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The Supplies You Need To Stockpile For TEOTWAWKI

Avatar for Samantha Biggers Samantha Biggers  |  Updated: October 31, 2022
The Supplies You Need To Stockpile For TEOTWAWKI

Table of Contents

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There are a lot of things you could stash away but what are the items that will be most in demand in a TEOTWAWKI situation?

The answer to that is pretty obvious in some ways but there are definitely some items that we take for granted now that will be harder to come by even if they are very inexpensive at the moment.

There are so many things that we use in our daily life that may be quite hard to imagine not being easy to acquire. The items featured in this post are also excellent barter items if you find yourself in a situation where barter is a reasonable thing to do. I advise people to never really plan on bartering a lot because of the dangers associated with doing so.

If you are wondering what TEOTWAWKI is, you may want to read my article “TEOTWAWKI Defined and What You Can Do to Prepare” before proceeding further.

Be sure to come back to this post for tips on what to put back.


valley food storage freeze dried beef cubes review

You need to plan on having 2000 calories per day per person on average. I advise people to plan this much or more even if kids are not eating quite that much yet. A safer bet is to plan 2500 calories per man, woman, or child because then there will be plenty even if everyone is having to do a lot of physical labor.

You need to be sure to stockpile a variety of foods to encourage a balanced diet during hard times. Do not make the mistake of thinking everything you have in your preps must have a 15-25 year shelf life. There is nothing wrong with having some foods that have a 3-5 year shelf life if you rotate your food out and replace it with fresher items.

Yes, this will be the food you have to eat first during a long emergency but that is not the end of the world. Beans, rice, grains, and other foods that are sealed and shelf-stable for longer time frames can make up your very long-term food supply for seriously long emergencies. Balancing out how you approach food storage is better than saying that everything needs to have a maximum shelf life. A lot of the tastier foods simply don’t have that long of a shelf life but they will get you through the first 3-5 years of a long emergency.

If you require a special diet then you need to plan your food storage carefully and understand that you are at a distinct disadvantage. Those that choose to follow specific diets may find they need to adapt. I do not think it is realistic to remain a vegetarian or vegan during any event that could be classified as TEOTWAWKI. To survive we will all have to be less picky. I am not saying that it could not be done but if you plan on staying vegan or vegetarian then you better plan your supply out well.


Even if you don’t have a tendency to eat sweets, sugar is probably something you are going to miss in your food supply if you are making a lot of things from scratch. It is a basic commodity and a lot of people consume a lot of sugar even if they don’t have any other vice.



Green unroasted coffee beans keep the longest. You can easily roast coffee on a propane burner and a cast iron pan. Green coffee can be sealed in mylar or vacuum seal bags. You may want to keep a small amount roasted just so you have it but the majority of your coffee stash should be green beans that can be roasted as needed.


We try to watch our salt intake like a lot of people. Americans are used to a lot of salt in their diet in general. We cook almost everything from scratch so we have to add what salt is needed. Salt is also useful for food preservation and attracting wildlife to an area so you can supplement your food supply by hunting.


People are used to a lot of flavor or at least a lot of salt. If you are not a person that cooks a lot then you may not realize just how much spices mean. A lot of preppers have a lot of rice and beans but that doesn’t mean they have enough spices to make it

Cooking oils and fats

Cooking oils and fats

Canned butter, lard, tallow, ghee, vegetable oils, shortening, grape seed oil, and more are all good to have a large stockpile of. The shelf life varies by oil so you will want to have a variety of oils on hand and store them well.

Pots, pans, and other cooking supplies

I love my set of cast iron cookware. I have a stainless set too that Matt bought me over 15 years ago. Good cookware lasts a long time.

Don’t forget to have a way to cook without electricity. There are many great options. Those with gas stoves should put back extra propane! If you do not then, the Camp Chef Outdoor Oven is one option that I own and have no problem recommending. A rocket stove is great if you can gather firewood and tinder.


