Prepping Your Wardrobe for Survival

Let’s play a game! When I say “prepping,” what is the first thing that comes to your mind? What about “survival?”

My guess is that most of you immediately thought of food, water, or other survival gear. And those are great answers.  We can’t live long without food and water. But if you had an abundant storehouse of those supplies yet didn’t have other important items, your life could still be uncomfortable or, worse… in jeopardy.

There are lots of important considerations that need serious attention, but in this article, we’ll be focusing on just one: CLOTHING.

During normal, peaceful times, we use clothing primarily as a covering, a social cue, and a statement. During times of emergency when new clothing isn’t readily available, it’s often a lifesaver.

We can die much faster from exposure to the elements than we can die of starvation or even dehydration. Exposure in certain environments can certainly accelerate dehydration, but because there are threats that come from exposure during different seasons, it’s critically important that we have adequate clothing.

Where Do Clothes Come From?

When young children are asked where eggs or milk come from, they often respond, “The store.” That response would be funny if it weren’t so sad. They aren’t kidding; we’re disconnected from the source of our food. It’s just far more convenient and productive to buy our food than it is to grow it, so people move into the cities and buy what they need.

Similarly, if you asked kids — or even adults! — where clothes come from, we’re likely to respond, “The store.” That’s true for us today, but it wasn’t as true for our grandparents, great grandparents, and earlier generations. They would often buy fabric and then sew clothing as needs arose. In that era, learning to sew was a right of passage. That skill has largely been lost to recent generations.

So what would we do if clothing wasn’t available to buy for a while? Would you panic as your children’s clothes wore out and started to hang like rags from their bodies? Imagine your anxiety as snow sets in to see that your child had outgrown his shoes. What would you do if you couldn’t purchase a larger pair?

It’s hard to imagine not being able to purchase clothing off the rack since it’s so easy to do today. There are stores within minutes of most of our homes that stock all sorts of sizes, colors, and styles. Today’s ease of access to ready-made clothing could quickly change for a number of reasons, including:

  1. A pandemic could force people to stay home from work and avoid public places.
  2. Hyperinflation could also impact availability. As the value of currency plummets, people race to spend their money on necessities and tangible goods before the value of their money falls further. All sorts of goods become hard to find.
  3. An EMP could stop normal methods of production and distribution.
  4. Job loss or other financial strain could make buying clothing for your family difficult for a time.

If you have a supply of clothing on hand for future needs, however, it will ease the worry of clothing, which could really help. These scenarios don’t seem real or possible to many because we’ve had it so good for so long. The fact that most people haven’t seen times where clothing isn’t readily available doesn’t mean that it can’t happen!

Prior to the Great Depression things seemed pretty good. Prior to the hyperinflation of the Weimar Republic things were probably going fine. History repeats itself, and those who stick their fingers in their ears, pretending that it can’t happen here, will be least prepared when it someday does.

Shopping in Advance of the Need

Buy and store extra clothing. Try to select quality clothing that will be as durable and functional as possible. The good news is that you can save considerable money when you buy clothing in advance of your need.

Think about it, if you wear through a pair of shoes you’ll need to go get a new pair right now, because you don’t want to go to work tomorrow with your foot hanging out the side of your shoe. 😉

Because you need the shoes now, you head to the mall, visit one or two stores, and purchase the best available combination of product and price. Right now might not be the best time to purchase a pair of shoes at a really good price. The same shoes might cost half as much in a month or two when that store has a big clearance sale. When you buy in advance of your need, you can search out and find quality products at rock-bottom prices, then buy them to set aside UNTIL you need them.

It’s a known fact that you WILL need to buy shoes again at some point, as well as pants, and shirts, and socks, etc. These things wear out over time, so buying them in advance is extremely practical. Buying clothing this way for adults is fairly easy. They typically won’t be growing taller. Hopefully, they won’t be growing much in the other direction either! Kids are a little trickier. Their growth can be pretty explosive at times. When you’re buying season-specific clothing, you have to make an educated guess on the size they’ll need when that season rolls around.

