These are 100 items that I think will disappear from your local grocery or big box store after an emergency. Can you picture the empty store shelves after a disaster? Of course, each emergency is different, and some items will disappear earlier than others. In your particular area, they may not disappear at all.
Just keep in mind that you can’t take for granted that your local store will still have what you need once the disaster hits your area. This post was written back in 2018, but I wanted to update it big time today. There are so many shortages in stores right now, let alone after a disaster.
I’ve seen some shortages after a flooding episode here in Southern Utah. Luckily, only the bottled water shelves were empty, but you can imagine if we had a major emergency.
I’m hoping that as you read this list you’ll think of the things that you’ll want to stock in your home so you are better prepared. You don’t have to store everything on this list, just the things that you would miss if the stores, roads, and highways were closed or otherwise shut down for a period.
100 Items That Will Disappear After An Emergency
There may be over-the-counter medications and personal hygiene products that would be sorely missed. We sometimes think we’ll stock up next month, I get it, I do. I get nervous when I get down to three cases of toilet paper from Costco.
Yes, I have both cloth wipes and baby wipes. But what if the water is turned off for days, or possibly weeks? Please visualize the grocery store near your home empty in two hours, yes two hours.
Several months ago they showed the shelves at a store in Hawaii with Storm Lane on its way to the islands. Yes, the shelves were empty. YIKES!
My point is this, please don’t be one of those families that must stand in line to get water bottles from the city or county building.
100 Items That Will Disappear After An Emergency
Personal Hygiene Needs
Toilet Paper: Yup, this is one product that tends to be the first to disappear. It’s something we all use every day, whether we like it or not. There may be other options as replacements, like clean rags, but who wants to store those beforehand and then clean them afterward?
Kleenex: This popular household item is also used by all of us, whether we have a cold, allergies, need to sneeze, have a tearful experience, and so much more.
Menstrual Supplies: Unless the ladies in our lives have gone through the “change,” these supplies are vital when that “time of the month” rolls around. Don’t get caught short on these critical supplies.
Monistat (yeast infections): Although this over-the-counter medicine isn’t needed all the time, when you do get a yeast infection it’s vital to have it available ASAP. Janet mentioned this helps when Monistat does not. Nature Made Acidophilus Probiotics I just ordered some.
Cranberry Vitamins (UTI infections): I have used these and I feel like they work for me.
Toothpaste, Toothbrushes, and Floss: Oral healthcare is so important to our overall health. As with so many other items on the list, we all use these items and would feel lost without them.
Shaving Cream and Shavers: These items wouldn’t be considered critical for survival, but most men and many women would feel uncomfortable without the consistent use of these for general grooming.
Shampoo: We know that in generations past most folks didn’t bathe or shampoo every day. Just the thought of having greasy hair gives me the creeps. I love having clean and sweet-smelling hair.
Hair Conditioner: I know my daughters and granddaughters love to use hair conditioners to make their hair softer, shiny, and easier to comb through.
Tweezers: When we need tweezers, we need tweezers, whether it’s for medical issues or our complexion.
Brush/Combs/Hair Scissors: Having a spare set of hairbrushes, combs, or scissors will make our day start right!
Hand Soap: Need I say more, a clean body is a happy person.
Body Wash: There are so many fragrances of body wash out there, get them on sale and stock up.
Body Lotion: No one wants dry skin, so make sure you have a bottle or two on hand.
Rubbing Alcohol: There are so many ways to use rubbing alcohol. In case you missed this post, 10 Reasons to Stock Up On Rubbing Alcohol
Peroxide: This is a must-have in my home. In case you missed this post, Hydrogen Peroxide-25 Amazing Ways to Use It Today
Clorox Wipes: We know how these disappeared, right? Please stock them.
Hand Sanitizer: Now, this stuff is so drastically discounted because the shelves are overflowing, you may even still have some at home.
Extra underwear: Everyone needs clean underwear. If it takes longer for the clothes to hang up to dry, a fresh pair or two of underwear will do the trick.
Lip Gloss/ChapStick: My lips are always dry, so this is a must-have for me. Some people like lip gloss and some love Chapstick.
Vicks VapoRub: I grew up with this fabulous stuff. I deliver some of these to friends who are sick. It’s one of my favorite go-to items.
Hand Can Openers: You can never have too many can openers, one is none, and two is one.
Matches (strike anywhere type): These are critical to have stocked.
Paper Towels: Thank goodness paper towels are not in short supply anymore.
Wheat Grinder: If you want to learn to make whole wheat bread, you may want to look into buying one of these. In case you missed this post, Back To Basics: How To Use Wheat Grinders
Large silver bowl to make bread: Having one of these sure makes a difference when mixing up that homemade bread dough.
