by Angie Sullivan Beware of these common preparedness mistakes as you try to build up a good storage of food and water. As our journey continues, I just simply can't go on without warning you of some of the "pitfalls and potholes" of preparedness. They are the mistakes that many people make as they begin storing for the future. The following points are seven of the most common mistakes in food storage. 1. Water Don't forget it! I know I've mentioned this before, but surprisingly, water is often overlooked. If you do purchase water storage kits or barrels, fill them as soon as possible. Water is crucial, yet because it is so accessible to us, we often forget it. 2. Extended Staples Don't forget to store the additional pantry "staples" that turn basic foods into recipes. Consider storing oil, baking soda, baking powder, yeast, shortening, and powdered eggs, to name a few. Purchase a food storage cookbook and try the recipes to see what your family enjoys. Make sure you have the extended staples you need for those recipes. 3. Vitamins Obviously you want to try your very hardest to include as many high vitamin foods as you can. Nevertheless, you will still want to store multivitamins for your family. You might consider asking your doctor what multivitamin is best for your family and each person's individual needs. It is also wise to store vitamin C tablets, as citrus and other fresh fruits with vitamin C may be hard to come by in an emergency. This is a crucial vitamin to store as it prevents scurvy, a disease of the connective tissue. One University discovered that vitamin C tablets, if stored properly, can store up to twenty years. 4. Quick and Easy "Psychological" Foods These are foods that require little or no preparation, are familiar and taste good, and are comforting. These would be the "fun foods" of the food storage plan. Meals Ready to Eat (MRE) are a good option. They come in many different flavors, and even offer cake and cookies! 5. Balance Buy several different items. Instead of having a year supply or large amount of one item, such as wheat, have a varied supply that you can live on for as many months as possible. Should you need to use your food storage before completing your plan, you will have the balance and variety you need to survive. 6. Containers What a tragedy to store bags and bags of food only to have moisture, insects, or rodents ruin it! Using food grade storage containers will help you retain your food storage investment. Number 10 cans are excellent for food storage, especially when coupled with an oxygen absorber. If you choose to store in 5 gallon buckets, be sure to use a food grade liner. Do not use garbage bags as they are not safe for food. 7. Use Your Storage The most common mistake lies in never touching your food storage. I know this sounds counterproductive, but periodically using the items you store and rotating them into your daily diet is the best way to know that you can eat what you store. You will be more familiar with the products, and more comfortable with the preparation. Remember to avoid these seven pitfalls and potholes, and you will be able to continue safely and happily on your journey to preparedness!