Where to Find Quality Clothing at the Best Prices

You can certainly go to the retail store of your choice and buy several sizes ahead, but a better choice may be to find more highly discounted options. Because you’re buying in ADVANCE of your need, you can take your time, finding high quality items that have minimal cost. We like to frequent yard sales, thrift shops, craigslist (or similar sites), and the really good sales at factory outlet stores. We also buy ahead for the next year when seasonal clothes go on clearance at department stores.

Black Friday is coming up. It’s THE day where Americans often go wild, buying loads of plastic things and shiny objects to give as Christmas gifts. Sometimes people buy things simply because they’re on sale. Rather than limiting your Black Friday shopping to toys and gadgets, look for really attractive clothing offerings that have a special markdown that weekend. You may find deals a specific stores, or you may have your best luck online with sites like fatwallet.com or slickdeals.net. We’ve purchased some items off eBay and Amazon too.

Stop by your local Goodwill or other thrift stores in your community to get familiar with their offerings and pricing. You could also try some of the consignment stores in your area like Plato’s Closet, Kid-to-Kid, or Once Upon a Child for lightly used name-brand clothing at deeply discounted pricing.

Yard sales have been a really great source during the summer months when they are abundant. You can frequent the neighborhoods that tend to have really nice stuff. Oftentimes, they just want to clear their extra stuff out, so you can get items at $1 or less for each piece. That’s not always the case, and there are instances where you’d be thrilled to pay more for certain items, but savings can be significant. When you show up toward the end of a yard sale, the savings get even better. People may say that you can fill a bag for $5, for example, or they may beg you to just take whatever you want (free), so they don’t have to haul it back inside.

Even if the clothing is free, you’ll want to select quality pieces that will serve you well and you’ll actually want to wear. We don’t want to cross a line into senseless hoarding, of course. Buy heavy coats, sweaters, warm socks, and boots during the hot months of the year when they aren’t needed. Many department stores will sell their seasonal inventory at up to 75% off normal prices as seasons change.

If you’re buying in advance, you can find brand-name clothes that you’re excited to wear for FAR less than you would normally spend if you were shopping in-season as needs arise. Organize and set aside items that need to be grown into or that need to wait for another season. Occasionally you may guess wrong about sizing or some other detail and won’t be able to use the clothes, but when you find a great deal, you can afford a few mistakes!

It’s also a good idea to hang onto clothing that is still in good shape and can be passed down to your younger children. To make finding the clothes easier when they are needed in the future, group the clothing by size and season if possible. If you can find really good clothing at great prices, then it shouldn’t take long to accumulate clothing several sizes ahead. This isn’t JUST emergency clothing, it’s clothing that will be worn when it fits and as it’s needed. Because you accumulate when you find the right item at the right price, you will rarely find yourself having to pay retail prices for clothing. You’ll end up saving significant money on clothing your family.

It’s Not Just About Ready-Made Clothing

In addition to storing clothes, you can also store buttons, zippers, snaps, bolts of fabric, and thread. The fabric can be used for anything you don’t have on hand that you later find you need. Denim is extremely durable, so it would be a fantastic fabric to keep on hand. Polar fleece is warm, comfortable, and dries quickly. There are many other fabrics used for different purposes. The more simple and plain the pattern, the easier it will be to use the fabric for a wide variety of purposes.

What if you can’t sew? Should you still store fabric? Yes! First of all, the fabric is an insurance policy of sorts. Hopefully your accumulation of pre-made clothing that we just discussed will get you through a crisis just fine until clothing becomes more available. If not, bolts of fabric provide some flexibility. You can certainly take lessons and practice to acquire sewing skill. It’s a valuable thing to know. You could probably learn a great deal, at least as a starting point, on YouTube. Learning to patch and repair shoes and clothing is another useful skill to pick up. If you know a few skills and have the equipment available, you can patch holes, modify hems, and address other needs to prolong the life of your shoes and clothes.

Here are a few extra items that you may want to have on hand for repairs:

  • Shoe Goo or Freesole (strong adhesives specifically used for shoe repair)
  • Replacement shoe laces
  • Leather conditioner
  • Patch fabric (which could be taken from the good parts of worn out clothing)
  • Zippers
  • Buttons
  • Velcro

Even if you don’t WANT to learn how to sew, other people DO have that talent and could sew clothes for you in exchange for some fabric, food, or other need. If nothing else, the fabric could be an excellent barter item if ready-made clothing is too expensive or unavailable for a time.

Learning to knit or crochet is another useful still to pick up. Again, you’re likely to be able to learn those stills, at least at a basic level, through YouTube. If you have yarn on hand and know how to use it, you could make a beanie, a sweater, socks, or a blanket, for example.

Getting Started

This is a big project and these are important prepping supplies, but don’t get overwhelmed. It’s an elephant that you’ll just need to eat a bite at a time, so to speak. To get started, follow these steps:

  1. Take inventory of what your family members already have and what they currently need in terms of shoes, winter boots, clothing, coats, gloves, etc.
  2. Make a list of the sizes that everyone is your home is currently wearing.
  3. Determine the amount of money you can afford to set aside for clothing accumulation each month.
  4. Decide on a strategy for accumulation. Are you going to hit yard sales or a second hand shop, for example?
  5. Keep track of the clothing you acquire. Keeping a master list on paper or digitally will help you to know where you stand at any given moment. It will help you avoid situations where you have 24 shirts but no pants for a particular child.
  6. If you have rewards credit cards with stores like Kohls or Cabelas, consider using accumulated points to purchase quality snow boots or other clothing items with.
  7. Organize and store your collection in a place and grouping that makes them easy to access as needed.

Prepping isn’t easy, but you’re going to feel great after collecting the clothing that your family needs, knowing that you have a clothing buffer. You’ll be fine, even if ready-made clothing is hard to come by for a year or two. In the meantime, you’ll be saving a sizable sum and still wearing really high-quality, name-brand clothing, if so desired. Once you catch the spirit, it’s actually fun and your whole family can get involved in the process of watching for good deals!

Author Bio

Dave Greene is the father of six children, and a long-time Prepper. The desire to protect and provide for his kids provides him with major fuel for this passion. He founded Tools of Survival in 2012, to help families become better prepared. In the years since, Dave has taught classes on survival equipment, mindset, and techniques in a variety of venues.

Can You Really Freeze Dry Food At Home Without A Machine? (link)

Image Credit

I love freeze dried food. It’s nutritious, tasty, super lightweight… it just can’t be beat. But, it’s expensive to purchase in most cases and if you want to freeze dry at home, well, you’ll have to buy an expensive machine which is one big reason why I buy my freeze dried foods from commercial manufacturers.

Apparently, however, it’s possible to “freeze dry” food at home and without an expensive machine. To be honest, I am wondering if the method in the following article is a little suspect because freeze dried foods aren’t just frozen to really cold temperatures, they’re then placed in a vacuum and subject to low heat in order to induce sublimation, after which they undergo further drying to eliminate as much moisture as possible.

With that in mind, the two methods outlined in the following article don’t take the freeze-drying process quite that far but I do wonder if either method is more viable that dehydrating, or if they can be combined with dehydrating? There’s only one way to find out, guess I’ll have to give it a shot…

“Learning how to freeze dry food is something that’s gaining popularity.

It doesn’t come as a surprise to us, because many preppers are now simply discovering the “long forgotten” art of freeze drying their foods at home.

In truth, freeze drying has been in constant commercial use for generations. Applying it in your home is quit easy, with or without a special machine.

When you freeze dry food, the water content and moisture are eliminated. It’s a lot like drying food on drying racks, but you’re also adding the freezing process.

