Extra Consumable Supplies for Prepping & Preparedness

Level 1 Prepping & Preparedness

Consumable Supplies are items which are intended to be bought, used, and then replaced.

With regards to preparedness it is simply a matter of stocking up on a number of specific items for your convenience and to ensure that you won’t run out during a period of disruption.

Note: Level-1 preparedness is being prepared for a disruption that may last hours, days, a week, or even up to two weeks. Most all “typical” disruptions will fit into this category and time frame. Surprisingly though, most people are not adequately prepared even for Level-1. Don’t let that be you…

Stock Up On Consumable Supplies

This really is a short list, given that we’re talking the very basics. Consumable supplies do not include food and water. Instead, those items are discussed here:

Prepping For 1 Week -Water and Food

Toilet Paper (TP)

Did you know that 83% of people polled say that having at least 2 rolls of TP per person per week will cover (wipe) all of their needs?

Most preppers are careful to have plenty of this particular consumable supply in their inventory! Sounds like a reasonable priority to me…

If you’re a newbie prepper, say a family of four, do you have at least 8 rolls on the shelf? You might, but I’m just saying having a few cases on hand is one less thing to worry about.

Here are some fun facts from our resident expert on the subject:

Toilet Paper – Everything You Wanted To Know

Paper Plates – Cups – Plastic Utensils

If the power is out and ordinary food prep isn’t quite so easy, for example (without electricity), an easy way to deal with serving is to use paper plates & cups, and plastic utensils.

Why? Because during times of disruption there might not be water flow to wash dishes (well pump non-functional from power outage?). Maybe there’s a problem with the municipal water supply. Maybe time is of the essence and this convenience helps with that…

Treat it like camping. Just throw away the dirty paper plates, cups and utensils when you’re finished…

Trash Bags

Which brings up another consumable supply — trash bags. They’re useful for all sorts of things. Again, you probably already have a box of trash bags under the kitchen sink or on the shelf, but maybe it’s almost empty. It doesn’t hurt to have an extra box or two.

Uses for Trash Bags:

-for trash!

– keep gear dry

-rain poncho

-portable toilet

-blackout curtains

Cleaning / Disinfecting Wipes

Similarly for convenience during a time of disruption, having a supply of cleaning wipes may serve you well.

The thought here is for scenarios where you might not have normal access to running water. I also keep a container of these in the truck. They’ve come in handy once in awhile.

Example: Clorox Disinfecting Wipes, 220 Count

Paper Towels

Again, another quick and easy convenience for cleanups of all sorts.

Additional Ideas:

-Freezer bags (e.g. Ziploc)
-Cleaning supplies
-Aluminum foil, Saran wrap
-Latex/Vinyl gloves

The point here is to simply acquire enough of a few particular consumable supplies to make your life easier during a Level-1 preparedness event.

Can you think of any additional items in this category that may be useful?

[ Read: Preparedness Level 1 – 4 Series Overview ]


  1. The throw away society we live in goes against the sustainability that I believe we need to survive in the future. It is not that I am an ultra environmentalist or an eco terrorist, but only looking at what I can not supply for myself in a SHTF world. If there is anything we need to wean ourselves of, it is the picture you show at the top.

    1. Just to clarify, my statement is about that picture, not about TP or cleaning supplies. Some cleaning supplies will always be important.

    2. @hermit us, That comes later, especially Level-3,4.

      For Level-1 preparedness, it’s perfectly fine to have these items on hand. Paper is biodegradable. There’s nothing wrong with putting food on paper plates for the family when the power is out, and to remain somewhat civilized around the table ;)

      1. Ken
        Oh course your assuming that most people are already “somewhat civilized around the table” obviously you’ve not been around the majority of families these days….. :-)

      2. Plates? utensils? Many today live in a finger food world. Prepared foods (fast foods) are the norm for many, it comes in a box or a paper wrap. You have to get most to a table today just be begin the discussion about civility. The part about food preparation comes in level 3-4 not just the use of durable tableware.

    3. Which is why I paid 10% fee last month to Sam’s Club to shop there–no yearly membership fee for me (I forget to use it and it expires JUST when I want to buy bulk!)
      Sam’s Club in my area is the only store with paper plates–not so great, but I stopped buying foam years ago– and paper cups.
      While there I get napkins, paper towels, and I have enough forks/spoons till I die.
      I have had assorted sixes of garbage bags, assorted sizes of freezer bags, wipes in huge boxes for years.
      My one contribution is not stuffing foam products in a landfill.

