This article was originally published by Daisy Luther at The Organic Prepper.
Every year, businesses perform an inventory and do an audit on their supplies. This helps them to know what they’ve spent, what they have, and what they need.
If you’re serious about preparedness, you need to be doing the same thing. At least once a year, you need to do a preparedness audit to make sure you always have the essentials on hand.
Often times, you think you have a lot more than you really do. You forget about those times you dip into your stockpile because you ran out of something in the kitchen. Or maybe you stashed something “out of sight, out of mind” and it expired. Maybe you’ve “lost” a case of dried food, and you know you have it somewhere.
Well, if you can’t find it now on summer break with air conditioning and electric lights, how do you think you’re going to find it in an emergency?
And this just doesn’t go for food. It goes for supplies too. If you had to hunker down due to a nuclear event a hundred miles away, you’ll need to be able to find your potassium iodide pills NOW. Ditto for your supplies to turn a room of your house into a nuclear shelter.
Break your audit into two parts: food and supplies.
How to do a food inventory
The best way to do a food inventory is to pull ALL your food out into one room and start a physical list of what you have. Yes, you can do this on the computer or on your phone, but if the power goes out, you may not have access to these lists. If you do the list on your computer, print it out.
Break your food into categories. I use the following:
Take some time to figure out what meals you could make with the items you have on hand. (Get some ideas here.) This will help you figure out what you need to add to your stockpile so that you aren’t dining on canned peaches and saltines.
Then, take this opportunity to clean out your storage area and make it spic and span.
Finally, don’t think for a second you are going to remember where all your supplies are located. You need to make a treasure map so you’ll know where to find everything.
Next is your supply audit.
You may have tons of prepper supplies and pieces of gear, but if things are scattered all over the house, you won’t be able to find them when you need them. Sometimes, supplies are urgently needed and if you have to dig for 15 minutes to locate them, you may have missed an important window.
So pull out all your supplies, much like you did your food. Then you’re going to organize your gear.
For this, I use a variety of Rubbermaid tubs with the type of supply it is on the outside. I keep printed information in each tub that is pertinent to the contents. Here are some examples:
- Power Outage: This tub contains flashlights, headlamps, matches, candles, lanterns, lighters, cooking stove I can use inside the house, fuel for my stove, solar chargers, etc. For more information about power outages, go here.
- Pandemic: This contains nitrile gloves, protective clothing, N-99 masks, bleach, heavy-duty trash bags, eye protection, etc. For more information about pandemics, go here.
- Nuclear Event: This tub contains things like potassium iodide pills, printed instructions for taking them, duct tape and supplies for sealing off a safe room, this free book printed off, and other essential supplies.
- Tools: This contains a variety of manual tools that can be used during a blackout.
- Sanitation: This contains things like bleach wipes, hand sanitizer, cat litter, contractor garbage bags, antibacterial cleaners, etc. Print off instructions for making a kitty litter toilet for humans.
- Water Preparedness: Large water filter like a Berkey, replacement filters and parts, small filters like Lifestraws or Sawyer Minis, pool shock, test strips so you know what’s in your water, etc.
Obviously, these aren’t all the supplies you’ll need. This is just to give you a general idea of how I organize my gear. Don’t forget a well-organized tactical first-aid kit that will be easy to access in an emergency.
While you do this organization, really think through the emergency that each tub is geared toward. What’s missing? Jot it down on a shopping list. You don’t have to fulfill that list today, but you should work toward getting each kit well-supplied. And of course, when you get the necessary supplies, add them to the appropriate kit.
No matter how well-prepared you are, you should do this audit at least once a year.
You need to check your gear at least once a year, if not more frequently. When heading into winter, check to see that you have your cold-weather power outage gear up to par. Do the same thing when the warmer months are approaching. It’s easy to grab something you need from your supplies and forget about replacing the item. If you don’t do audits, you won’t know what’s missing until an emergency strikes and you need the item.
Daisy Luther is the author of Be Ready for Anything: How to Survive Tornadoes, Earthquakes, Pandemics, Mass Shootings, Nuclear Disasters, and Other Life-Threatening Events. Will you be ready for a dozen different kinds of disasters? You want to be prepared for whatever emergencies come your way. While prepping for a dozen different disasters may sound like a daunting task, there’s good news.
Preparing for a wide variety of disasters requires the same basic supplies as preparing for one or two. For each event, there will be some special steps, unique information, and precautions you need to take, along with a few additional supplies, but your essentials will be the same.