*** Sorry for the tardiness of the post. I was up until the wee hours of the morning Thursday/Friday and actually slept in today. Yes, it's April First. No, this isn't an April Fool's. They actually let me do a TOTM...go figure! *** “Store what you use and use what you store” Sage advice from the veteran prepper to their newly awakened friends or family. We have said it here more than once and will probably say it again, and taken at face value it’s generally good advice to rotate your stock...as far as that goes. And we'd all love to have a room (or more) dedicated to our storage... Admittedly, some things simply lend themselves to being rotated. Canned goods are a prime example, especially if you have and can use some sort of rotating “device”, not that you have to. Boxed goods, or at least boxes of individually wrapped “stuff” can be rotated fairly easily as well. There are also a number of things that we think we’re stocking up on but go through so fast that we never run the risk of having it expire (yes, I’m talking about Ramen noodles). Some other things fall in the middle for me, like rice. We buy it by the 25 lb bag and keep a couple of bags in the closet. We go through rice VERY quickly, having it with at least 3 meals a week which adds up. When we open the oldest bag, which is never more than 2-3 months old, and dump it into the buckets we use to rotate, we buy another bag that week. And then there’s the non-perishable items that you can just put wherever and grab when you need them...as long as you keep an eye on the level of stock on hand. Stuff like toilet paper, napkins, paper towels, paper plates and bowls, sponges, kitchen “stuff” (plastic wrap, waxed/parchment paper, etc.), plastic utensils, ziploc bags and containers, trash bags, hygiene products (soap, shampoo, razors, etc.). All of that can be rotated fairly easily because you don’t have to pack it for long term storage and can store it almost anywhere. But I’ve found that the statement doesn’t really go very far. Conceptually, storing what you eat or use on a regular basis, using it and then replenishing and building the stockpile is a good idea. In some cases it’s also really easy to do and I’ve found that “using what I store” is one thing, but “using what I’ve stored” is another thing altogether. I eat spaghetti. I store spaghetti noodles. I do not eat the spaghetti noodles I’ve stored. I use brown sugar when we cook (sometimes). I store brown sugar. I do not use the brown sugar I’ve stored. I eat beans in a number of dishes. I store beans. I do not use the beans that I have stored. I could go on but you get the picture. So, we all know why we store these things. So why don’t I break into the prepped spaghetti noodles when I run out in the pantry? Because they are in a vacuum packed mylar bag with an oxygen absorber...which cost me real money to buy and pack. Yes, I tried to leave enough room that I could open it and re-seal it again if I needed to, but let’s be honest, that’s kind of a pain in the behind. Plus, if I open it, I run the risk of tearing it or contaminating the bag somehow, which is a fair concern to have. So, how did you take that step from “Store what you use and use what you store” to “Storing what you use and using what you store”? What tips do you have for making rotating more accessible? Do you have a can rotator for your shelves? Do you use a labeling system? Do you use something other than mylar and O2 absorbers? Are you an Excel (or LibreOffice Calc) guru and use a home-grown spreadsheet or inventory system? How are your shelves organized to facilitate rotation? How do you pack your long-term preps and what tips do you have for doing the work? And finally, how do you rotate your long-term storage into your every-day consumption so that it doesn’t just sit there until it eventually still expires? Do you simply chalk up the cost of preparations for your preps (pun intended) as the cost of doing business? Do you buy mylar and O2 absorbers in such bulk that it’s really a non-issue? Do you choose to freeze more and plan on a massive battery backup and solar system? *As a side note, growing your own food can and should be a part of your preps if possible, and I fully realize that it’s not something that everyone can do. I live in suburbia and would starve in a week if I had to rely on my 5 raised beds. But for those of you who can and do grow an abundance, and who put some of that aside via dehydrating or canning or some other means, how do you rotate that into your day to day? I’ve got 8 quarts of peaches from over 2 years ago (canned 24 quarts) and I don’t know that we’ll use all that remain before we have to just dump them. The last thing I want to do is make everyone sick (or worse) and I’ve heard that 2 years is pushing it for water bath canned peaches (someone correct me if I’m wrong, please!). Clearly having a jar every two weeks or even once a month didn’t happen, and they were RIGHT THERE!