Updated: Sep 2, 2021
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I don't get into politics on this blog, and I'm not about to start, but if you're preparing for the next pandemic, I think you're making the right decision. There's no way to know when another pandemic may hit, but the one thing you can do now, is prepare for it.
To prepare, we can look at a few things that happened by result of the pandemic, and the aftermath we're seeing now. A few of those things are:
Closing of public stores/places and staying at home more often.
Lack of healthcare due to clinics closing to non-emergent patients.
I obviously have my own opinions, but this is not meant to be political. I'm simply stating the last pandemic-related issues. I'm going to cover preparing for these events in this article.
Food and Supply Shortages and Inflation
At one point during the pandemic, I saw ground beef almost double in price, along with empty shelves and some price-gouging. Yes, store owners aren't supposed to price-gouge, but this didn't stop many of them. Now, when any small thing happens, it seems that water and meat fly off the shelvers, faster than it can be replaced.
Medications, masks and glove were almost impossible to find, as well. I remember at the beginning, shopping for a box of bandaids, and seeing empty shelves of cold medicine and NSAIDS. The price of Elderberry sky-rocketed. This is scary, but there are some ways to prepare for this!
Some ways I've found to prepare for inflation and empty shelves, are:
Stock up Beforehand
By March of 2020, before everything hit, I had developed a system of buying in bulk. I was mainly doing this, because I was cutting our grocery bill in-half, but it really did come in handy. When I visited the store, and meat was hard to find, I had a month's worth in my freezer. I didn't pay the inflated prices, nor did I feel the need to panic-buy.
I used what was in my freezer, then stocked back up when prices lowered. I had also stocked up on a few month's worth of canned foods, which weren't out of stock, but it allowed me to stay home and avoid town.
We all remember the great toilet paper shortage. Now would be a great time to stock some up. Some other things that were hard to find were: hand sanitizer, vitamins, yeast, paper products, water, cleaning supplies(especially Bleach and Lysol).
Some tips for buying in bulk:
I usually buy in bulk on Amazon, BUT, there's this other really awesome website called Webstaurant Store, I love, as well. You can buy in super-bulk there. They carry 50lb bags of flour, 25lb bags of sugar and even chocolate/coffee in bulk.
In my experience, I've definitely found that shopping online is so much cheaper than in-store, but definitely check before taking my word. I don’t live near a Sam’s club, but my family loves them!
Make it from Scratch
Before March of 2020, I had already bought a bread maker. It was a life saver. I was making bread from scratch, kneading it and all, but a bread maker completely cut out all of the work. During the pandemic, I utilized it so much heaver to avoid trips to the store and paying high prices for bread. The stocking-up helped with this, as well, as I had bought my flour/sugar/yeast in bulk, before.
Bread isn't the only thing you can make! Elderberry syrup can be made from elderberries you forage, or purchase now that they have lowered in price. Just be sure to find a good recipe for cooking, especially if you're foraging.
Gardening/Growing your own Food
Did you know you can start a homestead, no matter where you live? Check out this post, where I go over plans for a suburban homestead. Raise your own food, even if you are living in the suburbs!
Staying at Home
Stir-craziness is no fun. After a while, it starts to feel like you've watched everything on Netflix twice, read every blog and you just can't stand to stare at social media any longer. This is why I've stocked up on a variety of entertainment.
I've got a queue of books a mile long. Dollar Tree has a great selection of books for all ages, all for $1. They have several genres, even some best-sellers. Almost every-time I go, I pick up a new book. Thrift stores, yard sales or even eBay have some great deals on books!
I took the chance to reread some classics, like To Kill a Mockingbird. Amazon has some great prices on some of the classics. I expanded out to different genres, read new authors and took the chance to read some books on my wish list!
When you just can't stare at a TV screen any longer, books can take you on a journey to a new dimension. They are a great escape from hard times. If you’re interested, I'm about to release my debut novel, The Petty House!
Don't forget about the classics, like Monopoly, Uno or all the games you can play from a couple of decks of playing cards. I've stocked my cabinet with board and card games. I scored a poker set from the thrift store and Stefon found a really great vintage Cribbage board from an antique store. Just remember, when you’re buying games from yard sales or thrift to check and be sure all the pieces are there! Or, buy those games with missing pieces for extra parts, like extra Monopoly money, extra Uno cards, etc.
I took up looming, then crocheting. Sometimes, stimulating your brain with some creativity can get you out of a funk. Looming and crocheting are really great skills to carry with you as a homesteader, too. Your head will never be cold!
Looming: I bought this kit. It's not a great loom, but it's cheap, so you can get the hang of looming without damaging a pricier one. This also gives you a chance to get a better feel of the weights of yarn and patterns. Plus, if you decide looming isn't for you, you're not out a lot of money.
Crocheting: If you decide looming isn't for you, crocheting is a fun way to keep your hands busy and your neck warm! (what?) I recommend buying a set, up-front. This will save you so much money! At the craft store, crochet hooks can run over $3/hook, whereas this set of 14 is just short of $7.
This is a tough one, as there's not much you can do about the nation's healthcare situation. I would never recommend medicating yourself, or a pet, at home, but I would recommend stocking up on some over the counter medications, like NSAIDS, cold medications and Elderberry while it's cheaper. Just in case you have a sick fish, you can purchase antibiotics for him, here.
Disclaimer: Never take medication, or give medication to a pet, unless under the supervision of a medical professional (doctor or vet.) I am not a doctor or vet.
Again, this is not intended as a political post. If power outages are a concern for you, as they were for many residents of Texas not long ago, consider purchasing a generator. Keep in mind that you will not be able to store gas for long periods of time, but in preparation for a storm or other emergency, you could stock up on some gas cans.
I believe all of these categories apply to severe weather. It is one of the most unpredictable and disastrous situation you can encounter. Severe weather happens everywhere in the United States, but everyone can face different scenarios.
Depending on your area, you may need to prepare for snow, high winds, tornados, heat, hurricanes, earthquakes or more. Each of these scenarios will require different preparation, depending. I really don't think you can go wrong with a generator suited for your area, though.
If you don't have a smartphone to alert you to the weather, try a NOAA radio. It announces severe weather alerts throughout the house.
Despite your area, it will be a great idea to stock up on food, supplies and emergency supplies, like flashlights and emergency stoves and fire starters. It's up to you to determine your need for your area, but the first step to preparing is planning. You're on the right track!