I have moved a lot. And, I mean, A LOT. I grew up as a military brat, worked a job that required moving after college, and then married a military man. I have lived in at least 11 states and three foreign countries.
I am a pro at this – a well-oiled machine. I know what to do and think about months ahead of time. I know what I’ll need right away and what can stay in a box for several months
However, this last move to the Midwest was different. I now have an emergency stash of food and supplies that needed to move with us. I knew I wanted to have some kind of access to it while we were in our transition period and I learned a lot of first-hand lessons.
If you are lucky enough to move directly from one place to the next, you won’t have as much to worry about. If you need to live in temporary accommodations between homes, there is a lot to think about during the move. Having a stash in storage that you can’t access easily defeats the purpose.
Extra space for the move itself
You’ll need some place to put your supplies during the move. We packed the things we would need right away in a trailer and added our stash in there. If you have two vehicles, you could allot space in one for the supplies. However, the people, clothes, valuables and pets you need to transport can take up all the room in the vehicles. Renting at least a small trailer during a move could be the best option to make sure you have your emergency supplies on hand. Just in case.
Time and temperature (temporary storage)
The next thing to factor in is how long your supplies will be in the trailer or vehicle and what the weather will be like during that time. We moved into a temporary location during the late summer/early fall and our trailer sat in storage for a month. It would have been about the perfect time to have our stash in (nearby) storage; however, an early cold front pushed the temperatures below freezing for a few days. Raisins do not look good after being frozen and thawed a few times.
If the temperatures aren’t ideal (too hot or too cold), you may want to look at climate-controlled storage for your stash if you can’t bring it all in to your temporary location.
There is a way to avoid this area of concern, though: pare down. Prior to moving, use up a lot of your stash and move toward relying on 72-hour kits with prepackaged food items and water. Then rebuild your stash after you are moved in.
Proper packing for your emergency stash
Make sure food items are stored in proper containers to avoid any creatures getting into them. You may consider not moving food in glass containers because glass breaks very easily in the hands of movers (sorry, canners). One option for packing and protecting glass jars is the JarBOX.
Put clear labels on the boxes (either words or color code) and a detailed inventory of the content. If you have food in mylar bags and buckets, simply move it in those containers.
Try to bring a few days supply at least into your temporary location. Hotel closets and dresser drawers offer some space. If the boxes are packed well, they can be stacked in a corner. If your temporary location is a place that is visited by other people, such as a hotel, you may not want to put huge labels on the boxes, but use a color-coding system so you know that is inside (red is food, blue is medicine, purple is toiletries, etc.). For what can’t fit in your temporary location, find a climate-controlled storage unit as close as possible. This is just a temporary measure to keep your supplies close at hand but also protected from heat, humidity, and pests.
The first week
Once you move into your new location, find a spot to put your supplies with a notebook or a printed inventory of what you have next to it. I can almost guarantee that within the first week, you will be using things from your stash – bleach, cleaning supplies, salt, pepper, toilet paper.
There is so much to do while moving in to a house that it is easier to grab something from a box in the house, garage, or shed than to run to the store every day. Use the notebook or inventory to keep track of what you use so you can easily stock back up.
After beds are made and dishes are put away, make sure to take the time to see how well your supplies survived the move.
- Examine every item for damage or spoiling.
- If something is slightly damaged but not spoiled, move it to the front of your rotation.
- Take the time to review your inventory.
- Get a plan for stocking back up.
- Review the most likely emergency scenarios for your new location.
- Review your plans.
- Update your important documents and binder.
Have you moved with your emergency supplies? What advice would you offer to people moving their stash?