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12 preparedness items you might not strictly need but would be glad to have

This being the OFFICIAL National Preparedness Month, I’m sure you’ve diligently been working on your preps for the last three-plus weeks. Right?

Wait. What’s that, you say? You’ve been working diligently on your preps for lo these many years and you hardly have to concern yourself with some belatedly declared month? Of course! You’re pretty well set by now, right?

But everybody’s always lacking something.

With that in mind, here are 12 preparedness items you probably don’t strictly need but would be great to have if you don’t already. And yes, these are Amazon Associates links.

1. Can organizers, trackers, dispensers. I’ve always considered pantry can organizers to be a great luxury. The best ones are out of my league. But as I face this weekend’s project of re-organizing shelves that were never really meant to serve as a pantry, I feel nagging envy for those who have these handy dispensers. I tell myself, “Hey, if I ordered a few of these, I could put the whole shelf project off until next week while I wait for them to arrive.” Hm. Seems like a good reason to get them.

2. A slingshot. Maybe something serious like this. But any reasonably durable slingshot can be a handy thing to have around for discouraging or hunting small varmints. Sure, there are better, more modern tools for that job. But how many of those can, in a pinch, sling any handy rock? (Steel shot is better, of course — if it’s available.) Slingshots require practice. But it’s practice that’s generally fun.

3. A woobie. These have given both physical and psychic comfort to soldiers since Vietnam. They can comfort the rest of us, too, whether by giving us extra warmth by a fireside, helping keep heating bills low in an ordinary winter, or protecting us when we’re desperately cold. ADDED: LarryA (in comments) had some related ideas.

4. Dried fruit. Because, seriously, you don’t want to be caught in a SHTF situation without sufficient fiber. Besides, dried fruits come in all sorts of portable and deliciously snacky varieties. But if you don’t like fruit, you can always get fiber this way.

5. Vinegar and rubbing alcohol. Consider gallon sizes of white vinegar, especially extra-strength cleaning vinegar. Add large sizes of rubbing alcohol to your home stores and between the two you have cheap, multi-purpose cleaning and disinfecting supplies.

6. Extra heavy-duty aluminum foil. Regular aluminum foil is handy and always good to have around. But when you might have to cook in the stuff over an open fire or on a grill, you want extra heavy-duty. And that’s not all. This article gives about a dozen additional uses — as well as several other unusual prep items you might want to have.

7. A Land-Shark bag. Heavy-duty, reportedly IR-invisible. A Land-Shark Bag is just the thing when those little tinfoil survival blankets won’t cut it. Good on land and sea. Indoors, but better yet outdoors. For winter go-bags or dire rescue situations.

8. Pantyhose. If you’re a woman like me, you may hate them (20 years and counting since I’ve had to don a pair of the hateful things). But pantyhose have a multitude of survival and Outlaw uses. For guys, too. (So do maxipads, but I hesitate to mention those on a formerly family-friendly blog.)

9. Gloves, gloves, and more gloves. Nitrile gloves for medical and industrial use. Work gloves. And gardening gloves. And fingerless gloves for shooting or other fine work in the cold. Mittens for maximum warmth. You simply cannot have enough types of hand coverings.

10. Board games. Yep, board games. And puzzles. Because when all those things that go beep and boop run out of battery power, somebody’s going to get really, really, really bored. I’m giving you an Amazon link here, but I must admit that this is one item it’s really better to find at thrift stores and garage sales. If you don’t mind the occasional missing puzzle piece or dog-chewed game piece, you can always find these things — cheap — among someone else’s leftovers.

11. Clip-on book lights. These little gadgets make it a lot easier to read when the power goes out. Candles (even the wonderful UCO candle lantern) can’t hold a candle to them. Lanterns don’t have their focused glow. ADDED: LarryA (in comments) had what might be an even better idea: a USB rechargeable headlamp.

12. A small notebook. When you can’t text, call, or surf the ‘Net, a small notebook enables you to leave a note for somebody, jot down your thoughts, make a to-do list, or doodle to keep yourself from going bonkers. Not long ago, a friend gave me a reporter’s notebook, which I find particularly handy.

