Preparedness is about a lot of things, from buying stuff to learning new skills and especially about making plans. It’s also very much about keeping up with your stuff and ensuring your equipment and supplies are there and ready when you need them to be. I’m sure I’ve said it before but it bears repeating: preparedness IS a lifestyle and not a weekend hobby. As such, there are always things that wear out, break down, and otherwise need your attention.
For example, just the other day I fully realized that my pocket knife (a CRKT M-21 which I thoroughly enjoy) was getting dull. Now, this wasn’t breaking news. I’ve actually known I needed to sharpen it for quite some time but haven’t bothered in large part because I can’t find my favorite knife sharpener–so much for my organizing skills–and so I’ve put it off until I can magically find my sharpener. Obviously it’s not critical that I sharpen my knife immediately as I have others BUT it is my EDC knife so it makes sense to keep it sharp.
As another example, I went to grab a flashlight that happens to use rechargeable batteries and guess what… it was dim. Again, not a big problem but then I went to replace the batteries and guess what… the kids had ransacked my rechargeable batteries! (Most likely for the Wii controllers and other various shoot em’ up electronics.) Even worse, now I had a bunch of batteries that were NOT charged. Granted, the main purpose of these rechargeable batteries is so that my alkaline batteries do not get used by the kids (they know that) but I still like to keep on top of such things.
Of course, it could be any number of things that are a problem. And, I should say that I have a very broad definition of “wearing out” to include basically anything that is broken and must be replaced, supplies that have been used up, equipment that needs mended, fixed, cleaned, sharpened, charged, or otherwise in need of TLC from me. With that in mind here are a few more examples off the top of my head to consider:
- Clothes in need of mending
- Batteries that need charged
- Firearms that need cleaned
- Ammo that’s been shot
- Canned/bulk foods that have been used up
- Food/water stores in BOB or vehicle kits need rotated
- Shoes that need new waterproofing
- Matches that went bad
- Bleach bottles that need rotated out
- Filters that needs cleaned/backwashed
- First aid/medical supplies that have been used up (especially prescription meds)
- Firewood that’s been used
- Smoke alarm batteries that should be replaced
- Knives that need sharpened
- Any vehicle maintenance (tire pressure, oil changes, etc)
- Updating computer files (to the cloud, usb drive, etc)
Certainly, there are plenty of other examples if I spend more time thinking about it and you’re welcome to add your own.
The question is why am I having such a problem? I actually use an Excel checklist to keep up with a variety of similar tasks (I wrote an article last week on the Importance of Checklists. It’s not a big undertaking at all as I usually just peruse the list and insert the date that I most recently performed the task. The answer is very simply that I actually need to open the Excel file and look at it for this idea to work! I’ve been a slacker the past few months and it’s showing. Normally, I have a routine to check on various things each month (my checklist file is a start) but since I’ve been out of my routine that’s not happening.
So, I either need to get back to my routine OR change how I do things and I’ve decided that if my plan wasn’t working then I should change it. Therefore, I’m going to search for a new way to not only track my tasks but to remind me that something needs to be done and–hopefully–also track that I’ve completed the task. I suspect that I’ll look for a free iPad app that allows me to insert a task and put a due date on it (maybe I have something that already does it) so that I get a nice occasional popup that says “hey, dummy go do something productive instead of playing bejeweled or solitaire.”
Now, the question for you is: what are you neglecting? I’m sure you’ve got a few things running around in your head. Get them down on paper, in the computer, your favorite iPad app (let me know what you use) and let’s get a better system to make these things happen.