So I’ve Been Saving My Disposable Razors Lately…

razorLike the title says, I’ve been saving my disposable razors lately; I’m up to about a dozen now. Why? Because it dawned on me a month or two ago that a luxury such as the ability to shave could become an expensive one in tough times.

Granted, there are far more important worries such as food and water but I figured saving my razor heads was something ultra easy to accomplish and didn’t take up much space. The problem with this paticular act of saving razor heads is that the entire reason why I throw them away in the first place is because they get dull and don’t do a good job of shaving any longer… I wonder if I’ll even use them?

Maybe it’s simply a better idea to purchase a straight razor and whatever I need to keep it sharp? That’s been a tried-and-true method for hundreds of years.

Anyway, I’ve also noticed that I have a harder time throwing out otherwise useless things like soda cans, shreds from my paper shredder, and even cardboard because I know that I can utilize these things for various solar projects just for fun or if I needed them. Eventually, my organized self takes over and to the curb they go.

This does beg the question…

While I don’t feel like I’m in danger of becoming either a hoarder or extreme cheapskate [both are links to articles I’ve written about them], I am beginning to wonder… “Is this the moment where it all starts?” After all, these people had to start somewhere too!

I’ve got to believe that I’m organized enough to never let that happen, but who knows what the future holds. Will I kick myself 5 or 10 years down the road because I DIDN’T save this stuff? I would assume that I could take a stroll to many suburban homes or, heaven forbid, the local dump and procure truckload after truckload of otherwise “useless” stuff if I really needed to.

Suffice it to say that I think it’s less about saving these things and more about the know-how. In this way I can look at nearly any object and turn it into something useful; sadly, this isn’t my strong suit… but I’m trying. So, what normally throw away items have you been hanging on to or outright stockpiling?

Review of Gerber Gator Machete Jr

I figured this review would be a nice way to bring in the new year… with something big and sharp! 😉 Although, I do not own this particular machete, I did enjoy this review from StealthSurvival. And considering the price is under $20 all day long, you can’t go wrong.

You might also enjoy this video review (by a different person) as well:

15 Items You Can Never Have Enough…

It’s time for a “You Can Never Have Enough of…” list. These posts are always fun to contemplate! Here’s my top 15 (in no particular order):

1. Gauze pads (of all shapes and sizes) – Any serious skin wound is going to need more than just bandages and must be changed often. You’re going to want both sterile (for direct skin contact) and non-sterile gauze. Sure, you can improvise but when it comes to someone’s health, buy the gear that’s meant for the job.
2. Fasteners – Assorted sundries such as nails, screws, nuts and bolts, washers, etc. Get a few boxes of quality exterior nails and screws for unexpected repairs or perhaps a necessary project, such as a solar oven or solar heater.
3. Duct tape – I need to get this one out of the way early! If it’s all that MacGyver needed, I’m sure I can make use of a few rolls myself. Use it for minor repairs to making a duct tape cannon (as seen on Mythbusters) and even for putting up plastic sheeting for chemical/biological events.
4. Ammunition (and weapons?) – Do I really need to elaborate? For self-defense, hunting, barter, etc.
5. Cordage (in assorted sizes and lengths) – most of the time I rarely use the cordage I have but it’s one of those items that when you need it, you NEED it. Visit your local hardware store for ideas but paracord, twine and some thick twisted-nylon rope would be a good start.
6. Firewood – Assuming firewood is your main heating and cooking fuel, it’s hard to have too much. At least have the ability to procure and harvest it, including chainsaw, axe, maul, and everything used to keep aforementioned equipment functioning.
7. Lubrication – It’s about stocking lubricants for squeaky door hinges and stuck bolts to preserving metal tools and firearms. Buy WD-40 (or something similar), 3-in-1 lubricating oil, and your favorite firearm lube.
8. Water Treatment (many options to choose from) – It will be a sad day if/when the faucet stops working permanently. 🙁 As such, every drop of water procured (well, usually) should be considered suspect and MUST be treated before consumed. The last thing you want is to die of dehydration from some diarrheal disease because you consumed bad water.
9. Bar soap (really any soap is useful, including hand sanitizers) – Although it is possible to make your own soap, who wants to fool with lye or even go through the effort? Bar soap will last a long time if kept from drying out so just store it like you would your food preps. A few dozen bars will go a long way.
10. Fuel (gasoline, diesel, propane) – You will eventually run out no matter how much you store or how well you ration it. That said, it will be an sad day if/when the last drop of petroleum flows. And be sure to stock the oil and other fluids that keep your equipment running (e.g., 2-cycle engine oil).
11. Bic lighters – The ability to create fire is huge and the ubiquitous bic lighters are the easiest, most reliable way to do just that. Granted, matches are useful too but think about how many fires could be lit with 50 bic lighters? And they can be stored in bug out bags, vehicle kits, or a jacket pocket without thought.
12. Antibiotics – So many diseases, so few antibiotics! Whether you agree with storing fish antibiotics or not, I prefer to have the option rather than not. I guess I could throw in any ingested medication here as well, including Ibuprofen, Tylenol, and plenty more.
13. Buckets – So many uses, especially the 5-gallon homer buckets. Used for storing food and gear, transporting water, gardening, etc. Be sure to include the lids (should have a rubber gasket too) and funnels would be very helpful here too.
14. Books and Reference Files – One person (or a group of people) can only know so much. Considering the wealth of knowledge that civilizations have created, it’s only prudent to have some of it on-hand in multiple forms (electronic and hard-copy). I wrote about resiliency in your survival library here.
15. Multi-Use Substances – I’m thinking of stuff like baking soda, distilled white vinegar, and apple cider vinegar, in particular. These can be used for making everything from household cleaners to toothpaste. Search the “How To” Knowledge base for more info on how to use these products.

What about you? What would you have added that I did not?

Subscriber Content Consolidated

FYI, for registered users: all subscriber content (ebooks, preparedness tools, design kit files, etc) has been consolidated into a single page. You shouldn’t really notice anything except that all pages previously listed as child pages under the main subscriber page have been removed. Don’t fret, all of their content has been added to the main Subscriber page. This change has been made as part of an effort to make the blog a big less overwhelming and in order to pave the way for the eventual roll-out of my 12 module Pathway 2 Preparedness course.

I’ve also removed the “Submit a Question” page (I believe I mentioned this in the past) as most people just choose to use my contact page instead… I’d prefer that anyway.

Last, I’ve also decided that I WILL use this subscriber content to promote Facebook Likes and e-mail subscriptions in the near future. Again, for those that have already registered this information will continue to be freely available to you so no need to worry there. At some point in the near future I will disable the free subscriber access but probably only when I roll-out my 12 module course, we’ll see.

In essence, the changes I intend to make shouldn’t affect current readers or subscribers. I know I said I wouldn’t make drastic changes in January and, in my eyes, this isn’t really a drastic change… more like a re-organization. 😉 That said, if you see it otherwise then I apologize in advance. Please bear with me as I try to improve reThinkSurvival and gain readership. Most importantly, thank you for your understanding and support!

3 Easy DIY Solar Cookers Infographic

I thought I would try my hand at making an infographic of my own and I figured why not start with solar cookers. Anyway, I would like to hear your feedback about it… is it helpful, interesting, too big, ugly, not enough info, just right, or what? If it’s interesting, please choose to pin it on Pinterest and Like on Facebook. Thanks!

NOTE: Links to these solar ovens and more can be found below this infographic.

solar-cookers-infographic

Links:

Hungry Mouths Consume A LOT!

hungry-mouthsI was helping my mother-in-law the other day bring up some canned food from her food storage so she could make spaghetti for various friends that needed a bit of help. Cooking meals for other people is, in fact, something my in-laws do quite a bit in part because they enjoy doing so as well as being one of their ways of doing charitable work.

Anyway, by then time I was done I had brought up a dozen 28-ounce cans of spaghetti sauce. This was almost an entire row of cans from her Harvest food storage racks! And the sad part is that it was for a single meal. Granted, there were at least a handful of families that benefited but I couldn’t help but ponder “what if we had to feed these people three meals a day, every day?” Obviously, our food storage wouldn’t last long at all.

For those that have seen the recent Hobbit movie I found myself cringing when the Dwarves showed up to the Hobbit’s house unexpectedly and ate him out of house-and-home the whole time thinking “yup, that’s exactly what happens!”

While I’m not worried about feeding people I don’t even know, close family and friends would be people that are very likely to show up TEOTWAWKI+1 with their hands out and mouths open. And, while I’ve written about this topic in the past it’s always been from a standpoint of a moral obligation to do so, not purely from a logistical “can I do it?” standpoint.

You see, the “can I do it” standpoint has little to do with whether I should be helping people that otherwise could do so but choose not to; Rather, it’s simply asking whether I, according to my expectations of the disaster, can feed people who need help… in this case, most likely family and friends?

I would say that in all but the most devastating of scenarios I could do so. Should I? Well, I’ve often heard people comment on forums and other blogs that they would have no problem shutting the door on anyone that didn’t show up with a U-Haul of food and equipment. To me, that’s just not being either realistic or a good human being.

After all, I would think I would have a hard time willfully surviving if all of my family and friends had perished. Maybe a honest-to-goodness civilization-altering scenario would change my mind, I don’t know.

Back to the point of the post, I was shocked at how much food had disappeared from my mother-in-laws food storage for one simple meal. If this was food saved for just my family, for example, we could have had enough for several dinners (maybe a week’s worth) rather than just one meal. Multiply this scenario out over a few weeks and what you thought was enough to last your family for months was quickly depleted.

So, we’re back to square one: do I or don’t I share my preps? Honestly, I flip-flop almost every time I think about the topic. It’s a tough call either way. I truly hope you make the right one.

