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Continue to “hoard”?


Clear it out or not?  

47 members have voted

  1. 1. Should I clear out my extra food?

    • Yes! Clear it out! Anything you need, you can find somewhere or do without for the week you can’t get it.
      19
    • No way! Keep a stock in place as things aren’t stable enough yet.
      24
    • Other
      5


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Last February, I saw the writing on the wall and started stocking up on extra food. It’s been a year now and, yes, there are still shortages in the stores from time to time.

However, in all of the past year, I’ve always managed to have enough. I might have had to pop into a different grocery store, but I always managed to get my ground turkey meat or my chicken or my tissues.  We’ve never skipped a single scheduled meal that I had planned for on grocery shopping day.

I’m tired of all this extra food I have stuffed in my cupboards and freezer. I’d like to eat through the stock without replacing it. I’d say I have 4-6 weeks’ worth of extra food on hand, depending on the food type. Six weeks’ of canned goods and 4 weeks of meats. So, for example, instead of having 12 boxes of pasta and 6 jars of spaghetti sauce, I’d like to get down to just 2 boxes and 1 jar. 

Do you think it’s safe to clear out the extra? Or will I regret it because things aren’t stable enough yet?

 

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I started eating down our pantry stash a while back and haven't regretted it. It has been easy to restock lately. The things that aren't in stock seem more random and can usually be found at the next store. Except worchestershire. Ended up with some weird brand because it was gone from EVERY STORE when dh went looking. And underwear. Hang it up finding underwear. Apparently COVID affected the Fruit of the Loom factories.

Edited by PeterPan
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4 minutes ago, PeterPan said:

I started eating down our pantry stash a while back and haven't regretted it. It has been easy to restock lately. The things that aren't in stock seem more random and can usually be found at the next store. Except worchestershire. Ended up with some weird brand because it was gone from EVERY STORE when dh went looking. And underwear. Hang it up finding underwear. Apparently COVID affected the Fruit of the Loom factories.

I noticed that when I was looking for worchestershire this week...what is that all about?!? Such a bizarre thing not to be able to find!

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We're almost done with eating down our stash so it doesn't go out of date before it's consumed.  We're stocking back up because we live on the very edge of hurricane territory and obviously 2020.

I don't donate food to food banks.  I send them money.  When they get money they can maximize it by buying in bulk and they know what they already have and need more of. I'm sure they wouldn't turn away donated food.

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1 minute ago, MrsMommy said:

I noticed that when I was looking for worchestershire this week...what is that all about?!? Such a bizarre thing not to be able to find!

I know, isn't it crazy?? LOL I should look and see if my normal brand is back. He ended up buying me Heinz, and really I have no clue if it's any good or just dilute brown stuff. 

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3 minutes ago, Hilltopmom said:

I dunno, 6 jars of spaghetti sauce doesn’t sound like hoarding to me anyways- 6 cases would be 🙂

Yeah, I just bought 12 jars, but I use one per week, which means it's three months. It was my preferred brand, which seldom goes on sale, and it was a really good sale. But for regular staples, like stuff I buy from Trader Joes, 2-4 weeks is gobs mercy. 

Ok, now I say that, and I've gone in and Trader Joes is sometimes WIPED OUT. What's going on there?? I don't know. I had things I really liked from there, like certain kinds of fish, and they were wiped out. But, you know, the world doesn't end. I go in another store, find something else, move on. 

So it's not like there's no food, but sometimes it's different food or from a different store. So I'm not worried about eating my stash down because I'm going to find SOMETHING even if it's a bit different. 

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I'm starting to clear mine out but I always do so this time of year after the risk of ice storms passes. There's a Little Free Pantry not far from me and I've started dropping off a few things each week.

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Well we are eating down some but even my normal non COVID stash appears to be much larger than yours.  I would guess my normal storage is 4-6 weeks and my COVID stash is/was more like 6 months.  While I am comfortable with smaller reserves now, I would not be willing to get down to a week's worth of food at a time.  Things are still unpredictable and as COVID has already shown us, things can change so fast.  I'll happy store extra food rather than risk running out of something right when everything is disappearing from the stores again.

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This nightmare in Texas coupled with the Polar Vortex here just made me expand my drinking water from a 6 week supply to an 8 week supply.

If it's truly driving you nuts you could take the nonperishable stuff, box it up, and stash it somewhere else.  Under a guest bed, in luggage you never use because pandemic, or anywhere else so you don't have to look at it.  Canned food is technically good until the can degrades, which may be decades.  It's still safe after it's expired, it's just the taste and nutrients slowly decline. It still has enough calories to keep you alive.  I have a second, larger pantry in my basement's utility room.  DH calls it the "Basement Store."  Someday I might do like a Mormon and really make a huge prepper pantry, and decorate it like an old fashioned general store.  But for now I have a bunch of stuff down there and it's not in the way during the week.

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Well, in non Covid times, two boxes of pasta and one jar of sauce would give me anxiety lol.  For me, 12 boxes of pasta and 6 jars of sauce is normal food storage and only lasts about a month.  If I am buying pasta, I tend to buy like 20+ in a trip and store it.   IMO that’s not a hoard, that’s smart shopping.  
 

Having said that, eating down the pantry is also a totally fine and normal thing.  If you are comfortable with only 2 boxes of pasta and a jar of sauce in normal times, there’s no reason to be uncomfortable with it now.  Even in coronapocalyse shopping last year......the food was *there*. It wasn’t always the exact right thing but the truth is that even in coronapcalypse shopping, no one was struggling to eat because food wasn’t there. (Some struggles because they couldn’t afford it but funding is different than availability). 
 

so basically if you are normally comfortable with no food stockpile, then eat eat down your stockpile.  There’s no more reason to keep it now than any other time.  

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I've started eating through mine before it expires, but I do plan to replace most of it.  I normally have a large amount of food- but I have a large family.   I buy in bulk and try to have 4-6 weeks worth of my common ingredients. 

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I've always kept a stock of regular food items in the pantry and freezer. At least 2-3 weeks worth. often longer. Because at any time, one of us could get sick (regular sickness, even before COVID), and it is helpful to have plenty of food here so we don't have to go out and potentially infect others.  I do have the room, so why not? I'm pretty good about checking expiration dates and not wasting food, but not 100% perfect. 

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I keep food storage for several reasons, but mostly because there isn’t always “writing on the wall”. And to avoid panic buying with everyone else when there is. (That’s not to say I didn’t beef things up, but I didn’t have to go nuts, either.)

So I would vote to stay stocked, but not for the options given.  But I also say that as someone who’s always had a system, so it isn’t like I have new stuff crammed in places I’m not used to. I wouldn’t like that feeling, either.

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37 minutes ago, Garga said:

I’m tired of all this extra food I have stuffed in my cupboards and freezer. I’d like to eat through the stock without replacing it. I’d say I have 4-6 weeks’ worth of extra food on hand, depending on the food type. Six weeks’ of canned goods and 4 weeks of meats. So, for example, instead of having 12 boxes of pasta and 6 jars of spaghetti sauce, I’d like to get down to just 2 boxes and 1 jar. 

These are just normal quantities of food for me to have with 4 people in the house, so I am perhaps not the person to ask. That does not seem like hoarder quantities to me! I'm currently about to lose my mind because our 2nd refrigerator broke - we have a side by side, a full sized freezer, and a (now broken) full sized fridge. We keep a lot of food in the house. 

29 minutes ago, PeterPan said:

Except worchestershire. Ended up with some weird brand because it was gone from EVERY STORE when dh went looking. And underwear. Hang it up finding underwear. Apparently COVID affected the Fruit of the Loom factories.

It's Pickapeppa sauce around here. 

And the Fruit of the Loom factories might be falling behind, but Mack Weldon at $24 a pair is readily available. Which may not be the solution you are looking for. 

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55 minutes ago, Garga said:

Last February, I saw the writing on the wall and started stocking up on extra food. It’s been a year now and, yes, there are still shortages in the stores from time to time.

However, in all of the past year, I’ve always managed to have enough. I might have had to pop into a different grocery store, but I always managed to get my ground turkey meat or my chicken or my tissues.  We’ve never skipped a single scheduled meal that I had planned for on grocery shopping day.

I’m tired of all this extra food I have stuffed in my cupboards and freezer. I’d like to eat through the stock without replacing it. I’d say I have 4-6 weeks’ worth of extra food on hand, depending on the food type. Six weeks’ of canned goods and 4 weeks of meats. So, for example, instead of having 12 boxes of pasta and 6 jars of spaghetti sauce, I’d like to get down to just 2 boxes and 1 jar. 

