For a lot of people, there couldn’t be two things more incompatible than prepping and organization. You start buying all of this long-lasting food, and it quickly gets out of control. And that’s why it makes so much sense to adopt a system. If it’s gotten to the point where you can’t even bear to look in your garage because it causes you to break out in an anxious sweat, it’s time to put some organizational techniques to work.
Know Your Expirations
We’ve all experienced that moment where we look at something in the pantry and we have no idea how long it’s been in there. The inevitable consequence? These foods get thrown away. It’s one thing to take this approach to your everyday food supply, but you can’t afford this kind of disorganization when it comes to your prepping supplies. Whenever you put something on the shelf, write down when you bought it and when you expect it to go bad.
Rotate Your Stock
Grocery store workers always pull the oldest items to the front before they put new items on the shelves behind them. Otherwise, you wind up selling the newest foods first while the old ones just sit back there and grow moldy. Take the rotation approach to your storage pantry if you often work your longterm food into your regular meals.
You’ll have enough to worry about in an emergency situation without trying to figure out which foods are in which containers. Save yourself the struggle and get in the habit of labeling everything you put away. Don’t trust your memory.
Keep an Inventory
This is an essential part of a good organizational strategy. One word of caution: don’t make your inventory list on the computer. We’re preparing for a world where there may be no power! Use a good old fashioned ledger and make sure you update it every time you add or subtract from your storeroom.
Use Unusual Spaces
Don’t get locked into using just one storage space. So what if you’ve run out of room in that one closet? If you’re really serious about surviving the apocalypse, you’re going to have to make a few sacrifices. And once you do, you may find that those sacrifices aren’t as arduous as you thought. Most of us have quite a bit of unused space in our homes. You can keep plastic boxes filled with food underneath furniture, in seldom-used rooms, out on the porch…just open your eyes and you’ll be surprised at the possibilities.
By staying organized, you’ll see that prepping doesn’t have to be this crazy thing that quickly spirals out of control. You can stay on top of it. Prepping is much easier when you know what you have, you know where it’s going to go, and you know how much space you still have available.
And hey, it may help convince your spouse that this lifestyle isn’t going to turn their world upside down. If you’re getting resistance over storing any more bags of rice, good organization can go a long way to easing your family’s concerns.
One part of the prepper lifestyle that often goes overlooked is the importance of making sure everyone in your family is ready. That goes beyond just making sure everyone knows the evacuation plan. Even children should be ready to handle a variety of situations. As important as it is to stock up on food and learn to live off the land, it may even be more important to teach your child how to deal with the everyday threats that can turn into tragedy.
This is one of the hardest things for anyone to learn, but it’s especially difficult for children. It doesn’t stop being a problem as the teenage years approach, either. The rush of hormones that come with puberty can make it even more challenging to maintain control. This is an essential skill for every child to master, and make no mistake about it: it is a skill. If you talk about it with your child, you can give them self-talk they can use to keep their composure even when those powerful emotions come surging to the surface.
This is the short attention span generation. These kids grow up with computers all around them, and they have learned to view boredom as unendurable. Teach your child to leave the phone alone once in a while and just be present in the moment. This is not just to help them understand their surroundings, either. By training them to endure that beast called boredom, you’ll be giving them a skill they can use to blow past their unfocused peers.
Our society is woefully underprepared when it comes to first aid. If you haven’t developed your own first aid skills, now is the time to change that. If you have, it’s time to pass that knowledge on to your children. If you don’t feel comfortable doing it yourself, sign them up for classes on CPR or enlist them in an organization like the Boy Scouts where those skills are taught.
How to Use and Respect Firearms
Clearly, you shouldn’t introduce your children to firearms until you are sure they are mature enough. At the same time, if you are going to have guns in the house, it’s better to err on the side of caution. And caution does not mean – as many think – keeping your kids as far away from guns as possible. You want to drill them on safety, drill them on use, and teach them to respect these tools as the deadly weapons that they are. Knowledge is a powerful security blanket.
How to Cook
Here’s another skill that will help your child grow into a responsible, self-reliant adult. It’s embarrassing to get to college and still not know how to prepare anything more complicated than a bowl of cereal. Teach your child the cooking basics, with and without the use of electricity.
