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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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OP here. So...sounds like my supply isn’t a hoard like it feels like to me.  Right now everything is stuffed in three old, mis-matched, somewhat wobbly bookcases that I had cleared out pre-covid and was considering giving away. Once covid hit, I stuffed the bookcases full of cans and boxes and bags of food. 

But everything is jammed in there and even though it’s sorted, it’s a real pain to rotate through the older stuff to put the newer stuff in the back every shopping trip. I have to pull out everything that’s old to put the new stuff in the back. 

Instead of getting rid of my stash/hoard, it sounds like I need to re-think my storage. Maybe instead of three wobbly bookcases, I need to give those away and buy some sturdy, roomy shelving designed for basements so I can actually see what I have and don’t have to pull everything off a shelf in order to get to what’s behind it.

Edited by Garga
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9 minutes ago, Garga said:

So, where do you all store your food? I looked at some garage storage shelves and they’re all open on all four sides. I can just see my glass jars of spaghetti sauce tumbling off the shelves and shattering on the concrete floor.  Or all the cans falling off and rolling away.

I repurposed a 7’ wide closet in my loft/office area. My kitchen is so small that my food storage area serves as my regular pantry as well. It is a pain to rotate. But nothing’s ever gotten up and jumped off the shelves. 🙂 

We have steel frames and plywood shelves.

Edited by Carrie12345
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4 minutes ago, Carrie12345 said:

I repurposed a 7’ wide closet in my loft/office area. My kitchen is so small that my food storage area serves as my regular pantry as well. It is a pain to rotate. But nothing’s ever gotten up and jumped off the shelves. 🙂 

Thank you! I deleted my post asking about storage and started a new thread about it, here: 

 

Edited by Garga
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It really depends on your home. I have also always kept extra food in the house. I always figured the culprit of store shelves emptying would be an earthquake destroying the only port that most of Alaska gets it's goods from. I never thought of a virus. 

 

Anyway, over the years I have kept food:

-In the linen closet (bath towels went in bathrooms, blankets in bedroom closets)

- In the utility area on shelves I installed the length of the room (when I had a room for a washer/ dryer, water heater, furnace) 

- In a pantry I actually added onto the house under a cantilevered section.

 

My mom turned her large coat closet which was surprisingly close to the kitchen into a pantry and hung coat hooks closer to the door.

She also added shelving in her garage and stores food there along with her extra freezer. 

It really depends on the layout of your home.

 

 

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, Carol in Cal. said:

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.  

This is true.  I remember a geology unit in 5th grade that said an earthquake specialist said it was SO overdue for a huge quake that he thought the continent would be split apart, bringing the Gulf of Mexico straight up the Mississippi River to Lake Superior by 1997.  Which stuck in my head because that was the year our class was supposed to graduate high school.

 

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6 hours ago, Ditto said:

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.

I have thought that a lot lately.  I have always been drawn to some extent to having a good stockpile at home.  But after living through a pandemic year? Yeah, I'll probably never be without again.  I think a month's worth is the amount I am comfortable with.  Toilet paper is one of my exceptions.  Once our preferred brand started showing up again, I started stocking up one package at a time.  I think I have six months worth in the basement, and I plan to keep it that way.  I am also very well stocked on yeast, coffee and cleaning supplies.  Other than that I have storage in the basement for grocery staples and our freezers are quite full.  That being said, we are working on eating down what's in the freezer.  Frozen foods only stay fresh for so long before they get funky. 

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4 hours ago, importswim said:

 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. 

On the other hand, two fairly common difficulties are house fires and job loss. In the event of a house fire, a stockpile may be destroyed. In the event of a job loss, we might prefer to have the cash: we can't pay the bills in Spam, and canned goods are unwieldy if we wanted to do something like reconfigure our housing. So while I agree with two weeks' worth, I cringe a bit when I see people doing six months' worth in the garage and very little in the bank.

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18 minutes ago, Carolina Wren said:

On the other hand, two fairly common difficulties are house fires and job loss. In the event of a house fire, a stockpile may be destroyed. In the event of a job loss, we might prefer to have the cash: we can't pay the bills in Spam, and canned goods are unwieldy if we wanted to do something like reconfigure our housing. So while I agree with two weeks' worth, I cringe a bit when I see people doing six months' worth in the garage and very little in the bank.

Yes! I agree with you, for the most part!

