My MinL was a lovely lady but when I first took note of her pantry, I thought she was a bit overboard. She had two of everything she used and as soon as she started one, it went on her shopping list.
Being young and relatively naive I always assumed you could just go to the shops whenever they were open and thought it a bit of a joke to have a spare of anything. Indeed, when shops were completely closed after 5pm and on Sundays, it proved a bit of a pain if you ran out of anything. Boy, have I changed my thinking.
None of us know what is around the corner be it a pandemic, ill health, terrible weather (an increasing threat), loss of job and/or income. Loss of a partner and potential loss of money because of it, especially if you are living on one wage/pension.
Whilst I got caught out early on in the pandemic by lack of flour, yeast and toilet paper (of all things), I have made up for it.
When I first married, shops just did not operate a 'just in time' policy. They all had large storerooms and even larger warehouses, where many months of food were stored. They had large cool rooms or refrigerated warehouses to keep fresh food fresh, for weeks or even months. Those cool storage warehouses may still be around but long term storage in superstore attached warehouses has gone. The advent of computerized stock taking changed everything. This 'just in time' shopping is impinging globally due to the current pandemic, Brexit for us, resources, cost of transporting and lack of lorry drivers.
It is no use storing items, of food in particular, that have a long storage date, if you don't eat it. Can you make several meals out of what you have or do you have 10kg of pasta and only 2 tins of tomatoes.
What frozen/canned/dried/home preserved meat, vegetables and potatoes do you have? Corned beef can be added to potatoes and beans for hash. It can be made into a pie if you have flour and fat. We are now stocking tinned steak and tinned chicken (after trying them to check we liked them). We hate tinned potatoes but are fine with Smash, if it is made with hot milk and butter. Tinned fish can be made into 'pies', fish cakes or pasta based dishes.
Do you have cereals, tea and coffee but no milk, sugar or sweetners. It is all well and good having frozen milk in the freezer but if the power went out for a day or longer it would thaw.
A tip about UHT milk I learnt early on was to step down to get close to the right flavour. For example if you drink whole milk, buy semi-skimmed. If you use semi, buy skimmed. UHT milk by its nature is more creamy.
Puddings such as tinned rice, tapioca, sponges, jelly, tinned fruits etc. Don't forget tinned custard, evaporated milk or long life cream. If you have babies/children, have at least one tin of milk powder if using it, any other packets/tins of food they are eating, nappies and other items. List and rotate everything so they don't go out of date
Create emergency meals occasionally to get older children used to them. It is all very well being a picky eater or living on takeaways but if you can't get out/have a lower than expected income for some reason, those won't be available.
Pets. Do you have spare pet food and anything else they will need. DS and DDiL have a large amount of food put by, rotated so it doesn't expire but they have 4 dogs.
Medications for us and them. We can stock up on over the counter items but prescription items are harder. Try ordering slightly earlier for yourselves each time to see if you can store an extra week or two.
Petrol/Diesel. Always keep a full tank. Free standing gas heaters/cookers/camping cookers, keep spares if possible. Batteries, you will need more of these than you realise, torches, lights, candles and matches.
I am sure things have been missed here so let me know. Soon for us, winter will be here. Judging by what is happening weatherwise everywhere else, it could be hot, warm, exceedingly wet or freezing. Are you ready?