Do you think it’s safe to clear out the extra? Or will I regret it because things aren’t stable enough yet?

 

We JUST had a situation locally where there was no food in the grocery store. It's not 100% back to normal yet -- ie some shelves are still empty though the staples are now available. (For example I bought the LAST bag of frozen corn in the freezer section and had to make do with steamable brussel sprouts due to no fresh and no regular frozen. Most of the other frozen veggies were very absent as well.)

 

Edited by vonfirmath
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I think we are due for an April(?) wave when a mutated strain become dominant here. Not sure if that will be UK or California or Brazil, but I think it’s going to be a blip, and if you don’t like to shop during peak infections, I would keep the stash.

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Recently one of our larger grocery stores frozen vegetables was completely out. There wasn't an issue with the freezers themselves - the store was out of frozen vegetables. Some sort of distribution disruption.

Also recently, I couldn't get eggs for 2 days. I was in 2 stores one day, and one store the next, and there were no eggs. I generally keep ~2 dozen in the house (even though there are only 3 of us). I get twitchy when I am down to a dozen. 

So, there are still disruptions. I am keeping a little extra stock of everything still and probably will forever. But I don't stock enough that stuff is ever in the way. 

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I think everyone should have AT LEAST 2 weeks of supplies at home, not just for Covid, but in case of a weather related emergency, illness, or unemployment.   In the before times, I had roughly a 3 month supply. I've expanded it to 6 months, which probably seems nuts to non-preppers, and insufficient to real preppers.  

There are still people in Texas that don't have water because they can't get a plumber in or the stores don't have the right parts. FEMA has been in my town handing out water and MREs.  When the power grid failed, I used several of my emergency supplies, (even the shelf-stable milk), and I'm very glad I had them.        

Honestly, sometimes I just don't feel like driving to the store and I'm very relieved I don't have to because I have all sorts of things I can use right here at home. 

Edited by MissLemon
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Have you got a spare room?  I’d consider stocking a few non perishables in there while you eat through the old stuff then move the new stuff into the pantry after.  That way you have the benefit of getting rid of the old stuff and cleaning without the worry about running out.

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I physically shop in Sam's Club or the local grocery store.  I curbside pickup from other stores.  I have yet to shop and see all the shelves filled (whole isles are often empty), or pickup an order and not have multiple things missing without substitutions available, so I think some of this must be regional.  This is actually the time of year that I do most of my non-perishable stock shopping.  

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I am eating down my larder stuff, and increasing my fluid storage.  I've decided that I have way too little water, milk, and juice on hand for a protracted problem.  I have not tried shelf stable milk yet, but I plan to, because it sure would be good to be able to have that on hand.

But I have a pretty good larder, and the stuff I am eating down is mostly the frozen stuff.  It does not last forever, and if we have a power outage it will spoil anyway.  I'm still keeping a lot of cans, packages, and bottles.  I love the idea of putting some of it in unused luggage.  I tend to use high shelves, or basement areas.  One issue with canned goods is that they are spoiled by freezing temps, so it's important to not assume that they will necessarily last forever.

What I did during Covid was buy a little extra meat and a little extra cleaning stuff in every shopping trip (which were quite infreqent) just in case.  It's the meat I'm using up now.  

But just in general, Covid or not, I think that the older I get the more I appreciate having a bunch of stuff on hand all the time.  It saves trips to the store, and it enables me to weather a power outage better, and knowing that we could last for a while after an earthquake and also feed the neighbors is really nice.  I'm not giving up prime space for it but I do like having a supply on hand.

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Given that we just had an unusual winter storm that closed down roads and some stores for over a week, and left many bare shelves--and I had a group of unexpected house guests (who are young people with big appetitites), it isn't just COVID I am concerned about with regards to having extra items on hand.  I have been trying to rotatte through items and decide what are the really important things to have on handl.  

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I don't think a month of dried goods - that is, enough to eat ONLY the dried goods for the month, not to eat those with other things - is hoarding. I think that as long as you have the space for it it's just good sense to keep two or four weeks of food around, and also cleaning supplies and toiletries and water. Things happen that might affect your ability to get to the store - storms, shortages, natural disasters, or just plain family troubles.