Lifestraw Mission Drinking Water | Backdoor Survival

Water Filtration Supplies

Water filtration is the first line of survival. You need to have a personal water filter for everyone in the home and then a main family filter. Having some extra Sawyer Minis put back or Lifestraws will be excellent barter material and also serve as a back up in case a filter gets broke or lost.

Water purification tablets and 2% iodine solution

This is not my preferred way to sanitize water but it is good to have options. Water tabs are easy to transport and can be divided among people easily. Iodine solution is less expensive than tabs and has other uses.

Water Storage Supplies

Plastic food grade storage barrels, collapsible containers, good plastic water bottles, etc are all worthy of putting back. Remember that milk jugs and similar are not made for long term drinking water use and they will break down fairly fast. The water jugs that are used in water dispensers in offices are made to be refilled and for long term use.


Soap for bathing and dishes

A good general-purpose soap is nice. If you can put back two kinds it will properly be better for everyone. If I had to choose just two soaps I would pick Dr. Bronnors Liquid Castille Soap and a highly concentrated dish detergent such as Dawn or 7th Generation Free and Clear. If you want to make sure it is something everyone can use, the Unscented “Baby” Dr. Bronnors” and 7th Generation Free and Clear would be the two soaps to go for in my own opinion.

Soap and other supplies for laundry

laundry hanging up sun

A plan and some supplies for doing laundry without electricity or with very little electricity is a good idea. I mix up our own laundry soap at home. I have a 3-gallon bucket of strong laundry soap that I never touch but I also make up 6 months or more of laundry soap for general use at a time. Check out my post “Laundry Kit For SHTF”.

Toothpaste and Toothbrushes

There may not be any good dental care for a long time if it is the TEOTWAWKI so taking care of your teeth is really important to your overall health and well being. Toothpaste and toothbrushes are another basic inexpensive item that will be of great value in a true long emergency.


SPF 30 or more is preferable. A good sport style sunscreen that does not have to be reapplied as often is a good option. Some people have turned against sunscreen in favor of just keeping their skin covered more. I think that a combination approach is probably best.

Lotion and Moisturizer

Some of you know all about my beauty box for SHTF plan. I have two years’ worth of skincare products put back at all times. It is just my thing. At the same time, these items also have value to others if I wanted to trade or sell them if times were tough. If you can keep a few aloe plants going then you are in the moisturizer business for the long haul. It can take some pretty cold temperatures just not major freezing.


Lightweight cotton towels that don’t take forever to dry are nice but thin towels tend to wear out faster than thick ones so if you go lightweight and fast-drying you should put back more. Microfiber towels dry faster and are useful but most people don’t like them as much as cotton or so it seems.

Toilet Paper and Paper Towels

I list toilet paper with caution because a lot of people have limited storage space. Anything beyond a case of 96 rolls is what I consider excessive unless you have a lot of space or a very large family. I recommend getting the big packs of Scott Tissue where each roll has 1,000 sheets because they offer you the most toilet paper in the least amount of storage space.

Just make sure that you are not going too crazy stockpiling something that takes up so much space. I would rather have more food or medical supplies than a couple extra cases of toilet paper.

I have a case of the really huge rolls of paper towels. That is it. We have some storage but not that much. If things stay bad long enough that I use up all those then the last thing I am going to be thinking is that I didn’t put enough back.

Feminine Hygiene Supplies

Sanitary napkins and tampons alike can be stockpiled. When in doubt go the sanitary napkin route because they can be used for many things. While you shouldn’t stick a tampon in a bullet hole or similar, a napkin can be used to absorb drainage, deal with incontinence issues, or absorb blood if needed. Buy unscented sanitary napkins and tampons for TEOTWAWKI. The scented types are not the best choice due to possible allergies or if you are using them for things beyond what they were intended for.

Disposable and Cloth Diapers

While the convenience of disposable cannot be understated, you can only put back so many things. Cloth diapers have many different purposes beyond swaddling a child. There is wisdom in having both on hand during a long emergency.