For my hurricane supplies I bought a tiny bit extra each shop. You don't have to go hells bells and gangbusters with buying up everything right away. I also advocate buying things that you actually eat that store well that if you have to rotate them into your regular meals (due to use by date status) it won't cause your digestive system upset with strange foods. We have things that are close to what we usually eat stored.

Any money that you don't have to spend on food is money you don't have to worry about (and you need to eat) so I'm not worried about paying the bills in spam 😂. 2 weeks worth of food won't get you very far but it is enough to cover a quick crisis. Right now the most likely scenarios for my pantry needs are hurricanes/power outages, having to quarantine due to covid, and job loss (fire could happen but we have insurance that whilst it won't replace everything we'll have bigger issues than loss of 2 weeks worth of food).

For those eventualities I think having 2 weeks worth is a wise decision. 6 months is a lot and that would be much too much for me, but I do know that people sometimes manage their anxiety with excess planning and so if they feel like it helps and the food will be eaten then who am I to say it's wrong?

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We live in a very small, older home with little storage space, so no way to have a month’s worth of shelf stable food. Even if I had the space, not sure food in that quantity would be the priority for it. 

I do generally have a week or ten days worth, for general weather related emergencies and to keep meal prep options flexible.

We have never lacked for fresh food or household staples, even during the shut-down, so I doubt that any enormous, national, lengthy, covid-related supply chain disruptions are likely now. Regional, short term, and weather-related ones, sure, and best to have food and other basic emergency items. I recently restocked on various emergency supplies because I realized that I hadn’t updated in over a year and because we needed some cold weather things and some water related things. Tornadoes are our biggest threat and they are rarely in the winter (though one did hit here last February).

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I'd cut it down by half and then reassess.

Personally I didn't start hoarding for Covid, but we do always have at least a week's worth of non-perishable food, which could be emergency food in an emergency.

Having more than we need stresses me out.

But the person here who buys the food has the opposite problem, so we end up somewhere in between.

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20 hours ago, Carolina Wren said:

On the other hand, two fairly common difficulties are house fires and job loss. In the event of a house fire, a stockpile may be destroyed. In the event of a job loss, we might prefer to have the cash: we can't pay the bills in Spam, and canned goods are unwieldy if we wanted to do something like reconfigure our housing. So while I agree with two weeks' worth, I cringe a bit when I see people doing six months' worth in the garage and very little in the bank.

I liked your post because I think they are good things to think about but I think it very likely that people who have 6 months if food are probably more careful with money though I could be wrong. 

If I have a house fire my friends or family will take me in. I know this because my house was declared uninhabitable in 2018 after an earthquake and I had 7 specific offers without my asking. I'm sure if certain other people knew I had no place, they would offer too. If their house burns down and the port is down I'll be happy to have enough to share for a few weeks. Therefore, for my location and circumstances I prefer 6 weeks.

I figure if we had a job loss, we can eat down our groceries and that will stretch the money we have as it can be used mainly for bills and not groceries. I want my kids fed before the big bank gets paid, though I prefer to do both. 

 

 

 

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I kept a large pantry for about a decade, when we lived in the Midwest. I had gorilla shelves in the basement and buckets with gamma seal lids.

I no longer have a basement or a large pantry or any extra space. Our garage is too humid to be a place to store anything, except we do have a second fridge out there.

My advice? 
1. date and rotate. Don’t let your stash get so large that things start to get out of date

2. make sure your food can turn into meals that you actually want to eat

3. keep at least a week or two on hand that you can turn into meals without power 

We don’t have much of a stash here at all. What we do have is an earthquake friendly supply for a week or so. We emptied out a cabinet and filled it. 🙂 

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On 2/27/2021 at 6:16 PM, 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!

It’s been ground thyme here. I finally got some through Amazon, though it was more expensive than buying locally. 
 

I always keep a fairly large storage of shelf and frozen goods, even before this started. We are possibly looking at a big move this summer, though, so I’m going to start trying to have us eat it all down.  

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I forgot one thing, until I went into my kitchen and saw a jar of peanuts...

Have some component of food that would make for decent car snacks if you have to do an evacuation. Lines on highways can be long, and particularly for wildfires, there’s not much notice. (Hurricanes can also strengthen last moment.) 
 

I am grateful we had a few jars of nuts, some cups of applesauce, granola bars, and jugs of water.

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11 minutes ago, prairiewindmomma said:

I forgot one thing, until I went into my kitchen and saw a jar of peanuts...

