During a crisis, there are no “do-overs.” You need to prepare now. You need to prepare well. Make a crisis bearable by not making these thoughtless mistakes.
1. Got water?
This might be the first thing you think of storing, but do you have enough? The suggested amount to store is one gallon per person, per day. Think about that and how much your family uses. Think sanitation, dehydration, cleaning, medical emergencies, etc. Would storing that amount of water be practical for you and your family?
You may also want to invest in water purification tablets if you live near lakes and streams. They will come in handy if you find yourself needing more water in a disaster situation.
2. Storing and forgetting
Don’t think that you can store a massive amount of food and then forget about it. Everything has expiration dates. They may be a few weeks or months (or even years), but they’re there.
Ideally, you should be rotating your food supply. A good way to keep track is to have a tracking system. The tracking system should be one that is easy and convenient for you. It could be the good old pen and notebook or could be done electronically. The point being that you will be looking at it regularly.
3. Storing foods you don’t eat
Seriously, think about that one. If you can’t stand wheat now, what makes you think you’re going to like it if it’s the only thing you have during a crisis? If you’re really honest with yourself, you know you won’t. You’ll hate yourself for it. Take inventory of what you and your family currently like to eat. Include the condiments and/or spices. Begin storing those items.
And make sure you’re storing a variety of foods. You may love a certain food now, but will you love it when you’re forced to eat it day in and day out?
4.Forgetting about nutrients
Besides storing a variety of foods, you want to think about nutrients.
You don’t want to be in the middle of a crisis and realize that you’re becoming deficient in a certain vitamin or mineral. When considering what foods to store, think about nutrient values. You want to eat foods you like and that will provide a balanced diet. A good multivitamin will help supplement, but you don’t want to depend solely on that.
5. Storing foods you don’t know how to cook
This is a great time to try out new foods. If you’ve never had a certain food, you want to try it out before storing it. A crisis is not the time to find out that a food substitute you’re using is not working out. A crisis is also not the time to experiment.
Trying out new foods while you can is a good way to gauge if your family will be OK with it during a crisis. If everyone hates the new food, don’t store it. Common sense.
6. Storing foods improperly
Yes, there’s a right way and a wrong way to store food. You want to make sure that the containers you’re using are made for storing food. Plastic buckets should have a lining that’s food grade plastic. Containers should be air-tight and moisture proof. They should also be kept in a dark, cool place.
Don’t store food in trash can liners unless you want to eat pesticides. You also want to make sure that the container you used did not hold toxic chemicals beforehand. Those chemicals stay there no matter how well you wash it.
Also, store food in manageable sizes. Yes, you’re buying bulk but that doesn’t mean you have to store it that way. Break down your stash into meal sizes for the family. That way, you take what you’re going to use in the moment and leave the rest untouched.
7. Not practicing or doing a “fire drill”
This part is invaluable. The only way to be sure that you’re going to survive a crisis with your sanity intact is to do a dry run. Everyone needs to be onboard, though. Store a week’s worth of supply of food and water for the family.
Pretend a crisis is going on and see how well the food supply goes. You’ll be able to assess what you can do with and without.
Don’t get caught off guard. Being stressed and under pressure will not help you make the right decisions you need to make. Plan strategically before a crisis hits. The purpose of being prepared is to make a crisis manageable while keeping your sanity.
What food storage mistakes would you add to the list? Share them in the section below: