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Recent events have thrown all of us for a loop and it's a great reminder that we all should be at least somewhat prepared for the unknown. So I thought I would share my 9 disaster prepping tips and tricks to help you out.
I'm not talking about hardcore prepping like building underground bunkers and stockpiling ammo. But I don't think there's no reason why every one of us shouldn't have at least two weeks to a month's worth of supplies on hand at all times.
There are so many circumstances where being prepared will come in handy. Being prepared will not only serve you during a national emergency or disaster like we're living through right now.
What if you lost your job? What if you fell ill and couldn't work? What if you were diagnosed with something catastrophic like cancer and you get stuck with illness and a pile of medical bills? What if you were involved in an accident? What if there's an <<insert natural disaster or weather event here>>? We don't really get weather here in Phoenix aside from the haboobs during monsoon season and the very rare microburst.
I like to have at least one extra of everything we use on the regular, just in case. I've always shopped this way and over the past few weeks, I've been extremely grateful that I am prepared. These 9 disaster prepping tips and tricks are simple, everyday things that I have always done. Hopefully, these will help you feel more in control.
The thing that I've found to be the most important when keeping more food in stock than your family will go through in a week or month is to keep track of what you have on hand and to track expiration dates.
We have a chest freezer in the garage and a bottom freezer on our refrigerator in the kitchen. I keep an inventory of my freezers and pantry that way I know what's in the bottom of the chest freezer in the garage and what's in the back of the pantry in the kitchen.
This helps me to make sure nothing goes to waste by expiring or getting freezer burnt and gross. I always know what I have on hand and how old it is. When I use things, I buy an extra to replace what I've used and I make sure to store it under or behind what I currently have so that the oldest food is easiest to access.
I highly recommend having a second freezer. You can easily store it on a patio, in the garage, or even inside your living space (just make sure to put down a tarp just in case to protect the floor). Before we moved into our house we stored our chest freezer behind the couch in the living room.
Freeze Fresh Food
You can freeze just about anything! I freeze cheese, heavy cream, cream cheese, yogurt, nut milks, eggs, meat, veggies, fruit, nuts, seeds, etc.
Yup! You read that right, I freeze eggs! I just crack them into a cupcake pan and put them in the freezer on a cookie sheet to freeze. Then I take them out of the pan and store them in a gallon sized freezer bag. When I need them, I simply thaw them out and use them like a normal egg.
Keep in mind, some things will change texture when they have been frozen. Things like block cheese and cream cheese will get crumbly when thawed and things like mushrooms and avocado are just not fresh again. So just assume all fresh veggies and fruit that are frozen will likely need to be used in cooked dishes or, in the case of fruit, smoothies or ice creams.
Can Fresh Food
Full disclosure on this one, I don't can food. I've always wanted to learn how to do this, but I find that freezing as much as possible and then stocking up on the canned or jarred foods that we use regularly is much easier.
Depending on how prepared you'd like to be, it may be worth it to you to learn how to can. Canned and jarred goods will become a necessity, if the power is out.
Fermented food is great all the time and it's a great way to add to your preparations. You can ferment any kind of vegetable. I love to make homemade sauerkraut, pickles, pickled carrots, pickled radish, pickled red onion, etc.
If you figure out that canning business, you can easily can these items and store for years!
Depending on what type of diet your family eats, dry goods are another item that stores easily and for a long period of time. I like to keep beef jerky on hand, my favorite brand is Old Santa Fe Trail. This brand is the cleanest I've found in terms of commercial dried meats.
Every once in a while we will eat rice or beans so I also keep those on hand. I also keep lots of spices and extras of things we go through a lot of like salt and garlic powder.
I keep all of my dry baking ingredients in stock with backups - coconut flour, almond flour, almond meal, monk fruit, erythritol, flax meal, baking powder, glucomannan powder, baking soda, et. So I always have stuff on hand when the sweet tooth hits. I buy a lot of these items in bulk from Amazon, I really like Anthony's Goods brand.
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Household items were probably the most surprising to me when folks started to panic buy during the 2020 pandemic. I mean, doesn't everyone keep six months of toilet paper on hand at all times? I subscribe and save that shit in bulk to get the best price and I have for years!
I keep extras of all our paper goods like paper towels, sandwich bags, freezer bags, food storage bags, plastic wrap, freezer paper, tin foil, parchment paper, turkey bags, etc. at all times. When I take one out of the pantry and open it, I add it to the grocery list for our weekly shop. That way I always have one in use and at least one extra.
The same goes for all cleaning supplies, laundry detergent, dryer sheets, dish soap, dish washing detergent, etc. and personal care items like toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, etc.
This method keeps us in stock and is cost-effective so we're never forced to pay full price for anything or stock up on a bunch of items at once.
Oh! Don't forget to keep extra light bulbs and batteries on-hand. I keep AA, AAA, C, and D-cells on hand. I buy them in bulk on Amazon around the holidays every year and they last forever.
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Store and Source Water
Water is probably the most important nutrient we should always make sure we have on hand. You'll need to decide how prepared you want to be when it comes to water. Things would have to get really bad for the public waterworks to stop working, but it is a possibility.
I'm big into keeping fish so we have an additional 365 gallons of aquarium water that we could sanitize if things really got bad. But don't forget about the places where drinking water hides in your home. Did you know that you can get around 40 gallons of water out of your water heater if things got crazy? No one really wants to think about drinking toilet water, but it is also drinkable and each toilet holds about 3 gallons. You can even get a few gallons out of the pipes in your house.
Raise and Grow Your Own Food
I love to get my hands in the soil! Growing your own garden is so therapeutic and there's nothing more satisfying than harvesting produce you grew yourself! I have a few raised beds in our backyard and I am fortunate enough to be able to grow year-round here in Phoenix.
Even if you don't have a backyard, you can always grow in containers indoors. I've always got something growing inside on my kitchen countertop. If gardening is intimidating, start with an indoor herb garden!
Bug Out or Bug In?
Lots of folks seem to think that prepping includes a meeting place and preparing to run when there's a disaster. But this is actually not the best strategy. It's important to get to a safe place for you and your family and have supplies on hand. But there's no safer place than your home! So, unless your home is compromised, it's important to have a plan to hunker down and stay at home.
Talk with the adults in your family and make sure you have a back up plan if your home is compromised, but also plan to stay safe at home if something happens.
Alrighty, these are 9 Disaster Prepping Tips and Tricks for stocking up without breaking the bank and making sure you are prepared! I haven't covered everything, not even close so if you have additional tips, tell me about them in the comments!