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We’ve seen several blogs over the past year titled “Top 100 Items to Disappear First.” I spent an afternoon recently comparing these lists and found them to be remarkably similar. That makes sense, of course, but none of the lists identified a source for their information (I like to know where information is coming from).

The list is clearly in the public domain, so I’ve taken the various lists and created our own version. Generally, I’ve maintained the list as it appeared in many articles. However, you’ll see that I ended up with only the “Top 94 Items to Disappear First.” That’s because there were places in their lists where it just made sense to combine items or reorder them.

For example, in most of the lists I reviewed, “cookstove fuel” was number 6 or 7 but “cookstoves” was number 20 or 21. OK, I can understand that stores would run out of fuel before running out of cookstoves because a number of people would already have the stove and they would be buying more fuel. Still, from a prepper list perspective, if you don’t have a stove, you don’t need the fuel, so my list puts cookstoves and fuel together at number 6. So my list isn’t strictly in the order that items would disappear. Deal with it. (I’m sure the first items to disappear would vary from one region to another anyway.) Better yet, read this list with an eye toward what you have and what you need to buy. Then start making your list!

A word, though, about being overwhelmed: Don’t be! I am easily overwhelmed by long lists and too many options, so I considered breaking this into four articles. Obviously I didn’t. It seemed that continuity would be lost. So let me offer some advice: Take the list and work through it as much as you can without being overwhelmed. Then make a plan of things you need to buy or learn. Then work your plan. When you’re nearing the end of your plan, come back to the list and make a second plan. You can do it!

Here’s my list of the top 94 items to disappear first in the event of a widespread emergency:

  1. Generators – Everyone has this at the top of their list, and they’re great for short-term emergencies. Remember, though, that you have to feed them – and that means storing plenty of fuel (and stabilizer) in a safe environment. It also means protecting the generator and the fuel in a long-term situation.
  2. Water – See our blog here to determine how much you’ll need.
  3. Water filters/purifiers
  4. Seasoned firewood
  5. Lamp oil, wicks, lamps, and lanterns – Buy clear oil while it’s available. If that becomes scarce, stockpile any oil you can get. Don’t forget to buy extra lantern mantles or your lanterns become useless.
  6. Camp or cookstove and fuel – Several sites say it’s “impossible to stockpile too much fuel.”
  7. Personal protection gear – Guns, ammunition, pepper spray, knives, and whatever else you might use.
  8. Manually-operated kitchen tools – Can openers, whisks, etc.
  9. Honey, syrups, white and brown sugar – Sugar virtually stores forever (if you’re careful to store it well so that no bugs get into it) and is much less expensive than honey and syrups, but the latter contain more vitamins, antioxidants, enzymes and other good things. Honey can also be used medicinally to combat some viruses, bacteria and fungus, and is great for a sore throat.
  10. Rice, dried beans and wheat – These can be stored for more than 20 years if stored properly, so stock up now.
  11. Vegetable oil for cooking – Sautéing food in a little bit of oil is an alternative to using water to boil your food, and water is usually the most critical need in an emergency.
  12. Charcoal and lighter fluid
  13. Water containers – Both small and large, including some of food grade for drinking water.
  14. Propane heaters and related accessories – Propane tanks will immediately become scarce. You’ll also need propane heads that allow you to heat an area.
  15. Hand-operated grain grinder
  16.  Survival guide book – We would include in this category printed copies of all kinds of how-to books, including cookbooks for using your stored food.
  17. Other lighting sources and accessories – Flashlights and batteries, hurricane lamps
  18. Fishing supplies – Pole/line, hooks, bobbers, etc.
  19. Baby supplies – Diapers, formula, powder, creams, aspirin
  20. Laundry supplies – Basin, washboard, wringer, laundry detergent
  21. Vitamins – See our recent blog on this topic here.
  22. Thermal underwear
  23. Feminine hygiene, hair care, and skin care products
  24. Hand tools – Saws, axes, hatchets, wedges, hand drill
  25. Aluminum foil – Buy both regular and heavy duty because you’ll want to use it for more than you think. That also makes it a valuable item for bartering.
  26. Gasoline containers
  27. Garbage bags – Several sites say it’s impossible to have too many.
  28. Paper products – Toilet paper, facial tissue, paper towels. I’d say it’s impossible to have too much of these, especially toilet paper.
  29. Milk – Powdered and condensed (infant formula, if that’s relevant for you or you want to barter with it)
  30. Garden seeds – They must be non-hybrid and we recommend that you begin to learn about gardening now. Start with a small plot or “container gardening” if you’ve never gardened before. Don’t wait until your life depends on being able to grow your food to learn how to do it.
  31. Work clothes – Gloves, boots, heavy jeans, belts, durable shirts, outdoor jacket
  32. Everyday clothes – These won’t include your dresses and suits. Jeans and shirts will be the order of the day.
  33. Coleman’s pump repair kit
  34. Fire extinguishers and large boxes of baking soda – One for every room, because you’ll be using alternate light sources.
  35. First aid kits – It’d be great if you took a first aid course so you know what you want to stock in your kit and know how to use the items.
  36. Canned tuna–Purchase some packed in oil.
  37. Garlic, spices, vinegar, and baking supplies
  38. Batteries – More than you think and a variety of sizes. And this is a good time to consider getting rechargeable batteries with a small solar-powered recharger.
  39. Big dogs and plenty of dog food
  40. Flour, yeast and salt
  41. Matches, matches, matches – The best kind are those that you can light by striking anywhere. Boxed, wooden matches will be the first to be gone from the shelves. Find a way to keep them dry.
  42. Writing paper, notebooks journals, diaries and scrapbooks, pens and pencils – Some of the lists added solar calculators here. I’ll probably just do math with the pen and paper and save my money for other solar items.
  43. Insulated ice chests – Insulation works both ways. You can use a well-insulated ice chest to keep things cold or to prevent things from freezing in cold weather.
  44. Flashlights, torches, light sticks, “# 76 Dietz” lanterns (look it up)
  45. Cast iron cookware
  46. Plastic garbage cans – They’re great for storage and transporting (if they have wheels).
  47. Personal hygiene items – Deodorant, toothbrushes, toothpaste, mouthwash, floss, nail trimmers, shaving supplies.
  48. Duct tape – Again, you can never have too much.
  49. Insect repellents, sun screen – OK, sunscreen wasn’t on anyone’s list, but I’ve added it here. You’ll probably spend more time outside than you do now. You don’t want to deal with a sunburn along with everything else.
  50. Tarps, stakes, twine, nails, rope, spikes
  51. Candles – Another one of those “more than you think you need” items.
  52. Backpacks, duffel bags
  53. Garden tools and supplies
  54. Scissors, fabrics and sewing supplies
  55. Canned fruits, vegetables, soups and stews – We call this “grocery store prepping.” Read our blog about it here.
  56. Bleach – Plain, not scented, 4 to 6% sodium hypochlorite.
  57. Canning supplies – Jars, lids, wax
  58. Knives and sharpening tools – Files, stones and/or steel
  59. Bicycles, tires, tubes, pumps, chains, locks
  60. Sleeping bags, blankets, pillows, mats
  61. Carbon monoxide alarm – Be sure it’s battery-powered and that you have batteries.
  62. Board games, cards, dice – You won’t be playing Xbox or Wii.
  63. D-con rat poison, roach killer
  64. Mouse traps, ant traps, cockroach magnets, fly paper
  65. Paper plates and cups, plastic utensils – Buy these in quantity when they’re on sale.
  66. Baby wipes, oils, waterless and antibacterial soap – The waterless soap will keep you from using precious water.
  67. Rain gear – Coats, rubberized boots, hats, etc.
  68. Hand pumps and siphons – For both water and fuels.
  69. Soy sauce, vinegar, bouillon, gravy, and soup bases
  70. Reading glasses
  71. Chocolate, cocoa, tang, punch – Use to flavor water.
  72. “Survival-in-a-Can” – It’s a sardine-sized can that is water and air tight that has a mini-survival kit stored in it.
  73. Woolen clothing – Scarves, earmuffs, mittens, sweaters
  74. Boy Scout Handbook along with the Leaders Catalog
  75. Window insulation kit(s)
  76. Snack foods such as graham crackers, saltine crackers, pretzels, trail mix
  77. Popcorn, peanut butter, nuts
  78. Socks, underwear, T-shirts, etc.
  79. Lumber (all types and sizes)
  80. Wagons and carts
  81. Cots and inflatable mattresses
  82. Screen patches, glue, nails, screws, nuts & bolts
  83. Tea
  84. Coffee
  85. Cigarettes
  86. Wine/liquor – For medicinal purposes, bartering, and bribing.
  87. Paraffin wax
  88. Chewing gum and candies
  89. Atomizers – For cooling and bathing.
  90. Hats
  91. Cloth Rags
  92. Goats
  93. Chickens
  94. Chocolate in all forms – OK, I added this to the list. The women in your life will love you for it. Trust me on this.

