The world we are living in today is a far cry from what I believe our forefathers set out for us to have, but in the US today everyone has become so focused on what they are entitled too, and it seems they have lost track of how to personally responsible and accountable for how they live their everyday lives.
But with the way things seem to be going today, one can’t help but wonder how long this illusion will last. Sooner or later everyone will have to pull their heads out of the sand and face the reality that things are not at all what they seem, and for most it will be too late. They will not have planned for the worst, and they will be the ones running to the big box stores trying to buy whatever they can before it is all gone.
However, you are not one of those people, and I know this, because you are here reading this article, and visiting many other preparedness websites gathering information.
If you are anything like me, you are planning for the day when you won’t be able to run out to the store to pick up that one thing you need to make dinner because you ran out. And since my brain is always trying to think ahead, I started wondering what are the 10 things I would miss the most, and what can I do to make sure I have what I want? Please understand this is a list of things that I feel are my indulgences, and items that may be luxuries, but to me, they matter.
So in no particular order, here are my favorite indulgences that I would miss, and would rather not go without:
1. Nexxus Shampoo and Conditioner
2. White Flour
3. Coffee Creamer
5. Flavored Beverages
6. Toilet Paper
7. Household Cleaner
I know, this is not all important, and yes I could do without these things, but I don’t want to. So then I decided I would need to have a substitute in case my important comfort items were no longer available. So these are my options.
1 Nexxus Shampoo and Conditioner
Unfortunately, there is not really anything I could make that can compare to my favorite shampoo. I have used this for years and years, and yes there are less expensive products you can use on your hair, but for me this is something that is comforting and I enjoy. Not being able to figure out a way to replicate it means I need to think ahead, and plan. So I have to determine if this item is important to me, then I need to add it to my supplies. The sad thing is that shampoo doesn’t last forever, so I will need to have an alternative, but if I have a 2 year supply of my favorite shampoo, I will do what I can to make it last. And that will mean not using it as often, and saving it for special occasions.
Just because they may not make this shampoo anymore doesn’t mean I will never be able to have it again, if I plan for it. That means planning for the future, and saving what I have in order to have it last. Looking at every aspect of your planning, and having a complete plan is an integral part of prepping and being prepared.
2. White Flour
I know, white flour is not good for you. It has been bleached, and has lost a large portion of the nutritional value of the original wheat it once was. However, it is a comfort food, and can help make a lot of meals. Flour goes a long way, and can add to your long term food storage on the relatively cheaper end of the spectrum. But, flour doesn’t have a very long shelf life, and whole wheat flour has an even shorter lifespan. So, what do I plan on doing when all of the flour runs out?
The first thing I did was look up the shelf life of flour, and I am sad to say it is only about 7 months past the “best by date”. And that is if it is unopened, and sealed to protect it from bugs. If things were to go south fast, not many people would be able to make sure (or know how to) that their flour is properly packaged, or sealed for long term storage.
The best option I have found for myself and my family is white flour in #10 cans. It is sealed, and has a shelf life of 10+ years unopened, and then will last 2 years once it has been opened, this is still longer than regular flour that you can buy at the store now. I was able to find this in a package of 6 #10 cans for less than $50.00.
3. Coffee Creamer
I love my coffee, and even more, the creamy goodness of cream. If the stores were all to close tomorrow, I would need to make sure I have enough creamer to last! My personal choice is half and half, nothing fancy. But half and half doesn’t last forever, so I need a backup plan.
Thankfully, there are many alternatives that I can be sure to stock pile my pantry with. You can make your own creamer with sweetened condensed milk, and evaporated milk. Mixing the two together and you have an alternative coffee sweetener that will last. You can alter the amount of sweetness by adjusting how much sweetened milk you put in the evaporated milk. The nice thing about this is you can store evaporated milk along with condensed milk in your canned food storage without having to refrigerate it. (Unopened of course!) And if you would like to have flavored creamer, you can add vanilla extract, or cocoa powder and raspberry syrup, or even chocolate syrup. You are only limited by your imagination.