Infant Formula or Dried Goat’s Milk

Infant formula or dried goat’s milk can be a real lifesaver in a long emergency. While the idea of feeding a baby goat’s milk make seem weird to some, it is the only powdered milk not labeled as a formula that will actually provide adequate nutrition to a child. Keeping a milk goat was an alternative to using a wet nurse back in the old day’s if a woman could not breastfeed.

Wet Wipes

The wet wipes that come in plastic tubs are less likely to dry out over time. The plastic packs with a dispenser on top are okay but they can get small holes in them that you are unaware of and dry out over time. You can always dehydrate them but it is best to just have some on hand that are better protected.

Disposable Razors or Razor and Razor Blade Sets

People like to be able to shave. Disposable razors in packs make a lot of sense for general use but if it is your personal razor you may want to put back something a bit better. If you use a Mach III razor and name-brand blades, then get an extra razor handle and put back some blades. Disposables are nice to have for medical use as well. If you need to shave an area to take care of a wound or skin issue then a disposable is the way to go.

Disinfectants and cleaning supplies

There are many choices for disinfectants and cleaning supplies. Bleach, oxygen cleaner, glass cleaner, ammonia, Lysol, and other disinfectants are all worth keeping on hand. Without major medical care available you will need to be even more vigilant about germs and transmitting disease to one another. Concentrated disinfectants make the best use of your space. Shelf life can vary. I have to say that oxygen cleaner is often my choice because it is stable until water is added.

General Medical and First Aid Supplies


Everything from band-aids to steri strips and antibiotic ointment is great to put back. Any medical supply is going to be handy during a long emergency but make sure to have a wide variety and stock up more on the items that will be the most valuable and hard to find such as antibiotic ointment. Get a good base medical kit and then add to it as needed for your family. Put back extras in storage containers.

Activated Charcoal

It is inexpensive to buy activated charcoal by the pound. A little goes a long way. You can make your own if needed but you do need a few basic supplies in order to do so. If you want to know how then check out my article on how to make your own and the many uses of activated charcoal.

N-95 Masks

These are available in packs of 50 for a really good price. These are just basic 3M N-95 masks. Some of the more expensive versions have valves or other features. For just stockpiling the basic ones that are wrapped in plastic film and come in big packages are the best way to go. These are only made for one-time use in case you did not already know that. This means you would want to change your mask daily under bad conditions. A respirator can only filter so much without airflow becoming restricted.

Nitrile or Latex Gloves

The argument for nitrile gloves is that they can be used on people that are sensitive or allergic to latex. Nitrile tends to cost a little more. When in doubt go with the nitrile. If you know that you are not allergic to latex and want to keep some latex gloves on hand for some tasks then go for it. A lot of dish gloves are made of latex.

Condoms and Birth Control

Birth control is not going to be what it once was and sexually transmitted diseases often flourish during a long emergency. Condoms do have a shelf life that is around 3-5 years but even after that if they are not dried out, they would be far better than nothing at all. Even if you don’t need them, there may be members in your family that will at some point.

If you can stock up on a preferred method of birth control then do it. Most doctors will allow you a year’s supply at once if a prescription is required.


Fish antibiotics are a good choice. Even if they are expired they are far better than having nothing at all. The expiration date is a guideline. Just because antibiotics are years out of date doesn’t mean they could not save your life. You may need to take a higher dosage but that is far better than the alternative during an SHTF situation.

Reading Glasses in Various Strengths

Reading Glasses

Vision care is probably not going to be available during an extended event. If you have prescription glasses then have an extra pair or two on hand. You can order spare sets for $15-$20 online. Reading glasses are another item that will be in demand. Even really inexpensive ones will be better than nothing. I recently found some reading glasses for my Dad that offer three different focal lengths in a single lens so they can be used to help out with reading, distance, and close up. They were about $16 but they are an option for general vision correction when an eye doctor is not available.

A supply of any prescription meds needed by those in your home.

Common over the counter medications for diarrhea, pain relief, stomach problems, and allergies

I tend to recommend liqui gels a lot because they work faster. If someone is having an allergic reaction, a few minutes can make a difference. There is nothing wrong with having both solid and liquid forms if you catch a good deal, just make sure at least some are the Liqui-Gel variety. Here are a few examples of over the counter meds to put back.

  • Benedryl Liqui-Gels
  • Ibuprofen Liqui-Gels
  • Immodium-AD
  • Pepto-Bismol
  • Antacid Tablets
  • Tylenol
  • Aspirin

Blood Stop Powder

Dissolving Sutures and Needles

Medical books

I recommend picking up a copy of “The Survival Medicine Handbook” and “Alton’s Antibiotics and Infectious Disease”. Those two books cover just about everything.

Clothing and Shoes

Footwear and Insoles

You need to have shoes to fit those in your household. Allow for some growth with kids and make sure to have a lot of insoles put back. These can be layered to customize shoe sizes during an emergency. I would much rather look like I had bigger feet than not having something good to protect my feet and keep them warm. Insoles also allow for those that experience weight loss during a long emergency to adjust their shoes so they do not cause pain. The thinner foam insoles are good to have as well as a few pairs of gel insoles from Dr. Scholls. I have not found a generic equivalent that is even half as good as the name brand so I will not recommend any of them to you.

Boots are often the best choice. I like hiking, military style, and logging boots at different times. The key is to put back footwear that you can work in and stay warm, dry, and comfortable. Your decision on what close toed shoes is best for you should be based on the climate where you live. Remember to plan for all seasons as well. I live in the south but it is at 3000 feet so I need to plan for temperatures ranging from -10 F to 90 F. The record low is -20 F so some may argue that I should plan for that. If it is that cold my contact with the outside is going to be very minimal.

Packs of Men’s Plain White T-shirts in common sizes

A 6- pack of t-shirts is great to have. I like to suggest inexpensive cotton t-shirt packs to people when they want to know what types of clothing to put back because they are so versatile. A size small can be used as a nightgown for children for example. No one cares if something is a little baggy so it may be good to go with sizes that serve a wide range such as small for kids and then a size large for adults.


I suggest buying the classic cotton socks that are made to fit a wide range of sizes. Matt and I share socks because I have big feet and I don’t feel like keeping a separate sock collection. Wool socks or synthetic are good to have as well. I definitely have a big tote of wool socks. It is often too warm to wear them here but I have them for those times. Cotton is no good if you are in a position where feed may get wet and cold.

Other Clothing Items

  • Gloves
  • Hats
  • Belts

For more info on what clothing to put back, check out my post “Best Clothing To Have On Hand For SHTF”.

Fuel Supply, Energy, and Heat

Gas, Propane, and other fuels

If I have 120 lbs of propane, I can cook for a year without even being careful how I use my propane. I know that because Matt and I set down and added up what we use per year and then added in a little extra. I bet if I was careful I could make it last longer. At the same time, we would be in a situation where any hot water would have to be heated. In the summertime it is easy to use solar energy to heat up some water but other times of the year another method such as wood or propane stove would be needed.

Most of the gasoline we use goes into our Kawasaki Mule and some other small engines. Yes we do have a truck for going to town and getting supplies but we don’t use it most of the time around the farm. During a long emergency we would be at home so our fuel needs would be very minimal. You can do a lot of work and running around with 5 gallons of gas in a Mule.

Gas will last for quite a while if you use fuel stabilizer. Check out my article on gas cans and caddies for storage for info on how to store gas and conserve it during hard times. Many readers remember gas shortages but those that are younger have likely never been in a true gas rationing situation.

Rechargeable batteries and a method to charge them

A small solar array for keeping small devices charged up and batteries charged for use in flashlights is a good idea.

Small power centers and solar panels are easier and more affordable than ever before. I recommend getting a small set up or whatever you can afford. It is well worth the investment and will make your life better during a long emergency. During extreme situations, people have been able to trade charging small devices for other items they need to survive. The ability to generate some power is an excellent investment.

