Equipment / Supplies

What Makes More Sense: Stock the Supplies or Stock the Ingredients?

choicesI’ve been thinking a lot lately about making more and more of my own supplies. While I’ve made things like toothpaste, deodorant, laundry detergent, and a few other cleaning products in the past, I’ve been contemplating going “all in” if you will, and attempting to make as much as I can. My reasoning is for cost savings, healthier products, and maybe just because I can.

The question here today is: does this make sense from a preparedness stand point? As an example, should I be stockpiling a year or two worth soap or the ingredients to make the soap? And, of course, all of the other supplies we might use such as toothpaste, lotion, deodorant, cleaning products, and so on.

I would imagine the obvious and immediate answer is “yes” because being able to make your own supplies means less and less dependence on others… and I would tend to agree with that assessment. The problem, however, is the fact that you would then need to make your own supplies. And, in an emergency scenario, the last thing you need to be doing is spending time making deodorant. 🙂

So, here’s how I see it…

Advantages and disadvantages of stockpiling supplies

Everything you would need to rely on is already on hand and ready to use, which is a huge benefit when you’re already stressed and likely very busy doing other things such as pulling guard duty, tending the garden, chopping wood, and who knows what else needs to be done. But, this also means a finite amount of whatever we’re talking about. That is, if you only have ten bars of soap on hand to see you through the next year or two then that’s what you’ve got and then you’re in the same boat as everyone else. But, like I said, you don’t have any work to do here.

The disadvantages would be that you (1) have no ability to make more of what you need and (2) probably have no knowledge of how to make supplies. For example, if you know that you can make toothpaste using baking soda as a primary ingredient and you can get your hands on a bag of it but not toothpaste, then you’ll understand that it’s worth your time and effort to procure the bag of baking soda. Make sense?

Advantages and disadvantages of stockpiling ingredients

Here you have the supplies to make what you need. There’s no wondering if you’ll have more soap since you’ll have the base ingredients to make it. Of course, it’s expected that you’ll have a finite amount of base ingredients too (just as if you were stockpiling supplies) but the assumption is that you’ll be able to stock more of the base ingredients (at less cost) so that you can then make more supplies. Another benefit is that oftentimes base ingredients are used in a variety of recipes so you can make many supplies from just a handful of base ingredients (e.g., baking soda, vinegar, etc).

The disadvantages are that you would need to make supplies as needed. Obviously, you’re not going to make a single bar of soap at a time but I doubt you’re going to make enough for a year or two at a time, so there is the need to do the work. And, when multiplied by the many hygiene and cleaning needs that a typical household needs over the course of a year, the work needed to make supplies from scratch will become serious work.

There is some common ground

Certainly, I’m presenting you with an “either/or” situation. In reality, it makes sense that you’re not going to be presented with one option or the other. In fact, it makes sense that you can and should do both. If you have both the supplies you need to see you through a year, for example, and the base ingredients to make more of what you need then you’re in the best position possible to see you and your family through hard times. That, in my opinion, is the best strategy of all.

…but, if you HAD to choose, which would it be?

By Damian Brindle

How To Effortlessly Get Prepared For Emergencies Of All Kinds In Only 5 Minutes A Day... Fast, Easy, And Inexpensively... In Less Than ONE Single Month... By Following An Expert In The Field: Discover My 5 Minute Survival Blueprint And Get Prepared Today.

7 replies on “What Makes More Sense: Stock the Supplies or Stock the Ingredients?”

I collect candle ends to make into new candles and I’ve bought some wicks to do it with BUT I never actually do it – I just stockpile the stuff. Why? My storage space is limited and those I live with aren’t as sympathetic as they could be; if I make the candles they’ll get used, but no-one will bother to use my supplies! 😉

I guess I’m always taking things a step further. What if the disastrous situation goes longer than expected and you run out of prepared preps AND ingredient preps? I believe in having survival food, emergency food, extra “stuff” you normally use from the grocery store, long term storable ingredients AND a sustainable garden (which requires a dehydrator and/or jars and canning equipment).
When I learned to make soap I couldn’t control those thoughts of “What IF” I couldn’t get lye and lard? I decided to learn to render lard and make lye. We experimented with rendering fat from pigs, steers and then elk and bear. Pig fat is preferable but bear comes pretty close. This is definitely a job that must be done outside, it takes hours and stinks. Rendering plants have a reputation for a reason. Making lye is not hard but there is a knack to it, using the right ash, boiling some of the water but not all, having the right sized holes in the bucket (like a coffee filter) and storing the finished product. The whole experience made me feel like Granny Clampett, could be a good thing although I like Mrs. Claus better.
The soap we made with our homemade ingredients turned out OK, no fragrance and not much lather to it. Soap made with lard is more moisturizing than soap made with shortening. I still prefer Irish Spring.

Well , even if we are not sure of how to go about doing something , take pride in the fact that you ARE doing something . Prep On !!!!

It takes less space to store general ingredients, than mixes already mixed up. I would rather make something from scratch than depend on a mix. One exception, however, is laundry detergent. I make mine from borax, washing soda, baking soda and fels-naptha soap. I keep a #10 can of the mixture but also have the basic ingredients to make more.

When it comes to food, you can make more things from basic ingredients and change it up to suit the season or whatever you have on hand. Mixes are one-time use things. I don’t buy prepared box food now, why would I want to emulate that model by making my own?

Basics are best for us. Costwise most food preps from scratch are cheaper than pre-prepared/boxed. We store the basics because the ingredients can be used for a variety of items.

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