I’m sure many folks have become complacent over the holidays, and I don’t blame them. Perhaps I have a bit as well. But now that Christmas is officially over, it’s time to reconsider your preparedness efforts again. With that in mind, have you:
Stocked up on Foodstuffs
This isn’t just about having more food to eat, although that’s certainly a part of it, but everything that goes with making meals, including condiments, seasonings, various baking supplies (but really only if you expect to do that sort of baking), cooking oils… you get the idea. Go look through your pantry and decide if really have enough of what you need if you couldn’t get to the grocery store for a few months or if they’re out. Granted, they’ve done a tremendous job of keeping food on the shelves over the past several months, but you never know.
Of course, I would be remiss if I didn’t actually mention what types of food to buy. The short answer? Simply buy more of the shelf-stable foods you already eat. Once you’ve got that squared away then add in more nontraditional food, like bulk foods (e.g., rice, beans) and what I call “superfoods” (e.g., protein powder, fish oil). I wrote about it all here if you’d like to know more. The idea here is to supplement the shelf-stable pantry foods you already eat if it comes to that point.
Enough Water Storage (for real?)
A friend of mine recently filled a large water cistern after about 15 years of living in the same house. I’m not even sure how much water it holds, but I assume at least several hundred gallons. And I’m sure you’re thinking, that’s a lot! But it really isn’t. When it comes to being prepared for the long term, several hundred gallons of stored water won’t get you very far when you consider just how much is used for purposes other than consumption, especially cleaning dishes and bathing. Granted, there are ways to minimize water usage, but that’s a topic for another post.
What most people don’t think about (or prefer to ignore) is how quickly water can get used up if, for example, something unexpected happens. That could surely be family or friends who show up unannounced, neighbors who you take pity on, or worse, something damaged your water storage and now it’s all leaked out. That would be disastrous.
So, when you think about water, having storage is good, but also consider:
- where you’re storing the containers (underneath that leaning oak tree might not be the best place)
- what types of containers you use and how many (one large cistern might be easier to fill and use than several smaller barrels, but you leave yourself vulnerable to unexpected problems like a single leak)
- spreading out your water storage (no matter how you store water, just as with your food and everything else you expect to rely upon, never keep it all in one place)
I won’t go into depth on water collection or water treatment options today, but they’re every bit as important for long-term preparedness as water storage is. Personally, I’m a big fan of the Berkey water filters and have used mine for several years without concern. If you don’t want to spend the money on the entire unit, you can simply buy the filters and make your own; just search YouTube for “berkey clone” or something similar and you’ll find what you need.
Plenty of Hygiene Supplies, Cleaners, and Medications
I think we all know about toilet paper by now. If you let yourself get low on TP gold then shame on you. And I’m sure you can figure out what other personal hygiene items you’d need to stock up on here, such as soap, shampoo, toothpaste, deodorant, shaving supplies, feminine hygiene supplies, and the like. Most of these items will last for years without concern which means there’s no reason not to have this stuff on hand. Buy in bulk where possible and keep them properly stored and you’ll be set. About the only problem you might have is not remembering where you stashed everything, oh wait, that’s MY problem, lol.
A bigger concern is stockpiling medications. OTC pills aren’t hard to get, but prescription medications can be. About the only thing you can do is to be honest with your doctor and tell them why you’d like to stockpile meds. Many doctors may balk at the idea, but if you’re persistent they may relent. Of course, it may be that insurance companies or pharmacies are the problem, so there isn’t much you can do about that.
Remember to get all the cleaners you could need as well, such as dish soap, laundry soap, surface cleaners, and all that stuff. It couldn’t hurt to know how to make you own surface cleaners (which I still do),
Everything Else to Stockpile
Although I briefly mentioned water filters earlier, there are plenty of items that may become necessary to have; think “camping gear” and you’re on the right track.
I’m sure I could go on and on about all the stuff you could stockpile, from batteries and blankets to first aid supplies and firewood. If it’s something you use on a regular basis then it behooves you to have more on hand. But let’s discuss a few specifics.
Books and Guides
While I’m thinking about it, there’s no harm in having some survival books on hand too. When it comes to things that are hard to reproduce when society goes south (more specifically, if the internet goes down) knowledge will be hard to come by. Of course, it’s better to have the knowledge and skills for yourself, but there’s no harm in having a quality reference on hand. If nothing else, my how-to knowledge base might be a good start, but I also keep a ton of free guides here. I’m sure you can print some of that information as needed.
Personally, I say you’re going to need better/larger gear than most camping options for cooking most meals (assuming you have a family to feed). Just imagine trying to cook food over a campfire day in and day out for weeks or months and that will get old fast. Something like the All-American Sun Oven (I have its predecessor and I love it) would be a great choice IF you live in a place that gets a good amount of sun unlike the Pacific Northwest where I currently live. It’s an investment, but that could come in handy in the right circumstances.
What else besides a better way to cook food? How about lighting, especially lanterns for inside the house and flashlights for outside. There’s no reason to spend a ton of money on a single lantern or flashlight as most choices are good enough for around the house use. Plus, the adage “two is one and one is none” is a good one to follow for preparedness purposes anyway, and that applies to lighting as well.
Personally, I think everyone should have one quality flashlight they can use for themselves and each room that gets used regularly should have a decent lantern. I know that might seem like a lot, but lighting (and batteries) will be like gold if there’s an extended grid down situation. Around here it gets dark starting by 5:00 pm in the winter and it’s hours before anyone goes to bed; just imagine trying to get anything done in the pitch black. Granted, we could adjust our sleeping habits, but I really don’t see that happening.
Anything Needed for Survival Outdoors
It’s winter and cold outside, which means you should have whatever clothing you need to effectively work outside in the elements. That could include protective outer layers, warming inner layers, boots, gloves, stocking caps, and the like. You know what you need for wherever you live.
Be sure every family member has what they need (pay close attention to children as they grow out of clothing and shoes faster than you realize). Remember that it’s not just about being comfortable outside, but potentially about survival if worse comes to worse and, for instance, you had to survive in detrimental conditions during an evacuation scenario, for example.
Let’s not forget about our furry little friends! They need food, water, and sometimes medications too. Fortunately, most of these items will last a long time too, so be sure to get them whatever they need as well.