When is “enough” survival storage too much?

That's just too much canned milk.

I know it will come as a huge surprise to those who know and love me most, but on rare occasion, I exhibit an imperfection!  Never more is that imperfection revealed than when examining my prepping purchasing and survival storage practices.

For a long time, while I have focused strongly on accumulating survival storage food for future needs, putting it away in an orderly fashion hasn’t been as high a priority.  As a result, my thoughts as I peruse canned items at the grocery store tend toward “well, we can always used canned tomatoes, and I don’t know how many I already have, so I’ll just get a few cans.”  And so I did.  But for some reason, when hitting the canned milk aisle, I really got busy.  Even though as a rule we don’t drink much milk of any sort (too much milk sugar), I keep thinking of all the dishes that could be prepared in a survival situation….and add a few cans of evaporated milk to the buggy.

After arriving home from the grocery store, my second most obvious imperfection reared its ugly head:  I have long employed the throw-and-run version of pantry organization.  Find a spot that has a hole in my survival storage pantry, fill it with latest purchase, check to make sure the cabinet door will close, then run to escape the knowledge that it’s a mess in there that really needs to be organized.  I am a master at it (I guess that comes with a lot of practice)!

One day recently, I decided that enough was enough, and I really needed to organize the pantry, so I pulled out every last can, box, bottle, pouch and bag, and put them all loosely together.  Some items for which I had quite a few reserves, I put in baskets to keep together, until I could wipe down the empty shelves, organize everything, and put it all back.

When I was pulling food out of the cabinets, I kept running across cans of evaporated milk…and more milk…..and more milk.  When I got done, it was clear I had more evaporated milk than I could use in a lonnnnnng time.  I was almost afraid to count them, but I was really stunned to find that I had fifty-three cans of evaporated milk, to be exact!  Fifty three!  And worst of all, at least one third of them were past their expiration date!

Now, I’m not one to get too excited about expiration dates; I don’t automatically throw food out when it hits the date, but my past experience tells me that evaporated milk tends to get clumpy when it sits too long. So, now I am working furiously to find ways to use up my evaporated milk and get the count down to a manageable number that will work for us now and also later, when we really need it! So, I am proud to announce that as of today, I have “only” 49 cans of evaporated milk in my survival storage (plus the half a can that sits in the fridge, still needing to be used). I’m making progress!

The operative lesson here is:  don’t let your food get away from you.  Keep track of what you have, and in order to do that, you really need to keep your survival storage pantry organized reasonably well, use your stored food first-in, first-out, and don’t buy more than you can use up in the time it takes for it to get too old to use.

Now, go clean out that pantry and let me know how bad it is for you! (Don’t let me be the only one that has let her pantry get away from her!)

© 2012, DFW Preppers and Survivors. All rights reserved.

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