We all know the importance of storing basics – food, water, weapons. But it is the little things that will not only keep us physically alive, but mentally sane as well. Don’t overlook those things that help relieve stress and keep a sense of normalcy even among the chaos.
Craving. You know the one. Sitting at your keyboard wishing for a milkshake, watching TV craving some cake, waking up in the morning yearning for chocolate. These are easy to fulfill in this world of ours, sometimes to our disadvantage. But the reason that we crave these things is they have a powerful ability to relieve stress, make us feel good, and help life be a little more enjoyable. If we need that now, how much more will we need it if the world as we know it now were to end?
However, these things are not just going to mean a short trip to the nearest gas station or fast food joint in the future. Have you ever tried to make candy from scratch? It takes some practice, that’s for sure. With that being the case, make sure to keep some of your favorite sweets on hand in your food storage. And of course, lots of sugar.
Don’t forget the kids either, and have some fun candy stored up that they will enjoy too. Hard candy and gum will store the best and have the longest shelf life. My great grandparents gave us candy from their giant stash that I am sure had been there for 10+ years. Cocoa powder stores as well as flour and can help you solve that chocolate fix with no-bake cookies, hot cocoa, and chocolate cake without too much trouble. But do store some more perishable items like candy bars and chocolate chips too – just be sure to rotate them (as if that would be a challenge).
What is able to turn a pile of boring cooked cabbage into a mini-feast? For me, it is a good dose of garlic salt sprinkled on generously. Spices are, well, the spice of life. They add almost infinite variety and flavor to your foods so that you can have veggies from the garden every night and have a different experience each time.
In addition to their importance to our palate, spices are a wealth of minerals and antioxidants crucial to getting the most out of our food. They can boost your mood and improve your health . So why don’t we hear more about storing them?
For one thing, spices lose their flavor over time. Most culinary experts recommend using or tossing dried herbs and spices within 6 months to a year. So what is a long term storage buff to do? First of all, make sure you are growing many of your herbs and spices yourself. There is nothing better than fresh-off-the-plant herbs for gourmet cooking every day. Secondly, ensure that you are following good food storage guidelines so that you get the most out of what you do buy.
We tend to take for granted our ability to flick on the TV, go rent a video, or take in a game at the local sporting event. Play is much more than a luxury. It helps us build connections, revitalizes our minds, and relieves stress. After a long day of labor we all need a way to unwind.
● Games – invest in a wide variety of board and card games. Not only will these be a lifesaver if we are all suddenly forced off grid in a major way, you may find they are a great way to make your family more cooperative and keep the kids away from the TV and video game console now.
● Musical Instruments – if any members of your family are musically inclined, make sure to foster that now. Have a good library of music, purchase musical instruments, and also have the necessary items to keep these in top shape.
● Books – With the e-book craze sweeping the nation sometimes we forget the value of a physical, hold-in-your-hand, smell-the-pages book. While the library and the Internet are great tools, they may not always be available. Stock up on the classics through used book sales, and don’t forget some really good kids books with quality illustrations that can be pored over for hours of enjoyment.
● Sports Equipment – Yes, I know for most of this stuff you can make do with anything, but if you have your other bases covered (pun intended), then why not invest in some balls, bats, and netting so that you can really play?
Most basic in the smells department is … deodorant/anti-perspirant! But beyond that, don’t just stock the soap essentials. Include some sweet smelling bath salts, lavender lotion, or even some perfume. Purchase some essential oils to add a nice scent to your candles, make your own massage oil, and more. Scents are perhaps the most powerful thing we have to affect our mood.
Water is the basic liquid we all need to survive. But just having water to drink can get a bit boring. Whether for personal consumption or trade, having some other beverages will be very useful.
● Soda Pop – while having this everyday all day is terrible for your teeth and weight, having some on hand for every-so-often is a good idea. Whether it is to make an occasion more festive, help nurse someone back to health (ginger ale is great for an upset tummy for example), or even just to make life seem less drab, consider having some soda in your food stores.
● Coffee and Tea – If you are a coffee drinker, extra stores of coffee was probably one of the first things on your storage lists. But even if you do not wake up to a daily cup of joe, it is worth thinking about storing some. Sometimes you just have to stay awake, and caffeine is a good way to do just that. As for tea, not only is it calming and soothing, it can address a plethora of health and other concerns too.
● Alcohol – This one should be pretty self-explanatory. In a survival situation, not only would a good glass of wine help you relax at the end of the day, having a variety of liquor and alcoholic drinks could serve as everything from pain killers to currency.
Just because things get bad, it doesn’t mean we have to live in misery. Some forethought and planning now can help ensure at least a small degree of little comforts for your family no matter how hard things get.