      1. we struggled for a year whether to renew or just eat the 10%. As our favorite tp ran out, we renewed. $600 later, our van was full and I’m at least $15 ahead. Most of items were non perishable or long term staples.

        1. I don’t have that here so I’m curious – 10% of what. I thought that Sam’s club was just Walmart in a different part of the country.

        2. Sams Club is a warehouse store like CostCo, and yes it is owned by WalMart. They charge a yearly fee, but you can often get a temp membership to “try it out.”

  2. Tissues for blowing ones nose. I have allergies that seem to be worse at certain times of year. Although I have changed over to Milesky Women’s Handkerchiefs for my needs. I still keep a few boxes on hand for flu season.

  3. These simple types of items are surprisingly the stuff most people don’t even think about, had a discussion with an acquaintance the other day about preparedness, they gave me the blank stare when I asked them about cleaning supplies and stuff for sanitation and what they planned if there was a disruption to county services.
    They said they couldn’t believe the county would miss trash pickup since it was such an important service and were quite sure that Costco would continue supplying everybody with stuff like TP and cleaners.

    1. It’s called “normalcy bias”.

      “We can just go the store and get what we need, right?” “The trash pickup is always on Thursday mornings, right?” “If the power goes out, they’ll fix it right away, right?” Etc…

      1. Yup, the one I like:
        Why do you need to grow wheat? There’s always flour at the supermarket and always fresh bread!

    2. Well Mr. and I just had a huge laugh and then got sad……………………………wow.

        1. Because people are stupid. It’s especially hard to see smart stupid. And yes, it makes me sad at times.

  4. Ken,
    Good job. The items you mentioned are helpful ideas to give us time to get through a stressful situation. If someone is concerned about environmental issues, every item you mentioned can be purchased in a bio/degradable form that can be composted. Thank you for all the time you invest in our lives to teach and prepare us.

    1. How long can biodegradable options be stored? I’d be worried they would start to break down before I’d use them.

      1. Paper plates that are “compostable” generally need to go to a commercial composting facility where the temperature of the compost is above 140*. Items that are “biodegradable” need exposure to water and sunlight to degrade. If properly stored, they will last forever. They also won’t degrade if you put it in plastic and bury it (think trash bag/landfill).

  5. Two rolls of tp per week is not enough. At least not for a woman. You need lots of paper towels, too, more than usual. You will probably be rationing water so you will be using disposable paper towels where you usually use a mop or cleaning cloth.

    Black trash bags can be used as black out curtains. Most curtains or shades you can use will still leave light shining around the edges. You don’t want to advertise that you are home and have supplies such as emergency lighting. If you can’t find enough hiding places to hide all your food, you could store it in trash bags. Just add a few newspapers or old mail to the top of the bag.

    1. @DaisyK, Good point re TP. When I did the POLL I did not ask for gender. I’m sure it’s different!

    2. In terms of NRP’s favorite topic, I agree you really need to plan for more TP by at least 50% — if not 100% — of what you use today (whoever made up that 83% must have been primarily male, lol). Once you’re not going to a regular job and using their TP, you’d be surprised how much you need. Also, depending on the ages of the females in your group, other consumable items should also be stocked.
      Might also include a few extra boxes of matches or lighters….something simple to get a fire started in case you’re using the BBQ grill or other non-electric cooking method.

      1. FinallyOuttaCA,

        You are right. Most of us use a lot of tp and paper towels when we are away from home. It makes a big difference how many sheets per roll. I just took a look at the front of my stores (didn’t dig around behind or under) and found packages of rolls with 150, 190, 204, 208, and 319 sheets. It also makes a difference whether the rolls are 1-ply, 2-ply, 3-ply, etc.

        We will probably find that we use at least twice as much tp as usual and 3 or 4 times as many paper towels. After all, we will be using those things for tinder to make fire, wiping up spills instead of using a sponge, stopping bleeding, for use when we run out of diapers & sanitary napkins, and a whole lot of other things.

        We will also use a whole lot more aluminum foil, plastic bags, etc.

        I have a bunch of reusable cotton handkerchiefs. They save a lot on Kleenex but could also be used for bandages, wrapping left-over food, straining water before we put the water through our water filter, and so on.

        1. Daisy–I plan to use alum. foil on ceramic plates to prevent cleaning and using water if my paper plates are gone.

    3. Plus, extra TP is usually less expensive than boxes of tissues. I don’t like the extra thick/soft TP for it’s intended use, but when I see a good deal, I get some for a Kleenex substitute.

