There are so many different ways to prepare your home for emergencies. The level of prepping that you do can depend on where you live, how many are in your home, what you are prepping for, etc. Some people only want to prepare for emergencies. Others want to prepare for economic issues like inflation or political issues that could cause riots in their hometowns. Those that are living in tornado alley are probably more apt to prepare for a tornado than those living in the Northeast. For that reason, I’ve gone through many different methods and ways to prepare our home. During certain times, I work to get as much on hand as possible. Other times, I’m just working to maintain a status quo. The last round that I did was to just make sure we are maintenance prepping.
Step 1: Inventory
The first step of this method is only required when you have inventory on hand. If you are someone who has not started prepping whatsoever you can skip on ahead of this part of the article. For those that have started prepping the first step is going to be going through your inventory. A lot of people refer to this as short term and long term inventory. I like to include everything that I have in this activity for the purpose of making sure the product isn’t expiring and going to waste. There are a couple ways to do this:
Some people keep a running list. When they buy something that they are going to put into storage they add it to a tracker first. For most, this is a spreadsheet that they keep of all of their inventory. This is nice because it keeps everything up to date so you know what you have. This method will also alert you if something is coming up for expiration. That is an easier way to make sure that it gets used next. However, it makes putting away your groceries a little longer and can be hard to remember to do.
The other way is to take inventory monthly or bi-monthly (or however often you get to it). Basically, you’ll want to go through your inventory before you buy things. As someone who purchases through Azure, we get groceries monthly. (Side note, we do buy fresh products more often than that just in case you wondered). That means each month or every other month I’ll go through my inventory to see what we have and what is expiring.
Step 2: Making A Shopping List
From these lists we can move to the next part of the process. We are going to move to our working pantries and kitchens. The process itself is fairly easy. You are going to go through each item in your pantry, cupboards, fridge, etc to make sure that you have a backup on hand.
If you haven’t started prepping, you are just going to write down everything that you have on hand. Whatever you write down is your shopping list. So easy, right?
If you have started prepping you’ll want to take the list from the last step and verify you have it on hand. I keep two pieces of paper- one from the list that I made of inventory and one as a list that I need to purchase. I’ll jot down anything that we don’t have backups of and add it to my Azure cart later. Honestly, I usually just use the Azure website. I keep it open and just added to the cart as I go along and that is also pretty easy. Plus, all my shopping is done then and I can put it behind me.
There are some really clear reasons that I like maintenance prepping this way.
First, and foremost, it is a good way to make sure that you are only buying things that you will use. A lot of people think that prepping is getting buckets and bags of beans and rice on hand. Well, if you never eat rice and beans then it’s just not practical to keep that on hand. The risk of prepping is that you are essentially preparing for something that may or may not happen. That means if it doesn’t happen you also want to make sure that your money is not wasted. The best way to do that is to make sure the bulk of what you are buying can be used no matter what. Making a list based on your working pantry means you are basing off of things that are already in use.
Second, it helps to make sure product doesn’t go to waste. It can be hard to keep track of things that are expiring or even remember what you have on hand. I tend to just grab an extra of things often while I’m at the store. This is a great way to get a lot on hand without much effort but by doing inventory I might suddenly realize I have 50 lbs of noodles on hand and start planning more pasta dinners to get some of that used up so it doesn’t expire.
Third, it keeps the cost down. Let’s face it, food is not cheap. I’ve created a method to get one, three, or six months of food on hand quickly. The bill on those purchases will most likely be a mortgage payment anymore. This is a lower cost option. It can help get some extras on hand without blowing your budget.
The biggest drawback that I see is that this is pretty short term planning. Having one back up ranch dressing might only get us a couple weeks in the summer. In the winter, it might get us a couple of months. Conversely, if I’m just getting one back up of liquid aminos we’ll probably get through a year on that. In my opinion, this is a better way to get started if you are just looking to start small and not spend a ton of money.
In Summary: Maintenance Prepping
If you are still nervous about prepping or unsure of where to start this is also a great method for you. On the contrary, even if you have a large inventory this is a way you can make sure that you are using up the food you have. It also helps you verify that you do have backups vs. relying on your memory to tell you that you have enough. As I mentioned, I’ve done several methods of prepping and I can honestly say this is the quickest and easiest way to get some extras on hand in your home. Please don’t wait until the emergency hits to get started! Inflation isn’t going down, save yourself some cost and stock up today!