Have some component of food that would make for decent car snacks if you have to do an evacuation. Lines on highways can be long, and particularly for wildfires, there’s not much notice. (Hurricanes can also strengthen last moment.) 
 

I am grateful we had a few jars of nuts, some cups of applesauce, granola bars, and jugs of water.

I know this thread is about food, but also good reasons to always keep your fuel tank at half or above! 

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3 hours ago, frogger said:

I liked your post because I think they are good things to think about but I think it very likely that people who have 6 months if food are probably more careful with money though I could be wrong. 

If I have a house fire my friends or family will take me in. I know this because my house was declared uninhabitable in 2018 after an earthquake and I had 7 specific offers without my asking. I'm sure if certain other people knew I had no place, they would offer too. If their house burns down and the port is down I'll be happy to have enough to share for a few weeks. Therefore, for my location and circumstances I prefer 6 weeks.

I figure if we had a job loss, we can eat down our groceries and that will stretch the money we have as it can be used mainly for bills and not groceries. I want my kids fed before the big bank gets paid, though I prefer to do both.

I meant also that a stockpile would be terrible to try to move, even if it survived the event, and could keep you from taking someone else in/renting to someone if it occupies what could be livable space. And yes, everybody wants the kids fed, but the kids won't have utilities if your utilities don't get paid (for many of us, this includes water), and getting help for food is probably the easiest kind available (meal trains, food pantry, SNAP, etc.) unless you have food allergies or similar.

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I have been concentrating more on what types of things would we really need and use in different types of emergency situations.  I like to keep a variety of easy prep foods that would do well if we were ill and couldn't get out--some soups, rice, pasta.  I also like to keep some things on hand that are good for a power outage, flooding, or icy conditions.  I keep some things, liked canned chicken, that we don't eat on a usual basis but could use if we were without power without feeling like we were just resorting to peanut butter.  In the past year I have done more of a stock-up of some nice things to have on hand just simply to be in stores less often, and so if COVID numbers are high in my area I could avoid the stores.  But, I am less focused on stocking up on things we use quite often but could really do without if they were in short supply or we couldn't make it to the store.   DH will stock up on cases of paper towels--that drives me crazy.  They take up a lot of room and if there was a real shortage or emergency I could do without paper towels.  

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58 minutes ago, Carolina Wren said:

I meant also that a stockpile would be terrible to try to move, even if it survived the event, and could keep you from taking someone else in/renting to someone if it occupies what could be livable space. And yes, everybody wants the kids fed, but the kids won't have utilities if your utilities don't get paid (for many of us, this includes water), and getting help for food is probably the easiest kind available (meal trains, food pantry, SNAP, etc.) unless you have food allergies or similar.

Well, yes years worth might but I doubt they will be sleeping on the garage shelves and snap and food banks will not be supplying my state with food. It would likely be FEMA and the sheer amount would be difficult hauling one semi at a time through Canada or air dropping. It would logistics not money that keeps food out of Alaska after a major earthquake and you realize quickly that you are cut off from the outside although cell phones make a big difference. My parents lived through the second biggest earthquake in the world that has been recorded at least. Snap won't do anything for that I assure you. Food banks would empty quickly and no matter how much money you have, you can't buy what doesn't exist.

There is a big difference in preparing for a job loss and a natural disaster, which seems to be what you are focused on. You don't store food for job losses. You have an emergency fund for that. Ideally you prepare for both. In a natural disaster, there wouldn't be utilities to pay anyway. They usually aren't functioning. And utilities typically aren't shut off until they aren't paid for a month or two so even that has buffer.

How you prepare for disasters really depends on where you live and what types of disasters you deal with. 

I'd say Covid is closer to a natural disaster in that it affects supply chains and affects everyone in different degrees. For some it meant job loss too. I think our stores never got as bad as down South and that may be partially because a larger percentage of people had stored up and didn't need to rush to the store.

Before we move, I just get to shop less and eat my supply down. I can understand worrying about anxious people who want to store years worth of food (that will probably be all thrown away when they die if not earlier) but I'd take food over money in most disasters. War would be different cause you can't run with your hoard but I'm not concerned about that here in the US.

 

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Ah, see, my typical natural disaster is a tornado/wind damage or localized flooding, so yes, cash is still going to be valuable--maybe not that first week, but pretty soon after, and probably closer than the county line. We've only ever had very mild earthquakes there, and few of those.

