In my 44 years, I’ve lived through my fair share of hurricanes and tropical storms, and I’ve learned a thing or two over the years. We all know the obvious prepping advice. These tips are from my hard fought lessons learned.
- Boxed Food. Yes, buy canned goods, but don’t forget boxed goods. Cereal, Pop Tarts, Granola Bars, and Protein Bars make easy breakfasts for the kids, and when stored properly, they will last quite a while without refrigeration.
- Buy cheap frozen pizzas (Totino’s). They stack easily, and you can pack them in your freezer to cook on a grill. Heat the grill to 350-400 degrees. Put the pizza directly on the rack, close the lid, and bake.
- If you have kids who “need” milk, buy boxed milk. It’s shelf stable as long as it’s unopened, and can be kept in the fridge or cooler for a few days.
- Another option is powdered milk. As long as you have water, you have milk. It may not taste the same, but these are difficult times.
- Buy fresh fruit & veggies. Certain fruits & veggies will last a while and require no cooking to enjoy. Watermelon, mango, apples, pears, peaches, nectarines, grapes, kiwi, tomatoes, lettuce, avocado…
- Buy pet food. Don’t forget the four-legged family members.
- Buy plenty of wine to keep you sane. Sitting on the floor of the kitchen crying when the floors are dirty again will only be cured with a bottle of Cab.
- Constantly fill the ice from your ice maker in bags and store in a deep freezer, if you have one.
- Fill old butter bowls with water and freeze. Big blocks don’t melt as fast as bags of ice and will keep food in coolers lasting longer.
- Fill sports bottles with water and freeze or stored in the refrigerator a few days before the storm hits. The water is in safe drinking containers and will be drinkable for several days.
- If you have a travel trailer with a water tank, fill it with water. Even without power, you can drain the drinkable water from the tank. We have 60 gallons ready for use.
- If the electricity is out for an extended period of time, use the food in the refrigerator first, then, the freezer, and finally, the canned goods.
- Buy a small gas grill, if you don’t have one, and plenty of small propane canisters or a couple of large propane tanks. Yes, charcoal is cheap, but if it gets wet during the storm, it’s useless.
- Before the storm hits, cook a large pot of chili or soup. Then, after the storm, that meal can be used for several days. Even without electricity, you can heat it up on the grill or eat it at room temp.
- Freeze hot dogs, pre-patted hamburgers, boneless skinless chicken breasts, and bread. As long as the freezer stays closed, the contents will remain cold for a while. Then, the meats can be cooked easily on the grill.
- A cast iron skillet on your grill can cook just about anything–eggs, potatoes, meat, veggies.
- Buy toilet paper, paper towels, and baby wipes. The first two may be obvious, but baby wipes are great for quick baths when water may not be flowing. Thank you to my brother in the military for that tip from one of his desert deployments.
- Take a shower and wash your hair the day that the storm is scheduled to hit.
- If you have a swimming pool, buy extra chlorine tabs. Since the electricity may be out, you won’t be able to run the pool pump, but the chlorine tabs will help keep the water clean enough for bathing for a few days.
- Fill some buckets or a bathtub with water for flushing toilets.
- Ladies, don’t forget to pick up feminine hygiene products. It’s probably the furthest thing from your mind in the chaos, but do yourself a favor, and check the calendar before the storm hits.
- Get the laundry done BEFORE the storm hits. There is nothing worse than having to do Little House on the Prairie laundry and draping it across the fence.
- If you aren’t in an evacuation zone, at least pack a bag of clothes, just in case you have to leave in a hurry.
- Wash your bed linens BEFORE the storm. After the storm, you will not have electricity, and as icky as it sounds, you’re going to get hot & sweat. Your bed linens are going to get yucky fast.
- Run the dishwasher & clean the kitchen BEFORE the storm hits. Then, use paper plates, cups, and plastic ware. Water is a premium. Don’t waste it washing dishes.
- Sweep, mop & vacuum BEFORE the storm hit. If you have tile or wood floors this will keep any dirt on the floor from becoming mud.
- Make sure you have a car charger for your cellphone OR buy extra cellphone charge packs for quick chargers.