So there you are. Even if you’ve been prepping for years and are prepped to the gills, I’ll bet there are at least a few items on that list that aren’t yet among your storage or survival stocks.

That said, I now need to go off and decide whether I’m going to organize those pantry shelves this weekend or order some can organizers. And slack off in the meantime.


  1. MamaLiberty
    MamaLiberty September 24, 2016 12:39 pm

    The only thing I see that I need is the extra heavy duty foil. I don’t use a lot of foil ever, but I can see it coming in very handy in an emergency.

    Actually, I could use the book light too. I have hundreds of books, and the idea of trying to read by candle light gives me a headache already! Got to get one of those.

  2. Desertrat
    Desertrat September 24, 2016 3:46 pm

    I’m short on the dried fruit. Otherwise, I have the listed items or equivalents.

    Where I’m ahead is that there is a shallow level water well built onto the back wall of this old house. I’m setting up for a stand-by solar setup for a small pump, to alternate with powering the refrigerator. Already has a bucket, rope and pulley.

    Q: Does anybody know of batteries which can be bought dry, with the acid in a separate container? Once available, but now hard to find.

  3. John
    John September 24, 2016 4:19 pm

    “Lie, Cheat & Steal: The Board Game of Political Power” came out like 1971. Never played it. Back then I figured it to just be a gag game. Heh, youth. I notice one Amazon buyer review reports “Was missing money”.

  4. Pat
    Pat September 24, 2016 4:51 pm

    “Will you be a monopolist or a free-market competitor?”
    That Anti-Monopoly board game looks interesting.

    And a pair of bamboo gardening gloves might come in handy.
    I also could use the book light.

    Already have a great slingshot and plenty of steel “ammo” to go with it.

  5. LarryA
    LarryA September 24, 2016 4:58 pm


    I’ve tried can organizers. Depressing. Evidence of the global surveillance culture. I no more than get them set up than whoever makes whatever I got them to store changes can sizes.
    I happen to be addicted to Coke (The Real Thing, not the illegal stuff) and I’ve been getting 12 oz. bottle 8-packs.
    They are actually fairly rugged handy-size water-or-whatever bottles that survive freezing.

    I wore out several poncho liners, but I still have a couple of ponchos, so that’s tempting. For out-in-the-Vietnam-jungle comfort, however, nothing beat a hammock.

    Booklights are good, but not clipped to the book.

    Pass on the reporter’s notebooks. They’re great, but my wife and I both work for a newspaper, so we probably have more of them on hand than Amazon.

    I’ve always found decks of cards handier. Much more compact, and not many board games can be played solitaire or family-style.
    Besides, if I’m lost and need to calm down I can just sit down anywhere and play.
    Pretty soon some obnoxious twerp will tell me to play the black 10 on the red Jack, and I can ask her where I am.
    Ba Da Bump.

  6. Claire
    Claire September 24, 2016 5:40 pm

    “Besides, if I’m lost and need to calm down I can just sit down anywhere and play.
    Pretty soon some obnoxious twerp will tell me to play the black 10 on the red Jack, and I can ask her where I am.”

    Ain’t that the truth? You could be lost in the Kalahari Desert or the Amazon Jungle. Possibly even the North Pole. But the moment you sat down to play solitaire, some know-it-all would turn up to kibitz.

  7. jed
    jed September 24, 2016 7:52 pm

    +1 on the headlamp, and not just because it makes a good reading light. But I’d get one that runs on AAA batteries, or at least a user-replaceable battery in a std. size. Granted, these days a solar USB charger is an easy thing to keep around, but AAA batteries are ubiquitous.

    Surgical tubing is handy, and you can use it to make your own slingshot.

    Speaking of slingshots, if that’s your thing, you might enjoy watching The Slingshot Channel. Joerg has some amazing slingshots, but also some smaller, practical ones.

  8. Ellendra
    Ellendra September 24, 2016 9:05 pm

    I recently bought some kevlar gloves for gardening. Before anyone tells me it’s overkill, last spring a dead weed stalk exploded in my hand when I tugged on it. A piece went through my thumb, and then broke off inside. And, because plant pieces don’t show up on xray, the first doctor I saw didn’t believe me. It took 2 weeks of antibiotics to get the swelling down enough to see the bulge where the stem still was, and minor surgery to actually remove it.

