Wednesday, January 22, 2014


Be Prepared – Part 3

First an update on last week’s post…I only picked up one extra pack of water, so I still need to get at least one more 24 pack of water for our drinking water. I’ll take care of that this week. I also picked up some 4-packs of tuna since it was on sale. We now have 4 cans in storage for an emergency. I also picked up some paper goods, which is something I’ll cover today.

As I said at the beginning of this series, I’m not necessarily preparing for the breakdown of society or a long term siege. I will store as much as I can…but I don’t have a lot of storage space at my home. So my purpose in emergency preparation is for the possibility of sudden illness or injury, or unexpected severe winter weather, and we find we’re out of certain items and cannot make it to the store. In my opinion, those are the most likely occurrences my family might face.

Along with food and water, I like to make certain I have plenty of paper goods and sundry items on hand. I have been in the position of the flu hitting our family and we’re down to half a box of tissues. I don’t like it when other people go to the grocery store sick, and I don’t like to go the grocery store sick. So I now work very hard at making certain we don’t run out of those types of items.

This week at the store I was able to pick up several items to put into my storage closet along with my stored food. I picked up an 8-pack of paper towels (on sale for $6), some handi-wipes, and a package of 80 plastic 9-ounce cups (total cost was just under $10). I also had extra tissues, so I stuck one box in there as well. Most of these items may not be necessary for an illness, but if we are stuck at our home due to a weather (or other) emergency and need to start using our stored water, I do not want to waste the water washing dishes. Therefore, I like to have plenty of paper plates, etc., just in case. I also like the idea of using handi-wipes for cleaning up rather than using water all the time for washing.

The easiest way I have found to make sure I have plenty of paper goods on hand is to put it on my shopping list as soon as I open the last pack. For example, if I open the last pack of paper plates, I put it on the list and buy it next time I’m at the store. At least I know I will not run out if I can’t make it to the store for more. This is what I do for pretty much all my sundry items and toiletries such as soap and toothpaste, over-the-counter meds, and paper goods. When I start a new bottle of laundry detergent, I put it on the list and buy it next time at the store. Same for anything in the medicine cabinet like ibuprofen.

There are only a few exceptions to opening one/buying one for me. I always pick up a pack of toilet paper when it’s on sale, whether we have one or five packs. Usually I have two or three packs in my laundry room, but I am of the opinion you can never have too much T.P. J  Another exception is cold medicines. If you don’t use over-the-counter cold/flu medicines, fine, but we do. So in the fall I check what’s in my medicine cabinet. If we have unopened cold/flu medicine from the previous season that won’t expire before the following spring, I’m good. Otherwise, I always buy a new bottle of cold/flu medicine in the fall before cold and flu season hits. Like I said, one of the emergencies I am preparing for is a sudden illness, so I want to have the medicine at the house when I need it. If you use over-the-counter medicines or herbal medicines or home remedies for colds and flu, you might consider making sure you have everything on hand BEFORE you need it.

Those are the major non-food items I worry about. Along with that, it is also a good idea to make sure you have any prescriptions you may need, along with a good first aid kit with any over-the-counter items you like. Be sure to check them at least once a year and get rid of the expired medicines. Otherwise, it would be wise to be sure to have the items normally mentioned regarding emergency preparedness, such as: extra batteries and flashlights, radio or weather radio, extra blankets in case of power outage in the winter. You can check either your state emergency preparedness website or the U.S. government emergency preparedness website for more ideas.

Next time I’ll talk about what foods I like to store.


  1. After the tornadoes came through our area in the spring of 2011, and wiped out the power grid for almost the whole of North Alabama, we had a true appreciation for being prepared. Because we live in an RV we're limited in what and how much we can store, but we do take care to keep some things (water, gasoline, paper products, etc) rotated and fully supplied, just in case. We keep a pretty hefty generator (and a smaller one for the well), so we were very lucky. We were without power for nearly eight days! :)

  2. Good for you for making this effort. I'm sure you have quilts for warmth, too! I also have a propane heater and some bottles of propane, in case electricity goes out in the winter.

    I have a 4-shelf thing in the garage that I like to keep stocked with food. I have about 3 months supply there and rotate it. I store what I'd eat anyway, so that's easy. I've had as many as 10 jars of peanut butter, but I think there are only 6 or 7 there now. I also store the tp, tissues and paper towels, as well as laundry and dish soaps.

    I put things on my list when I open the next-to-last of something. My husband started that, and it keeps me from ever being surprised by going down and uh-oh, there isn't one. In addition, under the stairs I have a few bulkier items, like sugar and oatmeal and flour, etc. Always something to make a treat, too. Nothing cheers one up like having a sweet treat. =)

    My small storage amounts have helped me through many a financial skimping time, so I always replenish as soon as I can. I try to spend 10% of my grocery budget on storage items, adding new things when I have enough of something for a while.

  3. We have a propane stove, plus we have the propane in the trailer if we're in a pinch. I really wish I had more space to store more food. I guess if I turned my daughter's bedroom into a storage room! I'm really trying to get back to a better place as far as preparation for emergencies. Writing this is helping me feel more accountable.