Freeze drying food is useful in situations like long camping trips, or long term food storage for an emergency or disaster…”

Read the full article here

Very Efficient? Rocket Mass Smoker and Cooker (video)

Paul Wheaton really loves his rocket mass heaters and so it stands to reason that he would make a rocket mass smoker / cooker at some point, lol. I’m assuming this is rather efficient since it employs the rocket mass heater design but I’m only guessing here since he didn’t specifically say so.

Anyway, keep this idea filed in the back of your head for SHTF since this could be a great way to preserve meat or just as an efficient cooker. Skip to about the 0:40 mark to bypass the intro and get to the smoker…

7 Great Places to Hide and Secure Your Prepper Supplies in Your Home (Guest Post)

Have you ever wondered how to secure your valuables, prepping supplies, and weapons if you need to leave home for a while? Are you concerned that these items might be stolen if someone broke in and had plenty of time to go through the contents of your home? In these days of possible civil unrest, it is very important to know how to hide your stockpile and other valuables in secret locations within your home. The last thing you want for you and your family is to have your supplies and weapons stolen by looters or thieves. Typically, when looters or robbers hit your home, they want to be in and out in a short time. The longer they are there, the greater their chances of getting caught.

While hiding and securing your valuables in plain sight is a surprisingly good, yet overlooked option, secret caches are also very important. Here are some basic rules you should always follow no matter where you wind up hiding your valuables:

  • Never talk about your hiding places to anyone that doesn’t live with you. The more people that know where your stuff is hidden, the less secure and secret your valuables, prepping supplies, and weapons will be.

  • Never share in social media that you are going away. When people know you aren’t home, it may alert thieves in your area that your home is up for easy pickings.

  • Most people believe that a good heavy duty safe is a good hiding place, however, they forget to make sure thieves can’t simply pick the safe up and carry it away.

  • Never store all your valuables in one place. Instead, make hidden little caches throughout the house that the average thief would never think about checking.

  • Leave a few unimportant items in hidden, but relatively easy to find locations such as cookie jars or other places where thieves might look first. In some cases, robbers will waste time going for these areas first, and then overlook deeper searches for more valuable items.

  • You can always use jewelry boxes for decoys as long as nothing of special value is kept in them. Some other decoy (but otherwise bad hiding places include: desk drawers, bedside drawers, sock drawers, inside picture frames, inside electrical appliances or heaters, lock boxes, or filing cabinets. Lockboxes practically advertise that something valuable may be inside, so thieves will take it no matter what.

  • Always avoid areas that can damage your valuables, prepping supplies, or weapons. An example of this is hiding these items unprotected in a toilet water tank.

  • Do not forget that modern thieves have all kinds of technology at their disposal. For example, if you are hiding a gun, don’t put it in an area where a metal detector would easily reveal its location. Even if you must hide something in a wall, make sure that electrical wires or other items will be found first, thus preventing further search for your important valuables.

7 Places Where You Can Hide Your Valuables

1. Electric light switches and wall outlets

One of the great advantages of using electrical outlets is that your home literally has dozens of them. The average thief really won’t want to waste the time to unscrew all the light switches or electrical outlet plates. It is also possible to install little safes behind the outlets. The average homeowner can do it easily. It is better to use a larger gang box, as it will give you more storage room.

2. Wall air vent safe

The wall vent safe is an excellent place to hide valuables and other prepping materials. When this project is completed. Anyone who looks into the vent will believe that it is an actual air vent and not a secure storage area.

3. Wall mounted shelves ( as seen on rethinksurvival.com )

The stealth shelf is an excellent place to store valuables or firearms that you want to keep hidden in plain sight. When the shelf is closed it looks like a simple shelf hanging on the wall.

Hidden cache areas can also be built into other types of furniture. Once these secret areas are closed it is very hard to see where they are. Just remember, however, that thieves will tear up couches and other soft furniture because it is easy to expose anything that may be hidden. If you decide to hide items in a couch, you can try adding hollow supports that appear to be part of the frame.

