Friday, November 20, 2009

Weekly Storage Items

Computer Geek and I have been watching old episodes of the TV series Jericho. Although it no longer airs on TV, we have been watching past episodes courtesy of youtube.

The show chronicles the events in a fictional town in Kansas—Jericho--after nuclear bombs have gone off in many U.S, cities. We like watching it because recent events in the news have sparked our interest in what happens after a disaster.

We all looked on (or experienced directly!) the chaos that ensued after Hurricane Katrina. People fought each other—sometimes to the death—over water, food, diapers, toilet tissue and other necessities. Grocery stores were looted and people braved the mad crowds just to obtain food for their families.

2005 New Orleans wasn’t the only scene of mass panic. Blackouts, snowstorms, floods and earthquakes also inspire the worst in humans as they converge upon stores and gas stations attempting to get their share. In the show Jericho, the panic leads to the murder of the grocery store owner.

For many years now, I have been a believer in being prepared. I certainly don’t want to encounter desperate people in the grocery store after a disaster. Hungry people make decisions they wouldn’t normally make in times of calm.

We try to keep enough food and water on hand to get us through a crisis. Ideally, we try to have a six-month supply of necessities. We hope that this will enable us to get through any disaster, including job loss, with minimal discomfort.

Because we are a one-income family we certainly can not afford to invest a lot of money into our preparedness efforts. So how do we do it?

One week at a time.

Each week, we focus on a new item on which to stock up. I have four different lists I consult, all obtained from the Internet, so that we can make sure we are not lacking in any given area. I no longer have the source of these lists, but I am certain they probably came from LDS (or Mormon) websites, since they are the experts on preparedness.

To help my readers in such an endeavor, every Friday on my sidebar I will post a new storage item of the week. If you follow this list for one year, at the end of that year you should be adequately prepared to avoid the grocery store scene during times of chaos and panic. Every time we go to the store during that week, we make sure we pick up some extras of whatever item was listed.

There are however, things you can do every week, regardless of the storage item of the week.

Each week, check the sales at your local grocery store for items that are deeply discounted. Always stock up on these items----you don’t need to wait for that item to show up on my list.

Always be concerned about stocking up on water. The other day I came home at lunch to discover that my landlord had shut off the water due to replacing a water heater in another unit. I wasn’t panicked because I knew I had water in storage if I absolutely needed some before the water got turned back on. We store water very simply in empty juice containers. (Do not use milk containers—they tend to leak over time.) I rotate them out by using the older ones to water plants.

If you use liquid laundry soap, keep the plastic container when you are through. Don’t rinse it out, but fill it with water and mark it as “Cleaning Water.” This will help you clean clothes and dishes in a pinch. [Idea obtained from a lecture I attended given by preparedness master Jim Phillips.]

Some have asked me if I feel it is unethical to have these things on hand during a time of mass need. They wonder if it is considered “hoarding.” I tell them that it is more unethical for me to be one more person at the grocery store during a time of need when I could have avoided it. Trust me, the people at the store during a panic will be grateful I am not there. They’ll be really happy if you’re not there either.

If you can afford it, by all means do a search online for a one-year storage list and go shopping right now. If you are like me, and can’t financially swing such a massive purchase, then tune in here every Friday for the storage tip of the week. Any comments you have as we go will be much appreciated!


  1. Important information Randi. Thanks for sharing those great ideas. It's really something that I need to start doing.

    I used to watch Jericho all the time. Good characters on that show.

  2. Are you my long lost twin???

    Can I just tell you that I LOVE the "cleaning water" idea. I'm having a talk with the muffin about that one.

    Also, as a certified hurricane pro, the one thing that is soooo important is knowing how to clean contaminated water. When you look at Katrina, there were people dying of thirst even though they were surrounded by water.

    So yes, keeping water handy is a fabulous idea but a gallon per person per day can go pretty quickly without a backup plan.

    P.S. You are the awesomest!!!

  3. Randi,

    My fellow friend of dance. I posted an amazing clip of a dance on my blog today. Hope you enjoy it.

  4. In the UK we are experiencing problems with flooding...especially in Cumbria. This reminds me of the need of two things. Firstly, it's important to consider WHERE to store certain things. The second is that some people are left without anything to sustain themselves and, if there is someone who is well prepared and who has excess, they are able to give.

    I'm grateful for your reminder Randi of having sufficient for myself and family, but also a little more besides for those without. If you aint got it, you can't give it!

    As an active LDS(Mormon) I think I'm reasonably well prepared...but there is always something more that can be done and this post reminds me of that fact.

    Thank you, and I look forward, as always, to your Friday posts.

  5. One thing about hurricanes (unlike some natural disasters) there are a few days warning. During the season, I save plastic jugs to fill with tap water. I buy extra groceries that don't require cooking or refrigeration. With the season about over now, I will recycle the jugs and start anew next year.

  6. septembermom: I have a Jericho question--do they ever resolve it at the end of the series, or do they just leave it hanging because they got cancelled? Thanks also for posting the Alvin Ailey dance clip on your site. They are magnificent.

    Hayden: You are so right about knowing how to purify water. Jim Phillips, who I mentioned in my post, gave an excellent seminar during which he showed us how to purify water naturally if you don't have a water purifier on hand. I'll have to dig out my notes but I think it involved white plastic buckets and gravity. (That's a lot of help, I know!) As Jim says all the time, "It's not what you HAVE that will save you, it's what you KNOW. You're right--a gallon a day does go quickly. We also have a 55 gallon drum that we keep filled.

    P.S. You're the awesomest too! :)

    Ken: Thank you for mentioning that it's important to know where to store things as well. Often I've tried to figure out the best place that won't be too low in case of flood, but not too high in case of tornado or earthquake. Do you have any suggestions along those lines?

    I also liked your point about having enough to share. I will definitely NOT be one of those people who guard my storage with a gun. If people are in need, I will share. I would hope people would do the same for me. Another point--my family doesn't have much use for sugar but it could be a good trading item when needed. So if your family doesn't like/use some things that are basics, such as sugar,salt or cooking oil--those are wonderful things to have on hand for trading for what you do need.

    Auntie M: Excellent idea. You know when hurricane season is, so you are not caught unprepared. It's so easy to store water, yet it's the number one thing people will fight over in times of need.


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