Friday, November 20, 2009

The Plan: October through December

In July 2008, I posted the first installment of a tried and true plan for building up food storage, shared by a mother with young children. You will find January through September on my post at this link: The Plan: January through September

It was brought to my attention that I never posted the rest of the plan, so here it is folks! Sorry about that!

Thanks so much to the mom who gave all of this to us in the first place. Some of her comments are in quotes.

"It has been remarkably easy chipping away at this project a bit at a time. We use and restock from our stash all the time. I think we are to our goal of having 3 months worth for all of us when it comes to most items."


  1. Add the weekly item to your shopping list.
  2. Buy the largest amount of each week's item you can sensibly afford.
  3. Replace items as you use them.
  4. If you miss a week, skip to the next week.
  5. Don't get behind. Share your hot buys with the rest of us.
  6. If your family loves something not listed, buy it and store it.

  • Week 1 -- One or more gallons of vinegar. Great for cooking, canning and cleaning.
  • Week 2 -- Wraps and bags…aluminum foil, garbage bags, freezer bags, saran wrap, wax paper.
  • Week 3 -- Do something with all those apples. Pie filling, applesauce, juice, apple butter…
  • Week 4 -- Hard candy, candy bars on sale after Halloween.
"We definitely need more water storage. But there are still a couple of months left in the year to get it all done."


  • Week 1-- Vitamins: get extra C, D, E and calcium
  • Week 2 -- Treats for baking. Cocoa, coconut, nuts, butter (freeze it), chocolate chips..get it all.
  • Week 3 -- Rolled oats, corn meal, cream of wheat, oatmeal. Stock up on boxed cereal.
  • Week 4 -- Vegetable and/or Canola oil. Get a good quality.


  • Week 1-- Candles and matches. Put in a sturdy box that you can locate in the dark.
  • Week 2 -- Popcorn. Go for the big 12 pound bag or buy the kernels. (I recommend kernels!)
  • Week 3 -- MERRY CHRISTMAS! You've given yourself a great gift—security! Keep it up.
  • Week 4 -- Watch for after Christmas sales. Nuts go on sale. Dry roasted ones keep the best. Freeze bagged ones.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Get Fresh with Your Bleach!

We are cautioned to only use "fresh bleach" for our water storage. What is "fresh" bleach? For one thing, bleach has a shelf life of only 12 months. So, I'll fill you in on what the people at Clorox told me about deciphering the code stamped on their bleach bottles.

My bleach bottle has two lines stamped, and we only need the top line. Mine says "A8810514". Translation:

* A8 is the plant number where product was manufactured
* Third digit is the year produced. This will always be a single digit number. When we get to 2010, it will have a 0.
* Next three digits are the number of the Julian date code, which tells the day of the year manufactured. This will be listed as the number of days into the year, such as 116 days (116) or 30 days (030). It's always three digits. There are Julian code converters on the web, but you can get a good general idea by dividing 365 by thirds without being perfect with it.
* The rest of the numbers thereafter are not important

For practical purposes, the lady told me that you only need to check four numbers of the code: the third number from the left, which tells you the year and then the next three numbers to see which day in the year the bleach was produced.

If you want to get bleach that is as fresh as possible for water storage, find a store that sells a lot of bleach. Everything I've read is that you want to buy Clorox regular, without scents and such. The reason you use Clorox for water storage is that it has a set amount of chemical and some bleaches are more watered down. If you make sure you have the same amount of chemical in another brand, I imagine that's fine, but I don't know.

Another option for water storage is to use the powdered chlorine that is used in spas. The powder has at least a 15-year shelf-life, but I have yet been unable to get in contact with the expert to tell me how much to use per gallon.

The nitty-gritty of this is that if we use bleach to keep our water safe, we need to refill our water storage containers every year and put in fresh bleach -- I don't think it's a good idea to just add new bleach to water to which you're already added bleach a year ago, as you then have double the chemical, even if the old stuff is not as effective.

If you're still trying to decide where to put your huge water containers, having to empty them and refill them every year might make you decide NOT to put them in your basement. Put them where you have easy access. My barrels are in my garage. Some people store them outside. If stored outside, you will want to leave some unfilled space at the top in case the water freezes completely.

Most important is FILL THOSE BARRELS!!! Soon, the weather will be very cold and you're not going to want to be outside messing around with hoses and water.