Do you feel like you’d be prepared if a major crisis struck your area?
I thought I was prepared until a major snowstorm was headed towards us.
We don’t often get large snowstorms in my neck of the woods.
Therefore, this sent people into panic mode. I made the mistake of heading to a local retailer at that time and ran into people desperately trying to stock up on emergency supplies while I only needed a few snacks.
I can’t begin to explain how people were shoving each other around for a loaf of bread!
After experiencing this frenzy, I knew I needed to ensure I’d be as prepared as possible for any crisis going forward, and able to avoid shops and crowds.
If you aren’t confident you’re covered if disaster strikes either, it’s okay. I’m going to bring you a list of items which will most likely disappear first if a major crisis hits.
Since there are different types of emergencies, I’ll be sorting this list from fairly popular items for short term coping, such as being snowed in for a week. Then I’ll progress to things you might need for a longer time of isolation, and even a few items you might need to start over – such as gardening tools.
Here’s what you should be stocking up with now, to avoid such shopping chaos later:
From the Hardware Store
I love my local hardware store. It’s locally owned, and they carry almost anything I would need for survival. Check out your local hardware store and see if they sell any of these items:
1. Containers for Water
Water is going to be an issue if a significant disaster comes to your area. If you find a way to get water though, you’ll need a way to store it.
Other people are going to figure this out too. Therefore, make sure you have containers for storing your water.
Consider your long-term water storage options in advance.
2. Water Purifiers
Everyone knows you must have fresh water to live. If you can’t depend on the water coming out of your faucet, what do you do?
Then you must find alternative water sources, and use a water purifier to make it safe for drinking. Therefore, water purifiers will be gone quickly.
When an emergency hits where it threatens the comfort of electricity, the first items to fly off the shelf are generators.
People will pay outrageously high prices not to go without lights, flushing toilets, or refrigeration. Don’t pay exorbitant prices. Go ahead and stock up on a generator now or learn about alternative cooling or refrigeration methods.
4. Portable Lights
Be sure to have quite a few portable lights as emergency supplies. Make sure they’re all in working order as well.
With flashlights and lanterns in mind, it’s essential to have enough batteries on hand too. It could be the difference between having light and being stuck in darkness.
Starting a fire could become a necessity if you’re forced to live an off-grid lifestyle for a while.
With this in mind, it’s important to keep matches to make starting a fire a little easier.
If you have no power, we’ve discussed using battery-operated flashlights and lanterns to see after dark, but what if you run low on batteries?
You can use candles as an easy way to see. Plus, if you keep the supplies on hand, you can make more.
Regardless of what’s going on in the world, you must keep warm. If you don’t live on acres of land with plenty of wood to cut down, you may be forced to depend upon stores for seasoned firewood.
You can either start stocking up on firewood now to have to burn later or make sure you have something in mind to burn when you need warmth.
9. Portable Cooking Mechanism
If your power goes out, how will you cook? Be sure to have a plan in place in the event you must cook without electricity.
Having a portable grill is a good idea. They’re easy to store, inexpensive to purchase, and can be used in many different situations.
Alternatively, consider a wood stove and be sure you have the fuel necessary to cook using this method.
10. Outdoor Cooking Methods
As mentioned above, you’ll have to figure out an alternative cooking method if the electricity is gone. Cooking outside is a great idea in some cases.
But outdoor cooking usually requires propane or charcoal. Figure out what you’re planning on using and stock up on it.
11. Solar Ovens
Solar ovens are simple to make and a great way to cook by using the sunlight to prepare your food.
If you don’t have any other alternative cooking source, consider investing in a solar oven for a time of crisis.
12. Fire Extinguisher
Fires can happen, but they’re more likely to occur if you’re using fire on a more regular basis than you do now.
Therefore, be prepared by having a fire extinguisher on hand to handle any small fire.
13. First Aid Kits
In a crisis, it’s common for people to get hurt. Things happen, and we have to do things we aren’t accustomed to.
Be prepared for any small injury with a First Aid kit.
14. Flare Gun
You’re traveling away from your home to a safer place, and you see someone who can potentially help you.
Or you are stranded on your roof due to a flood and see a distant search-and-rescue team.
How do you get their attention? You shoot up a flare gun. Make sure to buy these ahead of time.
15. Manual Can Opener
You can’t open food if you don’t have a can opener. Don't rely on electrically powered appliances because they’ll be of no help.
Therefore, you must be sure you have a manual can opener on hand to be able to open the foods you have.
16. Cast Iron
If you’re going to cook in an outdoor or non-traditional situation, be sure you have the cookware to support it.
One type of cookware you can use both inside and out is cast iron. Keep it on hand to be able to cook in any situation.
