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March 26, 2014
Totally Ready for Anything
Stocking Your General Store
by Carolyn Nicolaysen

Now that you have completed a list of foods to store, kept track of your spending and marked all the items that you do not completely consume when you open it, you are ready to start shopping and stocking your General Store.

Establish a Budget

You may want to begin with $100 investment and then move on to $10 per week or whatever works for your family. Maybe even think food when you get that tax return, birthday money or yearly bonus.

The most important part of the plan is to be consistent. Slow and steady does win the race. Once you have a budget established, don't allow yourself to be tempted into spending it on something else. Remember during a time of crisis you can't eat that something else.

As you purchase storage each week, you may find there are not enough items on sale and you have money that you have not spent. Put it aside and spend it some week when several of the items you need are all on sale.

Decide What You Want to Store

You should have decide as a family what meals and desserts are your family favorites. Now you will naturally gravitate to those ingredients that are your family favorites as you shop to stock your own General Store. Again I remind you, don’t ignore desserts.

If for example, your favorite desserts were: chocolate chip cookies, brownies, German chocolate cake, cherry pie and pudding, you could use the same ingredients to make many other desserts. You could make: Brownies with chocolate chips, brownies with coconut pecan frosting, brownies with butterscotch sauce, chocolate cake with cherry filling, chocolate cakes with chocolate pudding filling, chocolate chip cookies with pecans, oatmeal (oatmeal from your breakfast menu) cookies with chocolate chips, pecan pie, and think of the pies using pudding, chocolate, chocolate/butterscotch, butterscotch, banana, coconut with coconut sprinkled on top, and the list goes on and on.

Non-Food Items

Now you will want to make a list of the non-food items you use daily, weekly or monthly. Beginning with the list of items you should have dated will give you a good basic list. Anything you use that is not used up at the same time it is opened should have been dated.

As you finish an item you have dated, note how long it took you to use that product. Remember you are not just looking at food items. I would not want to be without TP, headache meds or toothpaste. If it took one week to use a tube of toothpaste you know you will need 12 tubes for a three-month supply.

Once you have a good idea, after about a month, how much of these items you will need to purchase, you will be ready to add non-food items to your grocery list each week.

Medications

Over-the-counter medications are also an important part of a complete storage program. Now is the time to empty all of the outdated items from your medicine cabinets. Throw out anything that is more than a year past the expiration date if it is a liquid. If the medication is a tablet it will be good for at least two years past the expiration date. After this date it will be less effective but is still safe to use.

Now you can make a list of items you need to replace. Add all the medications you want to keep on hand to your inventory list. If you already have an item record the amount you have on your inventory list. If you need to purchase an item, add it to the list of items you are waiting to go on sale.

Water

We have talked about food and other necessities, but we have yet to talk about the most important item — water. Check your home for places to store and also for ways to store water. Save your old bleach bottles as you finish using the bleach. Fill them with water.

If you have empty canning jars, fill them with water. When using canning jars, you may use previously used lids. Turn the lid upside down so the metal part of the lid is touching the glass. If the gasket is touching the glass, it may mold. There is no need to can the water, but if you want to preserve it indefinitely it can be canned in a water bath canner using new lids.

The need for liquids is even more important to survival than the need for food. Today as you think about this part of food storage, add juices and water to your inventory list. Fruit juices that are 100% juice will count not only as water but also as a fruit in your storage plan. Only juices that are 100% juice count for both.

The necessity for water is another reason it is important to store canned foods. Liquid from canned green beans can be used to cook pasta. The juice from canned fruits can be used to cook oatmeal or cream of wheat.

The need for adequate water or fluids, every day, is also the reason I do not like dehydrated or freeze-dried foods except in very small amounts. They need to be reconstituted, and if they are not completely reconstituted before they are consumed they will cause dehydration.

Many of us get our water from sources far from our homes. These can be interrupted by a natural disaster hundreds of miles away. Prepare to store water.

Don't Forget Your Pets

Pets are important members of the family. Go through the same process you have for determining the amount of food and other items you need for your family. Consider food, treats, medications and water needs and add them to your inventory.

Next time…How to buy Food Without Breaking the Bank.

Be sure to check out Carolyn’s Facebook page for preparedness tips. Develop a personal preparedness binder by subscribing to the Totally Ready Newsletter. Contact Carolyn at: Carolyn@TotallyReady.com


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