    Oh, and there was that fun look on the surgeon’s face at the follow-up, where he admitted that in 30+ years of practice, he’d never even seen that family of bacteria before!

    It was an unnerving reminder of how risky everything would be after a collapse.

  9. Arthur Murray
    Arthur Murray September 24, 2016 10:36 pm

    Looked at can organizers, decided they take up too much space that could be used to store cans instead.

    Staples sells cardboard boxes with free ship-to-store (I’m sure other outfits do, too); I get a 25-pack of 12″LX9″HX9″W for $18.50, the perfect size for 24 standard 15.5 oz cans (order 5 or more 25-packs and the price drops, useful info for groups). Most are filled with one type, some are “food units” – 8 cans of protein, 8 of fruit, 8 of veggies for “grab ‘n’ go”. Each box is marked with purchase date, contents, and “condition.” Ex: F85X● means “fruit, bought August 2015, X means cutlery included, slid in the gaps between the cans, the ● (a large black dot, in case HTML doesn’t like the symbol) means a couple P-38 or P-51 openers are taped under the lid. The cutlery is plastic forks, spoons and knives from the restaurant supply house, 1K of each totaled $38.

    Best deal on P-38s and P-51s is Sportsman’s Guide, $20+shipping for 100 of the 38s, $25+ for 100 of the 51s. Wire rack shelving from the restaurant supply folks is pretty handy as well. Spendy and “you assemble”, but available in a variety of shelf sizes (12″W (although 14″ is more common) 18″W and 24’W, lengths from 24″ to 72″) and shelves can be set in 1 inch height increments on corner standards available in 63″, 72″ and 86″ heights.

    So, food, in 24-can (27 lb) uniform size stackable labeled packages which are highly portable, dated, with openers and eating tools. Easy to store in closets, easy to inventory, and stores more densely than can organizers. Stack twelve of the boxes, add an 18″ X 24″ plywood top and a cheap tablecoth to make an end table, 20 boxes and 24″ X 45″ plywood make a coffee table (no idea how many to make a couch….).Call it “prepper chic.”

  10. LarryA
    LarryA September 25, 2016 1:30 am

    the first doctor I saw didn’t believe me.

    [sigh] I’ve seen that too often.

    Went to an out-of-town conference last year. Something started poking me in my back, every time I would lean back in a seat. So I went to the men’s room and skinned up my shirt and undershirt.
    I could just feel whatever it was, like a long stiff spine. But I could only bend my old arm so far, and while I could touch it with a fingertip there’s no way I could get a hold on it. What to do?
    The conference had a nurse, who was passing out blood pressure checks and taking questions and such. So I went to her office and told her my problem:
    “…and there’s something sticking in my back.”
    “Well, you know, when we get old sometimes we get shingles, or psoriasis.”
    “That’s true, but today I have something sticking in my back.” I started skinning my shirt up again.
    “Uh, you want me to look?”
    About this time she spots my concealed Glock.
    “Oh, wow. Haven’t seen one of those before.” (We were in Austin, not Texas.)
    I get my shirt up and crank my arm around to point. I can still fingertip the sticker.
    “Well,” she’s scanning my back. “I don’t see any sign of a rash or anything.”
    So I POINT. “Look right here.”
    “Oh, goodness. There’s something sticking in your back.”
    [grit teeth]
    “You want me to pull it out?”
    “Ya ha.”
    She drops whatever it was in the carpet.
    “Thanks.” I got myself back together and escaped.

  11. Smitty
    Smitty September 25, 2016 5:07 am

    Here is some interesting info Ms. Wolfe may want to address. Starvation and food hyperinflation may have been the catalyst for the so called Arab Spring. This may be coming to a neighborhood near you in the near future.

