Vacuuming Without Electricity (video)

I’m sure many people say “who cares” if you can’t vacuum your carpets during SHTF? I mean, REALLY!? Odds are you’ve got more pressing problems to worry about than dirty carpets. But, remember that dirt brings disease and the cleaner you can keep yourself and your home the less likely it is that you or a family member will get sick… plus it will give the kids something to do when their video games don’t work, lol.

I’d also suggest that this is a great reason to put in hardwood, laminate, or tile floors where possible. If you can’t afford to do so then either limit access to carpeted rooms where possible or add this to your preps…

How To Build An Off Grid Gravity Fed Water System (link)

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Image Credit

This is an easy way to get water flowing for small uses, such as washing hands or doing the dishes, and if you include an in-line water filter such as the Sawyer mini water filters then you’ll be well on your way to ditching your indoor plumbing, lol…

“An off grid Gravity Fed Water System is a great  option for  running water. Since many of us off grid dwellers and tiny house owners do not have running water.  Yes, you can live without running water. Indoor plumbing has been around a long time but mostly for the wealthy. Your average 16th century English Farmer would have to carry in water. The same still holds true for many parts of the world today.

The system I’m going to show you how to build is not a whole house solution. The principles will scale up, though. This is a cheap and easy solution to get a gravity fed water system for a sink. So this is perfect for doing a few loads of dishes, brushing teeth or hand washing.

Best of all this build is both easy and cheap. I built the system in just a few minutes. I spent the next few days tinkering with it to try to optimize it…”

Read the full article here

How to Treat and Prevent Cholera (video)

Cholera is no joke, hasn’t been eradicated whatsoever, and WILL rear its ugly head post-SHTF. You had better know how to properly treat it should the need arise! In this video, ThePatriotNurse discusses what you can do and suggests you purchase antibiotics for your “sick fish” from here (use Aquarium6 discount code to save $10) as part of the treatment plan.

Beyond proper treatment it’s about prevention, specifically, ensuring you have clean water. To do so she recommends the Berkey Filter System (and I second that recommendation) here’s what she has to say about it…

A Better Mousetrap? The Kness Ketch All (video)

In my opinion, the only good mouse is a dead one but if for some reason you want to catch and release or don’t want to use poison then perhaps the Kness Ketch All Mousetrap is the way to go? The video said the cost is around $30 but I found it on Amazon for about half that price.

The following video suggests the Ketch All mousetrap is a good buy, particularly if you only have a few mice to deal with and/or may not be around regularly to properly deal with them.

That said, I did notice the first Amazon review I read stated that for a large mouse problem then this isn’t the solution: “…We had so many mice that after six mice are trapped, the spring unwinds and the door stays open so that all the mice get out. I finally had to use snap traps to thin them out. It will catch from 1 to 4 mice and keep them in, but if you have a real mouse plague, this trap is not the answer.”

Other reviews suggested it works but didn’t always keep the little rodents alive due to various injuries while being trapped.

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with the trusty bucket mousetrap either as a handy DIY solution too. 🙂 Here’s the Ketch-All review…

Trash Piles Up After Only Two Days In A Disaster!

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Image Credit

Bernie from recently had an eye-opening experience where trash service didn’t pick up his apartment complex trash for two days because of a storm and, as a result, things started to turn ugly quickly… the garbage situation, that is.

Sanitation is, in my opinion, one of the most overlooked areas of emergency preparedness and how you (and your neighbors) deal with trash is a big part of that.

Trash WILL pile up quickly if not properly disposed of. This will bring a variety of unwanted pests and insects in no time and, sadly, many diseases too. Living in an apartment as Bernie does only compounds the problem because they’re more reliant on trash pickup than even a typical homeowner is.

You simply must have an idea of what to do with your trash if/when disaster strikes. As such, the following article offers several suggestions for how to deal with trash and more…

“A couple of weeks ago, trash pickup in our apartment complex was suspended for two days due to severe storms. The trash compactor area quickly filled up and people were leaving trash outside the enclosed area. The whole place was filthy and reeked of rotting garbage. It only takes a couple of days between pickups for those apartment bins to fill up to overflowing. It got me thinking that garbage would be a big problem in a disaster situation…”

Read the full article here

RZ Mask: Airborne Contamination Protection In Your Bug Out Bag (video)

Like he says, airborne contamination is probably an overlooked area of preparedness in most bug out bags. In this video, he points out an interesting tool that I hadn’t heard of before today, the RZ Mask which is obviously intended to help protect you from harmful airborne contaminants.

The interesting thing is that this mask actually includes an active carbon filter which is intended to help filter out dust particles up to 99.9%. This is an interesting prep to include and likely better than the common dust mask while also offering more protection for your face.

Of course, the RZ mask isn’t a super cheap option, as such, a simple bandanna is better than nothing, has many uses, and is almost nothing when packed. Beyond that, a n-95 mask or n-100 mask (with one-way valve) are good to include too but for the price and overall protection offered this RZ mask may be a good addition (note: some Amazon reviews pointed out that this mask has a strong chemical / plastic smell so be aware of that)…

Cheesecloth as Bio-Hazard Mask? +10 Alternative Uses

Cheeseincheesecloth-sink" by Mar Mar - originally posted to Flickr as IMG_4802__3. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons
Cheeseincheesecloth-sink” by Mar Mar – originally posted to Flickr as IMG_4802__3. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

About the only way I’ve used cheesecloth in my life is to strain the pulp from almond milk. Yeah, I’m the adventurous sort. 🙂

To branch out, I thought I would research some ideas on how to use cheesecloth beyond the obvious one of making cheese (and apparently yogurt and tofu) and as a pulp strainer when I happened upon an 2009/2010 article that briefly discussed the Ukranian government turning cheesecloth into bio-hazard masks.