      In general, think of items with multiple possible uses. If you find a great deal in bulk napkins, they can be used for emergency TP, a substitute for paper plates for non-messy grid down foods (pb sandwiches, etc), coffee filter in a pinch, blow your nose, clean up after pets, etc.

      Baby wipes are another item I would add Ken. Ditto stridex or witchhazel pads, if anyone has oily skin.

      Peroxide, vinegar, and a vat of hand sanitizer too.

  6. Here is something I stocked up on – Easy Off (or any other brand) of Grill Cleaner. I anticipate a lot of outside grilling, either on the gas grill or small charcoal Hibachi, and the grill surface accumulates a lot of burned-on food. Of course, the amount is somewhat predicated on what you might be grilling. Water is needed to rinse the residue off, but in this case any kind of water will do, since the next cycle will sterilize the grill surface.

    1. During an event which is lasting longer than a Freezer can keep cold (24-48 hours) then you sure will see a lot of grilling!

      Tip: To reduce food sticking on the grill surface, be sure the grill is HOT before placing food on it.

      1. My husband scrapes the food residue off the grill with a grill bush. Does it when the grill is hot & before placing new food on the grill. We’ve never bought a cleaning product.

  7. Different types of tape (paper, duct & electrical), lighters/matches, aluminum foil and black powder.

    1. Lon
      Black Powder, GREAT for cleaning that grill… HAHAHA
      Poof it’s clean, or gone to the neighbors yard :-)

      FYI, this is a joke do NOT try this at home, or anywhere else….

      1. My father grew up in a tin roofed house w/ hand pump well in Tennessee. He said the local general store was about 7 miles away and it was the luck of the draw as to what they had. They would use black powder to smoke out critters and crawlers from places, “sanitize” and get the bad smell out of an out house (move the house away from the hole first!) and they would send up a smoke column to let neighbors (2 miles away) know if something was wrong. Just because it’s labeled as/for one thing, doesn’t mean you can’t use it for another purpose!

        1. Jon
          No argument from me on the uses of Black Powder, I use in 45-70, 45 Long Colt, 12 GA, 38 Special, AND an occasional addition to Tanerite… HAHAHA
          Gata LOVE things that go BOOMMMM!!!! :-) :-)

  8. I agree 100% with Ken on this one, which is unusual
    For the Level One thinking I will say that not having the added burden of Dishes, Utensils, and so forth will be paramount.
    95%+ of the people will be having a hard enough time just trying to figure out what’s going on and water/feeding themselves who in the heck wants to add washing dinner plates to the list. I would add, all of the “rubbish” created would add a little more fire starter, less the TP of course.

  9. Don’t forget the facial tissues! DH always likes to have a good stockpile of them.

  10. I include aluminum foil, ziploc bags and saran wrap in this category as well.
    In a Level 1 situation many people will likely be consuming items from their fridge (or frozen items that are in danger of defrosting). So, you may need to break down larger packages into smaller meals, or cook a larger piece of meat that will be used for more than one meal. Having foil, wrap, baggies, whatever… will be a big help with that.
    Plus, Ken, didn’t you post an article on all the things you can use foil for?

    1. We can all use more foil, if not for thickening and remodeling our tinfoil hats, then maybe for cooking etc,,,,

  11. A few “consumables” one might to think on is entertainment for kids, and adults;
    Writing Paper or Sketch Pads
    Crayons and writing utensils
    Keep some old newspapers around for some Cut/Paste for the kids and reading mat for the older kids
    Go to the used book store and grab a collection of books… cheap
    Candles or some non Flashlight lighting
    Make sure you have a small stash of Toothpaste and brushes, ever go a week without brushing your teeth?
    Did anyone mention Toilet Paper? :-) Y-all laugh, but TP is a VERY versatile paper for about anything you can imagine. FYI 600 rolls is NOT to much for a Level-One one week SHTF hehehehe, you do NOT want the Ladies of the house without TP even for a day I guarantee you…….. :-) :-)

  12. Save the TP tubes for a month, count them, multiply by 12, that’s your normal TP use for a year.
    Adjust your inventory as needed.

    Some is good, more is better.

    1. Dang. That is a prefect tip, Tango !!

      I was just wondering how much was “too much” TP. Now I have a solution, thanks !!