Cast Iron Pans: You can cook outside with cast iron pans. In case you missed this post, Why You Need Cast Iron Pans
Dutch Oven: A cast-iron Dutch oven is a great investment as well.
Aluminum Foil: I love heavy-duty and medium-weight foil. You can do so many things with it. 20 Reasons Why We Need Aluminum Foil Every Day
Paper Plates/Paper Bowls/Paper Cups: We need to stock these because we will save fuel by not washing regular dishes and silverware. Eat and toss them.
Plastic Silverware: These are stock and tossed as well.
Bleach: Bleach stays good for up to six months, possibly a bit longer, but to clean up a sewer issue we need it.
Comet/Ajax: This is good for cleaning hard-to-clean surfaces.
Kitchen Dishsoap: It’s all about having enough stocked in case there is a shortage, which I have seen in years past. We need clean dishes and pans.
Dish/Sink Scrubbers: It’s so nice to have these scrubbers to get the hard-to-remove particles off of dishes, bowls, and sinks.
Garbage Bags: You can never have too many garbage bags.
Baby or Toddler Supplies
Diapers: You may want some cloth diapers if the stores run out of disposable ones.
Bottles: If we need to feed a baby or toddler, we may need a bottle or two. Formula has also been hard to get the past year or so.
Baby Wipes: This is another thing we can’t have too many of. These are disposable and would be great to have on hand.
Diaper Rash Ointment: You may not need this item, but if you need it, it’s good to have on hand.
Disposable Diapers: These will fly off the shelves after a disaster, stock up on several sizes.
Extra Binkies: When my girls were babies, binkies were my best friend, literally. They soothed my little ones, for sure. Stock different ones, your neighbor may need some.
Baby Blankets: Every baby needs a soft blanket, it’s nice to have one ready for little ones.
Dog Food: If by chance the roads are closed you may not be able to get your favorite brand. Stock up just in case.
Cat Food: Here again, our little sweet cats or kitties, want their regular food, right?
Pet Treats: Just in case we need to calm our pets down, having their favorite treat just may help the stress from the sounds during and after a disaster.
Coffee: Not only will this fly off the shelves at the grocery stores, but the coffee shops will also probably be closed.
Cereal: My husband would be so unhappy to see his cereals disappear! He has cereal every morning with milk and bananas. He rotates each day between four different brands. He was upset earlier this year when some of the brands weren’t available at the local Walmart.
Water: You’ve heard me harp for years about the need for stored water. Whether it’s to rehydrate your foods, stay hydrated yourself, keep up your hygiene, wash some underwear, flush the toilets, and so much more, water is one of the most critical items you HAVE TO HAVE.
Canned Food: When people realize access to stores might be drastically reduced, they’ll run right out and buy all the canned goods they can.
Picture life at your home for the next week or two if you go to your pantry and can’t find any soup, tuna, beans, canned meats, etc. How would you prepare your meals? Get some stored NOW so that the situation doesn’t become a reality.
Frozen Food: This is a tough one. We have some friends who recently visited their second home after an extended time away. For some reason, the home had lost power for weeks after some home repairs had been performed.
They found hundreds of pounds of food, particularly meat, had rotted. It took them a lot of time and work to clean things up. We all look for frozen foods to supplement our meal preparation, just be aware of the challenges if power is lost for long periods.
Meat: We grew up in the “meat and potatoes” era where a meal didn’t seem complete without a meat portion on the plate. Although we’ve been trying to cut back on our meat consumption, particularly red meats, we still look forward to meat of all kinds to make some meals more complete.
Meat has become very expensive, so that’s another reason we’ve cut back. But for longer-term storage needs, and to make sure we have some protein sources on the shelves, we have a good inventory of canned meats.
Beans: Many people don’t realize it, but beans can be a great source of protein. We have containers of various beans in the pantry so we can make some of our favorite meals from scratch. We love Mexican foods, so beans are truly a staple for us.
Rice: We’ve found the rice to be another one of our favorite staples. We add it to our Mexican meals, and casseroles, as a substitute for potatoes, and Mark even enjoys it with milk and a little sugar. It is such a versatile food product.
Honey/Sugar/White and Brown: Sweeteners have been getting a bad rap the past few years. I understand the need to minimize the number of sugars we eat as part of our daily diet. Just remember how important they are, even in smaller amounts, to make those baked goods taste amazing.
Vinegar: I’ve written several times about how versatile vinegar can be as a household item. Of course, there are many kinds to choose from but have this item on hand as you clean your home and add it to various recipes.
Yeast: You know that I do a lot of baking. Making bread has been one of the joys in my life for as long as I can remember, literally. I use a lot of yeast during the year, but I make sure I keep a fresh supply on hand at all times so my recipes come out as planned. Old baking ingredients are a problem if you want success in your kitchen.