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I’m on Team Stocked for the indefinite future. We bought a half steer in November and a freezer for keeping it and so much of the motive for buying those two items was because of the psychological pain of empty grocery shelves. I also have a crap-ton of bread flour and I have bought a lot of vegetable seeds. And the last time I was at Costco, there were pallets of toilet paper at the end of every aisle all the way back, so I got another big package with seven six-roll packs in it. Just in case. 

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We have enough toilet paper, isopropyl alcohol, vinegar, masks, chlorox wipes and hand sanitizers for 2-3 months.

I still shop infrequently because of the prevalence of the new strain of the virus in my area. So, I do what I did during the peak pandemic: buy a little more than what I need each time I shop. I also use up the stuff that I bought for storage in Feb and March of 2020. I am replenishing frozen veggies, dry goods and paper products that I am currently using up. I have about 10 weeks worth of storage of food. Considering that I shop every 3-4 weeks, that is reasonable.

I donated all the canned food in my stash because I will avoid eating it if I can. Instead, I am processing food and freezing (beans, tomatoes, onions, pasta sauce etc).

 

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Weirdly, not only can't I quote but I can't c+p either. Weird, weird weird.

Anyway, Quill, psychological pain is the right phrase here. It stressed me out so much to see those empty shelves, even when they were things I don't buy and don't eat, and the things I do buy were fully in stock.

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3 hours ago, Katy said:

This nightmare in Texas coupled with the Polar Vortex here just made me expand my drinking water from a 6 week supply to an 8 week supply.

How exactly do you keep that much water on hand?  Barrels?

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59 minutes ago, klmama said:

How exactly do you keep that much water on hand?  Barrels?

Wondering that as well.  I just don’t know how to store that much water.  Or even how much water that would mean. How much per person, and how do you store it?

Other than water, we are staying stocked. With seven different anaphylactic allergies in the house, we can’t just change brands or foods willy nilly.  Even something like a spice, I have to email the company to make sure there are no trace amounts of the allergens in question.

We are not as stocked up as some, we probably have 4-6 weeks of not-favorite foods on hand.  But we’d survive.

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You typically assume a gallon of water per person, per day. Usually it's recommended that you keep a three day supply in your home, though you may want to consider storing some in your primary vehicle as well.

The easiest way to do this, if you can rotate through it, is to simply buy the large jugs of bottled water at the store. Get a 5 gallon jug for each person in your home, and if you expect a disaster, fill up your bathtubs as well. Keep it in a cool, dark place - not in the sun! If you want more water, or to store it for a longer term, then you'll probably want to order a specialty container and follow their instructions.

It's a good idea to also keep on hand some iodine tablets and/or bleach if you're not worried about water supply but water purity. Those won't help with chemical contaminants, but they'll kill germs. If you're worried about non-biological contaminants then, for ordinary usage a brita filter really ought to be sufficient unless your water supply is actually very bad.

If you're very very worried about illness, then you might consider a secondary supply of pedialyte or, cheaper, oral rehydration salts. The best bet is to avoid getting a gastro-intestinal illness in the first place, so if you are under a boil water order, boil your water.

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Just a thought for anyone in a wet area -

We don’t have safe storage space for a ton of water, but we do have buckets and other containers and good water filters so that we could use nearby springs or even the lakes and rivers to supplement the amount we can store. (Or not filter for flushing.). It wouldn’t be fun, but it does mean that I don’t worry much about my limited supply at home. (And I’m obsessed with maintaining flushable toilets!)

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I started working down some of our extra canned goods and a few other non-perishables a couple of weeks ago. What I've seen in the stores over the past month has re-assured me that it's okay to go back down to my pre-pandemic level of stock. A normal level for me is 2-3 weeks of enough to eat that we wouldn't starve. That might mean a lot of PB and crackers and pouches of salmon, not necessarily 2-3 weeks of normal meals.

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2 minutes ago, Ditto said:

I did not know these existed.  Is it like "Little Free Library"?   What an amazing place if it is.

Yes, we have one in our little town.  People are really good about keeping it stocked.  