Although most toothpastes have many different chemicals added, and fluoride added to it, having nice fresh breath and clean teeth is an important part of my daily ritual, twice a day or more. So instead of buying chemicals to brush my teeth with, I have switched to making my own toothpaste, and the results have been just as good as using commercially prepared toothpaste. There are many recipes available on the internet that will show you how to make your own toothpaste, but this is how I do it:
2 TBSP Baking soda
5 TBSP Calcium Powder
2 TBSP Xylitol Powder
3-5 TBSP Coconut oil (add more to get the consistency you want)
Peppermint oil, or any other essential oils that you like for flavor.
And mix the dry ingredients together, and add the coconut oil a little bit at a time until you get it to the consistency you like. Add the essential oil for some flavor, and put in a small jar with a lid. Keep it in your bathroom along with a small plastic spatula so you can put it on your toothbrush. And if sticking your toothbrush into the toothpaste that has been used by others grosses you out, consider making every person in your household their own private toothpaste jar, or you can buy squeeze tubes to fill in order to replicate that store bought feeling.
5. Flavored Beverages
A lot of times having a drink with some flavor to it can do wonders to boost mood, ease stomach upset, or just to encourage hydration. Right now, on a daily basis there are thousands of options you can choose from in order to hydrate yourself. But what happens if there are no more stores? Your Rockstar supply isn’t going to last forever, and neither is your water supply. So what can you do? The first and most important option that we should all have is a secured water source. Whether it is from stored water, or water that is purified, water is the most important prep you need to have for yourself and your family.
Now once you have a supply of water, having different flavoring in order to have options for drinks is just as important. There are coffees, teas, and hundreds of other things you can add to water to make a yummy drink. Have as many options as you can in order to provide variety for your family.
6. Toilet Paper
Yes, to Americans toilet paper is a very important item that will be overlooked and greatly missed if the shelves run empty. And think about it, once people realize there is not going to be anymore toilet paper, they are going to be extremely sad they didn’t stock up when they should have been.
But like everything else, one day, the supply of toilet paper will run out. So what will you do? Choose to go without? Believe it or not, that isn’t a horrible idea. In many countries, toilet paper isn’t an option. And some people are already choosing to stop using wads of paper to clean their hiney’s after visiting the toilet. There are options. Some people use bidet, and if you don’t have one you can easily purchase an attachment that you can add to your regular toilet.
But what happens if water is in short supply? Then what are your options? One option would be to have cloths that are cut in small sizes, and a bucket or covered plastic can that you can easily take to wash, either in your washing machine or in a hand wash bucket. And if you have to wash the ‘butt rags’ by hand, use a mixture of soap, water and bleach, and wash the cloths with rubber gloves. Yes, it is a little disgusting, but if you are going to use cloth, they will need to be sanitized and cleaned. These are just a few things to think about a head of time if you don’t have a lifetime supply of toilet paper.
7. Household Cleaner
Having cleaner to keep your house fresh and smelling nice is not only a nice thing, it is necessary in order to cut down on dust, germs and dirt. I don’t know about you, but after I have spent the entire day cleaning my home (clean cleaning as my mother used to say) there is just something wonderful about walking into a clean home. You can smell and see the difference. And it is comforting to walk around your home and everything is put away, and the clutter is under control. If you are in a stressful situation, living in a dirty house is not going to make things any easier.
