Wake Up and Prioritize

Having a nice house isn't everything

The party was so wonderful. The house was warm with hugs, greetings, and shared tales of joy and heartache from the previous year. So and so had a new baby on the way. The hostess had just received a new customized dining room table so that she could seat her burgeoning family at meal time. A young man had just been honorably advanced in the military. Seeing old friends and making news ones was a great way to start the New Year. So why was I so distraught as I walked home?  What was it that was interrupting my happiness from attending such an event? What a beautiful home.  The food was scrumptious.

What a choice person—such great hosts. What a great family. I was thrilled that they had opted to show me what they had done with all of the new food storage space they had built into their basement. That’s practically my favorite part of any home. As I reflected back on what I saw, I realized the source of my distress. A thriving family of nine. Plenty of space. Beautifully decorated. But a large food storage area that was frighteningly sparse.

As I had mentally viewed the intermittent stores of food, my mind quickly calculated that starvation would come to this family within only six weeks if they were required to survive on the fruits of their preparedness efforts. To add insult to injury, it would be a very boring and unappetizing six weeks as well. Oh how I didn’t want that for this family. Fifteen years of friendship makes me feel like an aunt to their children and a sister to her. I adore her. I look up to her. I cringed as I recalled her answer to my question. “Is this your entire food storage?” “Yep”, she replied. I couldn’t tell by her voice...was I detecting a sense of good intentions to rectify the situation or was it a sense of being overwhelmed with the task?

A half-empty pantry won't be as much of a comfort in times of need as a full one would be

What good is a lovely home when an unexpected need for food, water, clothing, and fuel hits you? Who cares whether or not the sofa is frayed or if there’s a spot on the carpet when your family is hungry?  I don’t know about you, but I’ve moved heaven and earth when I’ve had a specific craving for something. Imagine such a craving occupying your mind regularly, except it is simply for food and water.  I realize that it requires some mental work to accept that such a scenario WILL occur in the future, but I promise you that it will.  The Wii games, the latest reality show, the latest action-adventure film, or even what shenanigans the Administration pulls that week will be meaningless when one is unexpectedly thrust out of their modus operandi and has to actually THINK “how will I provide food for my family?”  Most of us have never had to question the availability of food and water.  For those of us who have, there has usually been a ray of hope right behind such a question in the form of an anticipated new job for the one lost, or even the ability to move in with family until things get better. But will the same hope be present when the supply of food, water, clothing, and fuel seems to be solely reliant on our own previous preparedness efforts?

I completely believe in being content and nurtured by ones surrounding. A home should be a person’s castle, inviting, comfortable.  I love to spoil my family members and friends with gifts of love and acknowledgement. I like to look nice and wish that more “preppers” would portray a more polished and intelligent image to the community lest their message be minimized as an unrelatable and unreliable one. But just as the priorities for college students need to be their education—and thus traditional corners of comfort are cut to survive—so should we do the same in our basic preparedness efforts, sacrificing luxury for the security of being prepared.

Ask yourself before buying anything--Need or Want?

So here’s my rule of thumb. Don’t even think of gidgets, gadgets, generators, and the non-essentials in your life until you have at least the very basics of food, water, clothing, and fuel (where permissible) taken care of. Yes, you’ll never be satisfied that you are fully prepared for whatever may come your way.  But yes, there IS a finite amount of food and water, etc. that you can at least start with and know that you’ve got a great foundation. THEN you can start building on it.

Newlyweds, let me address you specifically.  No, you can’t afford a new television or cable or unlimited text messaging until you have your basics obtained and stored. It is a matter of life or luxury. Yes, I know that you’ve been quite accustomed to the leather upholstery, the beautiful automobile, and the abundance of comforts as you grew up in your parent’s home or when you were the sole beneficiary of your salary, but marriage is different. It’s a new life. It’s not a continuation of the one you had with your parents.  Start new. Make it yours. Make it self-reliant. Make it solid by a good foundation of spiritual and temporal strength.

Ok. So what’s the absolute bare minimum emergency survival amount of food, water, clothing, and fuel (where permissible) you should have on hand?


  • 400 pounds of grains (i.e. pasta, wheat, rice, barley) per person per year (whole grains are preferred in order to benefit from sprouting)
  • 40 pounds of honey (or sugar, or molasses) per person, per year
  • 60 pounds of dry milk per person, per year
  • 5 pounds of mineralized salt, such as RealSalt (not iodized) per person, per year.

If you only had these 4 food items, you would at least survive a year in the midst of a major food crisis.

