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  • Writer's pictureAndrea Wenzel

How much Food do I Really Need for my Prepper Pantry?

So how much do I need? Here are some general guidelines to get your gears turning.

1-2 weeks- this amount of food is good for natural disasters that cause power outages and minor illnesses like colds and flu. If you need to quarantine, you'll have enough on hand without leaving your home.

1-3 months- Great for getting through minor emergencies and illness, short-term maternity leaves, and minor food shortages.

3-6 months- This amount of food is excellent for medical needs like surgery that will leave you out of work for several weeks and is a fantastic supplement to a short-term disability plan. Short-term to medium-term food shortages won't be an issue for your family.

6-12 months- With this amount of supplies, you're ready to weather quite a few things- everything listed above plus: major illness, job losses, and significant food shortages. This amount is excellent if you plan to take extended maternity leave.

1-3 years and beyond- You're in it for the long haul. You're set for widespread food shortages and famines. Maybe you want to become a stay-at-home parent and are worried about when your income is less.

Tips to put your mind at ease

  1. Take inventory! I know it's boring, BUT you might have more than enough food and didn't know it. If your goal is a year's worth of food and supplies, and you think you only have eight months, you might be worried. However, finding out for sure will put your mind at ease and help you decide what's next. Maybe you already have a year. OR perhaps you have ten months, but you can write down a rationing plan to help your food last a whole year. Knowing the plant BEFORE things get bad will help you decide what to do when emergencies arise.

2. Try a containment system to set boundaries. Drawing the line gives you a goal, like, "I'll stick this closet in my spare bedroom" or "Whatever I can fit under my bed will be my preparedness plan." These goals are clear and allow you to feel good about stopping if you want to. A plan is critical at first because so many new preppers become a bit paranoid when they first start.

Other Considerations

Can I find what I need when I need it? You might have a problem if you swear that you bought five ketchup bottles but don't know where they ended up. If you're struggling to manage your current inventory, take a step back, regroup and reconsider if what you have is too much. Preparedness should make your life easier, not harder.

How much can you maintain without things going to waste? Knowing this is SO important! The whole point is to SAVE time and money; if things are going to waste, it's not worth it. Remember that expiration dates are suggestions, and foods are often still tasty for years after the best buy date.

What is my lifestyle? Are we a family that hunts, gathers or gardens? If so, how much food do we bring in each season? Can I get by with much less as we regularly hunt for deer? Three years' worth of food might not be necessary if you're an avid hunter who drops three deer annually.

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