So there’s my list! How are you doing? I was pleased that we are well into having many of the items. Others, however, we still need to deal with. (As of this writing, I’m still goat-less – and I’m OK with that.) Are there things you think should be on our list that haven’t made it? Comment below or on Facebook.

21 Responses to Top 94 Items to Disappear First

  • paseodelnorte says:

    Alas, I too am goatless, (have rabbits) even though I am pretty well on my way for the list. I am surprised tubing – both copper and plastic in various sizes isn’t on the list. It can be used to siphon, make a still, and many other uses. I have the condenser on my AC attached to a bucket by clear tubing, and collect between 7 and 12 gallons of water per day.

    • Well there’s the question of the day! Of course not everyone needs to have/store everything – for example, anything associated with kids or babies aren’t on our list. Still, it’s lots of storage. All I can say is much organization and creativity is required. And/or lots of space. Sounds like a good topic for a future blog. Any ideas?

  • Paul says:

    I’ve read the list and discovered that I’m an “accidental prepper” Most of it comes from living on a farm that’s been in our family since the 1800’s and still has much of the early tools and conveniences of the time. (I only lack about four items from the list )

    • Wow! Looks like some people naturally lead a prepared lifestyle…but it’s a bit unusual in our generation. You’re miles ahead of us because of your family heritage. We’re far behind you because we started married in Los Angeles suburbs, moved to Chicago suburbs, then Cleveland suburbs! We’ve just recently moved further out and started prepping. Thanks for the comment.

  • pat says:

    good list, I made it to 50 before you listed an item I don’t have but it was very obvious I need to get busy, 24 of the remaining items need attention. thank you for your work

  • Melissa says:

    We have many of the items on your list, but of course we feel that we need more. We are planning to move to a new place with more land in the next few months. As a homeschooling mom & preschool teacher I would hope to add ” quiet toys” for kids. Ours are in a “quiet bag”. No one is allowed to get anything out unless we are practicing our quiet time or hiding time. Bags include crayons, coloring books, small cheap toys like you get from kids meals at restaurants, plastic soldiers, etc. They also include eyemasks & earplugs for sleeping or keeping kids calm in rough surroundings. My other addition I will comment on seperately. 🙂

    • An OUTSTANDING idea. We don’t have children so it wouldn’t have occurred to me and I’m surprised it didn’t make anyone’s list. And I love the way you package them and teach your children about them. I’m thinking a “quiet bag” might not be a bad idea for adults, too – especially those who are addicted to their computers (as I am). Thanks for the comment.

  • Melissa says:

    Yeap, it’s really a prep item: condoms. From a womans standpoint, many would be rapists can be convinced to use them. Survival is the reason we prep. Also, they have other uses, as the us army knows, you can keep your weapon dry. I go into more detail in the files of our fb group. Feel free to check it out.

    • I can see why you identified this separately from your first comment! 🙂 Another good idea. Would love to check out your FB group – can you send us an invite (www.facebook.com/TheApproachingDayPrepper) or give us the name or address of your FB page?

  • One can make brown sugar from white sugar and molasses…2 T molasses per 1 cup white sugar…adjust to taste. Saves having to find a way to keep the brown sugar from drying.

  • Denise M says:

    Baggies. Lots of baggies of different sizes. Ziplock mostly. If you have trade items you can use baggies. Say a cup of sugar or salt. Or store a wet wash cloth for the road. Maybe you already have a trading items list. I have extra little hotel or travel size shampoos, toothpastes, single toothbrushes and hand soaps. Add a few more odds and ends and you have a travel personal care pack to trade for something else. Same with a baggie with bandaids, tube of generic neosporin, needle, wet wipes and asprin.

    • Isn’t it amazing how the little things like baggies, things that we just throw away now during times of plenty, could become so useful and valuable in a time of crisis? It’s probably safe to say that anything that you find useful now, especially things that you would find difficult to make yourself, would be very good to collect. The more low-tech, the better. Thanks for writing.

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