Items that are versatile and could be useful in various challenging situations:
17. Box Cutter
My husband is a big believer in box cutters. He keeps one in his work van, in our outbuilding, and he has a small one on his key chain.
They can be used for many things. Make sure you keep a supply of box cutters around your home for a time of need.
18. Plastic Garbage Cans
Plastic garbage cans are great for a variety of reasons. First, you’ll need a garbage can at some point to neatly store your trash.
But they’re also great for putting in the ground and using as a root cellar. You can also use them to store items you don’t have room for in the house.
19. Duct Tape
There’s a running joke about duct tape. Everyone seems to assume duct tape can fix anything. There is some truth to this joke. Duct tape can be used to repair and make items with.
For these reasons, it should be included in your emergency supplies. You don’t know when duct tape could save the day.
Until I began living on a farm, I didn’t realize how useful a tarp could be. When you’re in a mess and need instant cover, a tarp can save the day.
Make sure you have multiple tarps on hand because they can help with everything from a leaking roof to providing temporary shelter.
What if you’re in the middle of a crisis and something you need decides to break at the most inopportune moment?
Be prepared by making sure you have glue on hand. Glue will be a hot ticket item because it will help people fix what they need during trying times.
22. Nails and Screws
Nails and screws are vital to fixing what’s broken and building new items. If you’re in an area which has been walloped by tragedy, they’ll be critical.
Therefore, be sure you have enough nails and screws on hand to complete as many projects as you can imagine.
Considering traveling? Then you might think of these items in advance:
23. Gas Containers
If you must head somewhere during a crisis, you should ensure you have enough gas to get you there.
Gas will run out quickly, and gas containers will too. Stock up on both ahead of time.
It may feel weird to consider a time when you may not be able to run to your local automotive store to purchase a plug to fix a flat tire.
But if you prepare ahead of time, you can keep plugs or cans of fix-a-flat on hand if this day ever arrives, and you must repair a flat tire.
Again, you must leave your home because of a tragedy, and you’re traveling to a safer area, but you don’t have the greatest sense of direction. What do you do?
You make sure you purchased a compass ahead of time for this exact situation. This will help you know which direction you’re heading.
If something were to happen where you had to be on the move quickly, you should have a backpack ready to go to where you could hit the road and have the supplies you need.
27. Sleeping Bags and Blankets
If you find yourself in a crisis, especially if you become displaced, you must consider how you’ll sleep and stay warm.
Be prepared by making sure you have enough sleeping bags for your family and an ample amount of blankets.
28. Portable Mattresses
If you’re displaced from your home because of a tragedy, you must be prepared. Make sure you have a portable cot or mattress.
This will keep you from sleeping on the hard ground and make your arrangements slightly more comfortable.
The remainder of the items on our Hardware Store list would depend a lot on the type of situation you might face. Still, consider these items now, as it might help you plan and prepare:
29. Composting Toilets
If you can’t flush your toilet, you don’t have running water or any access to water to flush your toilet, where do you go to the bathroom?
If you don’t have a refrigerator, a cooler can become your next best option. If you fill it with ice, you’ll be able to keep items cold for a few days at a time.
Plus, if you have to butcher an animal for food, you can store it in a cooler on ice until you eat it all to avoid any waste.
31. Fishing Supplies
What if food diminishes, and you have nothing stored, you’re not able to harvest anything, and you can’t go to the store?
Be sure to keep fishing gear on hand because this could be a natural way to provide food for yourself and loved ones in a pinch.
32. Canning Supplies
Let’s say a crisis hits, and you can’t go to the store to buy food. Yet, you’re able to grow a garden, but you realize gardening only last for a certain amount of months.
If you stock up on canning supplies in advance, you should be able to preserve your harvest to sustain you all year long.
33. Knife Sharpener
You can’t use a dull knife. Knives are worthless if they aren’t sharp. You can’t use them to defend yourself, cut rope, or butcher an animal.
Therefore, make sure if you’re storing knives in your emergency supplies, to store a knife sharpener. When the crisis comes, it’ll be too late because they won’t last on the shelf for long.
34. Carbon Monoxide Detector
When a crisis hits, it can knock your whole world off kilter by merely knocking out the electricity. Make sure you have a way to stay warm.
But also make sure you’re protected by using a battery-operated carbon monoxide detector to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.
35. Bug Spray
Bugs can make your life miserable. If you’re in a difficult situation, the last thing you should worry about is bug bites.
Make sure you enough bug spray for your immediate family. This can make a hard situation a little more manageable.
36. Rat Poison
Rats are a part of outdoor life. They’re big and not something you want to share your living quarters with.
You don’t know what you’ll face with a crisis. Be prepared and have rat poison on hand to deter unwanted critters.
37. Roach Killer
Roaches are similar to rats. They’re a part of nature, but you don’t want to share your living quarters with them.
