Posted on March 01 2019
If we don’t re-buy these preparations every year, we’re flirting with disaster.
- Seeds. Even properly stored, the sprouting rate on seeds drops after one year and then plummets after that. Seeds should be repurchased each year, and not just any seeds. They need to be the varieties and sub-varieties that you’ve tested and know to be good your area and good for your families diet preference. Better yet, harvest seeds from the plants that do well in your garden, assuming they’re heirloom. If you don’t know how to harvest seeds, you should definitely learn, since experimenting with seed stock during a post-apocalyptic world would be terrifying. (Here’s the best book I’ve found on harvesting seed.)
- Antibiotics. The good news: we can still buy fish antibiotics that are the same as human antibiotics. The bad news: not all of them have long shelf-lives, especially the powdered ones. It’s expensive to restock antibiotics every year, but how horrible would it be to live without them?
- Bleach/Pool Shock. Excellent for purifying water in large quantities, bleach and pool shock lose efficacy over time; their chemical properties evaporating into air even inside plastic bottles. They’re both cheap water purification chemicals and can be stored for sharing or trading, but liquid bleach needs to be replaced every year (some say every six months) and pool shock needs to be replaced every two years. There are concerns using pool shock (http://www.happypreppers.com/Pool-shock.html) but most sources agree that it can be used effectively for water purification, especially as a trade good.
- Potatoes. Seed potatoes have to be cycled several times a year, even when stored properly. If you're not planning on growing potatoes, then you're passing up on the best calorie-to-square-foot option around. If potatoes do well in your area, you should be re-ordering and cycling seed potatoes at least twice a year or just keeping the small ones for stock if you’re growing them. In a complete collapse, potatoes would absolutely vanish everywhere except Idaho. How valuable would it be if you were the last guy holding them?
- Yeast. All the wheat you may have stocked in big, white buckets will be greatly reduced in value if you can't turn it into bread. Fluffy loaves of bread might be worth their weight in silver post-collapse. But, commercial yeast needs to be cycled about once a year (might last two), even when stored in a cool, dry place.
- Batteries. If you stock regular batteries, cycle them annually. Expensive lithium batteries can last much longer, but you’ll pay for the shelf-life.
- Compost. If you're not composting now, your compost won't be ready if a collapse happens next month. You can make compost in less than a month, hypothetically, but it's quite difficult. It's much more practical to compost on a one-year cycle, but that requires thinking ahead and cycling through your compost regularly. Luckily, Mother Nature does most the work.
- Pet food. Most dog and cat food has fats and proteins and will go bad in a year or less. Stock in large quantities and rotate every year or less.
- Vegetable Oil. The cheapest way to store fats is to buy large quantities of vegetable oil and then rotate it, or toss what’s left after a year. Unopened vegetable oil often lasts a bit longer—maybe even two years—but oxidation will eventually turn it rancid. Tossing cooking oil seems wasteful, but even throwing it away every year pencils out to your cheapest option for going into the apocalypse with fats. (Imagine your pancakes without oil or butter.)
- Gasoline. Unleaded goes bad in about a year, unless you add Sta-bil, in which case it may last two years. Diesel is somewhat better. In either case, all gas needs to be rotated annually.
- Medicines. Prescription meds should be stockpiled and then rotated. Even though the expiration dates on many meds (ibuprofen, etc.) are bogus, they do eventually lose efficacy.
- Home-canned Foods. Jam, jelly, salsa and other home-canned goods should be rotated and replaced about every two years. By canning only what your family loves to eat, you insure that they’ll greedily burn through your stock by the time canning season comes back around.
- Nursing Drug Handbook, perhaps not every year, but you should frequently purchase an updates drug handbook or physician’s desk reference or both.
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This blog article sprang out of a conversation on the ReadyMen Closed Group (thank you, Lito, for the great idea). Thank you to the gentlemen and ladies of SurvivalistBoards, who also contributed to this article.
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