When rumors of a shutdown due to Covid-19 started to spread and people began panic-shopping, I thought to myself, “No big deal; we’re Floridians; we know how to do this. We are adept at being prepared for hurricanes and know exactly which party food to stock up on to get us through.” I specifically remember the day I decided to buy 3 packages of toilet paper. We were on our way to the beach; everyone unloaded and went into Walmart to pick their favorite beach snack. The aisles were jammed packed with cases and cases of toilet paper and people were rushing around stuffing packages into their carts, reminiscent of a Black Friday scene! In my head I was thinking, “Come on Florida, we’re better than this. But fine, I’ll buy some toilet paper.” Little did I know that was the last time I would find toilet paper on the shelf for months.
After months of shut down, and watching behavior, here are a few takeaways on being prepared for something perhaps a bit more than our typical hurricane party.
Food & Emergency Essentials
Each family’s emergency needs are different, so pause and think about what your family cannot live without (and I’m not referring to mommy-juice!) in the event of a shutdown. Do you have a child with special dietary needs? Or maybe medicine? How many days worth of diapers do you have? And in the worst-case scenario, do you have cloth diapers, just in case? How about formula?
A few grocery items we have added to our stockpile:
- black beans
- pancake mix & syrup
- pumpkin puree
- peanut butter & jelly
- chocolate 🙂
- flour & other baking needs for bread
- coffee (pre-ground…. I normally grind my own beans, so in the event we don’t have power and I HAVE to have coffee!)
Don’t waste: It’s never too early or too late to learn and teach this to all members of the family.
During our first shutdown when toilet paper was scarce, I made sure that my kiddos weren’t wrapping the toilet paper around their hand 1,000 times. I didn’t enforce an “only use 5 squares” rules, but it may have come to that eventually. Regardless of whether or not we are in an emergency situation or not, throwing gobs of toilet paper down the drain is a waste, literally.
Down the drain. Again, literally. I can’t tell you the number of times I have gone into the kitchen to find a bowl full of milk left from the morning’s cereal that just got poured down the drain. Not only is that a waste of money, but a waste of what could be a precious commodity.
Shutdown Lessons: Learn new things now
Begin to learn how to make as many things from scratch as possible. And by scratch, I don’t mean you bought Hamburger Helper and just added the meat. Purchase a decent cookbook that has all the basics; nothing too fancy. Try and learn a couple of new things a month. That way if you totally fail on a recipe, you can still run down and grab a frozen pizza without the stress of wasting precious groceries.
PRINTABLE BAKING SUBSTITUTIONS!
Shopping: A mindset change
I took a preparedness class years ago and one of the presenters used this phrase, “One is none; two is one.” This is a change in mindset. Don’t think of your full container of baking powder, vanilla, bandaids, as having a full container and don’t need anymore; one is none. As you do your regular shopping for groceries, household items, medical supplies, anything you use on a regular basis, be sure you are shopping not when you run out of something, but when you are down to one or two of something. There is a learning curve to shopping this way. But if you keep in mind that phrase, you will begin to realize how little you actually have on hand if something were to happen.
Each member of our household has an emergency bag, no matter if we are facing another shutdown, or emergency in general. These are bags that are truly used in case of an emergency. Each bag contains a few medical supplies, water filtration, fire starting kits, and an emergency blanket. Depending on the age of those in your house, each bag will look a little different. Perhaps a new, small stuffed animal or a container of playdough for a young child. Perhaps a solar charger for a device for your older child.
The purpose of this post isn’t meant to scare you or have a doom-and-gloom mindset. While we NEVER wish for another shutdown or natural disaster to come upon us, we’ve learned from 2020 that a grocery store can clear out within a matter of days (or hours). Make a plan and be prepared for whatever comes our way. We’re moms… we’ve got this!
What would you add to our list? Share in the comments section below.
Written in collaboration by Julie Coombs & Kristi Corley