Today I want to get you thinking specifically about what you would do if you couldn't go to the store for 3 mths. For example, let's pretend that there is a pandemic of some sort and you and your family are quarantined in your home, like the rest of your neighbors. Get a notebook and pen and walk into each room.
-What foods does your family eat the most? cereal, ramens, oatmeal,pasta, pb&J, tuna or honey sandwiches, canned foods, mac and cheese, etc. Think of breakfast, lunch and dinner meals that you eat frequently. We use chicken for a lot of meals and also cheese and bread, and the kids could live on cereal if I let them. Include any spices you use frequently on your list, oils, condiments, desserts even. What about items like paper towells ($.50 at Harmons this week)and kitchen cleaner, or bleach wipes(best price at Cosco)- whatever you clean up messes with.
-Once you establish what you eat regularly, figure out how much of it you eat. One can of tuna can make me and my kids lunch, but if I plan on my husband as well, we will plan on 2 cans. Estimate how much bread you go through, how far you can make things spread, etc.
-Now look in your storage and see if you have enough to keep your family fed for 3 mths time. If not make a list of what you need to add to your storage to make those numbers a reality. They may not be a grand variety, but they will take care of your needs. You can freeze most items like bread, cheese(2 lbs for $3.99 at Albertsons), milk and meat(chicken $1.89lb boneless/skinless at Smiths). Or you can plan on making your bread from scratch and mixing up powdered milk. Just make sure you have all of the ingredients to make bread if that is the case. The one thing that is really hard to store would be fresh fruit and produce, so make sure you have plenty in your freezer or canned in the pantry. We will have fun with gardening soon- if you were quarantined to your homes you would still be able to go into your backyard and have access to your garden- as long as you stayed 20 ft away from other neighbors. In some homes the yards are so close that this isn't possible.
Next, take your list to...
-Write down what is in your shower or on your tub, in your drawers and cupboard right now. Do you have enough shampoo, body wash, hand sanitizer, hand soap, toilet paper, body soap, shavers, deodorant, face wash, toothpaste, extra toothbrushes, lotion, plus any medication that you may take. Food is essential but many of these items, though pleasant, may not be as important. *We could use regular soap for our faces, have dry skin and hairy legs--but it is important to have the basics such as soap and sanitizer in a great supply. Please at least get toilet paper!
Laundry room: Do you have enough supplies to wash your clothes and keep your home sanitized? I keep items like bleach, laundry detergent, toilet cleaner, bleach wipes, and other cleaning supplies in this room. *These items would be essential for keeping a sanitary home. Please at least get toilet paper! I would focus on bleach especially if you have only one container. Bleach wipes to me are the best to have on hand. If you have ever potty trained a child, these are a lifesaver:)
Next to my laundry room is...
The medicine cupboard. Make sure you not only have your current medications, but vitamins since you may not be getting as much vitamins with this adjusted diet. Also include any bandaids, your first aid kit, tylenol for children as well as adults. You will need a thermometer as well to monitor the health of your family.
-Do you have garbage bags for all of the trash that will build up?
-Do you have enough food for your pet?
-What about duct tape? We all know duct tape can be used for everything and it may come in handy:) I will go into details later, but duct tape would be essential in creating an isolation room if a family member got sick.
-My baby would need a supply of diapers, wipes and cream.
-I can't think of anything that is overly essential that we keep in our rooms. If we wondered what we would do for entertainment for 3 mths in our home, maybe you could make a list of ideas. Yes, the tv will still work, you can read, play games, play with toys, the computer---just don't leave the house. Think of how busy facebook would be if we were all home:) I think I would get a little stir crazy but I am the kind that would be satisfied most days hanging out at home and avoiding stores and playlands.
Now you should have a list that is probably pretty long and no doubt overwhelming. Take a colored pen and check those that are essential and label others less important, and maybe some others are not necessary at all. First work on purchasing those that are the most important on your list, then take it from there.
I am not suggesting that we go into debt to get all of these supplies! I know I want to go out and get it all so I can relax BUT it is something that we should focus on, not obsess and go into debt. I think we could all think of a few things that we buy that aren't that essential. I could have skipped Cafe Rio yesterday and bought a few gallons of bleach:)
“You do not need to go into debt to obtain a year’s supply. Plan to build up your food supply just as you would a savings account. Save a little for storage each paycheck. Can or bottle fruit and vegetables from our gardens and orchards. Learn how to preserve food through drying and possibly freezing. Make your storage a part of your budget. Store seeds and have sufficient tools on hand to do the job. If you are saving and planning for a second car or a television set or some item which merely adds to your comfort or pleasure, you may need to change your priorities. We urge you to do this prayerfully and do it now. I speak with a feeling of great urgency.” -Ezra Taft Benson