Yesterday I had a rather exhausted delivery guy deliver my groceries. With all the panic buying the poor guy hasn't had a day off in THREE WEEKS! This led me to have discussions with various friends on pantry essentials. I grew up in a home that was always 'emergency prepared' and I've always had a master-list of items I always have in my pantry.
Whether it’s a virus, earthquake, flood, tornado, hurricane, or brush fire, we should all be prepared. And what better way to ensure your family’s wellbeing than to have the emergency supplies you need always at hand? When people feel prepared, they cope with emergencies better. So make it a family project to assemble what you need.
While we have had widespread loadshedding, we often forget the potential for water supply interruptions. Or possibly even contamination of the water supply. We've experienced both!
I store one 5 liter bottle of drinking water for each member of the family. However, we have other needs like washing, cooking and sanitation, so I have a 50 liter water tank (the kind with a tap) stored for emergencies too.
Keep bottled water in its original container and don’t open it until you need it. Store the containers in a cool, dark place, and rotate them every six months.
Cleaning and Hygiene Products
I don't use a lot of products, I keep it as natural and simple as possible. However, I always make sure I have spares of these items...
Bio-bleach (I use this one from Faithful to Nature)
Laundry detergent (our favourite is this one, also from Faithful to Nature)
Bicarbonate of soda
Soap (we prefer bars of soap, to prevent plastic waste)
A note on the laundry detergent: It is on sale fairly regularly, when it is discounted I buy two. You don't need a lot! One bucket lasts me 6 months, and I do at least one load of laundry every day.
I was part of a lively debate about how much food one should keep in your pantry. There's no right or wrong answer, it's up to you and dependent on the size of your family.
Here are items that I always have in my pantry (usually in small quantities)...
In my freezer I keep...
Vegetables (I don't buy packets, I prefer to cut and freeze in individual portions)
Homemade tomato and onion mix
Pre-prepared meals for busy / lazy days
At any given time I have a variety of vegetables and herbs ready to harvest in my garden. I have built up a sizeable seed bank of items that are fast growing. Plants like spinach, lettuce and coriander grow very quickly from seed. A great guide to help you with choosing seeds (and growing them) is Gardenate.