I know people whose neighborhood was brushed by a not-too-big tornado. Their car (parked in the driveway) was picked up, smashed against their garage (destabilizing their second floor), then picked up again and smashed against the neighbors' house. Power out for I think weeks, garage inaccessible and contents damaged, house--like most here--built without a basement for storage, but there was food to be bought just 10 minutes away once the storms were cleared out and watches expired (by sunrise the next morning).

My neighborhood doesn't flood, but some in my metro area do. We have a lower-elevation area 10 minutes away where a major road floods next to a creek, and we're always making fun of the way the transportation folks decided not to move the road (understandably challenging right there), not to raise the road a few feet, but to put up signs that will flash to warn you that the road is flooded. So helpful. It's always something you can drive around, but for some neighborhoods, you just can't count on the first couple of feet of your house/garage not flooding and ruining things. You're better off leaving most of the food at Food Lion. ETA: Major flooding/hurricanes happen pretty far east of here, and I'm where people are supposed to evacuate *to*.

Likewise, my state has wildfires, and the imperative is to move out fast and light--if it doesn't fit in your car, it may be going up in smoke.

Definitely a good idea to prioritize what is likely in your location.

Edited by Carolina Wren
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I'm mostly back to my normal, although I'm more responsible about keeping up my normal.  That means, I probably have enough for a week of fresh food -- including fresh produce, etc.  After that, I have enough for 7-10 days of random meals consisting of frozen, dried, canned, or packaged.  I'm good with that.

 

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12 hours ago, frogger said:

Well, yes years worth might but I doubt they will be sleeping on the garage shelves and snap and food banks will not be supplying my state with food. It would likely be FEMA and the sheer amount would be difficult hauling one semi at a time through Canada or air dropping. It would logistics not money that keeps food out of Alaska after a major earthquake and you realize quickly that you are cut off from the outside although cell phones make a big difference. My parents lived through the second biggest earthquake in the world that has been recorded at least. Snap won't do anything for that I assure you. Food banks would empty quickly and no matter how much money you have, you can't buy what doesn't exist.

There is a big difference in preparing for a job loss and a natural disaster, which seems to be what you are focused on. You don't store food for job losses. You have an emergency fund for that. Ideally you prepare for both. In a natural disaster, there wouldn't be utilities to pay anyway. They usually aren't functioning. And utilities typically aren't shut off until they aren't paid for a month or two so even that has buffer.

FEMA has been in my area of Texas due to the power grid and water system failure. Food from FEMA in this instance is MREs. I'm not a food snob by any means, but...I'm really grateful that we didn't have to rely on MREs.  It took a week for FEMA to arrive with supplies; by that point, it was like "Uh, thanks; we've got it figured out!".

Why can't you store food to offset the pain of a job loss?  We have 6 month long emergency fund AND food storage, so that if heaven forbid DH did lose his job, we could stretch the emergency fund a little further.  I'd rather make yet-another-spaghetti-dinner from food storage than play chicken with the utilities and hope I can pay them before they disconnect.       

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36 minutes ago, MissLemon said:

FEMA has been in my area of Texas due to the power grid and water system failure. Food from FEMA in this instance is MREs. I'm not a food snob by any means, but...I'm really grateful that we didn't have to rely on MREs.  It took a week for FEMA to arrive with supplies; by that point, it was like "Uh, thanks; we've got it figured out!".

Why can't you store food to offset the pain of a job loss?  We have 6 month long emergency fund AND food storage, so that if heaven forbid DH did lose his job, we could stretch the emergency fund a little further.  I'd rather make yet-another-spaghetti-dinner from food storage than play chicken with the utilities and hope I can pay them before they disconnect.       

I’m not sure I know of anyone who stockpiles entirely FOR potential job loss. I mean, most of us say “and it can really help if there were a potential job loss”, right? Some people seem to take that as an isolated reason and dismiss it.  To me, that’s like saying I bought my car to have a place to have Burger King onion rings and a Sprite in solitude. That’s not the real reason I bought my car, but it sure does come in handy!
I joke that I prep for the zombie apocalypse because, in theory, that would cover a long list of more likely emergencies, or even whims like not wanting to make my regular grocery day, lol.