Livestock and Pet Foods

Dog and cat food are important things to have on hand if you have pets but they are also good to have in case others need them too. People often struggle to feed their dogs and cats during long emergencies. There are people in Venezuela who are making their living making pet foods at home and selling them now that things have been going on so long and a few people are still trying to keep pets.

Livestock feeds are also important. Even if you have a lot of pasture, there is probably a time in the colder months when there is simply not enough food out there to support your livestock. Hay put back will last awhile. Some animals require higher quality food than others. Horses are pickier and tend to be fed higher quality hay than cattle, sheep, or goats. Remember that some feeds contain copper that is toxic to sheep. Medicated feeds should not be fed to turkeys, ducks, or geese. Always read the label before buying or stick to basic grains and feeds such as wheat, corn, oats, etc.

Communications and Entertainment

Music and the spoken word

You can store a lot of music and entertainment on some SD cards. You can also download and save old time radio shows onto SD cards. Audiobooks are another great option for storing on SD cards.

Paper, pencils, pens, and other writing supplies

Communications may have to get a lot simpler. Paper in many ways is a more secure way to deliver a message anyway. During a long emergency, email and printers may not be available at all or if they are they may be spotty and too easy for others to gain intel from.

Spiral-bound notebooks are often dirt cheap around the time kids are going back to school. That is when I tend to stock up on notebooks and other writing supplies.

All Types of Radios

All Types of Radios

While radios like the Kaito Emergency radios are great for all-around entertainment and listening to what is going on, you might want to put back some radios for communication as well. You can digital or manually tuned radios from Kaito depending on your personal preference.

Radios for listening to NOAA weather and AM/FM are really cheap and are all a lot of people will need. Yes, I know shortwave and ham have their purposes but some people are not really going to be that interested.

Reference Books

I read a lot more than the average person but I have a small house. I can only store or keep so many books. Since a lot of our reference books are only really going to get used in an emergency I finally stored them where they will stay in better shape and not get dirty and shelf worn.

Books on gardening, farming, animal husbandry, first aid, defense, food preservation, and more are all good choices. Ebooks are okay if you have something to read them on.

For a very long event, I want some paper books for reference. Sometimes it is nice to have digital and paper versions of a book. Digital is great if you have to search for something specific and have a way to read them.

General Household and Gear

You may currently use very few of the supplies I am listing here but during a long emergency, that can change quite fast. These items are the small things that can make a big difference and help you get the most out of what you have on hand.

Without disposable bags or possibly any way to transport anything, things like reusable bags and backpacks will become a larger part of your life. A flashlight where you sleep could replace your lamp.


I like to recommend disposable Bics but other good choices include Clipper refillable lighters and Zippos with extra fuel.

Flints and wicks are other good items to keep on hand for lighter refurbishment.

Sewing Supplies

Small sewing kits are nice to have. You can buy basic tiny sewing kits but you are probably better off putting together one yourself and storing it in a small case. There are some premade kits that are just fine but if you have specific sewing needs or preferences then your own kit is the way to go. Thread, needles, buttons, safety pins, and fishing line are all great to have in a sewing kit. If you have a needle that will thread-thin trout line, you can sew even heavy- duty gear back together. 5 lb test fishing line is fairly thin but so much stronger than clear thread from the sewing section.

Candles and holders

Fire is always a risk with candles. The jar style candles are nice because they are more contained. You can make candle holders too. I just don’t feel it is right to suggest candles without also suggesting some ways to make them safer to use during an emergency.

A variety of candles is probably a good idea. Tea lights and holders are really inexpensive and can even be used for cooking or heating if combined with a small rocket stove or similar.

Glue and Adhesives

For more info on glues and adhesives, please seem my article “The Adhesives and Glues Every Prepper Needs”.

Flashlights and other lightening

I like to keep a lot of different types of flashlights around. They are incredibly useful. I remember buying a 10 pack of small LED flashlights on clearance with AAA batteries included for a mere $5 at Wal-Mart. We got two packs. While these are cheap lights, they are made of aluminum and they are small enough to stash a lot of places.

