Organize the Stockpile
Updated: Apr 3
Now that you have stockpiled all this stuff what should you do with it? First of all, think like a prepper and not a hoarder. Although traditionally a prepper stockpiles items in times of plenty, because of a possible shortage in the future, you have probably stockpiled just for this current covid-19 crisis. A hoarder keeps adding things over and above what they need and almost never organizes them.
First put like items with like items. Have paper supplies together, canned foods together, batteries with batteries (not in 10 different places), first aid materials and medicines in one area.
When it comes to food, I love the preppers saying that you “Store what you eat and eat what you store.” For example, I do not like stewed tomatoes. About once ever couple of years I buy a can for a recipe. So, it would make no sense for me to go to the store in search of chopped tomatoes and when I saw the shelf empty, to stock up on a case of stewed tomatoes. Those would expire way before they got used. Also, what food you do buy should be available for you to eat.
Since you now have more items than normal, you may need to get creative with storage until this crisis passes. Find room in closets, on shelves, or even under the bed. Containerize the items so that they are easy to access. Label containers with the type of item and the expiration dates. Higher shelves can hold light materials like toilet paper, paper towels, and napkins. Heavier items should be stored no higher than eye level.
You want to rotate the things you use like medicines, vitamins, batteries, and canned goods. Store the items that will expire first in the front of the shelf with older items behind them. If you have standard shelves like mine, this takes a bit of work. If I get a new can of chicken broth, I may have to remove items from the shelf so that I can put the newest can in the back. When I was doing some work organizing a school cafeteria, we wrote on the top of the cans the expiration dates. This makes it a lot easier than having to take out a can and search for the date. Various products put their dates in different places and sometimes they are hard to find. Once you do find it, mark it so you don’t have to do that search again.
If there are other people in your home, make certain that they know where items are stored and the process of keeping the inventory in rotation. If others are taking items from the store, they need to report if something is getting low. It is amazing how fast AA and AAA batteries can disappear if you are quarantined with teenagers. Here is where rechargeable batteries are great but again a system needs to be in place, possibly using baggies with the dates on each bag as to when the battery was recharged.
This too will pass and we will be able to return to normal shopping and storage.