School can be dangerous for a child, especially if they are prone to being bullied. It’s probably overblown to worry about a mass shooting, but fights happen everyday in every town’s public schools. Does your child know how to diffuse a violent situation? Does he know when to run and when to stand up for himself? Does he have the skills needed to survive a fight? Don’t wait until it’s too late to teach your child these essential self-defense skills.
There are a lot of obstacles when it comes to prepping. You have to convince yourself that dangers really might be coming around the corner. If you manage to do that, you then have to persuade your family into believing the same thing. You might have budgetary restrictions or space restrictions. There are a thousand reasons to never take action.
One of the biggest obstacles, though, is simply a paralysis of choice. There are so many prepper websites out there. So many books. So many tips. Where do you start? Some people have erected enormous bunkers that will keep them safe even if a nuclear bomb is dropped on their property. Are you really doing anything if you stock up on a few essential supplies?
The answer is yes. Absolutely. The thing that separates a prepper from a non-prepper is action. You can give lip service to the idea of preparing all you want, but if you’re not getting started, you’re no better off than your naïve neighbors. Start small. Put yourself in motion. That’s how you build momentum. Here are five things you can buy today that will help you get the ball rolling.
Rice and Beans
The best place to start prepping is with food. You never know when drought will strike and famine will descend. Go to your local discount grocery store and pick yourself up a few pounds of beans and rice. These will keep for a long time, as long as they are properly stored. They also lend themselves to easy preparation, a bonus only outweighed by their affordability.
Canned Fruits and Veggies
You may not be ready to start your own garden, but you can at least pick up some canned fruits and vegetables. Start with a small amount. Maybe 20 cans of each. These will keep for years, and you can always rotate them into your diet so that your supply stays somewhat fresh. Vitamins and nutrients will be much more difficult to come by after the SHTF, so balance out your survival pantry just as you do your everyday diet.
Protein could be scarce if society crumbles. If you’re an excellent hunter, great. But even so, you’ll want a backup plan. Begin by stocking up on canned meats like tuna and chicken. These will stay good for a long time, and, like your canned fruits, you can always sub them in to your regular diet. Spam is a big hit in the prepper community, so you might consider adding a few cans of that to your cart as well.
We take water for granted because it’s so easy to come by. But what happens when the water is so polluted that it’s unsafe to drink? You don’t have to be a committed prepper to understand the benefits of keeping plenty of clean water around. If you live in an area prone to hurricanes, you definitely want to have at least 20 gallons of clean water in your storeroom.
A world without power will be a world without light. Buy yourself several good flashlights and plenty of batteries to go around. These will come in handy whenever the power goes out, even if that outage isn’t accompanied by a large scale power grid failure.
If you take these steps, you will be well on your way to becoming a certified prepper. See, you don’t have to build a special barn, stock an armory that would make the military jealous, or spend your entire bank account on a bug-out zone. Even if you only take a couple of the above steps, you’ll be ahead of the game. One step leads to another, and before you know it, you’ll have a prepper storage closet that can compete with the best of them.
Being prepared doesn’t just mean being ready for the worst case scenarios of the future. It’s also important to be prepared for the things that could go wrong on any given day. Nothing makes you feel more confident than knowing you have the tools to tackle an unexpected turn of events.
It’s one thing to fix yourself up a nice bug-out bag, but it’s equally important to make sure you have a collection of items that you can carry with you at all times. This takes a bit of prioritization of course; you can’t very well haul 12 gallons of water to the mall. Instead, look at some of the items you may need in some unusual but not altogether unlikely scenarios.
When it comes to your everyday carry kit, look for things that are appropriate to your own circumstances. If you live in the country, you’ll need a different set of tools than someone who lives in a metropolis. Look at your own needs and your own tolerance for carrying stuff around and you’ll be able to hone your everyday carry kit to perfection. If you need a headstart, though, here are some things that you might consider.
Your Cell Phone
If you’re like most Americans, you probably don’t need to be told to take your cell phone everywhere you go. Some people, however, find their cell phones an inconvenience. If you’re in the habit of leaving your phone on the kitchen counter, try to change it. Cell phones are as annoying as they are revolutionary, but they can provide you with a lifeline if you wind up in trouble.
We’re increasingly moving to a cashless society, but don’t be so quick to join the trend. You may be able to buy anything you need with your debit card, but that’s not going to help you if the power goes out. Aim to carry at least $50 bucks with you at all times.
