Simplify Your Family's Emergency Preparedness

Short-Term Food Storage Basics: Part 1 – Getting Started

Short-term vs Long-Term Food Storage

short term food storage basics part one

First things first, let’s address the million dollar question:

Is it worth the sacrifice?


#1 – Even if you are never faced with a serious situation like a food shortage, job loss, etc both short and long-term food storage provide 2 priceless things:

  • Peace of mind
  • Backups for every day life

I cannot tell you how many times I have thanked my past self for getting multiples of items, so that when I run out in the middle of cooking dinner, I don’t have to run to the store.

I also cannot tell you how many times having a can of sour cream powder, instant milk, eggs, or other staples, has saved me in a pinch when I realized we were out of them in normal form.

#2 – If you are faced with food storages, job loss, etc, the benefits are pretty self explanatory.

Either way, I say without reservation, the sacrifice is 100% worth it!

Differences between Short-Term & Long-Term Food Storage

If you’re looking for information on long-term food storage, you can find that in this series of blog posts.


But, before I get into the basics of short-term food storage, I thought it would be helpful to distinguish the difference between short-term and long-term food storage.


  • Food in your pantry, fridge & freezer
  • Shorter shelf life (usually 3-12ish months)
  • Purchase at normal grocery store
  • More convenient to accumulate & less expensive
  • If your budget is limited, I suggest starting here and not worrying about long-term yet
  • Increase a little bit every time you go to the store by throwing a couple extras in your cart
  • Requires sacrifice and is 100% worth it


  • Typically stored in basements, storage rooms, closets, etc.
  • Longer shelf life (2-30 years)
  • Purchase from companies who specialize in methods of food preservation (like Thrive Life), or purchase from your grocery store and take steps to preserve it yourself 
  • More expensive
  • Can work on it simultaneously with short-term food storage
  • Increase it little by little (I love Thrive’s monthly delivery service, which you can read about in this post)
  • Requires sacrifice and is 100% worth it

6 Quick tips for getting started on short-term food storage

Tip #1 – Just Start!

The next time you go to the grocery store, add a couple extras of everything you are getting that won’t expire too soon (budget and space allowing).

Don’t get hung up on having a perfectly calculated spreadsheet of how many of each item you want to eventually have. You’ll spend WAY too long trying to figure that out, when you could have been accumulating food all that time.

Tip #2 – Expiration Dates

Pay attention to expiration dates. Don’t get 50 cans of something that you only use twice a year.

You’re gonna end up throwing away a lot of food if you’re not paying attention to your general consumption timeframe vs expiration dates.

#3 – Utilize Cart Space

If you find yourself at Target with a mostly empty cart, snag a big pack of toilet paper.

If you’re at the grocery store and have lots of room in your cart, pick up some things that you wouldn’t normally have room for extras of (boxes of pasta, bags of rice, canned goods).

Tip #4 – Shop the Sales

Add extras of sale items to your cart.

Of course, don’t do this if you already have a ton of that sale item. But if you know you don’t have many extras of something that is on sale, and something that isn’t on sale, go with the sale item that day.

Tip #5 – Variety

Rather than getting a year’s worth of one item before moving on to the next, try to spread the love.

Start out with getting enough of everything for two weeks and build from there (don’t forget all 3 meals, plus snacks).

Then try to double that, so you have a month’s worth of all the things.

Then go for 2 months, etc.

Tip #6 – Keep it Simple

Whatever you have is going to be better than nothing. Don’t stress about having the perfect amount of every single thing you use (ESPECIALLY at the beginning).

As time goes on, you can be more intentional.


Well? What do you think? Are you ready to grab a few extras the next time you go to the grocery store?

Remember tip #1 – JUST START!

And if you’re wondering how to know how much to get of each item, don’t miss the next blog post where I’ll give you my top methods for determining how quickly you go through certain foods!

Related Posts:

Thrive Life variety of open food cans

My top 12 Freeze Dried Foods from Thrive Life

While every family’s food storage needs are a little different, every family needs food storage. These 12 items are my top favorites – most of them I even use on a regular basis when I’m out of the grocery store version.

Read More »

5 simple things you can do to get your family prepared if you don't have thousands of dollars or hundreds of hours


hands holding a sign.

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience.