With the surge of disasters that have hit the country in the past few years, Americans are finally waking up to the need to stockpile emergency supplies. Even if you can make it to a supermarket during a disaster, items are going to quickly disappear off the shelves – and you might even have to fight your way to get products. So, you MUST have non-perishable foods, like canned goods, and a lot of water stockpiled to help you get through a disaster (get a list of foods to stockpile here). But, sorry to break it to you: stockpiling food isn’t going to be enough to get you through a long-term disaster. Here is a list of non-food items you will also need to stockpile.
Hygiene isn’t just a matter of smelling nice while you wait out a disaster. If you get dirty, then it can become a serious health risk. Of these items, the most important is going to be buckets and trash bags to serve as a toilet. You can read more about survival hygiene and how to make an emergency toilet system here.
- Toilet Paper: You can wipe with magazine pages or even pine combs, but do you really want to? Plus, you can use toilet paper to make an emergency heater.
- Trash Bags and Buckets: For making an off-grid toilet.
- Hand Sanitizer: Using this instead of soap will help you save water.
- Female Hygiene Items: My wife uses a menstrual cup, which is reusable and lasts 5 years, so we don’t stockpile these.
- Baby wipes: These are great for cleaning yourself when you can’t take a shower.
- Soap and Shampoo
- Toothbrushes and toothpaste
- Shaving cream
First Aid Items
Please make sure you read our post about first aid items, and be sure to have a first aid kit packed at home, and a lightweight first aid kit for your Bug Out Bag too!
- Personal Medications: If these require a prescription, you might need to talk to your doctor about letting you get a few extra bottles to have on hand. Remember to rotate them so they don’t expire!
- Pain killers
- Anti-diarrhea medicines
- Fever reducers
- Cough/cold medicines
- Anti-itch creams
- Anti-fungal creams
- Antibiotic ointment
- Antiseptic wipes
- Burn salve
- Medical scissors
- Cotton balls and Q-tips
- Isopropyl alcohol
- LOTS of plastic gloves
If you haven’t already, I highly recommend taking a course in first aid. Otherwise, all of these supplies will be pretty much useless in a true emergency situation. Learn skills like how to dress a wound, CPR, how to set a splint, and which medications to give.
- Duct tape and WD-40: Seriously, is there nothing that these two tools can’t fix?
- Rope and cord: Have a variety of types of rope, including paracord in your stockpile
- Tools: A box cutter, hammer, screwdriver, wrench, and other tools will come in handy if you need to make last-minute repairs or improvise a solution
- Nails and Screws: You’ll want these for making furniture or shelters, or doing repairs
- Candles, flashlights, and other off-grid lighting
- Plastic sheeting: Great for things like repairing a broken window or collecting water. Read this post about survival uses for plastic tarps
- Pens, pencils and paper
- Entertainment: A deck of cards is small and can provide lots of entertainment. I’ve also included some How-To books and manuals in my emergency supplies stockpile
- Socks and underwear: You can get by wearing the same clothes for a few days, but you definitely don’t want to wear dirty socks and underwear. That will cause some nasty chaffing and infections.
- Water filters
- Bleach: This is useful for hygiene reasons, and also for purifying water if you don’t have any filters left
- Lighters, matches, and fire–starters
- Fuel: Read this article about off-grid cooking methods
- AMMO and WEAPONS! You might also want to stock up on supplies like barbed wire in case you need to set up a defense around your home.
For a true SHTF situation, you will want to have some items to barter with. Ideally, a barter item should be something which is in-demand but you know how to make yourself, such as soap or candles. Even if you have excess of something now, you might end up needing it later – so try not to barter away items that you can’t replace. Read our post about the top barter items.
Getting Started with Stockpiling for Survival
As you can see, this list is pretty long – and this is only the non-food items you should be stockpiling! Depending on your personal needs, you will probably want to add a lot of items to the list.
So how are you supposed to get started with stockpiling?
I understand that most people have budget and space constraints with stockpiling, but that shouldn’t prevent you from getting started.
Start slowly. When you go shopping and notice one of these items on sale, buy a few extra. Over time, your prepper stockpile will add up. You can also make a list of items by priority. In terms of priority, you will want to focus on these items:
- Toilet paper + buckets for toilet
- First Aid
- Hygiene items
As far as space goes, I’m lucky enough to live in a fairly-large home with a basement. But I used to live in a small apartment, so I know what it means to be restricted in terms of space. Consider getting rid of all that clutter you have in your home and use the space for the survival items you really need.