I tried to find some photos of what these may have looked like but couldn’t find any. Regardless, I can’t imagine these were very effective seeing as though cheesecloth is rather porous, but it was an intriguing thought. Heck, even the N-95 masks are ONLY 95% effective against airborne pathogens and they’re difficult enough to breathe through.

My advice? Stay home and well away from others if an epidemic ever becomes THAT worrisome. And if you must go out? Wear an N-100 mask with one-way exhale valve. They’re expensive but your best bet.

As for survival alternatives for cheesecloth, here’s 10 for you to consider, some of which I found elsewhere:

  1. Alternative Clothing – If you have enough of the loose fabric you can makeshift a shirt for sure. I’m not sure how well it would stay together but if you’re a decent seamstress then I’d imagine you can make it work. Plus there’s the added benefit of it being very breathable.
  2. Mosquito Headnet – This is probably my more favorite of uses. So long as you can breathe (and see) ok then you can also keep those pesky flying bugs at bay too.
  3. Dry or Clean Glass – I tried this briefly and I was surprised at how well it actually worked. I’m not sure how interested you would be to keep glass clean but once/if you ran out of paper towels this might be a useful alternative to store in the back of your brain.
  4. Sprouting Grains (in mason jar) – My wife’s actually done this years ago. Just place the grain–usually wheat–in the mason jar, cover with water for 24-48 hours, drain and cover with cheesecloth until it sprouts… then add to salads or whatever.
  5. Cover Food (from bugs) – If you can cover your head from bugs you can cover food.
  6. Gauze Substitute – Though not sterile, cheesecloth could be good enough to keep major contaminants from getting to a susceptible wound.
  7. Water Sediment Strainer – If you have water that is filled with debris (such as leaves and rocks) cheesecloth would make a great first stage filter. And if you get one that’s already sewn into the shape of a bag (such as a nut milk bag) that makes this task much easier.
  8. Fishing Net – Just like the sediment strainer above you could quickly make a fishing net if you had to.
  9. Drying Herbs – You can keep various herbs all contained in the same space if you’re into herbs… and drying them.
  10. Tree Protection – I’d seen it mentioned that you may be able to wrap the bottoms of young trees to protect them from cicadas; if that’s true then it may stand to reason that you can also use cheesecloth to protect other plants from various bugs.

Realize too that there are different grades of cheesecloth, ranging from #10 (loose weave) to #90 (tight weave) and that cheesecloth comes in both loose rolls and bags.

The stuff won’t last forever but I can sure see it getting you through for a while. It might also be possible to utilize something like window screen material in a similar manner as cheesecloth which is significantly more durable.

If you have any other interesting or possible uses, I’d appreciate hearing your thoughts.

Get Fewer Haircuts, Cut Your Own… Potentially Save $1000 per Year!

I’ve been fortunate that many years ago I started to lose my hair. Yes, I said fortunately. Most people would probably disagree with me seeing as though they want to keep their hair. I don’t. In fact, I’m plenty happy having a bald head for many reasons.

First, I make it look good:


Alright, making it look good is awfully subjective. 😉 By the way, my wife HATES this photo and really wants me to change it but it’s who I am.

Anyway, the point is that I’m sure I’ve saved hundreds if not thousands of dollars over the years choosing to shave my head instead of getting monthly (or perhaps bi-monthly) haircuts. At $15-20 for a basic haircut that’s hundreds of dollars per year. You can do the rest of the math. Granted, it’s not like razor blades are free but ever sine I learned to use a doubled edged safety razor I’ve saved a lot of money NOT purchasing disposable Mach 3 blades! That said, we still do buy some Mach 3 blades but not nearly as many as we did.

If you have young children–especially boys–you can shave their heads with an inexpensive set of hair clippers and save the cost of haircuts too. In fact, I’m lucky in that my niece lives with us and she willfully shaves my kids’ heads about once a month easily saving us money we would have otherwise spent on haircuts… or I would have just tried to shave their heads like mine…. so long as my wife wasn’t looking! Certainly, most men’s hair can be cut relatively well with a pair of hair clippers depending on the style. And if you’re so daring then perhaps a little education in hair cutting is in order.

As for the ladies’ hair, I’m at a loss there. My wife wouldn’t let me within ten feet of her hair if I dared to cut it, and I wouldn’t blame her either. 🙂 Unless your a confident person perhaps the best strategy is to simply let a ladies hair grow out longer than usual and purposefully not get it cut as often, especially since most women’s cuts tend to cost more than men’s… what a sham!

When you add it up for a family of four, let’s say, a typical month of haircuts could quickly add up to nearly a hundred dollars or more. Multiplied over a year, well, that’s quite a sum of money that maybe didn’t have to be spent but only YOU can decide that.

What say you? What have you done to save money on haircuts?