Any kind of shelf, windowsill, or cabinet can also make the perfect place to hide items in plain sight.

  • Use false containers in the kitchen cupboard, under the sink, and in the bathroom. A good example of this is fake food cans, boxes, and false cleaning product bottles and cans.

  • Wrap money and other valuables in plastic and aluminum foil and store in the back of the freezer. Not many people want to search through cold frozen items.

  • Hide items in a large house plant pot. When using this method, put the soil in a waterproof liner that can be lifted up to reveal items underneath. Also be sure that the hidden items are in a waterproof airtight container.

4. Secret hidden closet safe or storage area covered by a sliding floor door

While this location may be obvious, a burglar would have to exert a lot of time and energy, create a lot of noise, while trying to break into a floor safe located in a bedroom closet. These safes are generally very heavy, which makes them hard to open, and also hard to pick up and steal. Even if the thief recognizes he/she has walked into a safe, and has plans to break into safes and lock boxes later on, this safe will take a lot of effort to remove in the first place.

5. Hidden storage area behind a wooden bookcase door

Hidden bookcase doors would be excellent to hide a windowless pantry or hide a seldom used basement stairway from prying eyes. The bookcase portion of the door could be used as a pantry, or for storing books and nick-knacks. Typically, these areas can be used to hide the entrance to your personal man cave, panic room, armory, bug out, or other secret room. In a time of civil unrest or other emergencies, looters or thieves will know where to go to steal their survival supplies, however, it may take more energy than they care to expend to break down a large bookcase, or find an entrance to an area that doesn’t even seem to exist.

A finished attic is another great area to use hidden bookcase doors. It is also very easy to incorporate hidden storage areas when building a new clothes or storage closet. There is also a lot of wasted space that can be used for storage caches under the roof in the attic.

If you go to all the trouble to install a bookcase hiding place, do not forget to make it more realistic by adding some books. In this case, you can add hollowed out books that small items can be hidden in. If the book is thick enough, it can be hollowed out so that a small caliber pistol could be hidden within the pages of the book. These book caches should be in a bookcase or bookshelf among normal hardcover books. You may even want to use a few of them as decoys so that thieves will figure they already found anything of value and overlook the entrance sitting behind the bookcase.

6. Hide valuables in a fake PVC clean out drain

If you have a basement sink or laundry area in your home, these are excellent areas for a fake PVC clean out drain. Here you have a hide in plain sight valuables safe that has quick and easy access.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9i1BDJ5rPkc

7. Hidden storage behind a picture frame or mirror

This little hideaway area is an excellent place to hide valuables, prepper supplies, and weapons. To the average person, when the picture frame is hung correctly would look like any other hanging framed pictures. Do not hide items inside the frame or behind the picture. Even though the item may seem to be hidden from sight, it may create a bulge or uneven area if the item is too thick.

A good storage area can also be made by hollowing out the area behind a mirror. Make sure these storage areas are well covered up and that the covering will not slip or slide.

In Conclusion

In today’s world of coming civil unrest, it is to your advantage to keep all of the families valuables, prepping supplies, and weapons well hidden from sight. To keep these much needed valuable resources safe, no one should ever know that you have them. There is a strong need for security and secrecy or the family could be targeted by looters or thieves.

There are so many excellent ideas out there on hiding your valuables in plain sight. Please share them if it doesn’t compromise your valuable resources or if you have any experiences of individuals looting or attempting to in your area. Please feel free to say so in the comment section below.

Further Reading:

About Fred Tyrell:

I am an Eagle Scout and a retired police officer. I love the great outdoors and I am very conservation minded. It is my wish to pass along to other generations what I have learned in my lifetime. I am a champion marksman with handguns, rifles, and shotguns. You can read more of my articles on Survivor’s Fortress. Follow me on Twitter.