NOTE: This post introduces a new series I hope you’ll like, “The Top 10”. In coming weeks, we’ll have all sorts of Top 10 lists for you, from the worst prepper ideas to ways to improve your security if you live in an urban area. Look for this series to cover some really fascinating topics in the coming weeks and months.
Recently I was feeling a strong urge to stock up on food and recheck my preps. I don’t know if it’s that winter is coming, all the unrest in the news, the poor economic outlook, or perhaps something else. Maybe I was just trying to feel in control of our family’s crazy schedule this semester. I call it a prepper-nesting urge.
Whatever the reason, I had to do something about it. I did a quick inventory of food, sanitation, and first aid to see what we were obviously missing, made an inventory prep list, and headed to the stores.
Here’s what I was short on and why they’re important prep items for our family. Check out my list and see if some of these items should be on your own shopping list for this week and always keep some kind of inventory so you, too, will know when you’re running low on an important item.
Many of my food storage dinners require some combination of rice, beans, and tomatoes. They’re very versatile whether you’re making an Italian flavored dish, a Mexican flavored dish, or chili. They’re also a great source of Vitamin C. In fact, my can of tomatoes say the Vitamin C is 20% and only 2-15% on my canned fruits! This is also the time of year when many people can their own tomato sauce, salsa, or stewed tomatoes, and I’m planning on doing some of that as well. Here is more information about why stocking up on tomatoes is a very good thing.
We use white vinegar in a lot of our household cleaning, including as a fabric softer. You can use it to preserve foods, too. Quick pickled red onion slices made with white vinegar add a nice crunch to tacos and sandwiches. Apple cider vinegar can be used in cooking to give depth of flavor, but is even more useful as a natural cold remedy, and it can be used for your skin and hair. Anything that has multiple sanitation and hygiene uses is definitely something I want to keep stocked.
I enjoy a good cup of coffee in the morning. My husband feels even stronger about this “necessity.” After a sleepless night with the kids, we both find the caffeine essential. Something that’s both a comforting daily ritual and contributes to alertness would be important to us in a time of crisis. Add a French press to your preps and you’ll be able to make really delicious coffee by just adding boiling water.
I count on our chickens to feed us, both in fresh eggs and as a back-up for fresh meat. So if for any reason I was unable to get feed for them, I would definitely want to have extra on hand. I also picked up some wood chips, which is what I use in the nest boxes and what I would use if I had to bring them inside for some reason. I wrote about how we care for our chicks in this article, if you’d like to read more on this topic.
We do still have a child in diapers, at least part-time, and it would not be unusual for a newly potty-trained youngster to regress in a time of family stress. But baby wipes are also useful for adult hygiene, particularly when good water is in short supply. Power outages and natural disasters can also bring to a quick halt the ease of showering and bathing. Baby wipes are a must-have, but if you plan on storing them for more than just a couple of months, use a Food Saver to vacuum seal the packages inside a Food Saver bag. I’ve found some brands are not air-tight and allow the wipes to dry out, even when unopened.
We have a variety of natural pain options, such as essential oils. But in an emergency, quick pain relief for headaches, sore muscles or even a toothache would be very important. This is a more important prep than most people realize because pain can affect our reaction times, stamina, alertness, and emotional health. It’s an important prep that many people overlook.
There are lots of recommended antiseptics out there. But hydrogen peroxide is very cheap, and I can use it on people and animals. In fact, I’ve used it on my kids, my chickens, and my cat this year. Which is why I needed more.
Good dental hygiene is important even in great economic times, but critical prevention measures in times of economic challenges or long term SHTF scenarios. For good measure, I also picked up extra toothpaste and floss. Preparing for a long-term emergency requires plans and supplies when it comes to dental health and issues. This article provides a lot more details and a list of what to have on hand.
Burns are very common injuries when you’re trying to heat and cook without electricity. As my husband found out at work recently, a bad burn to the fingers or hand is quite debilitating. Having plenty of burn cream on hand can ease suffering and directly contribute to everyone’s ability to pitch in when you need them most. In a long-term power outage, the use of candles and other open-flame light and heat sources would become more common, making burn cream and the knowledge of how to treat burns even more important.
We have multiple propane tanks that we use not only for our grill but also for our propane heater. In fact, just a few years ago, we (safely) made use of this heater during a blizzard when the power went out for several days, and our propane grill has a burner on the side, making a quick and easy way to boil water for drinking, cooking, bathing, or washing. So I always feel better that we’ll likely have hot food, baths, and clean clothes in a short-term emergency if we have enough propane on hand. As this article explains, propane is a very safe fuel to store.
After making this list and double checking it the next day, I went to Walmart, Fleet Farm, and my grocery store and purchased some of each item. Not 6 months worth or 2 years worth, but just something in each category. As I was walking out of the stores after my purchases, I felt a huge sense of peace and relief!
In addition, I plan to save this list as a quick reference for a last-minute trip to the store during a real emergency. It’s probably not a bad representation of things we use a lot and are likely to need to refresh often.
So if you’re feeling stuck in your prepping, or slightly panicked like me, or you just need a quick way to make some preparedness progress, this list may get you going and trigger additional items for your own preppers shopping list.