may have to wipe with something else.
7. Trash Bags
Plastic garbage bags are useful in so many ways. You can use them for storage, makeshift tarps, and even as ponchos. This clever Youtuber recommends large, heavy contractor bags like these from Amazon. She shows many survival uses for trash bags in her video – even those red ties you find in kitchen trash bags.
8. Writing Supplies
We’re so used to our keyboards that we can forget about the importance of writing supplies during a disaster. You’ll need them to write notes, lists, and signs. And you’ll want plenty for journal writing, drawing, and doodling to help pass the time.
Look for sales on paper, pens, and pencils as you shop each month. If you buy pencils, don’t forget to get a few manual sharpeners too.
You’ll use battery power for flashlights, radios, and other small electronics when the grid is down. Steer away from the cheap brands of alkaline batteries; they usually don’t last long. Rechargeable batteries are pricey, but they will save you money – and the environment – over the long run. Check out these rechargeable AAs, for example, which can be powered up hundreds of times.
10. First Aid Items and Medicine
Did you notice that over-the-counter pain relievers flew off the shelves during the early months of the shut-downs? Make sure you stock up on the kind your family uses by buying some each month. Also, keep building your supply of other medications and bandages.
11. Women’s Hygiene Items
Too many preparedness lists leave off these essentials. You really can’t have enough of these supplies on hand if there are women in your family. Buy what you need each month plus some extra to keep adding to your stockpile.
Don’t forget the needs of the littles ones in your family. Even if you use cloth diapers, you will want to consider stocking up on disposables to save previous water during an emergency. You can rotate your supply to make sure you have the correct size.
13. Dental Care
Toothbrushes, toothpaste, and floss can go fast when you can’t get to the store to buy more. Doctors see a connection between dental health and overall health, so you’ll want to make sure you have enough of these everyday supplies in your stockpile.
You will need propane for your camp stove and heaters. While regular gasoline and diesel fuel can degrade over time, propane can stay fresh for up to 30 years or more when properly stored. Here are some safety tips for propane storage from Amerigas.
At first glance, you may think this list item is unnecessary. We’re used to getting much of our information off the internet. But what if your devices are out of power or the internet is down? Books are a valuable resource for survival.
Stock up on how-to survival books as well as classic books the whole family will enjoy. Make it a habit to search for like-new used copies at thrift stores and yard sales or check used book sites online to build up your bookshelf.
16. Pet Supplies
Many supermarket shelves were stripped clean of kitty litter and pet food at some points during the pandemic. Those empty shelves can serve as a reminder to build up your food and other necessities for the animals in your life. You can buy pet food in bulk or just aim to buy a few extra cans or an extra bag of kitty litter when you shop.
Candles offer an easy and inexpensive lighting source during a power outage. You often can find candles at bargain prices at estate sales and thrift stores. Another option is to slowly build a supply of long-burning emergency candles like these.
This list is not meant to be an exhaustive one by any means. Hopefully, it has given you some ideas and spurred some new ones of your own. When it comes to storing these items, look for a place in your home that is dry and out of direct sunlight. Plastic bins work well for easy access.
Don’t overlook under-the-bed storage, and you might find some extra space in typically out-of-reach spots like high shelves or the back of closets.
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