Reader Poll Request

I’ve just put up a reader poll and would appreciate a brief moment of your time to answer the questions posed. The poll is located in the left-hand sidebar below my sponsored ads and featured blogs list. I’m looking to make this blog more functional and useful for you and would like to know your opinion about many of the posts and pages that I either update daily or that require a lot of TLC on my part. Until you speak, I won’t do anything differently. Thank you!

Are Preppers Hoarders?

I’ve never considered myself a hoarder. In fact, I do my best to remove clutter and keep things organized, after all, I do have an interest in organizing too. But, before jumping to conclusions, it would be helpful to know the definition of a “hoarder” as per Dictionary.com:

noun

hoarder1. a supply or accumulation that is hidden or carefully guarded for preservation, future use, etc.: a vast hoard of silver.

verb (used with object)

2. to accumulate for preservation, future use, etc., in a hidden or carefully guarded place: to hoard food during a shortage.

verb (used without object)

3. to accumulate money, food, or the like, in a hidden or carefully guarded place for preservation, future use, etc.

Well, when you put it like that… I’m definitely a hoarder!

The thing is that when I think of a hoarder I envision scenes like these (click images to enlarge):

epicdolls.com
epicdolls.com

izismile.com
izismile.com

autographhellbook.blogspot.com
autographhellbook.blogspot.com

hoarding-4
hoarding.theplan.com

That’s more like it. 😉

I would say pictures are worth a thousand words, so I’ll let them speak for me. I will say, however, that hoarding is only a problem when (1) your stuff dramatically affects your ability to live–especially with regards to health and safety concerns–and (2) when it takes you more than a minute to routinely find what you’re looking for, which is more likely a simple lack of organization rather than a hoarding problem.

Well, what do you think? Are (we) preppers hoarders or not? Does it even matter?

A Simple Prep Saved The Day Today (I’m So Proud of Myself!)

I thought I would quickly mention that even the smallest of prepping acts can pay off. I’m referring to the fact that my wife locked her keys in the car while at her office (about a 45 minute drive one way) which would have required me to either drive down there to unlock the car or pay someone to do so… can you say “bye bye $100 or a few hours of my time?”

Fortunately, I’m such a wonderful husband that I had the foresight to include a spare key in her day planner for just such an occasion. Of course, if she had locked her day planner in the car as well then it wasn’t so much of a great plan… will have to fix that too… argh!

An OPSEC Get Home Bag by MorrisB, Editor-at-Large

Many articles have been written regarding Get Home bags (GHB) but for the sake of providing a different option I’ll share what I use. First-off, one must obviously have the bag accessible to be of any benefit if things suddenly start falling apart.

So, how do we have them accessible? Well, we carry them to work in the car or on the train or subway. After we arrive at work we leave the GHB in the trunk or carry it into our work area where we hang it up or place it in, or under our desk. So let’s review where we’re at, at this point.

In the car. Locked in the trunk. That’s where I used to store my GHB en route and while at work along with some good walking shoes, extra outerwear to accommodate the weather, extra food, a walking stick (to deter dogs and other undesirables), a firearm and ammo and other items I might need.

Problem. What if I can’t get to the car when that bad thing happens? I’m up the creek. So I carry it into work. You may have already surmised that I want to be as prepared as possible so I had a full back pack (day pack size) and filled up with as many emergency supplies a possible, remember two is one and one is none. The difficulty here is that you’re setting yourself up for co-workers to razz you about whether you’re getting ready to go camping in the middle of New York City or “What are you prepared for, the end of the world?” In any event you are standing out or profiling yourself when you don’t want to.

Further, and I am so lucky to live in New York State (Hi Chuckie Schumer, all those other liberals and high taxes, to boot) and have occasion to take a train into, or out of Grand Central Station. Whenever the stuff hits the fan that place is loaded with cops, state troopers and even, when they deem it appropriate, soldiers. Now imagine them on high alert for something and picture me trudging through there with an overloaded back pack jammed full of emergency supplies. Not good. Now, admittedly, many others also wear day packs but they always seem half full and are not anywhere near as conspicuous as mine.

Solution, at least for me. I have taken a neutral colored, un-insulated outdoor or photographers vest, the one’s with a hundred little pockets and filled them up with my multi-tool, powerful LED light, l/t raincoat and other appropriate gear. I fold it up and along with a couple bottles of water and sandwich bars, place them all in a computer carrying bag. It’s got a shoulder carrying strap should I want to keep my hands free at some point. It can be carried anywhere without attracting attention AND, when things starting falling apart I step off to the side, slip the vest on, but under my work or sport jacket and it becomes both unnoticeable and helps provide a little warmth if needed.

I then grab whatever extras I might need from my work area, hallway or cafeteria and stuff them in my now, almost empty computer bag and book out. I’ve accomplished my need for a carrier that I can have with me at all times, that doesn’t attract attention and meets my needs to enable me to get home safely. That firearm that you might want to have? That depends on your local laws.

Good luck.

[NOTE from millenniumfly: I’ve taken the liberty in assuming the type of vest MorrisB is referring to is shown below.]