38. Hand Pump
This is an item on my to-do list. We have an electrically powered well. This is great until the power goes out, and we have no water.
The plan is to attach a hand pump to the well to allow us to have access to our well water even when we have no power.
39. Cordless Power Tools
Life is hard at times. If your homestead gets hit with a major storm, you’ll most likely have to rebuild certain items.
Be sure you have cordless power tools to make the process easier. Make sure you have a way to charge the batteries too.
40. Garden Tools
We aren’t sure what situations will arise tomorrow. Natural disasters are a prominent threat these days and governments appear less stable.
You may need to supply your own food at some point. Gardening is easier with tools. Make sure you have the tools necessary to thrive.
People may look at you funny now when you tell them you raise all your food but wait until this is the only option available.
At this point, seeds will become a commodity. Be sure you know how to harvest seeds and properly store them for later use.
From the Gun Shop
42. Small Defenses
Sadly, when chaos breaks out after a major crisis, people become violent and out for their own survival. Looting is a problem.
Be prepared by having guns, ammunition, and pepper spray as small ways to be sure to defend yourself, your family, and the items you must have to survive.
From the Grocery Store
43. Bottled Water
This will probably be the first item gone from any store shelf if a crisis is either coming or hits. If you only drink bottled water, you should start stocking up now.
However, if you’re okay with tap water, don’t worry about bottled water. Make sure you store tap water in durable containers.
This one should be a no-brainer. Every time bad weather rolls through everyone heads to the store and buys up every gallon of milk and every loaf of bread.
Storing milk for long-term use is hard. It would be wise to either store powdered milk or to invest in a cow or dairy goat.
45. Canned Meats & Food
Canned meats can be an excellent source of protein. You can add meats such as canned tuna fish, ham, or spam to your food storage.
If you prefer to can your own meat, can your own venison, beef, or chicken to be a part of your food storage.
Make sure you have enough food emergency supplies to survive for a while because the store-shelves will empty quickly.
It’s a dehydrated food which has a long shelf-life, and it also will provide a burst of protein. Plus, jerky is excellent for a bug-out bag.
Rice is an inexpensive item which can easily be stored in food grade buckets until they’re needed. It’s easy to fix over an open fire and can be prepared a variety of ways.
Rice keeps for a long time, and can be very filling if food is scarce.
48. Dried Beans
I’m not a huge fan of beans, but I usually keep a large bag of dried beans in my basement because when the power goes out, they’re easy to cook over a fire.
Make sure you keep dried or canned beans on hand to have as a viable food source whether you’re at home or on the move. They provide protein and can be very filling in dire circumstances.
49. Baby Supplies
When a disaster strikes, it doesn’t only strike adults. It will impact small children because they have specific needs which must be met.
Now is the time to stock up on formula, diapers, baby wipes, and any other items your child or children may need to survive.
50. Dog Food
Don’t forget the family guardian! Be sure to stock up on plenty of food. We have a large breed dog, and she eats approximately 25-50 pounds of dog food every month or two.
Therefore, make sure you have dog food stored, or you have an idea of how you’re going to make homemade dog food.
The same as with babies, adults may depend on certain items to help us cope, such as:
My husband and I are huge coffee drinkers. If I’m going to prepare for disaster, you better know upfront coffee is going to be included.
But other people will feel the same when disaster does hit. Therefore, make sure you have your coffee prior to the disaster, or you may lose out.
I was a smoker for about six years of my life. I quit when we decided to have children. If you’re a current smoker, you have two options: quit or make sure you stockpile.
From my own experience, if you’re in a crisis, and you’re a smoker, you’ll want your nicotine, or those who are stuck with you will probably toss you outside until your withdrawal crankiness passes.
If you’re someone who has a drink to calm down, you may want to include alcohol in your stockpile.
When a crisis hits, I guarantee many people will be hitting the liquor store because everyone’s nerves will be shot. Be prepared and consider your nerves ahead of time.
54. Sweet Treats & Snacks
My mother-in-law had a love for sweets. When she prepared for emergencies, she included snack cakes every time.
Why? Because if you love sweets, be sure you have them on hand before a crisis, or you may not get sweet treats for a long time.
Some quick snacks can also keep you going when you don’t have the time to prepare a meal.
Make sure you have items such as dried fruit leathers on hand to take the edge off your hunger when you need to.
The next section contains items that can be useful to help you prepare food. They may not fly off the shelves, but it is handy to have these items on hand:
55. Baking Needs
As I mentioned earlier, when even the threat of disaster strikes, people head to the grocery stores and stock up on milk and bread.
Be sure you have all of the baking items you need on hand because once the processed items are gone, the baking items will be next.
56. Oil to Cook With
Whether you’re trying to fry something or keep an item from sticking to a pan, you’ll need oil. Plus, during a time of crisis, you can't risk wasting food.
