Thursday, February 28, 2019

Preparedness Challenge February Week 1: Reader Experience

For Preparedness Challenge February Week 1, we had the task to add items to our Grab and Go kits and create a Family Communication Plan and our own a Grab and Go List for an evacuation.

Grab and Go Kit

In each of our kits, we were encouraged to have travel-sized toiletries. At least we can be sure of one thing if we find ourselves in an emergency…we’ll smell good! In a disaster, I’m sure there is much uncertainty, so it would be comforting to at least fee clean. Here’s a pic of our toiletry kits:

Another item of comfort we were challenged to add to our kits is a family picture. This is nice not only for identification purposes, but if your kit is all you can grab, you’ll want that family picture. In the following baggies, I put a picture of our family, a pen, and a small notebook.

This week, I also added permanent markers, city maps, and our communication plan. I have yet to purchase a radio but plan to get one soon!

Family Communication Plan and Grab and Go List

My husband and I worked on these two goals together. We created a Communication Plan we felt we could rely on in an emergency. I printed one for each of us and placed them in our kits.

The Grab and Go List took a little more thought. We wanted to make sure that we weren’t forgetting anything that we’d want to bring in an emergency. We carefully listed the items, their location in our home, and the time we could retrieve them.

One of the things we want to do in the near future is scan our photos. We have a couple of albums that aren’t yet online, so we thought it’d be reasonable to have those online too, instead of having to grab them in an emergency.

Our Grab and Go List is hung up in the closet with our grab and go kits. Hope that helps some of you young families.

daughter of The Food Storage Organizer

Find more on this challenge here:
February Week 1

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Preparedness Challenge January Week 3 and 4: Reader Experience

During the last two weeks of January, we were challenged to gather emergency water storage, and collect a few emergency supplies.
Water Storage
My mom broke down this step to accommodate all circumstances, budgets, and living space. Since we are on a tight budget in a small apartment, our goal was to gather the minimum recommended amount of water per person- 3 gallons/person.

We decided to buy 1-gallon bottles from Walmart. To stay within our weekly grocery budget, I broke down our 12-gallon goal to 3 gallons a week. Each week I stop by the water aisle, pick up three more gallons of water, and store them under our bathroom sink. Here’s what we have so far!

Buy Emergency Items

Two of the items we were encouraged to have on hand are a manual can opener and an emergency prep book. We were gifted a manual can opener at our wedding, so I was able to check that off pretty quick!

As for the emergency prep books, we have yet to purchase one. I plan on borrowing one from my sister after she reads it. Hopefully, I’ll eventually obtain a collection of my own.
Something that I’ve been reading since I don’t own emergency prep books, is my mom’s website. She has tons of information on a variety of emergency preparedness topics for free! I’m grateful to have her website to turn to when I have questions on how to prepare.
Under her Emergency Preparedness tab, she has 59 posts that include simple ideas to be more prepared for all types of emergencies. And no, she’s not paying me to put this plug in. I just think her information is accurate, up to date, and super helpful! Not to mention, it’s always broken down into simple steps that everyone can accomplish one way or another.

Good luck with the challenge!


Go here to read more about Preparedness Challenges
- January Week 3
- January Week 4

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Preparedness Challenge January Week 2: Reader Experience

During the Preparedness Challenge - January Week 2, we were encouraged to work on three things. First, my mom asked us to go clean out our cupboards of any old food storage. Next, we were asked to buy a 3-month supply of food storage beverages and food. And finally, she challenged us to work towards a 1-month supply of toiletries.

Cleaning Out Food

Luckily, before this week’s challenge, I watched Marie Kondo’s Netflix original, Tidying Up with Marie Kondo. The drive to clean out all of my cupboards and organize everything was fresh on my mind. So, I was excited to get going on this challenge.

Because I don’t have a lot of stored food, there wasn’t much to throw out. I used this as an opportunity to reorganize my shelves. My pantry is very small, so the more efficient I use the space, the more items I’ll be able to store.

On the food storage inventory sheets, I wrote down the few shelf stable items we had at the time. Here’s a picture of what I wrote. I added some of the foods I’d like to purchase in the next few months to the lists.

Food Storage Beverages

My mom encouraged us to buy a 3-month supply of food storage beverages that we’d actually drink if the circumstance required. Because of my tight space, I’ve decided to work on a 1-month supply.

For Christmas in 2017, my mom gifted me my very own bag of LDS Hot Cocoa drink mix! At the time, I wasn’t too thrilled, but I’m so grateful I have this now when working on building my own food storage. Because this particular hot chocolate has a shelf-life of two years, we’ll be sure to drink it by the end of this year!

I also bought a small container of Tang drink mix in case we wanted something a little more refreshing in this Arizona heat.

3-Month Supply of Food

As I mentioned before, I’m planning on storing a 1-month supply of food storage, instead of the recommended 3-month supply. At this time in my life, we don’t have the space or budget to store more.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been working on buying 3 to 4 extra cans of food every time I grocery shop. I try to buy what’s on sale that week and check out the grocery ads to make sure I get the best deals. Each week, we still consume some of the items I’m buying for our supply, but I make sure it’s still increasing.

I haven’t quite figured out what a 1-month supply for us will look like, but once I get a good stash, I'll take inventory and try to figure out how long it could last. So far I have plenty of corn, beans, and diced tomatoes!
1-Month Supply of Toiletries
Along with the extra cans of food each week, I try to grab extra rolls of toilet paper or other toiletries. I almost have a 1-month supply of the items listed to collect.

Buying a few things each week has been super helpful for our small budget. So far I’ve been able to find a space for everything in our little apartment.

After my weekly grocery shopping, I mark down what I’ve purchased, and what I still need. I try to stay organized so I don’t get too overwhelmed by the quantity I need. Here’s a picture of the chart I added to the challenge sheet for this week. It’s where I keep track of the toiletries I have and need.

I should be able to complete our toiletry stash in the next couple of weeks, and then from there it’s just maintaining the supply as we go through the items. I’ve already noticed a feeling of simplicity by having these items on hand and can’t wait to continue gathering our supply!


Go here to read more about Preparedness Challenge - January Week 2

Friday, February 15, 2019

Preparedness Challenge - February Week 3

This week's Preparedness Challenge will be super easy as you buy a 1-month supply of dental toiletries. Yep, that's it. Something tells me you may already have that. But it's nice to have a supply on hand in case the day comes when money is short.

1. Clean Out Your Toothbrush Area
Most people store their toothbrush in a counter cup or drawer. And those areas become disgusting. You know what I mean. Clean those spaces until they sparkle!

2. Buy a 1-Month Supply of Dental Toiletries

These items could include:
  • toothbrushes or electric toothbrush replacement heads
  • toothpaste
  • mouthwash
  • floss
  • and anything else you use to clean those teeth. 
Project Linen Closet Reveal {pretty and organized!}

3. Organize Your Dental Toiletries 
One of my new favorite organizing websites is You will love how Kathryn organizes inexpensively.

Find more ideas on my Food Storage Organizer Home: Bathroom Pinterest board.

I'd love to hear how this week went for you. Have a great week!

Valerie Albrechtsen

The Food Storage Organizer

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Food Storage Breakfast Ingredients: 3-Month Supply

Below is an idea of what ingredients you may want to gather for your 3-month food storage breakfasts menus. It’s perfectly fine to have a mix of short-term and long-term food storage in your 3-month food storage supply. In fact, it will be cheaper if you do. 

It’s okay if you don’t eat what you see below every day. What's most important is you store foods you DO eat now, or perhaps WILL eat if you had nothing else to eat.

My list assumes you include some of the items you can buy at an LDS Home Storage Center, but it's only an example. Shop where you want. Buy what works for your family.

The amounts are for 2 people. Each week they would have these meals:
  • oatmeal for 3 meals,
  • cold cereal and fruit for 1 meal,
  • pancakes and dried apples for 2 meals and
  • waffles and dried strawberries for 1 meal


Oatmeal - 72 servings
3 LDS Quick Oats cans = $11.25
3 (28 oz.) LDS Non-fat Dry Milk pouches = $12.00
1 (32 oz.) Raisin bag = $7.00
1 (2 lbs.) Brown Sugar Bag = $1.00
1 Cinnamon jar = $1.00
Total: $33.25

Cold Cereal & Fruit - 24 servings
2 boxes Breakfast Cereal = $6.00
1 (28 oz.) LDS Non-fat Dry Milk pouch = $4.00
12 cans Peaches or Pears = $9.00
Total: $19.00

Pancakes - 48 servings
1 1/2 (4 lb.) LDS Pancake mix pouches = $6.00
24 Applesauce cups = $7.68
2 (28 oz.) LDS Non-fat Dry Milk pouches = $8.00
2 (48 oz.) Canola Oil bottle = $4.00
1.5 LDS Dried Apple cans = $16.88
Total: $42.56

Waffles - 24 servings
1 (4 lb.) LDS Pancake mix pouch = $4.00
12 (4 oz. ) Applesauce cups = $7.68
2 (48 oz.) Canola Oil bottles $2.00 ea. = $4.00
2 lbs. Dried Strawberries (home dried) = $4.00
1 (48 oz.) Pancake Syrup bottle = $1.35
Total: $21.03
GRAND TOTAL- $115.84

Many of you can’t afford that right now. If so, start with a smaller supply.

Hope this helps you,

Valerie Albrechtsen
The Food Storage Organizer

Reader ideas:
“I'm getting stocked up on breakfast foods! Just bought lots of peanut butter, some long term storage of cornmeal, butter powder, quinoa, tons of oats because we eat them daily, and the additions we like to add to oatmeal:
  • Ground almonds, walnuts, and pecans, ground flax meal and whole flax seed, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, chia seeds, raisins, dried cranberries, and dehydrated apple slices. I think we have about 2 to 3 months of the additions because they are not packed for long term storage and I'm not sure if they could be.
I need to get hulled hemp seeds, more molasses, and maple syrup then we'd be set! Oatmeal doesn't have to be boring! I make the type called overnight oats, but I eat them right after being made so they still have a little bit of bite to them and they're not mush like cooked oatmeal can be. I switch up the additions every couple days and add fresh fruit when it's in season.” K. E.

Monday, February 11, 2019

Preparedness Challenge - January Week 1: Reader Experience

I'm excited to have my daughter Rebecca write articles for my blog! I thought some of you young families might like to hear how another young family has taken on my Weekly Preparedness Challenges. Here is Rebecca's first post.

Growing up I loved how organized my mom always was. I remember feeling like everything in our house had a place, and she always knew that exact place. Since becoming a mom, and learning to keep things organized in my own way, I’ve learned a lot!

Two things I’ve been wanting to do but haven’t really known how to do in an organized way are getting started on my own food storage and becoming more prepared for emergencies. You’d think I’d know all the ins and outs of this subject with my mom being so adept at it.

Thankfully, she has come up with an exciting way to get me moving on my personal food storage and emergency preparedness while keeping it organized and simple. Thanks, mom!

So, here’s my personal journey to completing her weekly challenges!


First things first, I want to give a little background on my situation. I’ve been married for just over 2 years now, and have one little boy, with a second on the way! He’s due in June.

We live in Mesa, AZ in a 2-bedroom apartment. We’ll be here for about 2 years or so. Being in a smaller apartment, we don’t have a ton of space, but we make it work. My husband works as an accountant and I stay at home with our son.

That being said, I’ve definitely made tweaks to my mom’s challenges, so they work for my family, our budget, and the space we temporarily live in.

I’m glad she adds in ideas you can do if you have a small budget and space. Obviously, every situation is different, but I thought it would be helpful to share how I complete her challenges. Maybe some of you are in a situation like mine.

Preparedness Challenge - January Week 1

This week we were challenged to get two binders set up and start our grab and go kits. I found two binders at home that weren’t being used.

We got a printer for Christmas, so we were able to print off the inserts and other handouts. During my weekly grocery shopping, I bought two sets of dividers and got everything set up with my binders.

For the grab and go kits, this week was simple! Luckily I had almost everything needed for them at home. I grabbed some water bottles from the case we have at home, put them and some toilet paper in Ziplocs, and labeled the bags.

Next, I emptied out a hiking backpack that we don’t currently use for my husband’s grab and go bag. I loaded his water bottles and supplies into his bag.

My mom gives each one of her kids the grab and go bags we had growing up when we move out, so I used this bag for my kit.

For my son, I have yet to find a bag for him, but I do have a small container that holds his items for now. Hopefully, as the kit grows I’ll find a bigger and more convenient place to put his items. All three of our bags are in our laundry closet which is near the front door of our apartment.

Because we don’t have a ton of space, we always keep one case of water at home. I also keep a case in my car for emergencies. I’ll have to purchase one for my husband’s car as well.

This week I tried to use a lot of things we already have, which wasn’t that difficult! We don’t have a ton of money to put towards food storage and emergency preparedness, so I’m grateful these challenges can be adjusted accordingly.


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