  13. The nice thing about paper plates is that you can use them as tinder in a bonfire/cook fire after wards.
    I do like the plastic cups as they are sturdy enough to wash and re-use many times and are not fragile like glass/ceramic
    Store bought or homemade wet wipes is a must for cleanliness!
    There are many simple recipes for DYI homemade wipes
    I like the ones with a few drops lavender or tea tree, a little olive oil (for a moisturizer), water (just enough to moisten not soak), cut up paper towels and put it all in a Ziploc baggie and shake it around. Keeps fresh a long time….no harsh chemicals either! PS put the cut up paper towels in first, then pour the other ingredients on top, then seal it and shake it. :)

  14. If you are going to be without power for an extended period of time with water reserves being used sparingly.
    My recommendation is bathing wipes(Ready Bath-no scent & scented-Amazon), and foaming body cleanser(no rinse)for hair and entire body-Medline Remedy with Olivamine(Amazon). These are some of the supplies dh brought home from the hospital, when he was not able to shower,

    1. Antique Collector, thank you for recommending those products and I had never heard of either brand before. Checked it out on Amazon and looks good and good reviews too.
      Thinking I’ll put them in my “save for later” file on Amazon.
      Best Wishes AC! :)

    2. We used this last year when my Mr fell off the ladder and broke nine bones. I ordered the same brand from Amazon and it came in a pkg of 3. Got me thinking about how great it would be in a SHTF situation. I also got some body pre moistened wipes. Good to have on hand.

  15. A couple of weekends ago someone talked about a dry water activated wipe. I cannot find it now. Thought the shelf life would be great. Anyone remember what the name is?

    1. Mrs. USMCBG
      Do an Amazon search for “Compressed Coin Tissue”
      I believe that is what yar looking for.

  16. We are thinking about a wood cook stove, but in the mean time I have been considering one of those park type grills. Looks like it would make a good solar oven if needed too.

  17. Is charcoal considered a consumable? I’ll be using allot of that. I like sporks better than forks or spoons. I didn’t see cleansing clothescor butt wipes on the level 1 list. Something I use daily. TP is one area I do need to stock up on along with paper plates. I have found the generic brands of paper plates tend to be flimsy and are really easy to cut through even with a plastic knife. I prefer Dixie brand plates and bowls, for me it’s worth the extra cost.

    1. Boardwing
      I agree on the Charcoal for a Level One Prep.
      Don’t forget a few thousand matches, Strike Anywhere are cheap and my favorite

  18. I’d also add a stash of rubber gloves along with latex/vinyl ones. There are times when you may want to keep a barrier between your hands and whatever you need to handle. Just thought of it after having to clean DH’s wounds……again. That man just can’t stay away from gluten and then pays the price for it. :-(


    1. kk
      I purchase latex/vinyl gloves through a medical vendor. Box is 100 gloves, for less than 5 dollars, they are thicker than what Costco sells. When they have a special sell, I pick up what I can fit into the budget, last time it was 10 boxes to add to the stash, 4 ex large-6 medium.
      Found a supply house that sells hotel shampoo with conditioner, small bath soap, and small lotion, possible swapping material.

      1. The go to gloves ive been getting lately are Raven nitrile gloves, are a black nitrile gloves, are pretty durable, handy, started using them when i was mixing epoxy and stuff for laying up carbon fiber or doing wood work stuff and just sorta use them for everything now,,

  19. Paper plates make great target too…used or not! So do paper cups. great for dry/blind practice.

  20. Good article Ken.

    I used to not keep many paper plates and bowls in stock until our flooring in the kitchen had to be replaced. Our kitchen was boxed up and we could not afford to eat take out all the time. We cooked and ate simple meals using paper plates and bowls for several months, Many microwave meals and we set aside several sets of knife, fork and spoons for each others personal use which we washed and dried each day. Our fridge was the source of the water leak so it was unplugged and removed.

    Garbage bags, toilet paper, paper towels go without saying. I keep around our house several new empty spray bottles which I fill and lable with my favorite cleaning solution for different purposes. ( Nature’s Miracle – alcohol based cleanser for use on fabric and carpet to remove and clean cat puke or pee. I have a dilute solution of Dr Bronner’s peppermint soap for use on truck windshield as it helps to cut through the mess of dried on bugs on the auto glass. ). I use the conventional kitchen dishwashing gloves because I like the minor insulation they provide when I use very hot water to rinse my dishes off at the end of the cleaning process. They are comfortable and they save my skin. I use gloves from work to work around very greasy implements on or around my grill outside. Both my charcoal and gas grills are frequently used and they look pretty disreputable.

