How much do I need to store or what’s the magic number?

There all kinds of numbers out there for how much you need to prepare. Anywhere from 3 days (FEMA) to seven years (Bible). I believe that six months is the bare minimum for storing most of the thing you need to live daily. That should get you from growing season to the next even if a disaster happens in fall or winter you should have stored plenty fuel for heat/lighting, water to drink and food to eat that will last into the late spring.  I could save a lot of money shopping once I hit that six month’s of storage and could shop loss leaders at the mega marts. It’s a lot easier to buy a 25-50 pound bag of beans on sale when you know you already have plenty of toothpaste, toilet paper and food items you need in your pantry.

FEMA recommends 3 days, now when have you heard or read about FEMA or any government agency actually showing up at a disaster in just three days? That just a few assessment teams if you are lucky, with no supplies at all. Some of the FEMA teams will just call the local “Waffle House” in the south and based what they supply depending on if Waffle House is serving a full menu or not!  No, I’m not joking from Wiki:   According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Waffle House is one of the top four corporations, along with Wal-Mart, The Home Depot and Lowe’s, for disaster response.[22] Waffle House has an extensive disaster management plan with on-site and portable generators and per-positioned food and ice ahead of severe weather events such as a hurricane. This helps mitigate the effects of a storm on the power grid and the supply chains.[23] The ability of a Waffle House to remain open after a severe storm, possibly with a limited menu, is used by FEMA as a measure of disaster recovery known as the Waffle House Index . I ain’t too impressed with FEMA as you can tell and 3 days is a complete joke as far as prepping is concerned unless we are talking about a BOB or your GHB(Get Home Bag) in your car and I still plan for at least a week.

The LDS consider one year of storage the absolute min. amount of food stored if I understand them correctly. I’m not a member of the LDS church so I might be wrong but,  I think 12 months should be your first major goal after you get your six month start on prepping.  I consider 6 months just a start on prepping as that is when you start to see the benefits and 12 months will get you through at least one bad harvest and see you survive to the next harvest.  You read that correctly 12 months is only the first goal!  I  mean everything you need to live from growing some of your food, harvesting water to creating energy and learning the skills needed to be as self reliant as possible. I have had a terrible harvest on my garden, critters will die for no apparent reason, the car’s transmission will crap out or a medical bill will pop up when you had an injury or disease. These things you can’t control any more than you can control Mama nature. If you start prepping and becoming self reliant you will have time to think what you will do next without the worry of where your next meal is coming from or will you have heat and a way to cook.

The last goal is from the Bible and it is seven years. I don’t think the number is quite as arbitrary as I once thought as a story telling device. I am a Christian and I believe the bible is the word of God as well as a fairly honest look at humanity for better or worse.  I started wonder why in the book of Genesis  Joseph in Egypt told the Pharaoh to store seven years of food for a famine and actually ended up saving his family and brothers who sold him into slavery. This number is repeated in Revelations as well in the tribulations. Here in America we have had a massive drought in the Midwest going on it’s third year with no relief in sight. The Dust Bowl that hit the plains back in the 1930’s lasted seven years and many cycles in nature tend to be seven years in duration.

I know seven years may seem like an impossible goal and guess what it I think storing everything you need for the next seven years is impossible.  But you could start becoming self reliant by getting water barrels to collect water, have a water filter and learn to purify it with just a few tools. There is no reason you can’t do like I’m doing and store basic long term storage foods like rice, beans and grains in 55 gallon drums. Even stored in silos, grains can last a few years under less than optimal conditions. They stored the grains in Egypt several thousand years ago during a famine I think we can do so as well with all we have learned since that time.

You will need to add in your garden, fruit/nut trees and bushes a way to cook and all kinds of other skills that you can barter or trade that will stretch all of your “stored supplies” a bit longer. No one person or even family can do everything that’s why us humans built tribes, clans and villages as well as some people that were revered and paid for special skills. Kellene at calls it “Peace through preparedness”. Just ask yourself do you feel more peace and less stress when you pay all your bills and have a bit of cash leftover or when there is an emergency/disaster and you come up short on paying for your basics and have to rob Peter to pay Paul?