Therefore, making sure you have the oil you need to cook successfully is something you should store now.
Food can be bland without spices. Obviously, you’ll eat whatever you must to survive in a difficult situation.
But if you have the chance to stock up, be sure to add spices to your list. It will give food a much better flavor.
Even during a crisis, people still have a sweet tooth. It’s important to make sure you have sugar, molasses, honey, or another kind of sweetener on hand.
Be sure you have sweeteners for your coffee covered and also sweeteners to make other sweet treats. It can keep your morale going.
Some friends of mine are preppers. They have confidence at some point, society is going to collapse, and they want to be prepared.
They’ve thought of everything. In my friend's storage area, they even have boxes of tea to make sure they have the beverages they like during hard times.
From the Drug Store
60. OTC Meds and Antibiotics
Best is to make sure you’re stocked up on any over the counter meds or prescriptions you need for your health.
Do you take vitamins daily? I do, and I feel confident if my whole world were turned upside down through a crisis, I’d want them even more.
I take a multi-vitamin, fish oil, vitamin D, vitamin B complex, and CBD oil regularly. They help me to feel good, stay motivated, and keep calm. Be sure your vitamins are on hand as emergency supplies.
62. Reading Glasses
Don’t scoff at this one, but having to read tiny instructions on an emergency tool, or look for directions on a map without reading glasses can be futile.
Being able to see will matter big time during a major crisis. Therefore, make sure you have an extra pair of reading glasses.
63. Feminine Products
Ladies, whether you like it or not, Aunt Flo will come to visit whether your life is normal, or not.
Therefore, it’s important to be prepared. Be sure you have all feminine hygiene products on hand for use.
64. Hygiene Products
When trouble hits, toilet paper flies off the shelves. Stock up now. You can store it in large garbage cans outdoors to keep it out of your way.
If times are tough, it can boost morale to be able to do something as simple as taking a hot shower or brush your teeth.
Keep this in mind when stockpiling your emergency supplies. Make sure you have all the hygiene items you use regularly.
65. Antibacterial Items
You want to stay well during a life-altering crisis. One way to do this is to avoid as many germs as possible.
Make sure to include antibacterial wipes, soaps, and hand sanitizers in your emergency supplies.
General and multi-purpose items may not seem that critical, but they can be useful and help you and your family cope:
Bleach is great for making our clothes white and cleaning surfaces. It’s also inexpensive and easy to use.
But you can also use bleach in small amounts to purify water and disinfect items to make it safe to use.
67. Baking Soda
If you don’t have the resources to stock up on fire extinguishers, consider buying baking soda in bulk. It’s great for putting out fires as well.
Whether you come across a small fire, or you start a fire by accident baking soda should help you contain it.
68. Paper Plates and Utensils
When faced with a crisis, the last thing you want to worry about is washing dishes. Water supply might also be limited, so this solves that problem.
Make sure you’re stocked up on paper plates, napkins, and utensils. They won’t last forever, but they can make the initial period a little easier.
69. Aluminum Foil
You may not consider aluminum foil to be an item which would disappear quickly with a crisis, but it will.
Aluminum foil is great for cooking outdoors on an open fire. It’s also great for storing foods on a wood stove and keeping the temperature warm enough for the leftovers to be deemed safe to eat.
70. Garbage Bags
We take garbage bags for granted until we don’t have them anymore. In a survival situation, you should waste as little as possible.
They’re great to have on hand because they’ll keep your living quarters clean and can also be used to hold items when you’re on the move.
From Your Clothing Retailer
71. Rain Gear
Rain is part of the natural elements. Unfortunately, rain accompanies many of the major crisis we face.
72. Warm Clothing
It doesn’t matter where you live; the nights will most likely become cold at some point where you live. It’s important to be prepared for any time of the year.
Be prepared by making sure you have plenty of warm clothing. If you wait until the circumstance hits, you’ll find it may be a fight to get what you need from a retailer.
73. Work Boots
Having durable boots meant for hard work, able to handle mud, plus any other element nature throws your way, could save your feet from blisters and other distracting problems.
74. Camouflaged Clothing
Consider purchasing camouflaged clothing. If you must get somewhere without being seen or hunt deer for survival, camos could help. Again, buy ahead of time because you won’t be the only one with these thoughts.
Last but not least, for your sanity and to keep the kids busy, consider the following:
Though it may momentarily seem as if the entire world has ended, in reality, it hasn’t. Kids especially can adapt quickly and will get bored and fret, no matter the circumstances.
They’ll want entertainment. Make sure you have a pack of cards and some board games to keep everyone busy.
No list for emergency supplies can ever be complete. This is just a small take on items that could quickly disappear from shops, and you’d be well advised to stock up on these for any eventuality.