    Living without a fridge for 3 months required menu planning to a higher degree. We did not buy things and plan for days worth of left overs. The ice chest was pretty inconvenient compared to the standing fridge. My wife hated the experience. I referred to it as “indoor glamping” for 3 months. Every day meant a trip to the store for 2 large bags of ice. Blocks of ice were not always available.

    This whole misadventure took place at the end of summer and extended into the fall. The first dish I made in my new intact kitchen was a pot of beans.

  21. One other thing that I would have would be hand sanitizer. At least you have a way to wash your hands without water, sort of.

    1. I take a regular spray bottle (buy them at Walmart) fill it 50 % water and 50% hydrogen peroxide.
      Makes a good cleaner and hand sanitizer too, and not expensive at all.

  22. My list of consumables:
    Vasoline – a 1000 uses
    Cap stik for lips
    Sun screen
    Skin lotion
    Leather gloves
    Band aids
    Calamine lotion for the poision ivy
    We will all be spending a lot more time out in the sunny garden planting.

  23. I wanted to mention an item i keep around,
    Action wipes
    You can google it, they are great, have singles and the pop up packs, are real nice to have for any time, kinda like baby wipes for big kids,,,,
    Keep em in my truck, or the shop, and have a bunch just in the stores for JIC, nice to not need water, combined with sanitizer you can get pretty well cleaned up.

  24. Ken- don’t know if your aware or not but when you click on a ‘recent comment’ it takes you back to the top of the whole article or not work at all.

    1. aka
      It takes a few minutes for the ‘system’ to complete the link back to the correct spot on the comment, if you check back in about 3-4 minutes it works fine….
      Ya have to remember this system is handling thousands if not tens of thousands of links and hits during the day….

  25. While at Sam’s stop by the tobacco section…caged off..and pick up a hundred butane lighters for around 17.00. Or get the Bic brand in packs of 53 for a little more for a 100. Great barter and waterproof too. You will quickly burn thru lighters, lol, so get plenty. Also we couldn’t do without scotchbrite sponges and chlorox bleach.

  26. Thanks to Alexander the Ave. for reminding me:

    Although most fires here are lit using Bic lighters, My emergency – goto fire starter I use for option “B” is the sparking ferro rod with a handful of the finest steel wool I can obtain from the hardware store. ( #0000 or #00000 – the type used for fine finishing varnished wood projects). The steel wool catches and holds a spark and burns very hot. enough to start the pile of tinder and kindling you have beside you.

    The fine steel wool often gets used with Dawn soap to clean burnt on food in a pan that is not a nonstick surface. Handy stuff so I always have a package of it around.

    1. If you live near an IKEA, pick up some packages of their tea lights, They can be used as candles, but also make fantastic fire starters – just remove the metal cup. We’ve used these to get campfires going when there was nothing around but wet wood. There are also instructions online for creating heaters using clay flower pots and tea lights – I haven’t tried them….. yet….

  27. Disposable eating and drinking items are especially important if someone is sick, or there is a disease outbreak. For the same reason, a large Sterilite or rubbermaid bin with snap closing top for each person can be used to store personal items such as TP, toothpaste, shampoo and soap so there is no cross contamination between family members. In my experience if you are not staying in your house, each person appreciates having their personal bin and will store their phone chargers books etc. inside.

    1. Since there is at least one group that has vowed to kill westerners in general I really do not care if the environment gets degraded. Maybe they will evaporate along with it after they have killed us. Add organised crime, street level crime, plus all and everyone who wants to destroy a prepper, the prepper’s focus should be on him or herself, family including pets and livestock, and friends. Every institution is corrupt and has been infiltrated by organised crime, typically linked to the drug trade. I use a ton of disposable items and throw a ton of trash out each week. The neighbourhood drug dealers do not pay tax so why should the rest of us? OK we have no choice re the tax, but using disposables is legal, drug dealing is not. As I age, I am trying to become more and more invisible for safety. I am just too tired to scrub pots and pans so I use disposable aluminum plates for cooking. It is less messy. I have watched several internet videos about organised crime and feel absolutely no guilt about using disposables.

  28. The consumables are a huge thing, the recent lock down and pandemic showed us our shortcomings quite quickly. Luckily they werent too short and it wasnt a final blast situation. But man oh man, its an odd feeling going to the store and everything you need is sold out. Quite sobering.

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