Baking Supplies (flour, baking powder, salt, baking soda, etc.): (see yeast above) I love salt, all kinds of salt.
Spices: As I write my posts each day I frequently find myself talking about various spices and how they can add so much to the average recipe if done right. Like so many other kitchen items, storing them properly and using them when the freshest creates a successful cooking environment.
Chips and Salsa: Earlier in this post I mention how much Mark and I enjoy Mexican meals. Years ago we had some dear friends in Farmington, UT who would join us on Friday nights for a delicious meal at El Matador restaurant.
A highlight of those meals was the freshly made salsa. It would come out hot and covered with cheese. Oh, how we miss those meals. Now, if we want a quick snack we’ll have chips and salsa, or even make nachos.
Popcorn: A quick treat at our house is fresh-popped popcorn. Mark isn’t as prone to fix a bowl since he says the kernels catch in his teeth, but for me, it’s well worth it. Unless you put on a lot of butter and salt, it can prove to be one of those “healthy” treats the whole family can enjoy.
Instant Milk: The loss of power in an emergency can be one of the most challenging things to deal with. If your family uses milk as an important part of meal planning, losing the use of your fridge to keep foods cold, including your milk, is a problem. Be sure and store instant milk that can be made by adding it to your stored water.
Wheat: If you came to my home today you’d see one of my bedrooms used to store my Lehi Roller Mills hard white wheat. It is my favorite wheat to grind and it makes delicious bread and rolls.
I usually buy it at Costco when they have one of their “roadshows” in the store. I replace the regular lids on the six-gallon buckets the wheat comes in with gamma lids. It makes it so much easier to open and use the wheat.
Pancake mix (yes, you can make it from scratch): Whenever family comes to visit we always make pancakes for breakfast. This has been a tradition ever since the kids were young and carried over to the grandkids. I’m hoping it will stay that way when the great-grandkids come along. We have some Mickey Mouse waffle irons we use and the family loves them.
Peanut butter & Jam: Need a quick meal to satisfy that pang of hunger? Our pantry has a bunch of Jif peanut butter and Smucker’s jam. We’ll make sandwiches when we need lunch in a “Jiffy,” and I also love to make peanut butter cookies.
Macaroni and Cheese: If you’re thinking of a quick meal, particularly for the youngsters, these package meals are just the answer. They come with various optional ingredients too.
Nuts: The good thing about nuts is that they not only taste great and are good for you but they can also be stored fairly easily and have a reasonable shelf life. Please keep them in your freezer to keep them from going rancid.
Cash is Critical
Cash, small bills: During an emergency, if things get ugly, banks may have to close their doors for a few days. If the power is out over an extended period and a wide area, that means ATMs and electronic terminals likely won’t be working.
Having cash then becomes critical. Hopefully, your local market will have some generators to keep the place up and running, if for nothing else than to keep frozen foods safe, but also to manually operate their check-out stands.
Cooking Oils: So many recipes we use call for cooking oils as one of the ingredients. If you’re stuck at home with limited access to grocery stores, having vegetable oil is a must.
Bread: Even families who normally make homemade bread may find themselves unable to cook. They’ll be running to the local store or bakery in hopes of buying some bread before that food source shuts down.
Crackers: These are sure handy to fill in between meals when a snack is wanted. They go with so many dips and toppings that you’ll want to have some in your pantry inventory.
Chocolate: I have to admit, chocolate is one of my favorite things! Besides using it as an ingredient in many of my dessert recipes, I can just munch on it as a special snack.
Laundry Soap: Hopefully we won’t lose the ability to turn on our water during an emergency, but if we plan to keep our clothes clean, laundry soap is a must. Even if we plan to wash our underwear, soap is a critical product to keep them clean and smelling nice.
Portable Washing Machine: If the power does go out, as long as we have some water and soap, we can use this little gem to wash those items that need immediate attention. If you have a baby at home and use cloth diapers, this portable unit will prove a lifesaver. If not, be sure to have a good supply of disposables on hand.
Wash Buckets: If you’re having to bring water in from your outside storage containers, having a few wash buckets to accommodate moving the water around will prove very helpful.
Clotheslines/Clothes Pins: Every time Mark mows our back lawn and trims it up nicely, I’m reminded of the umbrella-style clothesline we have stored in our shed. We installed a “pin” in the grass that he trims around that is used to support the pole that holds up the portable clothesline.
I did a post years ago showing how it works and how handy it can be when you don’t have a clothes dryer available.
Clothespins/Clotheslines: When it comes to an outside clothesline you’ll also need the clothespins to hang up your clothes. They need to be strong enough to “hang in there” even in the wind.
Water Bottles: We talked about water storage above, but it wouldn’t hurt to have some 5-gallon jugs available if you have to go elsewhere to pick up some water.