So when you run out of cleaner, what will you use? You can water down cleaner, or use bleach, but this is really hard on your skin, and watered down cleanser isn’t really going to last very long. SO you need to have options for cleaning agents. The good news is you can use many things that you probably already have in your long term storage to keep your house sparkling clean. These are what you need to make your own household cleansers:
- White vinegar
- Castile Soap
- Baking soda
- Hydrogen peroxide
- Essential oils
- Olive oil
- Vegetable oil
- Fresh herbs, citrus peels
- Liquid soap (soft-soap or equivalent)
And after you have assembled these items, visit this ApartmentTherapy.com. They have 25 different ‘recipes’ for creating your own cleansers. Or go to your favorite search engine and type in homemade house cleaners. You will be amazed at what you will find. And even better is the money you will save! Instead of spending $6.00 on a bottle of Mr. Clean, you can make at least 3 times as much homemade cleaner for less.
This to me is very important, and a very important of my everyday life right now. If I wasn’t able to listen to my favorite podcasts, or look up something on the internet I know I would feel lost. So in order to prevent that from happening, I look up information, and print the information out. Yes, it is nice to have instant access to anything I want to know via the internet, but what happens if there is no more internet? Which is why I print out everything, and try to keep it categorized, as best I can. This way I will have the information if the power is out, or the internet no longer works, or work s like it does now.
Not only do I keep hard copies of information, but I also have an extensive video collection, and also have my favorite podcasts downloaded to my ipod. This way if the internet is gone, I still have all of my favorite recipes from Pinterest, and lots of reading material. And don’t forget about books! You can amass a very formidable library by going to yard sales or thrift stores, or even eBay inexpensively.
This could go under the classification of flavored beverages, but for me, coffee is almost its own food group, so for me making sure I have coffee is essential. Regular ground coffee is my first choice.
By checking the website EatByDate (which is great for many other things) I found my ground coffee won’t last very long in the pantry. It will last longer in the freezer, but I’m not too crazy about using all of mu freezer space for coffee.
The good news is whole coffee beans last longer, and although not my first choice, instant coffee can last a really long time. So as long as I have ground, whole bean and instant coffee in my pantry, I figure I can make it work for at least a couple of years, and hopefully longer!
This one is a hard one. For me, chocolate is nice, once in a while but I would not be put out without chocolate. However, my family on the other hand is a completely different story. They all love chocolate. The bad news is chocolate doesn’t last very long in terms of long term food storage. Regardless of how you try to preserve it, it just doesn’t last that long. And I don’t know if you have ever eaten old chocolate, but trust me, it isn’t good.
So instead of trying to figure out how to keep it long term, I will look for other options such as brownie mix that can be stored long term, cocoa powder for example can last up to 2 years in the pantry unopened. And that is a recommendation, but I can tell you from experience, I have used it past that, unintentionally, and although it may not have tasted quite as good, it was still ok.
My favorite thing to make with cocoa powder is hot fudge sauce which is super easy:
3 TBSP Cocoa powder
½ cup of butter (or the equivalent if using butter powder, and add water to equal ½ cup)
1 cup of sugar
1 Tsp vanilla
Mix everything together over medium heat on the stove. As the mixture starts to melt, stir constantly and bring to a boil for 1 minute. Remove from the heat and let set, and then pour over ice cream, or use as a glaze over a cake. You can also add quick oats, and make no bake cookies!
What would you miss?
This list is a representation of my favorite things that I would really miss if they were no longer available. Hopefully, you can also see that although I may not be able to always have these things, I have made arrangements of how to deal without them, or find an alternative. The main point to this article is to make you think about the things you would really miss, and how would plan to make sure you still have these items? Either for comfort, or long term food storage.
The items I have listed are things that are important to me and my family, which is why I am making arrangements now. I want to do whatever I can to ensure comfort in uncertain times, and be more prepared.
Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can be preparing for today. Think about the things you would really miss if the stores where gone tomorrow, and start making your plan of how you will deal with it. If nothing happens, great, you will be more comfortable knowing you have a stock pile of your favorite things.
If something bad happens, you will be that much more prepared, and will not be running to the stores like the majority of the people who have chosen not to listen.
Make your plans now, and invest in yourself and your family. Start planning your long term food storage a little bit at a time. Make lists, and cross things off as you go. Have the faith in yourself that you can do this, and keep prepping!