I’ll let you in on a major character flaw of mine: I’m a horrible “outside of the box” thinker. If solution A doesn’t fix problem B then I’m usually in trouble.
I think that’s why I’m so fascinated with DIY projects and why I truly enjoy watching YouTube videos on anything survival-related, especially in a way which I didn’t expect or previously knew about. Because, once I’ve seen that something can be done in a different way or used for another purpose, I’ll remember that for life… just search YouTube for “fire starting hacks” and you’ll see what I mean.
And that’s a big part of the draw to preparedness for me. Specifically, there’s so much to learn covering so many disciplines that I’ll never get bored. There’s ALWAYS something more to discover!
Anyway, I’ve been thinking a lot about what life looks like in a post-apocalypse society seeing as though the world appears to be coming to an abrupt end–supposing we survive the aftermath–and, although it appears bleak to be sure, there’s a lot out there which might be of use to open-minded preppers.
You see, you’re not stuck with only what you’ve managed to stockpile for yourself and your family. As things settle down (likely over the course of several months) there will be many abandoned items which could prove useful to you.
Take the average house, for example. There’s plenty that can be salvaged from even a relatively disheveled property, including:
- A variety of lumber for adding onto or repairing your own home (you’re going to need a quality wrecking bar or two to deconstruct most buildings) as well as nails, screws, etc.
- Tons of wall insulation which can be used to insulate almost anything you like, such as a greenhouse, or even to hyper-insulate your own home (just think about how insulated you can make your attic if you have an unlimited supply of insulation).
- Plenty of wiring, piping, carpeting, plywood, shingles, and more that can be used for any number of repairs or DIY projects.
- Windows glass (for things like DIY solar water heaters or solar dehydrators), as a makeshift windbreak or who knows what else.
- Assorted brickwork (can be used to build a brick rocket stove or even a rocket mass heater), as a retaining wall, in-ground cold storage cellar, etc.
Even items left inside the home can prove useful. Who knows what you’ll find, from clothing and shoes (people can’t take everything when they evacuate, though most items left behind are likely less than useful for survival) to plastic soda bottles (useful for water storage, SODIS water treatment, as a seed starter, etc.) and mason jars that can be used similarly, including for food storage purposes. Even used glass bottles can be more useful than most folks realize.
What about the average vehicle? I’d say that their batteries are easily the most useful item that can be salvaged. Think about how many vehicles will be abandoned once they run out of gas? A seemingly unlimited number, for sure. Granted, I know a typical car battery isn’t the same as the preferred deep cycle batteries for off-grid power, but I’m willing to bet that I can wire enough batteries together to still make them useful. Speaking of which, there’s plenty of wiring in your average car too that might prove useful. Maybe other items could be salvaged for some purpose, such as the door window glass, tires, or hoses. Or, just turn an old car into a solar dehydrator.
Looking beyond your average car, almost every other house where I live seems to have an RV parked in their yard, and those that don’t have a boat. Now, while there may not be a lot that’s directly useful in an RV or a boat besides the aforementioned batteries you could, for instance, potentially turn a nearby abandoned RV into a survival retreat (if you had to abandon your home) even though it might not be moved anymore. Of course, perhaps a nearby abandoned house is a better option in most cases. You might also find a functional trailer assuming, of course, that you still have gasoline or diesel to run your vehicles.
I’m willing to bet most garages or sheds will have plenty of tools, containers, and supplies that will have been ignored or abandoned. Perhaps you’ll find a plethora of hand tools someone forgot about. How many other supplies may be left behind, in general, from Tupperware and trash bags to engine oil and cordage?
Surely there will be many abandoned businesses, workshops, lumber yards, machine shops, and office buildings in a post-apocalypse world. And, while many will have been ransacked and picked through for the obviously useful items, there could be any number of tools, equipment, or supplies which have been unwittingly left behind.
Clearly, there’s a lot that can be made useful in a true post-apocalypse survival scenario if only you’ll allow your imagination some latitude. For people like me, however, you really do need to spend the time discovering what can be done. Fortunately, I keep many hundreds of videos and how-to articles here when you’re ready.
As hopeful as all of the above is, there’s still some items which just can’t be created from scratch or are very difficult or time-consuming to make. Items we consume come to mind. Food is surely the biggest one. Yes, we can garden but that only gets you so far. You NEED to have plenty of food storage to see you through. Medications, vitamins and herbs are another big one. These really must be stockpiled too. I won’t get into the weeds of what else to include in this list, suffice it to say that anything you consume regularly (e.g., soap, toothpaste, cooking oils) really must be stockpiled as much as possible.
[Disclaimer: I’m not suggesting that looting, theft, trespassing or any crime is acceptable. Its not! Especially if we can reasonably assume that life and society will return to normal after some sort of societal collapse. This advice is ONLY if it’s obvious that we’ve hit a WROL or SHTF situation and there is NO expectation of returning to normal.]
What did I miss? What can you think of that can be useful in a post-apocalyptic survival scenario?