If you live in a state where you’re permitted to carry concealed, don’t leave home without your gun. Obviously, make sure you are abiding by all your local laws, and make sure you don’t take your gun into private establishments where they aren’t allowed.
Today’s smart phones come with little flashlight apps ready to go, but those aren’t going to be of much use if your battery runs out or something else goes wrong. It never hurts to have a backup. Look for a small flashlight you’ll be able to carry with you at all times without bogging you down.
A knife makes for an excellent defensive weapon, but its more important function is as a versatile tool. Look for a Swiss Army knife or a folding knife, depending on which survival scenarios you’re most likely to encounter.
Add or subtract from this list given your own particular needs. The key word is convenience. Don’t force yourself to carry burdensome items, because you’ll just wind up leaving them behind. Strip your kit down to the essentials. Then, as you become accustomed to everyday preparedness, you can slowly build on your original inventory.
Modern science has yet to provide us with a cure for the common cold, but they’ve come out with a thousand medications to help relieve the symptoms. Unfortunately, these medications come at a cost. Drowsiness, hyperactivity, and even addiction are some of the side effects you can expect from these OTC remedies.
Furthermore, what will you do if you come down with a nasty cold and there are no pharmacies in sight? Don’t bother stocking up on hundreds of boxes of OTC cold remedies. There are natural home remedies you can use instead. They won’t cure what ails you, but then, neither will anything you get from Walgreens.
A Little Heat for Your Cold
What could make more sense than driving away your cold with the power of heat? If you’re the kind of person who shies away from spicy food, this might be a good chance to give it a try. A little cayenne pepper should do the trick. Add some hot spices to your next meal, and you might find it’s just the thing you need to clear up those sinus passageways and get you feeling like a human being again.
It’s All in How You Sleep
If you’ve ever had a nasty cold, you know that you don’t want to do anything but sleep it off. Unfortunately, sleep can be among the most aggravating parts of a cold. You turn this way and that, trying to breathe, but it’s to no avail. Instead, you wind up lying on your pillow, wondering why the world’s forces are against you.
Rather than endure this hell next time, try propping up your pillow so you’re not working against gravity. If you find it difficult to keep your pillow folded up, add a second one to the mix for the proper amount of elevation.
A cold is often accompanied by a sore throat. And if it gets bad enough, a sore throat can be even worse than that foggy headedness that has come to define the cold itself. There are any number of things you can gargle to relieve yourself of that pain. A little salt mixed in with warm water is the simplest remedy, but you can also try tea and honey.
Humidify Your Home
For a long time, it was thought that you could actually catch a cold just from being outside in the cold. We now know this is just a myth, but why is it that everyone seems to get sick in the winter months? One reason is that there’s less humidity. Not only is the humidity lower outside, but if you run your heater, it is probably much lower in your home as well. The flu virus thrives in arid conditions, so consider adding a humidifier to your home when it’s cold enough to turn the heat on.
The Boiling Water Tent
A nice hot cloud of steam can help you unclog those stuffed airways. To create this home remedy, boil a pot of water. When the water is ready to go, remove it from the stove, tuck your head up underneath a towel, and create a small tent under which both you and the pot can fit. For the next thirty seconds, lean over the water and breathe through your nose. If you’re not getting the desired results, try adding a couple of drops of peppermint oil to the water.
Not all survivalism should be centered around a worst-case-scenario. It is arguably more important to prepare for the problems that will inevitably come your way over the next year, societal downfall or not. Neglect these precautions, and you could invite a small-scale disaster on yourself while preparing for Armageddon.
Summer makes for an excellent time to start thinking about the winter to come. With the kind of crazy weather patterns we’ve had for the last couple of years, you never know when fall will betray you. If you wait too long to winterize your home, you could find yourself smack in the middle of a blizzard, utterly unprepared. Instead, set a weekend aside and knock out the following tasks.
You can have an attic filled to the roof with insulation and still lose plenty of heat through unsealed doors and windows. The first step towards proper winterization involves doing a full walkthrough, looking for any places where cool air may be seeping in and heat may be escaping. Caulk and weatherstripping should help you ensure a tight seal.
