In our family I’m responsible for the obtaining and tracking of the beans, seeds, band aid , and child-schooling portion of our preparation. My husband is responsible for obtaining the bullets, fuel, agriculture and security supplies and all other aspects of our preparedness and training everyone how to use them, however I’m responsible for inventorying and usage tracking all of these supplies also. As a former analytical CPA and auditor-before I became a wife and mother, I fully believe that accurate regular inventory of your supplies is the life and death of your survival, just as it is for businesses. If you don’t know what you have on hand and what you still need to obtain or replenish then I don’t understand how you can be adequately prepared. Over the years I saw many business fail-not because of lack knowledge but because of lack of supplies to put that knowledge to work.
In the process of our preparedness journey, I stumbled upon a free web site that is run by two mothers, http://foodstoragemadeeasy.net/. They adhere to the Mormon plan of having a full years’ worth of food stored. They provide you with a complete checklist called “Baby Steps Checklist” that walks you through complete food storage purchases for your family spread out over a full year. If you follow their steps the preparedness is broken down to a financially manageable task, which I know for many families is the largest stumbling block.
The web site includes, which I feel is the most important part, a spreadsheet calculator that allows you to calculate how much food/supplies you need based on the number of family members, age of your children, and how much you want stored, i.e. 3, 6, 12 months or more. I tracked all our other household supplies usage (cleaning supplies, hygiene products, etc) for a year and added a padding of 6 months usage. I then used this spreadsheet to create another for all other household “stuff” you need to live. My husband took the spreadsheet and also modified it to show all the “stuff” that falls under his department of bullets, fuel, replacement parts, agriculture supplies, etc we need to have stored for a societal breakdown.
The spreadsheet is so simple to use that even our 8 and 10 year olds can follow it as they take our monthly food inventory. It takes them about 2-3 hours. The 10 year old is even able to take the corrected hard copy and sit at the computer and change quantities on hand in the spreadsheet and then printout a new three new hard copies for me, it is that user friendly. (Note: I do a complete inventory myself once a quarter to ensure the children are staying on top of their chore and that all quantities are correct.)
We keep multiple copies of each inventory on simple clipboards, which I highly recommend. One at the storage location of each category to note any withdrawals from our stores, one in our property’s “mechanical shop” and in our Master Supply Binder that stays in the home office. I also keep a copy of the food spreadsheet in a kitchen drawer for easy access. The spreadsheets allow us to have on one simple clipboard and instant access to what I have on hand-what we need to pick-up on our next runs to the hardware, survival, Costco or Sam’s Club, the regular grocery store- all of which are an hour away on a beautiful sunny summer day, longer on icy, snow packed, mountain, roads, and also what I need to can/freeze/preserve this current growing season.
With these spreadsheets I am able to do a full inventory of everything we have quarterly in approximately 12-15 hours of time every quarter. My husband and I can then sit down and in one evening easily go over our usage to make sure we are not being wasteful and plan any large resupply purchases that need to be made.
Thank you, – A Conservative, Prepared Catholic in the Rocky Mountains
Letter Re: Beginning and Maintaining Family Survival Stores