Thursday, September 16, 2010

Preparedness 2010 - Part 3

I've been doing it twice a year for two years and it's gotten old.

I'm talking about checking the expiration dates on my preparedness food supplies.

As I unpack everything from the two large shopping bags in which they're stored, I check each date, having rewritten those that are hard to find or read with a fine Sharpie before putting them in the bags.

Those expiring within 9-16 months, for example, January 2011 for this past April's food check and January 2012 for this month's food check, get moved to my regular food supply and are added to my shopping list to replenish my preparedness kit so I always have fresher food in my kit and nothing's wasted due to an expiration date. The rest are put back into the bags.

It's dull work and I'm doing it for only one person. Imagine how grumpy I'd be if I were doing it for a family!

This year, I decided to make a list of items with their expiration dates. The list is organized by meals: breakfasts, lunches and dinners with meat or fish, rice or potato, and veggie; followed by snacks and beverages. That would make it quick to check what I set aside and the quantities as well as their expiration dates because I have only to scan the list and won't have to remove anything from a bag until it's due to be moved to my regular food supply and replaced.

When I replenish items, all I have to do is write the new expiration dates onto the list until it's so cluttered and difficult to read that I have to make a new printout.

Ha! Let's see how well this idea works out.

[Update 3/31/11 - The list is working out well. I left the spaces for the expiration dates blank on my computer and filled them in with pencil so I can erase the old expiration dates and write the new dates for the replacements in the same spaces. As expected, the list is staying neater, longer.]

I also need to change from storing them in shopping bags to something more secure like a plastic bin and an ice chest. While shopping bags are easy to load into and out of my car in case of evacuation or while traveling, they're also too easy for critters to get into. Although canned food is secure and will stay in a bag, lined with another to hold the weight, the last thing I need in an emergency situation is to discover holes in my packages of instant oatmeal, potatoes, rice, or snacks where wee furry beasties helped themselves to the food as they would depending on where I stay and park.

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