If you’re facing major heat repairs, it’s far better to know when the temperatures are still moderate. Inspect your heating system or – preferably – have a professional come out to take a look. If you don’t have a regular heating company, read reviews carefully before calling one out. Some will look for any excuse to make a buck off you, so it pays to be cautious.
If you’re fortunate enough to have a fireplace, this is a good time to get it ready. A thorough safety check is required; make sure the flue is working properly. Furthermore, make sure you aren’t losing heat through the damper. If you feel a draft, you might consider implementing a flue sealer – an inflatable tool that plugs any leaking air.
Cover Your Pipes
If you have any exposed pipes, it can be a good idea to insulate them with sleeves made specifically for that purpose. You don’t want to face the winter with busted pipes and water damage. If you prefer, you may be able to insulate the pipes using materials like newspaper. Some choose to keep their faucets running just a little bit throughout the winter to prevent freezing, but that’s a considerable waste of water.
Clear Out the Gutters
Clogged gutters are a problem at any point in the year, but they can be especially troublesome once the winter storms start blowing. Leaves and debris can prevent snowmelt from being properly drained, thus putting your roof in danger of damage. Special snow guards can ensure that your gutters handle inclement weather more efficiently.
It’s so easy to take for granted the thousands of comforts that come with a 21st century lifestyle. But as anyone who has ever been without power knows, the degree to which we depend on electricity becomes starkly clear in no time flat. The first thing you’re going to miss in a blackout is, of course, your eyesight. Without electric lights, do you have a way of illuminating your home? If not, here are six ways you can get ready for the coming darkness.
Let’s cover the most obvious tool first, because if you’re going to prioritize your lighting supply, this is a great place to start. You probably already have a flashlight or two around the house, but you can’t go wrong by stocking up. Do yourself a favor and skip the cheapo models. These provide little light and don’t come with the reliability of the more expensive options.
A flashlight can help you see into the dark corners of your home, but what happens when you need both of your hands free to work? For that scenario, it’s worth having a head lamp or two in storage.
You could probably light a room with some strategic positioning of your flashlights, but candles are a much more efficient solution. These versatile lighting options were commonplace before the advent of electric lights, and they are just as effective a hundred years later.
A mirror isn’t going to light up a room, but it can do wonders when it comes to magnifying the light you have. With a single mirror, one candle becomes two. With several mirrors, you can get much more out of your limited lighting.
You’re not going to do much better than the sun if you want to light up your house. It’s not going to do you much good at night, but you can rearrange and modify your house to make sure you’re getting as much of that natural light as possible.
You don’t necessarily have to plug a lamp into the wall to light up a dark room. Kerosene, oil, and propane lamps can help you stave off the darkness when the power goes out. The only concern with these lamps is that they produce heat as well as light. If you’re trying to keep your home cool, they may not be the best light source. They can also be dangerous, so make sure you have ventilation. Never leave a burning lamp of this type unattended.
One of the most important things to plan for as a survivalist is a long, cold winter. Freezing temperatures can kill you when you don’t have a reliable way to get warm. But for people who live in Florida, Texas, and other semi-tropical climates, it may be just as important to find ways to keep cool. Heat stroke is deadly, and the day-in, day-out misery of sweltering temperatures can make you wish you’d died right along with your air conditioner. Instead of losing all of your precious water through your pores, try these tips on for size.
Plant a Seed
Whether you nurture a tree from germination to maturity or simply buy property surrounded by nature, trees are a good way to make sure your home stays cool. The shade itself will make a big difference, and the increased oxygen will make it feel cooler than the thermostat might suggest.
Your ceiling fans aren’t going to work without a power grid, but that doesn’t mean you have to sit around in the still, stale air. With battery-powered fans, you can keep the circulation going. Fans aren’t as effective when there’s no cool air to blow around, but you’re better off with them than without them. Wet yourself down, sit a spell in front of a small fan, and you’ll cool off remarkably well.
You’re better off keeping your home sealed up if you want to keep the worst of the daylight sun out of your home. But when the sun goes down, open up your doors and windows to promote a cross-breeze. Exercise caution, of course, when it comes to security concerns. And make sure you have tight screens on all windows to prevent bugs and other critters from taking shelter in your house.