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We have started using some of our stash but I am replacing as we go.  Last year was frightening in multiple ways and the fear of not having the food and supplies we needed is not something I want to repeat (and one of the very few things we are fortunate enough to be able to control).  I fully admit that all the extra stuff is making me twitch a bit.  It is not in my nature to hoard like this.  But I know it is for the best and am just so grateful to have it.   Honestly I think to some degree I will always have some sort of food and supply hoard, unless I am lucky enough to be able to eventually block the memory of this pandemic from my mind.   I really do get the mindset of the people who lived through the great depression now.  It changes you.

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5 hours ago, Spryte said:

Wondering that as well.  I just don’t know how to store that much water.  Or even how much water that would mean. How much per person, and how do you store it?

Other than water, we are staying stocked. With seven different anaphylactic allergies in the house, we can’t just change brands or foods willy nilly.  Even something like a spice, I have to email the company to make sure there are no trace amounts of the allergens in question.

We are not as stocked up as some, we probably have 4-6 weeks of not-favorite foods on hand.  But we’d survive.

We have a primo water cooler (the kind where the jug goes in the bottom of the cooler so it doesn’t collect dust). We have a couple racks to hold the bottles that also came from Sam’s Club online, though in the past we found those heavy duty plastic shelves were strong enough to hold them too. We typically buy 3-5 gallon jugs. I find the 3 gallon ones from Sam’s Club to be best because they’re thin plastic, and small enough to easily fit in my recycling bin when empty. 5 easily fit in the back of my SUV in a typical grocery pickup, the box of groceries stack on top without spilling. There isn’t a deposit that makes me have to go into the store & stand in a customer service line for 45 minutes to get the $6-8 back. I know how much we go through in a week and multiply that much by weeks I want in storage. 
 

This is the dispenser: https://www.samsclub.com/p/pro-plus-water-cooler/prod20391592

These are the racks, though they also have single stack racks that hold 3 bottles: https://www.samsclub.com/p/bottle-buddy-complete-system-kit/111257

This is similar to the water I get (what’s available in your area may differ because what google found isn’t the same brand that is here):   https://www.samsclub.com/p/members-mark-water-bottle/prod23602570

 

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10 hours ago, PeterPan said:

Trader Joes is sometimes WIPED OUT. What's going on there?? I don't know. I had things I really liked from there

My Trader Joe's is the same way!  What is going on there?   You can always ask them to put aside the item for you when it comes in.  Call them and tell them exactly what you want and how much of it (I have gotten cases of items before) and they will let you know when it is in.   I was dubious as to whether they would actually do it, but they do.   It is endlessly frustrating to keep seeing favorites out of stock there. 

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Oh yes, from growing up in a hurricane area, if you expect a disaster fill up tubs and any other large storage containers you can find. Even large pots. 
 

When you lose water: If you can pour it fast enough from a bucket that alone may be enough for a toilet to flush. Or you can simply fill the tank with water and flush normally. 
 

If you live in an area with plentiful water you can simply pour it through a colander or strainer lined with cotton- a pillowcase will do - to catch large particles. Then you add drops of iodine or bleach (regular bleach, not scented or splash less) and let it sit covered for 10 minutes.  If you can barely smell the bleach (like tap water) it’s safe to drink. If not you need to add more and wait another 10 minutes. This sounds crazy, so here’s a link to an EPA page about it.  You may want to print it and keep in an emergency binder. https://www.epa.gov/ground-water-and-drinking-water/emergency-disinfection-drinking-water

 

ETA:  This is NOT a good idea in places like Iowa where surface water is typically heavily contaminated with chemicals from farm run off. Only do this if you’re not in a heavily agricultural area.

Edited by Katy
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I don't expect ever to need a month's worth of food on hand, but I do think keeping above a week's worth (i.e., don't get lower than that before buying more) is reasonable. What's more important to me is not to put all my eggs in one basket--I have some food in the freezer, but also some non-perishables in the cabinet; I buy from stores but also the local produce delivery box; etc.

We're a small household, so that's not a lot--but like a PP, we can't safely switch brands or expect to eat what neighbors or the Red Cross would bring.

If there's an indication that an extensive power outage may be coming, the main thing to do IMO is not necessarily head for a store to increase supplies, but do your "food conversions": turn flour and eggs into muffins or or other baked foods, milk into yogurt, raw potatoes into baked, empty jars into tap water storage, etc.

