Recent times have called for us all to take stock of our lives, let alone our cupboards. With the arrival of the pandemic along with a fair measure of political unrest and extreme weather, many of us are planning ahead when it comes to food supplies for the coming months. With the ongoing threat of local and national shortages, many are choosing to stockpile in readiness.
The concept of ‘prepping’ is actually nothing new. Setting aside long-life and non-perishable items in case of an emergency is a wise choice both practically and emotionally. Knowing you have plentiful reserves to rely upon will lessen your stress and anxiety. This in itself will make every effort worth its while.
Here is your 7 step guide to successful stockpiling suitable for every ‘prepper’ experience level…
1 – Know who you’re feeding. Let’s start with the basics. Do you have a young baby to think of, or a family member with specific dietary requirements? Work out your typical food usage per meal when you’re all at home. Then multiply this to work out how much food you would need if you were all at home together for a specific period of time. Use this data to guide you in terms of quantity need, adding a little measure extra to be on the safe side.
2 – Clear space for storage. An emergency food stockpile will need more space than your usual groceries would. Work out where you could store multiples of products along with bulk-buy items. This could be a great time to reshuffle your kitchen or declutter that cupboard under the stairs. If you’re currently in lockdown, use the extra time to your advantage. You could even store excess items in the bottom of closets or in seal-tight boxes within an outside space.
3 – Identify what you have. Part of being a good prepper is learning to repurpose. Those cans you never find time for could be used in a new recipe. The bag of seeds you bought but forgot about could be baked in a cake. Challenge yourself to find new culinary uses for what you already have to fully benefit from your emergency stockpile going forwards. Pull the items going out of date first to the front. Don’t forget to include supplies for other areas of the house. These might include toiletries, cleaning materials, pet foods, and medical kit items.
4 – Create a long term list. It might be tempting to head out and buy everything on your stockpiling list immediately, but hold your horses for now. Shop wisely and fairly by spreading out the process in order to benefit from temporary sales and 2-4-1 deals while leaving enough for other shoppers. Create a list and keep a sharp eye out for deals each time you head to the supermarket. Update the list as you progress to keep your supplies in shape. Just don’t fall for the false economy of buying cheap bargain items you likely won’t end up consuming.
5 – Prioritise non-perishable items. Consider what items you usually buy that could be swapped for long-life or non-perishable items. Fresh vegetables can be chopped and frozen or simply buy them in bulk already frozen. Milk can be frozen or swapped for long-life versions. Beans and pulses can be bought dried or canned. Base items like flour, seeds, nuts, seasonings, and condiments can all be stored in handy sealed containers. This is where some strong weekly meal-planning will come in handy!
6 – Plan for every eventuality. The golden rule of prep is readiness for anything and everything that might come up. If you temporarily lose electricity, you’re going to need a supply of candles and matches along with foods you can cook without a need for appliances. Peanut butter, marmite and honey can be spread on crackers. Tinned tuna can be mixed with canned beans, seasoning and a splash of olive oil for a healthy option. Dried fruit is great snack option until the lights come back on. You might want to store some containers of drinking water also, depending on your location and typical water supply.
7 – Don’t panic. The real beauty of emergency food stockpiling (besides the sheer satisfaction of seeing it all neatly stored away) is the reassuring knowledge you have done something significant to protect and nurture your family. You can sleep well at night knowing you have done what’s needed to ensure that food is not going to be a worry while there is so much else to consider. Recognise that you are safe and in control despite what the news might be scaremongering you with. You’ve got this, both now and in the future.
Whether you are a seasoned prepper or a curious beginner, you are now prepared to take positive action that will serve you well in the upcoming future. Involve your family members to make some fun memories together. You might surprise yourself at the recipes you discover along the way and the items you never knew you would love.
We do not have any control over what the future holds which can be overwhelming when there is so much happening. Future uncertainty is at an all time high right now. But you have the individual power to make a positive difference to your levels of anxiety and the happiness of your home. The tips within this article will help you achieve this now and long beyond lockdown.
Most of all—don’t get caught up in worrying about the ‘right’ way of doing things. Get to know what products and practices work best for you and those you share your home with. You will naturally discover your own stockpiling rhythm. The world is not so scary despite what your social media feed might be telling you. But there really is no place like home, after all.