If you get drunk enough, you won’t care how hot it is. Just kidding! No, the order of the day is water, and you’ll need to drink early and often if you want to keep dehydration at bay. This is why it’s so important to keep a large clean water supply. Don’t let yourself get in a situation where you have to choose between thirst and extending your supply another day.
When the temperatures are rising, you want to do everything you can to keep the hot air from invading your home. Make some heat-blocking curtains to make sure the sun stays on the right side of your walls. In fact, even if you aren’t preparing for a life without air conditioning, these curtains can make your home cooler and slash your monthly electric bill.
A child with almost no experience at all can figure out how to cook some food if they have a fire and a pan. But when it comes to cooking in tough situations, there is more to consider than just a flame source. Those preppers who have spent a lot of time camping will have no problem mastering the fundamentals. Those who have solely relied on a stocked kitchen to make their meals could run into unforeseen problems. Here are some safe, smart cooking tips that can help you when trouble comes.
Clear the Area
It’s important to be methodical and thorough when clearing room for a fire pit. It’s not enough just to make sure you’ve removed all the leaves and debris from the immediate area. Look also for low-hanging branches, bushes, and other things that could catch fire if a spark gets away from you.
Keep a Lid On It
If you want to make sure your meals are done quickly, keep a lid on your pan when cooking food. This creates a feedback system of heat, ensuring not only that your food stays moist but that it cooks evenly. You can get more cooking done with less heat, a factor especially important if you’re using a limited fuel supply.
It’s always a good idea to keep some water at hand when cooking over an open fire. Should the flames get out of control, you want to douse them as soon as possible. Don’t wait until you have a full-fledged situation on your hands before you start looking for a pail of water.
Without the luxury of running water, cleaning up after a meal gets a little more difficult. Alas, it’s still easily doable. The best trick is to clean up your pans while they are still hot from the fire. Don’t burn yourself, obviously, but attend to the scrubbing as soon as possible. The food will come off much more easily than if you leave it to sit.
Whether you’re eating wild game or stored meat, food safety takes on a whole new priority in a survival situation. Food-borne illness could mean the difference between success and failure. Storage, a discerning nose, and common sense will serve you well here, but there is no substitute for thoroughly cooking your food. A meat thermometer will cut the guess work in this area.
Safety gets overlooked when it comes to survival preparation, and that makes no sense at all. What’s the point in getting prepared if you’re going to hurt or kill yourself in the process of surviving? Adhere to these tips and avoid a cooking nightmare.
If you’re serious about living without electricity, you should already know how to cook food using only fire. That will keep you alive, but why not live a little? Preppers should focus on the high priority items when first building their inventory, but you never know how long your survival scenario will last. You don’t need a lot of convenience to make it a week, but what if you have to live a month without power? Or a year? You’ve never known drudgery until you’ve experienced this kind of pressure.
Once you get beyond the basics, it’s important to remember how essential morale is to making it through tough times. The constant fight to survive can drain your batteries in a hurry. If you have a few “fun” items, it might help you keep the depression at bay. Start in the kitchen, and stock up on these alternative devices that don’t require a healthy power grid to function.
Manual Flour Mill
This is a handy device to have around, not just because it can stave off the worst of the nutritional boredom that will inevitably set in. It’s also a practical tool that can turn beans and wheat into usable flour. Considering the short shelf-life of many flours, a hand mill is a wise purchase.
You won’t be able to rely on your trusty blender when the electricity goes out, but a good food strainer makes a decent substitute. With this device, you can turn fruit into juice, create sauces, and even whip up some jam.
What’s better than a crock pot? Set it in the morning, and you have a delicious homecooked meal waiting when you get home. Of course, any such niceties go out the window when the plugs don’t work. The Wonderbag is a novel item that can do the same thing without the electricity. With a pot, a lid, and some water to boil, you can use the Wonderbag to replicate the functionality of a slow cooker.
With a manual mixer, you will have to put in the effort that electricity handles on your behalf with modern appliances. Despite that, you’ll find that it works just as well for most applications. If you plan on making any recipes more elaborate than “fry meat in skillet,” you should think about getting your hands on one of these.
Can you imagine trying to survive the apocalypse without coffee? Is there even a point to that kind of life? If you’re a java addict, make sure you get a percolator that will allow you to make coffee without a traditional pot. No one should have to go through trying times in a grumpy mood, after all!