And when buying non-perishables, I prefer to organize them as meals, rather than a pile of cans of beans, a jar of peanut butter... I've recommended the book The Storm Gourmet before because even if you don't use the author's exact recipes, the way of thinking makes a lot of sense. I came across it at the library and wound up buying my own copy.

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I wouldn't feel comfortable keeping that little food on hand. My pantry is not as stocked as it was but I still have a decent pantry. I like to have stashes of things in regular times, dealing with the uncertainties of Covid just hammered that home. My pantry would be more stocked but the last several months I've been putting money towards half a cow and half a hog, so I've not had as much to go towards the pantry. I bought the cow in Jan and am getting the hog this month so then I'll have more money free in my grocery budget for pantry stocking. I like knowing I don't have to worry about things and it saves money to buy in bulk especially so when you catch things on sale. 

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56 minutes ago, Carolina Wren said:

 

And when buying non-perishables, I prefer to organize them as meals, rather than a pile of cans of beans, a jar of peanut butter... I've recommended the book The Storm Gourmet before because even if you don't use the author's exact recipes, the way of thinking makes a lot of sense. I came across it at the library and wound up buying my own copy.

I just ordered a used copy of this.  Thanks for mentioning it!

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Just a note on water storage:  We store it everywhere.  We have several cases under everyone's beds.  We have gallon jugs in the basement.  We always have a case in both vehicles.  We usually only have about 2 weeks worth though.  

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I'm letting inventory levels go down on some things. One factor is that college kid went back to campus, so there's one less person, and youngest will also go off to college somewhere in 6 months. But I get the psychological stress. I'm keeping stocked on anything I ever had trouble finding since last march--cleaning products, canned tomato products, pasta, and I'll probably stay well-stocked in toilet paper for the rest of my days! For anything we use regularly, I will always have "the next one" on hand (toiletries, flour, laundry detergent, etc.), but for things I don't replace often, I may no longer have more than the next one on hand.

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28 minutes ago, ksr5377 said:

Just a note on water storage:  We store it everywhere.  We have several cases under everyone's beds.  We have gallon jugs in the basement.  We always have a case in both vehicles.  We usually only have about 2 weeks worth though.  

I used to keep some water under dd’s bed, but a few of the cheap gallon jugs leaked, so we don’t do that anymore. And water freezes in our cars (though we do keep some most of the year.) We’re trying to buy a basement, lol, but the market isn’t cooperating!

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We live on the Gulf of Mexico and I always keep a fully stocked hurricane supply kit.

We are eating down some of the foods in it in order to replace with food that has new use by dates. If something happens again to the food supply, or another hurricane hits we'd have food either way. I think it's beneficial for most people to have at least 2 weeks worth of food in back stock as you never know what will happen. DH's career is very volatile and I like knowing that if he loses his job we could scrape by on food that we have here for a little while. 

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I used to keep about 7-10 days' worth of food on hand for us just in general, because with a large family, sometimes things are just out, especially if I'm doing a grocery pickup and can't adjust brands or whatever as easily on the fly. Aldi is sometimes hit or miss, depending on when their trucks arrive. With covid, I've been keeping more like 14 days' worth of food on hand, and I'll still keep doing that for a while. Not always for meat, because freezer storage becomes an issue, or for produce, but basics, canned goods, cheeses, eggs, etc. 

 

It gets weird though, because sometimes they'll only allow me to choose one or two of something, so I'll also add one or two of a different brand/flavor/scent in case the first one is out, and then all of it will be available. So in order to make sure I don't end up with no toilet paper or conditioner or spaghetti sauce, sometimes that means I end up with a lot. I do feel like the stores have strange outages sometimes. My husband was grabbing some food the other day, and a kiddo had asked for pepper poppers. He sent me a picture of the completely empty frozen snack section. 

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Pro tip from Earthquake Country—don’t put all of your overflow stuff in the same place, even if it is the basement.

If you can’t get to it, it won’t do you any good.

And for those of you thinking that this only applies to the West Coast, maybe google the New Madrid Fault.  The biggest earthquake in US history was centered in New Madrid, Missouri, and was so big and so broad in effect that it rang church bells in Boston, sent large waves UP the Mississippi River, and was felt almost throughout the Southwest.  And it’s reportedly overdue for another Big One.  

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