I just put most of them away to have as backup. We have a variety of larger flashlights around the house. Choose lights that take AA or AAA batteries since they are the easiest to find and the most common sizes of rechargeable. Most chargers will charge both types.

Lanterns that use batteries or have solar charging options are another item that will come in useful during a TEOTWAWKI situation.

Backpacks and bags

While the reusable grocery bags you can get at supermarkets are good for some things, they do not hold up over time. You need sturdy bags and backpacks for many uses. A backpack style basket may be useful too. Think about what would be helpful if you had to carry things a lot or forage. Mesh bags are useful for carrying and storing some items like onions and taters.


A variety of blankets can be a good thing. There is something to be said for having a few inexpensive but warm blankets as well as some nicer ones. I use fleece blankets when I want something warm and cheap that I am not going to worry about if it gets messed up. Wool blankets are great for a lot of things but they tend to be heavy and in some climates, they are too thick and warm to use regularly. I live in the South and unless I am outside winter camping, wool is too heavy.

Several small wagons or platforms with wheels

Moving things around is important and wheels make it easier. A small wagon like that pulled behind a lawnmower can make a big difference. I know all about moving stuff in one of those. I once moved half a giant dump truck of gravel by hand when Matt and I were mixing concrete for our house foundation. They are tough wagons and also useful for harvesting crops.

Dollies or platforms with wheels can make it easier to move heavy items longer distances without lifting near as much. You can make your own out of plywood, boards, and wheels but it might be nice to just have a few available.


These can be used for so many things. I recommend a few different colors. The camo, brown, or green varieties are nice if you want to keep things more concealed. You get what you pay for a lot of the time. There is nothing wrong with having some cheap tarps but you may want to have a few nicer ones put back for more extreme situations or longer-term use.

Paracord and rope

Of course, you should have some paracord put back. There are too many different ways to use the stuff. You can even make belts and other items from it if you need to. People sometimes imagine they will be running around a lot during a long emergency but that is not necessarily true. You may be on guard more and having to stay in place. This will lead to times when you want something to do to ward off boredom and you might as well do something useful with the time you have.

Other rope is also recommended. Paracord is useful for a lot of things but sometimes you want something a bit thicker.

Guns, Ammo, Knives, Fishing, Hunting, and Trapping


Ideally, you would have a shotgun, rifle, and a handgun. If you are just going to have one gun then I would say you need to consider what your main objectives are. Shotguns can be used for hunting and are considered good for defense in some situations. Shot from a shotgun is less likely to travel too far and harm neighbors or bystanders than rifle round.

Handguns are good for defense but don’t have the range of a rifle. You can conceal a handgun more readily too. My point is there are pros and cons to any gun and no perfect weapon for absolutely every situation. One thing I have to say is that you should choose a gun in a common caliber for your main weapon or weapons. A gun without ammo is practically useless and during a long emergency, the chances of finding special ammo are slim.

Ammunition in common calibers

Some of the most common ammunition calibers are 9mm, 5.56 x 45, 7.62 x 39, .22, .38, etc. Shotgun shells in 12 gauge are another good one. 30.06 , 30-30, .270 are other common calibers that are worth putting back.

Every Day Carry Knives and Multi-Tools

I carry a folding knife and a Leatherman. That takes care of my EDC needs and helps me out around the farm.

Fishing Supplies

Fishing rods, reels, tackle, and lures can all help supplement your food supply if you live in an area with decent fishing.

Trapping Supplies

Trapping at least some of the varmints and rodents that want your stuff may be necessary but you can also trap other animals that are useful for meat, hides, etc.

Butchering Supplies


A lot of the knives and hatchets you should have on hand for other reasons can be used for butchering. It might still be wise to consider what you do have and if you might want to add a fillet knife or something specific. A good knife and hatchet combo like that made by Gerber and a fillet knife will allow you to do a lot of butchering tasks. A meat saw can be nice but it is not entirely necessary.