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My stockpile isn't for X reason.  It isn't for Y reason.  It isn't even for reasons X or Y or Z.  It's for "just in case."    It's expecting the unexpected.  It's always good to have "savings" just in case something happens that I wasn't planning for.  And it's always good for those "savings" to be as diverse as an investment portfolio.  Cash is always good.  Food is good too.  Medicines are good.  Clothing and other supplies are good.  That doesn't mean it's best to stockpile years worth of everything.  It just means that saving up a reasonable amount of all the basics, including cash, food and other stuff, is a good idea...just in case (reasonable of course being subjective.)

 

There are eleventy billion types of emergencies that can happen, big and small.  And the one that's most likely to happen isn't something specific....it's the one you didn't actually anticipate.  And generally speaking, when I have had emergencies happen...big or small....I never regretted having a variety of savings.  And that includes the current situation, a part of which required I move about $1k worth of food*.  Which I think shows that the different emergencies that can happen all have different situations surrounding them.  You may or may not have access to a particular type of support or savings in emergency X, but you might have access to a different type of support, that you might not have where it Y emergency that you were facing.  Not all emergencies are created equal and there are many levels of emergency before we reach a Walking Dead style SHTF dystopian zombie apocolypse level of emergency.

 

*to be clear, I know that "$1k worth of food" sounds like a lot.  As it happened, the weekend before everything happened, we had just picked up our freezer beef and pork from the local farmer.  I don't aim to always keep a dollar amount of food like that around at all times or anything, nor do I have spreadsheets tracking exactly how much I have spent on a stockpile lol.  The timing was just happenstance.   It was a pain in the butt to figure out how to handle 2 freezers completely full of steak and ham, but it was a small pain in the butt compared to the rest of it.  

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12 hours ago, Carrie12345 said:

Insurance (depending on policy details) can cover food loss from a full property loss.

Sure, but then we're just waiting to get money back that we would have already had on hand. It makes more sense to only stock as much food as we  anticipate would cover the time frame before food could be bought again.

How much that is depends on how localized disasters are likely to be, how far apart and how far from home stores are, etc. If we were low on food, even if I had no utilities or contact with neighbors who knew how things were outside the neighborhood, I could walk less than a mile to a store; if they were closed, I could walk two miles in another direction to a different one (actually a few of them), and there's another group another mile from that. Of course, if I lived a 10-hour walk from retail locations, or if we lived in a region where a disaster was likely to impact an enormous area, I'd calculate differently. Very much a YMMV thing, just like the impact of family size--those with several teens at home need more than those with fewer and lower-carloric-intake family members.

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31 minutes ago, Carolina Wren said:

Sure, but then we're just waiting to get money back that we would have already had on hand. It makes more sense to only stock as much food as we  anticipate would cover the time frame before food could be bought again.

How much that is depends on how localized disasters are likely to be, how far apart and how far from home stores are, etc. If we were low on food, even if I had no utilities or contact with neighbors who knew how things were outside the neighborhood, I could walk less than a mile to a store; if they were closed, I could walk two miles in another direction to a different one (actually a few of them), and there's another group another mile from that. Of course, if I lived a 10-hour walk from retail locations, or if we lived in a region where a disaster was likely to impact an enormous area, I'd calculate differently. Very much a YMMV thing, just like the impact of family size--those with several teens at home need more than those with fewer and lower-carloric-intake family members.

Well... yeah. I don’t think that contradicts anything I’ve said.

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I agree HappySmiley that you don't know what is coming next but certain things are givens in different areas. I am almost certain to have multiple earthquake issues in my lifetime if I spend 80 years where I currently live.  And like your car breaking  down, somethings shouldn't be a surprise. It's a matter of "when" not "if" but I certainly agree that there are a variety of circumstances and it is a very good idea to not put all your eggs in one basket.

I'd add love your neighbor and foster that culture of helping one another. 

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I'm not a prepper and I don't buy a lot ahead, but we did have a COVID stash and donated it when we moved a couple weeks ago. The only thing I'm still hoarding is toilet paper. We nearly ran out when COVID hit, and I was seriously traumatized at the thought of it. 

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I agree HappySmiley that you don't know what is coming next but certain things are givens in different areas. I am almost certain to have multiple earthquake issues in my lifetime if I spend 80 years where I currently live.

Oh for sure when you live in an area that is prone to X....it's absolutely important to make sure that your emergency plans include anything that might be specific to X.  For example, in hurricane country, evacuations are more likely than in other areas because we can predict hurricanes better than so many other natural disasters.  So for people in those areas it makes complete sense to include provisions for evacuating.  In many other places, evacuation is just not that common, so less planning for such a thing makes sense.  

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