How Do I Get Started With a Longer-Term Supply?

Question:  How do I get started with a longer-term supply?

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints says,
"For longer-term needs, and where permitted, gradually build a supply of food that will last a long time and that you can use to stay alive, such as wheat, white rice, and beans."  
At the Provident Living website, under product recommendations they add,
"You may also want to add other items to your longer-term storage such as sugar, nonfat dry milk, salt, baking soda, and cooking oil. To meet nutritional needs, also store foods containing vitamin C and other essential nutrients." [Link]
So, a good starting point is grains and beans.  Sugar, milk, salt, oils, baking soda, and vitamins can be also included.  I'm hoping you noticed that it doesn't say "one-year supply" anymore.  It's up to you to decide how much to store.

My Longer-Term Supply
There are so many approaches to organizing and gathering a longer-term supply.  Ultimately, you'll have to decide how to make a plan that works best for you.  This is how I gathered my longer-term supply:

1) I got a three-ring binder and filled it full of paper.  I set up one sheet for each long-term category.  [You could also do this with a spreadsheet or word processing program.]
2) We decided that we wanted to store 9 months' worth of longer-term items.
3) We figured out how much we wanted to store for each month's worth.  I used old food-storage recommendations to figure this out.  Roughly per person/per month: Grains - 25 lbs (we do 33); Legumes - 5 lbs; Sugar - 5 lbs; Fats - 1.7lbs; Salt - .7 lbs; Milk - 1.3 lbs. Vitamins - 30; Baking soda - unknown.  [Sources: & First Presidency Letter, 2002]
4) I wrote the category and goal amount at the top of a sheet of paper.
5) I did an inventory and listed what I already had on that paper.
6) I added items to the sheet as I purchased them.  I loved retotalling the amount and calculating how many months I had already accumulated. 

An Example:
Goal - 1485 lbs.

On Hand:
flour - 50 lbs
pasta - 20 lbs
pancake mix - 10 lbs
wheat - 265 lbs
rice - 200 lbs
cornmeal - 5 lbs
cereal - 20 lbs
oatmeal - 50 lbs
cream of wheat - 10 lbs
Total: 630 lbs (4 months' worth)
Still Need: 855 lbs

bought 2 - 50 lb bags of rice
New total: 730 lbs (5 months)
Still Need: 755 lbs

On my first trip to the store after making these pages, I bought the entire supply of salt for less than $8!  I was so excited to have one category completely done!  It was so motivating.  So, I would recommend that you start with salt - and maybe you'll have the same experience.

I chipped away at the totals on each page for more than a year.  I loved seeing the progress.  A longer-term supply goal can seem very overwhelming, but by working on it in chunks, it became very doable. 

Even now, my longer-term supply is very fluid.  In some categories, I've fallen below our 9 month goal and need to replace some items.  In other areas, I'm ahead.  That, in some ways, is the biggest blessing of striving for a longer-term instead of a one-year supply.  Regardless of where I am in replacing this food, I'm able to have the blessings of being completely obedient.

Let me know if you have any questions!  I'd love to hear about your system for gathering a longer-term supply.  Please share in the comments below.

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