Curing Salt

Regular salt can be used for some food preservation but in order to be as safe as possible and get the maximum shelf life out of cured meats, you need actual curing salts. There are two main types that are easy to put back in quantity, Prague Powder #1 and #2. One is for quick curing and one is for longer curing processes. There are commercial meat curing products that have salt, spices, and sugars added but they are not as cost-effective as buying your own Prague Powder and then adding other spices, sugar, and salt as needed.


Hatchets, axes, and mauls

From making things to chopping firewood to butchering, you need some hatchets, axes, and mauls.

Nails, screws, hammers, and screwdrivers

Being able to do small repairs means a lot during a long emergency. During a lot of SHTF events people find themselves without tools to do small jobs. Being able to nail a few boards up can make a big difference. Having a few items like this is valuable too because you may be able to fix things for others. Having the tools can get you a job sometimes even if it is not normally your skillset.

Shovels and hoes

There are a lot of reasons to have a shovel. Both shovels and hoes are very useful if foraging or gardening.


Firewood and repairing or making items is easier with a saw. A few good bow saws and blades are a good investment.

Vices & Indulgences

Many things can be considered a vice or indulgence. I am going to list a few common ones but I am sure that you will come up with others when you start really thinking about it.


Even if you just put back very strong clear liquor it will be valuable. Even if you do not drink the stuff if it is strong enough it can be used as a disinfectant. Selco talks about how they use the local liquor to disinfect and keep infections at bay.


Loose tobacco that has been vacuum-sealed will have the longest shelf life. A cigarette rolling machine and a supply of papers can be added to preps inexpensively. I recommend vacuum sealing the papers too so that they are protected from moisture.

Name-brand cigarettes are valuable for trade and will command a high price in a post SHTF economy because it reminds people of when their lives were “normal”. Anything that does that is going to be a comfort and if it is a vice, then the value is more complex.

Name Brand Alcohol

While any alcohol will be welcome in a TEOTWAWKI situation, brands that people are loyal to will have more value than cheap bottom shelf brands. There are people that will just want normality and having a bottle of something they have fond memories of has value.


Some sweets will last longer than others. A general rule of thumb is that anything with dairy products in it will go bad faster. This just means that you need to rotate things like that out and replace them more often. For long term candy, sugary and flavored hard candy is going to last the longest.

Deciding how much space to dedicate to a specific type of item is challenging.

It is important to stockpile the most important things first. Food, water, medicine, clothing, footwear, and hygiene are some of the more important things to consider. Morale is also very important so make sure that you have at least something to entertain yourself with. Music is very important in many cultures. In my area, Old Time and Bluegrass will bring all types of people together.

Some members of your family may want to dedicate space differently and that can be a challenge. Try to involve them in your preparedness and allow some room for some luxury items. The Morale box is important.

Everyone in the home should have a box filled with things that are comforting to them during an emergency. This could be any number of things. A blanket and a few favorite books, special snacks, etc. Food items should be rotated out occasionally.

Being able to practice your faith of choice is a big comfort and motivator to many during hard times. Put back what you need to keep up your chosen faith or spiritual well-being.

Be sure to have what you need on hand so that you can continue to do this. A few extra Bibles may be something to consider, rosary beads, hymn books, etc. Consider that others may want to join in even if they are not the most willing participants at the time.

Sometimes a long emergency has a way of causing others to look at faith in a different way.

What else would you add to this list?

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32 Responses to “The Supplies You Need To Stockpile For TEOTWAWKI”

  1. Hi Samantha,
    This is a great article.
    I came to backdoorsurvival looking for information on bar soap for long term storage. How to store storebought bar soap so it lasts a long time. What is the shelf life expectancy of bar soap?
    I now find myself waist deep in so much well thought out information. This is so awesome. I’m taking notes!
    I just bought a washboard from Lehman’s last week and I’m super excited to get it. There was a time when I resorted to washing clothes by hand in the bathtub, which is not horrible, but is rather labor intensive. The worst part was wringing them out by hand. I wished I’d had a crank wringer washtub to make that part easier.
    Anyways, today I decided I’m going to buy one of those commercial use janitor’s mop buckets with the mop squeezer. Do you know if this is an idea that other people have had? I think it would cut down the drying times significantly for hand washed and line dried laundry.
    Any suggestions for where to look for info about bar soap storage?