    How to create a food crisis. The following videos are an example of how our own government is complicit in creating a future food crisis. The first video is a propaganda piece explaining how we no longer have food reserves. The second is the article explaining how our own government sold off our reserves of food to help the creation of a crisis. This crisis creation is not just an Obama creation it has been slowly developed over many years. Both political parties need a major crisis to further the international trade schemes they have developed to prop up a multi nation government. George Herbert Walker Bush spoke of the system in a UN speech during his presidency as well as Obama during his last speech to the UN just a few days ago. In the first link the video places food instability as the direct cause of the so called Arab Spring. Our overlords have many plans and none of them include liberty. From George Herbert Walker Bush to Obama a slow push has been instituted to slowly guide us unwillingly into a governmental system that will truly enslave the next generation. Pray for our nation that we will have the fortitude to resist the final push when it arrives, otherwise we will condemn the next generation to an horrific world.

    While the world is starving and the prices of goods in the U.S. are skyrocketing the use of biofuels rises. Internal World Bank study delivers blow to plant energy drive by equating the massive number of acres producing food crops for fuel as a major driver in food price spikes.

    Our political system has gone insane. The average citizen is virtually ignored for the benefit of political sacred cows.

  12. MamaLiberty
    MamaLiberty September 25, 2016 6:54 am

    “Our political system has gone insane. The average citizen is virtually ignored for the benefit of political sacred cows.”

    Smitty, seems to me that we’d all be better off if we quit thinking – even marginally – that anything government could or might do would be beneficial. Isn’t the whole prepping thing about taking responsibility for ourselves and the next generation? I’d personally be a whole lot happier if I was “ignored” by government.

    Much as I hate to see the suffering and death that will result, I hope the whole rotten interwoven structure of government will come crashing down soon. The “sacred cows” need to be ignored and, ultimately, destroyed.

  13. E. Garrett Perry
    E. Garrett Perry September 25, 2016 7:09 am

    A deck of cards is also incredibly useful in a much-overlooked way- encryption. Crypto. Neil Stephenson describes in detail how to use a deck of cards to create a very, very secure but technically primitive enciper/decipher keypad. It’s a fairly well-known trick among dialed-in types of all sorts, and I promise- if the Blue-coats and Purple-bellies find an open-and-reboxed deck of cards (especially if in conjunction with other crypto gear or a copy of Cryptonomicon with certain pages obviously well-worn) it will get their attention NOW. But it does work, no computers required.

  14. Joel
    Joel September 25, 2016 7:39 am

    I do not understand people’s fascination with “woobies.” Maybe I just never tried primitive camping in a tropical climate, but I have been camping several times with just a poncho and liner and each time suffered through a memorably long night of slow freezing. The last of these was many years ago, after I finally wised up. Poncho liners: Not as warm and snuggly as all that.

  15. Joel
    Joel September 25, 2016 7:41 am

    Also, may I say your new “click to edit” timeout feature helps make me look smarter than I really am. 🙂 Thank you for that, I need all the help I can get.

  16. Desertrat
    Desertrat September 25, 2016 8:21 am

    Storing canned veggies: A trick I learned from cousins who were interned by the Japanese in Manila during the WW II occupation.

    After marking an arrow on the end of the cans, store them on their sides. Rotate every couple of weeks or so. If any bulging is seen, use that day, but after boiling.

    Other things they mentioned: Needles and thread. Zippo lighters; dip in gasoline to refuel.

  17. Claire
    Claire September 25, 2016 8:27 am

    “Poncho liners: Not as warm and snuggly as all that.”

    Live and learn. Poncho liner = not instead of other warm gear, but in addition to (at least outside of said tropical climate).

    And very, very nice for winter evenings inside a not-warm-enough house.

  18. Kent McManigal
    Kent McManigal September 25, 2016 8:44 am

    Many, many times I have longed for the can dispensers we had piled out back of the pet store. They came from pet food companies, and we usually had more than we could use. I’d give just about anything to have them now. My food cache could benefit greatly from them, due to the inconvenient set up of the shelves.

    Also, I have used cheap glass marbles for slingshot ammo. I have 3 of the nice foldable slingshots. I even found one among some sage brush (in an area where weapons were prohibited) a year or so ago. After a bit of cleaning, and new tubing, it is as good as the others I had around.

  19. Claire
    Claire September 25, 2016 10:16 am

    “My food cache could benefit greatly from them, due to the inconvenient set up of the shelves.”