Water Filters: You may find that your stored water has gone cloudy over time. There may also be a water source available close by that you’re concerned isn’t fit for consumption without some treatment. One of your first steps would be to filter the water as best you can. There are various options available, and I like the products from Berkey. I also have a PortaWell unit that is great and provides a higher volume of filtered water.
Charcoal/Lighter Fluid: I’ve always suggested my readers have multiple options when it comes to cooking. Most of us have a BBQ or outside firepit, we can turn to for our cooking efforts. Although many of us have propane tanks for the BBQ, others rely on charcoal. Be prepared with a few bags or other containers full when needed. Having some firewood stored along the side of your home is always a good idea. Keep it covered, if possible, so it’s ready to use without having to wait for it to dry out.
Gasoline Containers: I don’t usually suggest people have gasoline stored on their property, but it doesn’t hurt to have some containers designed to haul and store gasoline when a shortage is expected.
I saw on the news recently how people were rushing to their local gas station to fill containers when a big storm was approaching and they were concerned that the stations would have to close for a while until things quieted down.
Propane Cylinders – Canisters: As mentioned above, it’s always wise to have fuel stored if you need to fire up the old BBQ as your cooking appliance. We have six extra canisters stored on our patio, just in case.
We also like our SunOven, a unit that uses the sun’s rays to cook all sorts of meals. If your location gets a lot of sunlight, be sure to check these out as another cooking device to be used during emergencies.
Coleman Stoves/Cooking Stoves: A more efficient cooking appliance than the BBQ is a Coleman stove-style unit. Whether to heat water, fry some eggs, or cook pancakes, these stoves have been used for decades. They generally run on butane, so you’ll need those fuel canisters if you go to this approach for cooking.
Flashlights/Batteries: There’s nothing worse than finding yourself trying to get things done in the dark. If you lose power in your home you still need to get things done, so flashlights are a must. Years ago we bought some solar flashlights and we keep them on the windowsills all the time being “recharged” and ready to go.
Solar Lanterns: If the goal is to light up a larger area, check out solar lanterns as your light source. They may cost a little more, but you won’t have to worry about buying and replacing batteries all the time.
Solar Flashlights: (see flashlights above)
Fire Extinguishers: As people who consider themselves prepared for emergencies, we need to think about accidents or other challenges right around our homes other than outside sources causing the emergency.
You could have an oil fire in your kitchen, a spark-caused fire in your garage, or other fire-type emergencies. Have a fire extinguisher for the most common fire you might expect at your home, and ensure it is fully charged and tested occasionally.
Insulated Cooler or Ice Chests: Loss of power causes all sorts of problems. One is the care of perishable foods in our fridge and freezer. If you have some sizable insulated ice chests stored in your shed or garage, they can come in handy to save that food from spoiling. Getting enough ice to use could be another issue, but at least you have the chests ready to go.
Duct Tape: In the past, I’ve written some posts about how handy duct tape is for so many situations. Have some rolls stored away and you’ll be surprised how often you pull them out to solve a current repair challenge. Gorilla Tape
Tents/Tarps/Shelters: Need I say more, we all need a tarp or some sort of shelter to keep us from getting too hot or too cold and wet.
Sleeping Bags: It’s all about having something to keep us warm.
Board Games/Card Games: We can all get bored when the power is off for days. It would surely help if we had some playing cards or board games.
Reading Glasses: You may not need them, but someone else could use a pair if they lost theirs.
Scissors and Sewing Supplies: If we need to mend something or patch a pair of jeans, having some sewing supplies will be a blessing.
Mousetraps/Ant Traps/Roach Spray: Mice, cockroaches, we have all had them at some time or another, right?
First Aid Supplies: Please check your first aid supplies, we need the basics at the very least. Don’t get caught without some bandaids, etc.
Bicycle Tires/Pumps: If our only transportation is a bicycle, we need some repair items on hand.
Medical Handbook Survival Handbook: This is my go-to medical book. Get one before you need one and study it.
Prescriptions (please try and get a 90-day supply): Please plan for those critical prescriptions you need every day or monthly.
Wagons: If we have to haul something two blocks away, a wagon would be awesome.
Hand Crank Radio: If the power is out, we need to know what’s going on in the world.
Wool Socks: Wool socks are great for keeping your feet dry. They keep you warm, but keep moisture off your feet as well. And you don’t need to wash wool socks every time you wear them.
Wool Blankets: I’m not fond of wool blankets because they are too scratchy. But they will keep you a bit drier outside.
Scarves/Mittens/Warm Gloves: It’s all about staying warm, right?
Here’s the deal, there are so many items that will disappear in an emergency or disaster. This is just a list of 100 items.
Tell me things that you would add to this list. Thanks for being prepared for the unexpected. May God bless this world, Linda
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