  2. So few people mention lanudry. I use liquid detergent. When each jug is empty I fill it with water until foam starts coming out, then let it sit for a few days. Then I top it off. I end up with free multipurpose hand soap/laundry soap/dishwashing soap. I have a rack next to the garage with 12 on the bottom shelf.

  3. Speaking of books, one that you rarely hear mentioned by preppers is “Roberts Rules of Order”, but take a moment to hear me out. We know that no one person can get very far alone, nor even one family. Your “best case” scenario is that you all get old together and the young ones die last. However, as soon as you start gathering a few like-minded families together for mutual aid, decisions will need to be made that affect everyone. Maybe you have a charismatic and honorable leader from the start, and that’s fine for a while, but it’s probably no more realistic than 100,000 gallons of well-preserved diesel fuel. It’s not going to last forever. RRO was developed specifically for small groups of volunteers (church governing boards, to be precise) to make good decisions. To make a good decision usually requires a majority vote. (If you insist on consensus, you’ll just never make an important decision at all.) Voting requires fair consideration of alternative points of view; that’s call “debating the isssue”. Leaders need to know how to control debates, to keep them focused on the decision at hand, give every position an airing, and then end the talk and take the vote. RRO tells you how to empower leaders, explore issues, hold votes, decide, and get home in time for a good night’s sleep so you can tend the homestead tomorrow. I’m not saying that every rule needs to be applied to every issue, but RRO should be the backup plan when decision-making bogs down.

    Oh, and everyone should have a copy of the US Constitution, too. The whole thing is not much bigger than a passport, and future generations can amuse themselves looking for the seeds of our collapse in our deviations from the Amended version.

  4. If you’re going to keep “how-to” books, make sure that your storage area is as dry as possible! Mold and mildew, as well as insects, can ruin books if they get damp. English monasteries of the middle ages used to keep their books (and other papers, or parchment) in a dedicated room above the kitchen, where warmth from the fires would drive out the moisture. Even if it only ran on sunny days (due to limited battery capacity), an electric dehumidifier would be good to have. The one in my home pulls a gallon or two of water out of the air every summer day, so using a chemical desiccant would have to absorb the same amount, and be regenerated every day. A chemical desiccant might be feasible for books sealed in a box, though.

  5. A small solar panel (e.g., GoalZero Nomad7) can recharge the batteries in your flashlight, radio, and/or mobile phone.

    Vitamins! Vitamin C will be scarce when fresh fruit and vegetables are out-of-season, and vitamin D will be scarce during the cold, dark months, and when we’re no longer drinking A/D-fortified commercial milk. Even organic milk has added vitamins A and D, because we need it to stay healthy. (Vitamin-D deficient people are much more likely to be severely affected by covid-19, for example.) The shelf life for each is at least two years.

  6. Very good advice and a lot of common sense here as well.
    I live in Australia and what you have on this site, I will give some serious thought to.
    A lot of things I can most certainly get at the local shops.
    Guns and ammo forget it, as I don’t have a car to get to another town where they sell the guns and ammo.

  7. For JAY who asked about the shelf life of Dawn Dish Detergent – 2 things:
    I can only speak from my experience. Dawn has come out with a multiple list of “Dawn Dish Detergents”, all with various fragrances and types. I have not been impressed with a lot of their new stuff. My go to is the original version. I get the kind sold at Sam’s Club that comes in the large (maybe gallon size) with the pump attached. I have stored cases of this in my North Carolina humid garage. 5 years later I have noticed no change in the product in terms of separation and the quality remains excellent. I only have to rinse the bottle off when I bring it into the kitchen to remove the accumulated dust. Hope this helps.

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