    I hear ya. Despite the clever (though cumbersome) alternatives mentioned here, those can dispensers are a dream for keeping a pantry organized.

    My canned-goods pantry, such as it is, consists partly of full and half cases (24 and 12 cans) of staples and partly of loose cans. I use the wire restaurant racks Arthur Murray mentioned earlier and in a way, they’re great. Very sturdy. No solid shelves to collect dust. Accessible from several sides. They’re even attractive. But their disadvantage — for cans — that they’re not always perfectly even. That’s particularly true when several units are zip-tied together as I have them. The zip tying allows me to create a deeper, but still sturdy unit. But where the shelves join, cans don’t like to sit.

    My solution has been to use cardboard flats, dated and labeled. But this still leaves me with a lot of cumbersome rotating and reorganizing to do every fall. And it doesn’t allow for easily adding newly bought goods to the mix. The dispensers take care of those problems.

  20. Comrade X
    Comrade X September 25, 2016 11:12 am

    My storing technique has been to pile boxes & flats on top of each other, the problem I have with the can goods part is keeping up a rotation of new for the old because I have to dig into it, so I am going to delay my trip to the range today and have a discussion with my mate about some of the storage solutions Claire has come up with & the other recommended items, along with a review of my overall preparedness strategy being the month that it is. Another problem is also that I have over time picked up so much stuff for being prepared that where it is and what it is and the organization of same does really need attention, now since I have given up NFL Sundays, I have extra time off that will help me be better organized I hope.

  21. Kent McManigal
    Kent McManigal September 25, 2016 11:28 am

    The can organizers we had at the pet store were double-deckers that allowed you to add new cans at the top front, and they rolled to the back as you took each can out of the bottom at the front. I’ve seen plans for building some out of wood, but with my “building abilities” I hate to make the effort and waste the materials.

  22. Claire
    Claire September 25, 2016 11:53 am

    John, I agree with Kent that the double-decker, or even triple-decker idea is good because it automatically rotates that cans as you add new ones and remove ones you’re going to use.

    However (alas), those are the most expensive options, they’re plastic (I believe, though actually I don’t think it says), and they aren’t as flexible about what sizes of cans they’ll hold.

    The ones you linked to aren’t great for rotating, but they’re clearly better built and more flexible. Not to mention less expensive.

    Choices, choices …

  23. Kent McManigal
    Kent McManigal September 25, 2016 11:55 am

    And this is why I grieve those old, unwanted can racks. They were sturdy. Held a great number of cans. And, would have been free had I thought ahead. Can I cry now?

  24. Claire
    Claire September 25, 2016 11:58 am

    “I am going to delay my trip to the range today and have a discussion with my mate about some of the storage solutions Claire has come up with & the other recommended items, along with a review of my overall preparedness strategy being the month that it is.”

    Wow, that’s dedication, Comrade X. Especially given that it involves delaying a trip to the range!

    That said, though, I know how incredibly easy it is to lose track of preps — and get caught less prepped than we think we are.

    I went ahead and did my pantry re-arranging yesterday evening. Discovered a LOT of cans from 2011 and 2012; even a few from 2010. That’s what I get for getting so busy on house DIY projects that I forget to rotate and update stocks.

    But on the good side, I was able to make a lot more shelf space just by pulling out the foods that need to be eaten up soon and throwing away a few items that might still be technically edible but would taste more like can than like food after such a long time. (Some foods from 2010 I’m sure are still fine; but certain items, like evaporated milk for example, will taste horrible after so much time.)

    AND the local store’s fall canned-goods sale begins just in time next week.

  25. John
    John September 25, 2016 12:10 pm

    So we wonder, how long after “date on can” is stuff still edible?
    A year or so, 5, 20?
    Maybe just depends on how hungry we are???

  26. Claire
    Claire September 25, 2016 12:20 pm

    Always a pertinent prepper question — and I’ve never seen a good, consistent set of answers I’d be willing to stake my life on.

    Of course that’s because shelf-life depends in part on how things were stored (esp. on temperature).

    Only certain thing is that the sell-by date doesn’t really mean much.