8 Responses to How much do I need to store or what’s the magic number?

  1. kymber says:

    Jamie – i believe that everyone needs to start with 3 days. once they have accomplished that hurdle – they need to up it to 7 days. and when you have accomplished that – you need to up to 1 month. then 3 months. and if you have stuck it out that long – you need to start growing sprouts and microgreens. and you need 3 months worth of seed to do that. so you get it online. and then when you realize how easy it is to grow sprouts and microgreens – you start thinking about growing them yourself. all the while adding to your canned food stores when grocery prices are down. then you start thinking about growing a tiny bit of your own food.

    and it takes off from there. eventually you get to that “biblical” place of 7 yrs … and heck, even if the bible is wrong – yer still coming out roses in the end.

    great post, madame! and i don’t know if you saw my comment back to you on my blog, and mmpaints blog, but i sincerely thank you from the bottom of my heart. trust me, if in the future you need help, she and i will be there to help. but girl, you know what you are doing and you are sharing it for free to everyone. i thank you for that as well. keep up the good work that you are doing here…and again – thank you for jumping in when a friend needed help.

    your friend,

    • Jamie says:

      kymber I see the the BOB/GHB as the 3-7 day start. I have some food safe buckets that are good for 3-4 weeks for one person, I consider these my “charity” buckets. For me it was the six month point when I really started saving a lot of money shopping and it seemed that prepping was paying off! I have a recipe to make bread that is made with sprouted wheat grains which supposed to be good and good for you!

      I think the 7 year hit home for me when I started to notice how many cycles in nature and even in the economy that seem to cycle at a seven year rate.

      mmpaints has had a tough row to hoe, but I love how she get’s to work trying to figure what to do next and takes action. So many people would have given up years ago with what she is trying to do and I admire her grit and determination.

  2. Spud says:

    I was raised as a Mormon boy in your area and they always preached to us at least two years if possible. My mom down in Mtn.Home probably has ten years lol. That woman has stuff down in the basement as old as me most likely ha ha always says “you’ll eat it if’n ur hungry enuff” reckon she’s probably right about that eh

    • Jamie says:

      Spud, I wasn’t sure if it was a year but that is what sticks in my head. I just picked up my third 55 gallon drum that will hold my long term rice and right now I’m estimating the drum will hold 300-400 pound of rice, about four years worth. along with my food safe buckets I should be right at the seven year mark.

  3. Marilyn says:

    Good read. LDS leaders also tell us to store in case of lose of employment, in case you all of a sudden acquire a lot of expenses such as medical bills etc. Good to have peace of mind if a personal disaster hits.

    • Jamie says:

      Marilyn, I see a lot of sites say plan for the most likely disaster in your area. The most likely disaster for us all, is a personal one of losing a job or medical/disability issue. That is what happened to me and I think how different it would have been if I had been prepared. I know for sure I would not have cost as much money to my parents to bail me out. That is another reason as part of my financial preparing goals is paying two months ahead on my bills.

  4. dee says:

    As a mormon, that is what brought me to the church- food storage, back in 1981. Today we are told to have at least 3 months supply short-shelf life foods and then add on the long term for another 9 mos for that one yr mark. The purposes are as an earlier poster said. We have added to those stores in many other ways in skills, etc, and other things that improve our preparedness. It has been a blessing in our lives.Wouldn’t live our lives any other way.

    • Jamie says:

      dee, While I don’t follow the Mormon beliefs one of the things I admire most about them is how they try to take care of each other.

      I saw a story on the nj live blog about how most folks helped each other after Sandy or the tornados and other disaster that have happened. It is the local preppers, religous folks and just average good people who share what they can to help out. Not FEMA, Local government or insurance companies that we actulaly pay in case of a disaster.

      I read a story about a young man that carried five gallon jugs of water up ten flights of stairs in his building just because he thought it was the right thing to do and he could do it. Now I filled my water barrels five gallons at a time in my basement over several days and that kind of effort is no joke.

      I know I get really tired of hearing about the FSA and they are a problem with their mentality, but there are still a lot of just average Americans that make stuff happen because they are just good people.

%d bloggers like this: