Having an idea of the things that will disappear the quickest will help you with your plans. While this is not the definitive list and not in order of how they may go, below are the ten things I think will disappear the quickest. The reasons are wide-ranging, from the difficulty in manufacturing them, to the simple fact that today they are everywhere and simply taken for granted. Consider these items against your own inventory and act accordingly.
Fuel of all types will be, without a doubt, one of the first things to go. Disagree? Think back to the last natural disaster your area suffered. Here in Florida, gas is gone within a day of an announced storm track that makes landfall. Fuels are hard to produce and must be transported via pipelines and trucks to get them to the distributors. When a crisis is looming, everyone runs out and fills everything they have with fuel. But it’s not only fuel. Don’t forget the oil for engines, chainsaws, and tractors. Adding in several gallons of motor oil and a couple of filters will keep you going when there is no alternative. Take into account all fuels, propane, kerosene, lamp oil, white gas for camp stoves. There’s a lot that falls under fuel. And don’t forget fuel stabilizers as well.
Starting with toilet paper it’s a pretty obvious choice. We all know how fast it goes, at least in my house, and we all use it. Think about that. TP is one product that every person in the country uses – everyone. Sure, there are alternatives, but they are not as sanitary or easy as good ole butt wad. But don’t stop there. Paper products of all kinds will come in handy. Paper towels, paper plates (clean water will be at a premium) and even writing paper. While we live in a digital age now, that can all go away in the blink of an eye, and good old fashion written notes will come back in a big way.
Cleaning supplies of all kinds will quickly become hard to find. Soap for washing hands to liquid dish detergent will become coveted commodities. Bump up your supplies in this category as it is your number one way to ward off disease. Just remember, liquid bleach has a relatively short shelf life. It will go inert after long-term storage so, as an alternative store powdered bleach that can be picked up at pool supply locations.
While this one may not apply to you, it probably will to someone you know. Most people keep very little of this on hand as it’s easy to come by, and people are naturally fearful of feeding a baby spoiled formula. Powdered formulas, properly stored, can last a long time. If there’s an infant in your life or someone close to you, plan for them by adding some formula. And while we’re talking about babies, diapers will be just as scarce, so plan accordingly.
This is kind of a no-brainer, but needs to be mentioned. Just as fuel disappears in the blink of an eye when there’s an impending situation coming, so does food. The shelves will empty with astonishing speed. We’ve all seen it, and if you’re like me, you scratch your head at what disappears first. You better have a food storage plan in place. And should the worst-case scenario occur, and we face societal collapse with no end in sight, your plans had best include food production.
While this may sound silly as you sit in your comfy chair reading this article, consider how much bottled water people consume today. Do you carry a water bottle? Or do you just grab one from the case? I’ve seen people in Florida panic when the store shelves run out of bottled water. The local news stations will even report what stores still have some, as though this was the only source of drinkable water available to people. We all live in a dwelling with running water. That water is perfectly safe to drink (in most cases, think Flint Michigan). And yet, people will panic when they can’t find bottled water. Have a plan to provide yourself with potable water. Whether it’s filling empty bottles you’ve repurposed or plugging up the bathtub and filling it, have a plan to store water.
We use them every day in a myriad of ways. From our cell phones, laptops, and tablets, to flashlights and garage door openers, batteries are always in use. Today they are cheap and easy to get. Stock up on them now. Do your best to consolidate where you can so you’re only storing one or two types. Better yet, store rechargeables and have several ways to charge them. Remember, when there is no power, a little goes a long way. Not to mention, they will be as good as money in a bartering trade.
With a pharmacy on nearly every corner and in every grocery store, Wal-Mart, and Target in the country, we don’t really consider medicines. Does little Isabel have the sniffles? Just run down to the corner and get her a bottle of an elixir that will make it all better in a day or two. What happens when those stores are empty or looted, now what are you going to do? Having a good supply of over-the-counter meds as well as any prescriptions you need on hand will be a huge benefit. Prescriptions will be the hardest to manage but talk to your doctor because most will do ninety-day supplies, and your insurance company may even pay for it.
Nearly all talk on prepping is aimed squarely at people. But most of us have pets, and we need to think about them too. Food, flea, and tick control and any meds your pet needs should be taken into account and stored appropriately. Pets are not only companions; they are also part of the family. They can provide early warning of trouble and help keep predators off our livestock. Make sure to include them in your plans.
While this last item isn’t a thing per se, it is probably the first item that will vanish. When people get panicky, they will quickly drop the normally accepted norms of polite society. Your patience will be tested, and you’ll probably test those of others. Just bear in mind that the situation you’re in, everyone else is as well. People will be people and will naturally be looking out for themselves and their families. That doesn’t mean they are out to get you and yours, just that theirs is more important and vice versa, keep that in mind when someone bowls you over with a shopping cart during panic buying.
This is by no means the definitive list of what’s going to go first. I hope this gets your wheels turning to think of those things your family needs and to formulate a plan to deal with them. None of us can predict what’s going to happen. All we can do is prepare and hope for the best. By being prepared though, we’ll be able to rest a little easier while everyone else is out there in the worst Black Friday type of event you could imagine.