If you have children you might have had a vision of living-room rubber band wars pop into your head after reading the title of this article… but that’s not quite what I had in mind. Of course having things that can occupy kids in a time of crisis is a VERY GOOD THING but we’ll leave that for another post.
In this case, the humble rubber band can help us to rotate and maintain our food storage supplies at the level we want for our families.
My food storage room is filled with shelves that house all the items (food and non-food) that my family will need to have if we can’t go to the store for whatever reason. We use this room daily. It’s not a dusty stockpile in a bunker that will never get used. It’s constantly rotated as things are needed for every-day meals.
Maybe our supply of ketchup consists of 12 bottles of ketchup for the time period we’ve chosen, (which for our family is 1 year) that’s one bottle per month that we use.
How do I figure out how much ketchup (or anything else) we use?
- Write the date it was opened, either on the container itself or on the calendar.
- Use the item as we normally would.
- When it’s empty or used up, write that date on the calendar.
- Figure out how long the item lasted.
- Calculate how many we’d use in a year.
- Multiply that number by 1.5.
- Note this number in your Food Supply Notebook.
- That gives me 150% of that item (you’ll find out why 150% in just a minute).
In our ketchup example, we figured that one bottle of ketchup lasts for one month in our house. That would be 12 bottles of ketchup for a year. Then we multiply that by 1.5 and we get 18 bottles of ketchup. If I’m starting from scratch, the next time there’s a great deal on ketchup, I’ll go buy 18 bottles of ketchup. (You won’t want to hear the word ‘ketchup’ again after reading this article.)
We bring those bottles home and lovingly place them on their assigned ketchup shelf. Then we admire our accomplishment. I know what you’re thinking: “You can’t live on just ketchup.” Yes I know, that’s why we are doing this with all sorts of shelf stable items. Ketchup is just the example.
The next step is to employ the services of the humble rubber band. Count back in your line of beautiful ketchup bottles to bottle number 6. Apply the rubber band to that bottle. Now we wait…we wait for that bottle to make its way to the kitchen. When it does that is the cue that it’s time to replenish your ketchup supply.
“But wait,” you’re saying to yourself, “you still have 12 bottles of ketchup sitting behind the rubber-banded one.” To that I would say, “Right! Your years supply is intact!” So no matter when The Crisis happens, you have a year from that point until you run out of ketchup.
We all have personal/family level emergencies that pop up now and then. Maybe it’s a temporary job loss or a medical bill or an unplanned car repair that has you dipping into the food budget so you can’t replenish your food supplies, or maybe an extended illness or bad weather keeps you from the grocery store.
What if these scenarios happened right before a regional or national event where the grocery stores, as we know them now, aren’t available? If we use the humble rubber band method, we could rest easy knowing we still had a full-year supply for our family.
This works for everything that a rubber band can fit around. For larger things like Toilet paper, just pull out the Sharpie and write ‘restock’ on the package that the rubber-band would have been on. Many big packages have smaller packages inside them, like four packs of TP inside the larger back that you can mark. One roll per day is my year number for that. There are 8 bums in my house, and in a crisis there would be more!
Start now to make sure you are staying prepared.