  • 60 gallons of water, per person MINIMUM. (This amount may at least get you through until you can find another water source—again, remember this is bare, minimum, emergency, survival amounts. In actuality, every person needs one gallon, per person per day just to take care of the minimum requirements of hydration, sanitation, medical, and cooking.)
  • 2 sets of appropriate, rugged, warm weather clothes and 2 sets of cold weather clothes per person. Anticipate the upcoming year. Store these clothes away, not have them be a part of the everyday fashion repertoire.
  • 52 cans of butane and a small butane stove for cooking and cleaning.
  • Enough fuel for warmth during the winter months
  • Enough fuel for light for about 4 hours a night, for one room, for a year.

So, here’s my challenge to you. It’s the very beginning of a new month. How about you put yourself on a non-essential fast when it comes to spending this month? In other words, if it’s not absolutely necessary (such as utilities, groceries, diapers, etc) don’t spend money on it. Instead use that same money on what you need to be prepared with at least the bare minimum amount of preparedness.  If you’re already prepared in the basics that I’ve outlined above, how about you focus on adding to your preparedness this month?

© 2019 Of COURSE this post is Copyright Protected by Preparedness Pro. All Rights Reserved. NO portion of this article may be reposted, printed, copied, disbursed, etc. without first receiving written permission by the author. This content may be printed for personal use only. (Then again, laws are only as good as the people who keep them.) Preparedness Pro will pursue all violations of these rights just as vigorously as she does any of her other freedoms, liberties, and protections.


Ah the Holiday. While it should be a time of joy and happiness it had the reverse effect this year. The family just doesn't get it. Whats worse is there seems to be this tension now. It's like they don't want to amit something is going on but deep down they know something is wrong.

I'm not sure what more you can do but it is upsetting. Turning away family in a time of need will be hard, if not impossible, I just wish they would do SOMETHING!!

Kellene, where do you get bulk honey?

Preparedness Pro's picture

I get it from local beekeepers. You can also try the warehouses.

emergencyessentials.com has honey in #10 cans and 5 gallon buckets. The buckets are $160 bucks. There is a weight requirement, though, to ship the buckets.

Preparedness Pro's picture

Holy crud that's expensive! (That's why I loathe Emergency Essentials. They charge so dang much for stuff that it's no wonder why folks put off preparation efforts.) I got a 5 gallon bucket for $118 bucks and it was high quality honey--no sugars, corn starch, water, etc. added. (Again, check with local growers.)

I buy honey at several stores when they have it on sale. Most is local, but some times its just real honey.
Emergency Essentials is not bad on some stuff. But I only buy stuff during sales. Water barrels no way. You must always shop and get the best prices.
I don't think any store is great because I got a good buy one time. Your money is a resource. You must get the most value per dollar at all times.
What if I told you could get barrels at half the price that Emergency Essentials offers? All you have to do is check out the Blog roll to the right.55 Gallon barrel at $66-70 or on at less then $32.oo per barrel.
Your choice.

I wanted to add a comment about honey. The less it's been processed, cooked, etc., the more nutrients it will have and the more medicinally beneficial it will be. Honey is like salt, imho, if you're going to spend good money on it, get the best you can get/afford. Usually when you get honey from local growers, it's not only better for you, because of the local pollen, etc. but it is usually not pasturized or other wise processed. You can also usually get it for a better price, which makes the better honey an affordable price.

You can get local raw honey from farmers markets. I buy mine from our local farmers market, it is local honey and it is raw honey. Here in Washington where I live now, the honey sells for 45.00 a gallon. I love the local honey much better tasting than the store bought stuff.

Kellene you are so right. However we do not all live where you do and we do not have access to the same food sources that you do...I have spent hours looking for the best places to buy grains,wheats,rice,barley,honey and different fuels. (oops forgot food grade buckets and gasket lids) Try to remember that some of us have to have it shhipped to us hence extra cost. I have done pretty good this year...thanks to your site. I now think nothing of making my own bread every other day. I now grow sprouts, I try to think when I do go shopping, if it's on sale ....great ...or can I dehydrate it... am storing water as I can....I can't store outside ..too cold! Am trying to find out more about water filters ..they all clain the same....have even called my well guy to get info. So how about it ...help us as to the where and the what....that would be so appreciated..... PS. the more I talk to other ppl the more I find they are in agreement with prepping....I hope they follow through..... Best regards for the coming year, Connie


What exactly are you looking for? Wheat and corn can be found at feed stores, verify that it is not treated. You can get buckets through five star something or other for $4ish shipped. Honey, look for local suppliers, we can get 60 pounds in PA for $108 at a local grower. Water can freeze, just keep enough inside for the winter or keep it in containers you can move.

I do agree that in Utah there seems to be some great deals. However Honeyillegrain.com has $4.49 shipping on any order, Milk is $60 for a case of 6 cans.

If you have anything else specific you can't find, just ask.

All of you with wells, look at www.lehmans.com for a well bucket. http://www.lehmans.com/store/Water___Water_Pumps___Shallow_Wells___Galva... It is a thin pipe that holds 2 gallons, you lower it down the well case when the pump quits working.

I get all of my grains through www.azurestandard.com THey sell organic grains and their prices are good. I place my order online and they deliver to my neighborhood once a month. I LOVE their great service!!

We use Azure too. I'm calling them today for more honey. :)

Thank you for this list. I have been really trying to get my food storage the last couple of years, and I have dedicated my savings and even have a few thousand put away, ready to spend. My problems is this: When I first started, I got 500 lbs of wheat, a hand grinder, an electric grinder, oil, yeast, etc. Everything to make 2 loaves of bread a year. Then I did grains, etc. Then I did some canned goods. But for the last year, my one unemployed son and one under-employed daughter having been grocery shopping at "Mom's". I realized I really need to do an inventory, make menus, and fill in my gaps, but I do not know how to start. I am struggling with space issues, etc. How would you suggest I absolutely secure the basics, then branch out? Like I said, I have been saving and have the money to spend, I just need a plan.Can you help????

Preparedness Pro's picture

Yes indeed, Sally. Just start with the basics and then branch out. Besides, the "basics" won't look as appealling to your kids. :-) I would also recommend putting your expanded products in buckets. Those who help themselves are little less likely to drudge through buckets with lids. :-) After you do these basics, I would recommend that you move on to yeast, oil, then beans, and then other items that you enjoy. Also, get a used copy of "Passport to Survival" by Esther Dickey off of Amazon. Good luck. Let us know what else you need help with!

Thanks for the reply, I will get the book. I guess I should have explained that my kids have my permission to shop at "Mom's"! I encourage it - I feel blessed that I have the food storage to share, and they are working, just not getting enough hours and family should help first. It's just that this has taught me the folly of not having an inventory system. So mostly I just needed guidance about how to inventory,(what to use as an inventory framework) how best to fill in the gaps, how best to insure basics really are covered, etc. I guess my goal is to "do it right this time!" But thanks for your help, I look forward to learning more on the website!

Preparedness Pro's picture

Sally, "inventory systems" are a sure way to get overwhelmed if you make to detailed, etc. The key is to do it once and then to rotate and use what you store. I just used an excel spreadsheet when I got organized, and then just have a checklist on my fridge that I add items too when I use them up.
I fill in the gaps with my local sales and coupons. Start with the basics and then let your education help you fill in more. Be urgent in the basics, and slow and consistent on the other items.
Good luck!

Sally M:
I too have unemployed & underemployed children that have moved 'home' we are fortunate to have enough acreage that they don't literally live in the house but they too tend to 'shop' my storage. I am going to try Kellene's idea as they have walked past the buckets for the canned goods. Try putting them to work tilling a garden and they disappear for days................. So " Old Age and Treachery Will Out Do Youth & Skill Everytime"! Hang in there you'll make it. Also remember the youger generation doesn't like to cook from scratch so stay away from prepared item in you food bank.

I have some honey stored, and of course it has solidified. I know I can warm it to reliquify, but it is in plastic jugs, and I am worried about the plastic compounds leaching into the honey. I wasn't thinking about that when I first started buying honey, or I would have just transferred the honey into glass jars. Have you ever addressed this concern? At what temperature to you melt the honey? Do you put it in a water bath? Microwave it? I have just continued to buy fresh honey to to cook with, without bothering with the solid stuff - for the time being.
Any advice?

Preparedness Pro's picture

Anji, a couple of things...One, don't worry that it's solidified. Remember, honey is a natural anti-viral and anti-bacterial. When it solidifies it's actually creating a barrier between itself and the plastic. Honey is the one food that will keep indefinitely. Now, getting it out of the jug is a completely other matter. I just put my bottle in a stock pot of boiling water for a quick cure. But you can also melt it slowly by putting the bottle in hot water and just letting it sit for a while. When it's a thin plastic bottle, I would do the melting slowly. OR you could cut away at the thin plastic bottle and transfer all of your honey into a large thick food grade storage bucket, like a 4 or 5 gallon one, and then retrieve it that way. By the way, yes, you can also microwave it, but that then encourages chemical leeching from the plastics.

As far as getting grains and such cheaply, I use LDS canneries. Our nearest one is a few hours away, but we combine trips with others and the gas is still cheap! Even if you are not LDS you can still use them. You get the food prepacked in #10 cans, or in bulk. You can pack it there or take it home.
The link to the order form is: http://providentliving.org/content/display/0,11666,8133-1-4352-1,00.html To find a cannery near you, here is the link: http://providentliving.org/location/map/0,12566,2026-1-4,00.html If you live in the western US, there are canneries all over the place. The prices are pretty cheap, such as 25 lbs. of wheat for $5.90

This is a seriously great deal. You don't need to be a church member? Philadelphia is about 2 hours from here, it would be worth a trip.

What do you do, submit an order form and they tell you when it is ready?

Preparedness Pro's picture

Todd, you shouldn't have to be a church member, however, some canneries only allow folks to purchase after they have done a service shift i.e. helping can a particular product, etc. So, I suggest you just call up and get solid info. Some locations prefer that a member of the church goes with you. It shouldn't be brain surgery though. :-) It's just purchasing products, plain and simple.

Sherry + Sally,

it sounds like your kids are just plain lazy and living off your hard work. It is one thing for a family to move together because it makes financial sense. It is another for lazy people to be living off the backs of others. If your kids don't like to cook from scratch then to stinkin bad. That is how food is made, if they don't like it they can do without!!

Seriously why are you under employeed kids disappearing when there is work to be done, they should be volunteering! If they have money for gas to be running around they can buy their own food.

Preparedness Pro's picture

tsk, tsk, Todd. Even if/when women have lazy children, no one but they are allowed to call them such. :-) It's a motherly instinct kind of thing. :-)

Todd, Thank you,Thank you. Just spent the entire morning looking at "all" of Lemans catalogue...Found what you were talking about...That just might work.. My wish list grows.

Great post Kellene, also a reminder to those already advanced in prepping not to be lax.

You may have a restaurant or food service store/supplier locally. I do most of my bulk shopping there. Not always the lowest price, you still have to shop around. I am not the coupon user I need to be, but most stores have their shopping sales/flyer on the internet. I find it is easier to build my shopping list by what is on sale and have a plan before I go shopping. This system has helped me cut my shopping bill in half.
The Internet has plenty of menu planning and food inventory worksheets online.
I like the spreadsheet because it shows my progress. I was amazed how quickly I went from having 1 month to 3 months to a years worth of food.

I do have a question on the Salt? I have stored Pickling, Kosher and Iodized salt. Is thee a specific benefit for "mineralized salt"?

Preparedness Pro's picture

Yes, it's got 59 necessary minerals your body needs, whereas the other salts have had the minerals extracted and sold for a profit. (Check out the easily accessible RealSalt)

Do you know anything about the Kirkland Pure Sea Salt from Costco. Under ingredients: Natural Sea Salt. But then it says "this salt does not supply lodide, a necessary nutrient." This salt thing is new to me. I used to think "salt is salt" but that is not the case. Thanks and Happy New Year.

Preparedness Pro's picture

I'd pass on the Kirkland brand. Salt naturally has minerals in it which are incredibly valuable both to the body and to the "market." If salt has no iodine, then it means it's been stripped, which means it's been processed. I try and stay away from that. If I'm going to take up room in my house with salt, I want the best bang for my buck.
Take care, Kris.

woohoo, My local market carries it. Picked my 1st bag

Well Kellene did ask so I guess this is my resolution for the year.

TO DO: Most will happen in Jan. 2010. some will take time waiting on sales and what I can scrounge during the year. Hello yard sales and freecycle!

1. Fuel: 3 Propane tanks and 15 gallons of Kerosene. Topping off tanks in the RV in case of bugout. Gas, 3 cans with Stabilizer for rotation or Bugout.

2.Getting a good Pressure canner. All I have right now is a small pressure cooker.

3.Building Materials and Hand power tools Screws, nuts bolts nails. Wood and bricks. Sand and cement. Rome was built with this plus a level and a plumb bob. Also Duct tape and Construction glue.

4.EMP protection: For small radios, batteries, Flashlights, Spares/extra electronic parts. Plus a couple of 400 watt inverters. I think I have a fix for my PC, monitor and stuff. Need to get a big external hard drive for back ups.

5. A load plan for my RV. Plus a way to store basic items that can take extreme temps. I am in Hi desert so below freezing in winter and 100+ in summer. Not sure of the best way to keep it stocked and bugout with an hour notice. If anyone has a good fix for this I'd love to know.

