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Deep Storage – How Long Will Your Supplies Last And What Will You Do When They Run Out? – Graphic © off-grid.info. Background image: Pixabay (PD)
How long would your supplies last if you were not able to shop?
In old times, having sufficient supplies was a matter of life and death. Running out of supplies could literally be fatal. There was no way to “pop down to the shops” and pick up whatever you needed for the week.
It is only in the “modern” era of supermarkets and next-day delivery, that this question has become seemingly unimportant.
But have you ever considered that while humans have been around over a million years, in some form – we only had supermarkets in the last 50 or so?
In the old days, deep storage was a necessity and when we say “deep storage”, we mean supplies that can last a long time.
In old times, having enough to last one winter was the typical”baseline” requirement. Some root crops are available through the cold season. Hens and other bird’s eggs would be available by early spring. By midsummer, there would be abundance of fresh fruit and leaf-based foods – and then fall crops would produce through October (depending on latitude), typically until the time of the first frost.
A fully globalized supply chain, which the most recent generation assumes is “just how things are”, is in fact a total experiment. It has never been done before.
What if that supply chain were to break? There are very many circumstances in fact that could cause this to occur:
Warfare. Pandemic. Economic crash. Now you can hardly tell me that none of those three is likely to happen!
In warfare, a key strategy is that of cutting off supplies to the enemy. It was done in WW2 using submarines to prevent supplies from reaching the UK – and in numerous other conflicts.
Pandemic – this is of course a reality. We’ve seen how supply chains were tested in 2020-2021; however what if there were worse problems requiring absolute closure of all borders? There go those year-round fruits and vegetables that were imported from warmer countries!
Economic crash: With more money being printed than has ever been printed before in history, hyperinflation seems a real possibility. Past experience has shown us that hyperinflation and food shortage go hand in hand.
How long would your supplies last? How long would YOU last?
Your bread and perishable foods would be gone in a week. Your larder, in most cases, would be completely cleaned out in a month or two.
What if “The Grid” (and I don’t just mean the electrical grid, I mean the infrastructure of supply of food, water and other utilities) were to go down and not come back?
Fuel, medical supplies, water, tools, clothing, shoes?
You get the picture. Deep storage could truly mean the difference between perishing and staying alive.. just like it always has. Self reliance, once again, is vital.
Getting Started With Your Deep Storage
1) Create or obtain a secure storage location: Cool, dark, dry, pest-proof, marauder-proof.
2) Robust Shelving: See if you can source some cheap, used industrial type shelving that can support heavy weight and allow you to stack ’em high.
3) Get started by storing the least perishable items: These are the ‘easiest’ to store because they don’t need special conditions.
4) Build up a stash of the items that you actually use a lot of: Going out and spending a fortune on stuff that you “might need” but have never actually needed so far, could end up being a total waste of money. So best to pack high the items you actually use.
5) Start Training Yourself Now: Make your supply runs less frequent and get it down. If you live in town, you don’t think much about supply runs. You can just whizz down to the shop whenever you get hungry, so you don’t even care. Folks who live further from the city, however, have to think more carefully about supply runs. If a supply run means a 50 mile drive, then you are going to have a very good list and you are going to make less runs – maybe once a month. This is good training. Could you manage with going on a supply run once a month? Start small and work up. Start by limiting yourself to one supply run per week. Then every two weeks. Then every four. Notice how your mindset, your shopping list changes. Notice how you will be forced to adapt, be creative and plan ahead.
6) Other things to store that most people don’t think of: Spare printer cartridges, pens, paper, computers, hard drives, “tools that make tools”. Check out my Ultimate Survival / Prepper Supply List – 175 Items That Will Disappear First In A Disaster – Stock Up On These Now!
7) What can you make yourself? Why not learn soapmaking, metalwork, woodwork? Can you work with leather and make your own shoes? Do you have the tools to work leather? Can you make a hunting bow – and arrows?
8) Start growing food: Learn the timing various crops and create a garden plan so that you have edibles coming in throughout the year. If you have a greenhouse, conservatory or other space where you can grow year-round – then you are in good shape!
9) Learn Off Grid Deep Freeze Techniques. A chest freezer / deep freezer is typically colder and can store larger volumes of food – potentially several months worth of important food. If you are a hunter, chances are you already have one or more of these. For a true off-grid deep freeze however, you will need uninterruptible power, which means either sufficient solar cells / batteries or a hybrid setup with solar and small scale wind or hydro. If you’ve got a source of running water, small scale hydro could be a good option and one advantage is that creeks tend to run deeper and faster in the winter, which is when there is less sunlight. Learn about the use of mylar bags and good freezer techniques such as date labeling and rotating your supplies.
Deep Storage Limitations
You can quickly see that creating a long term store of “everything you need” past a few months becomes a huge project – expensive, time consuming and prone to problems. Storage needs maintenance and care, and needs to be defended against those who would like to plunder it – and the more you have, the more “they” will want it; especially in a REAL survival scenario, where people will do whatever they need to do. How are you going to build up a massive store of everything and have nobody know about it? That “friend” who knows might not be quite so friendly if they are genuinely starving. And if you are charitable, well you just decimated your supply because you will then be providing for them and who knows who else…
It’s worth bearing in mind that food storage will only get you so far. The amount of food a family goes through in a year is quite astonishing – and having a long term supply means that you will continually be eating through a rotation of long term survival food just to get through it before the ‘best before’ date – meaning you will not be eating what you really want to eat, most of the time – and you need fresh food for optimal health! You will get sick of eating survival rations and will think “to heck with it; let some of it go past the date, who cares any more!” That was money wasted, then. “Oh, I will just store seeds” they say. Really… Did you even know that the viability of seeds decreases every year? After five years, most of them won’t even germinate! So you will need to be either continually replacing your seed stash or committing to a gardening / seed saving venture which is fantastic, but requires land and great commitment in terms of time. Living off grid is a lifestyle, not just something you can buy off-the-shelf whenever there is a scary news story.
Hungry? Your food options are essentially these: Purchase – Draw From Your Supplies – Barter / Share – Grow – Forage – Hunt – Fish.
The best approach may turn out to be a “hybrid approach” that increases your options all round. Options are good! 😉 Build some flexibility into your plan and have several cards you can play. This makes sense. Continue to shop for perishable foods – for now. Start growing more of your own food. Learn how to forage and which plants you can use. Learn to hunt and fish. Develop a resilient local network where you trade your produce with others.
While supplies are valuable, it’s also useful to learn to travel light and minimal, and do without mountains of stuff, instead opting to go heavy on skills, training and knowledge.
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