    A lot depends on the individual food, too. I’ve got mandarin oranges from 2007 I’m still nibbling at and they’re fine. Despite the supposition that high-acid foods should get “can” tasting quicker than low-acid foods.

    OTOH, I know from experience that that 2010 evaporated milk wouldn’t kill me but wouldn’t be tasty. (I did, however, save some 2011 milk as a OMG, I hope I don’t ever have to use this backup.)

  27. John
    John September 25, 2016 12:48 pm

    Yay. Rotate stock every leap year and use the nose/taste test from there! 🙂

    Might a four deep rack still offers rotate option say left-right and up-down? Maybe a moving arrow marker or such to identify oldest row(s)? Yes, fun with choices, always.

  28. jed
    jed September 25, 2016 6:03 pm

    Egadz! There’s 400 pages of pantyhose! I can narrow that down a bit by selecting ‘eligible for free shipping’ and highest rated, but still, so many options. What denier? Higher is better, I assume, but only to a point. Does “control top” add structural integrity which could be vital in a survival situation? Will I get better filtration from a sheer toe? Are L’eggs better than Hanes? Are there survival uses for the egg-shaped container?

    Claire, you just can’t send us guys out shopping for pantyhose without providing some guidance.

    Do they come in camouflage? I searched for “olive drab” but got nothing.

  29. John
    John September 25, 2016 6:21 pm

    “Claire, you just can’t send us guys out shopping for pantyhose without providing some guidance.”

    Hey jed,
    And why not? Sounds like fun. Hit he closest department store and poke around the women’s section. Act perplexed and ask away, anyone near. Remember, no question is stupid. 🙂
    Oh, and bring someone with you with a camera! 🙂
    (Immersion enlightenment I think it’s called. )

  30. Claire
    Claire September 25, 2016 6:57 pm

    “Claire, you just can’t send us guys out shopping for pantyhose without providing some guidance.”

    I can. I did. You and John can go off to that department store together (are there still department stores?) and possibly even become YouTube sensations as you shop.

  31. jed
    jed September 25, 2016 7:26 pm

    ROFL. Uh, yeah, I’ll just find a budy and head off to Macy’s. Heck, even King Soopers (aka Kroger) has hosiery. But, you’ll just have to imagine my traipsing through the women’s department, because even if I were to do that, I won’t blow my cover by releasing video footage. 🙂

    * Or Sears, or J.C. Penney – yeah, they still exist too. I’ve been known to go shopping at Wal-Mart too, but I draw the line at K-Mart.

  32. Arthur Murray
    Arthur Murray September 26, 2016 6:45 am

    @Claire – RE: zip-tying wire rack shelves together. I came up with a different solution, but the space you put the racks into has to “agree” with it, and it involves no small effort to accomplish.

    For those who haven’t used it, commercial wire rack shelving uses a 1″ diameter steel post at each corner, available in different lengths (63″, 72″ and 86″ are common, and can be shortened with a hacksaw); each post is indented in 1″ increments with a shallow ring. The shelves have tapered sleeves welded in as part of the shelf, one at each corner. Securing the shelves to the posts involves a two-part plastic ” shelf keeper” which snaps together around the post. The keeper has internal ridges designed to match the pole’s indents, and the keeper is tapered. As the shelf is lowered onto the keeper the matching taper in the shelf sleeve compresses the tapered keeper, pinching it against the post, and securing the shelf. Each shelf should come with 8 keeper halves, and shelves come 2 to a box; if you buy a lone shelf make sure you get shelf keepers for it.

    Pro tip: A dead blow hammer works best for knocking the shelf with tapered sleeve down around the tapered keeper, and it’s extremely useful to gently clamp a vise-grip plier around the post to keep the keeper from sliding down while engaging the matching tapers of shelf sleeve and keeper. Since I assemble these things a LOT and always by myself, I have 6 really cheap “imitation” vise-grips pliers from Harbor Freight. The paint on the posts does get scratched, but if that’s an issue, apply some blue painter’s tape to the post first. Chrome plated posts don’t suffer scratches as much.