6.More ammo, concealed carry permit in the works. I'd like a reloading ammo setup. An indoor Air gun range, and good air weapons. Not perfect but a good way to practice fundamentals. Plus hunting small animals to augment food supplies in a city environment. Pigeon is quite tasty, drumsticks are a bit small though. LOL

Future: things to get this year not this month.

7.I want to learn weaving and tanning hides. I've already learned spinning.

8.Better Storage: I lived 2 months off what I stored. Got bored with what I had it was a bit bland. More spices, more recipes, Snacks either make my own or have some on hand. I was a bit lazy on creating stuff that satisfied my inner snacker. I want a real cracker barrel, best I can do is some vacuum sealed jars. Gosh I really am a throw back for history. LOL

9.Cleaning supplies or the items to make my own. Feminine Hygiene, I was good on soap and shampoo, some of the other items ran out after 3 months. I did not have enough on hand, I thought I did.
I liked the Idea of writing the date on stuff. But I did test and found I was lacking. I know now that I really under estimated what I would need. So every month I'll buy what I think I'll need for 2 months and and 1 more month as well.

10.A bottle capper, I could do my own ginger/root beer and sodas.

11.Hi power UPS for my PC. That will take a bit more time.

12.I already cut the budget basics. I do have my internet and satellite tv. I use "Magic Jack as my phone and need broadband internet for that so the internet is my everyday Communication set up. I will be going to a VHF Radio setup. Family already has vhf and CB so I just need a radio and antenna with more power.
No, Magic jack is not perfect, Some times you get an echo, and it cuts out. But for only $20.00 per year and a broadband internet connection I'd pay for anyway. I'll can live with it. I have also read that the phone I used is not rated well even with landlines. So it maybe my phone and not"Magic Jack".

It's amazing how much $20.00 per month will buy. In Flour,rice, beans, meat, sugar/honey, medicine. That's a delivered pizza or 1 less latte per week. In a month it really adds up, in a year it's huge amount of money at least for me. It might only be 1 item a month. Buy a big Item and a couple of smaller ones. A bag of rice and some soap or bleach, borax or toilet paper. That's your $20.00. You can do it every month and before you know it you will have peace of mind knowing you can take care of your family.

I don't feel deprived at all. It's not like I'm living in the "middle ages". It maybe that I lived in Germany for 6 years and didn't have tv except for vhs and DVD's, Germany had a different broadcast format, American TV's did not pick up. I bought and still have to this day. But TV really isn't all that great. I get most of my news/entertainment off the internet. I love books, music and old movies. They have those free at the Library.

Again Thanks Kellene about the salt. A few more bags to go but, I'm happy I have plenty of other salt on hand for cures,pickling and smoking. I am always learning new stuff at your site. Sometimes it takes a bit of persuasion/research and or brick to get it in my head.

Sorry I am re posting so much. Do you use the "Real Salt" in recipes, Pickling/curing or just at the table as a seasoning?
If you use it in recipes do you use the same amount as the recipe calls for?

Preparedness Pro's picture

I use RealSalt for all of my salt needs, including pickling, curing, seasoning, etc.

Now Pickling salt has a finer grain compared to Iodized,Kosher salt.
After getting it it seems the grains are finer then Kosher salt but not as fine as pickling salt. Now do you measure by weight or volume?

Preparedness Pro's picture

I measure by volume, not weight. Not saying that's the scientific way to do it, it's just my "weigh" hee hee

No that gives me good info to go on. I always thought salt was salt. well thanks to Food Network I found out it's not. Kosher, pickling and Table salts have very unique characters and bring new flavors to the table. Now I have another new item to try, I'm just using in for basic seasoning until i have a handle on it as a spice.
I was just worried that Pickling salt is so fine, and much denser by volume compared to regular salt. But I'm guessing I do more cures and you can more. So I don't think the differences would be critical.

Kellene you have done this and I assume have not put anyone in a hospital or killed then off. Now you have lots of knowledge, me not so much. So I do have to follow recipes a bit closer than you do. I'm still learning, If I get a recipe that calls for "Pickling Salt" I'll use Pickling salt. But I never heard of Real Salt before. But I'm excited about it. I love Multi-taskers.

Preparedness Pro's picture

Jamie, I completely know where you're coming from. I started out with "by the book" cooking and prepping. By the way, it really is called "RealSalt" I'm not making typos. :-)

I always have to spell check sometimes it put's in what it thinks should be there or it's just me. RealSalt is what I picked up at the store. I blame Bill Gates. ;)

thankyou so much

Share your thoughts on the matter


Please note that the name you use in the "Name" field above will be the name displayed on your comment.