    2nd Pro Tip: Buy extra plastic shelf keepers; they usually come 8 halves to a bag (enough for one shelf). 1 bag should be plenty, if it’s a large shelving project get 2 bags. They’re cheap and you can’t do without them.

    Anyway, if you look at the shelving for a while you’ll realize you do not need a full set of 4 posts for each shelving unit. Yes, if you want an independent shelving unit you can move around, it’s 4 posts per; if, however, you’re assembling them “in place” the two end posts from Unit 1 can be used to support the shelves from Unit 2. That means 2 shelving units can be done with 6 posts,not 4, because they share the center support posts. 3 shelving units can be done with 8 posts, not 12, using this assembly method. Angles from 15 degrees to 90 degrees can be accommodated by sharing only one post – the corner post – between 2 shelving units meaning it’s 7 posts, not 8, for a pair of shelving units conforming to an angled wall.

    Because shelves are available in 24″, 30″, 36″, 42″, 48″, 60″ and 72″ lengths you may be able to fit shelves this way into angled wall spaces that would ordinarily require custom shelves, or take up more space, which would reduce available shelf space. You will have to stagger shelf spacing between the two “half post sets”, but that’s not a crisis. Do your measurements and determine the best spacing for what you’re storing, not forgetting that you do not need a shelf at the very bottom of the posts – put the first – the “bottom” shelf – high enough to use the floor under it for storage.

    There’s “wasted space” in the V between angled shelf units with shared posts, but there’s a 3 pound device between your ears for dealing with that: do you have anything long and skinny that will fit in that space? FYI, you’ll have slightly more “wasted space” in the same spot with full 4-post shelving units.

    Doing all this is certainly an exercise in planning – you’ll find layouts like this must be assembled in place, and planning up front is much, much better than getting a couple sets of inter-dependent shelves half assembled and discovering you’ ve got to start over. Measure, think, measure a few more times, think some more. You”ll get it.

    One downside to wire rack shelving is “things fall through it.” 1/8″ thick luan plywood veneer sheets from the home center is below cheap, and can be cut to fit whatever shelf size you have (Pro tip: it can also be used to go between layers of stacked cardboard boxes to make the stack more stable and accommodate different size boxes; buy cheap, cut to fit. As the Marines say, “Adapt, Improvise, Overcome”). Jig saw cuts are fine, this isn’t finish carpentry in a million dollar house, it’s commercial shelving. Measure right, cut right, and you’ll find careful 45 degree cuts at the corners will “lock in” a veneer sheet between between corner posts so it doesn’t shift on the shelves. If you like finesse (who doesn’t?) semi-circular cuts with a jigsaw to perfectly match the post curves are easy.

    For the very rare shelf fall-through problems in sanitary environments – commercial kitchens, restaurant freezers, laboratories, etc. – luan plywood won’t do it. Wire rack shelf manufacturers have pre-sized food grade plastic sheets for that. You’ll have to order the right size sheets to fit the shelving for the job, or order all larger sheets and cut to fit. The problem is rare enough there’s no point in stocking the food grade plastic shelf panels. Tin snips work if the plastic is new – get a full set (straight cut, right cut, left cut). Aged plastic will splinter and crack. Or, use a fine tooth wood blade in your jig saw.

  33. Kent McManigal
    Kent McManigal September 26, 2016 8:33 am

    I find it interesting that among this group, the preparedness problem that seems to be greatest is not getting the “preps”, but a way to organize those we already have.

  34. Comrade X
    Comrade X September 26, 2016 8:38 am

    Claire, those shelf live links are invaluable, saved a lot of can goods from being tossed.

    Got a lot done yesterday (and still have more to do) even ended up postponing a trip to the range till today.

  35. Prepperdaddy
    Prepperdaddy September 27, 2016 10:39 am

    Advice anyone? As I belive God abhors an empty food storage container and I have several Corney Kegs to fill, I was thinking about one food group I have not stored and that is breakfast cereal. Anyone have experience with storing dry, ie no fruit like raisins, such as Grape Nuts?

  36. Steve
    Steve September 28, 2016 8:33 pm

    Just found this blog from friend. You all might find helpful to generally consider some storage times.

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