For those that are new to prepping, time may appear to be your enemy. You know the old cliché “I have so much to do and so little time”? Well let me dispel the myth that prepping needs to be done all at once. It doesn’t.
When it comes to preparedness, there is no reason to feel panicked and stressed into thinking you need to do everything all at once. The reality is that time is actually your friend. By taking things slow and easy, you add to your preps at a comfortable pace that does not burden your budget or your psyche. That burden to the psyche that needs to be avoided at all costs.
The advantage of prepping over time is that is allows you to adequately assess your needs and to dig deeper into your reference materials – most likely the internet, eBooks, print books, and savvy friends – so that you can customize your supplies and gear and really hone those all-important self-reliance skills.
Ultimately, the goal is to prepare for the unexpected emergencies in life that come up from time to time. I like to call those “Disruptive Events”. Stuff happens and we all hope we will not need to dig into our emergency supplies for daily sustenance. But if we do, so be it; that is what we prepare for.
With that said, this month take a deep breath and renew your focus on being prepared not only for the big events in life, but also for the smaller events that can turn your world upside down.
In Month 5 of 12 Months of Prepping, One Month at a Time, we will focus on cleaning and personal sanitation supplies, and on taking steps to establish a neighborhood community of like-minded folks that are interesting in learning about preparedness.
This is going to be an easy month so let’s get started.
Twelve Months of Prepping: Month Five
MONTH 5 SUPPLIES & GEAR:
- Liquid dish soap
- Plain liquid bleach
- White vinegar
- Empty spray bottle
- Liquid hand soap and hand sanitizer
- Bar of soap
- Disposable hand wipes
- Disposable latex or nitrile gloves
- Canned, ready-to-eat soup, 4 per person
- Portable am/FM radio with batteries
It is understandable that food, water and first aid are at the top of everyone’s list when they first start gathering emergency supplies and to that end, we are going to add some food this month. But before we do so, we need to take a tour around the house and gather up some cleaning and sanitization supplies.
Why are cleaning supplies important?
Well for one, staying clean is necessary in order to remain healthy. But perhaps equally important is the sense of calm we feel when we are in a clean environment. Think about your own living conditions during normal times. My guess is that you would much prefer to walk in to a clean home than one that is littered with dirty dishes, towels, crumbs, dust and heaven forbid, grime and mold. Just the thought of it makes me want to check in to a nice clean hotel room!
We are not going to go overboard with our initial cleaning supplies, just some dish soap, white vinegar and plain liquid bleach (which also doubles as a sanitizer). With these items, you can pretty much clean everything along with some elbow grease. You might want to throw some rags into the mix. My personal favorite is what I like to call “magic rags” but are actually microfiber cloths. And of course, you can keep those dirty rags clean with some dish soap and a tad of bleach.
And what about the vinegar? Add about a quarter to a half cup (no need to measure) in to your spray bottle then top with water and you have an easy, inexpensive and effective household cleaner. Of course there are many other DIY natural cleaners you can use as well. If you are interested, you can learn about them in the article Prepper Checklist: DIY Cleaning Supplies.
Clean Hands are Essential to Good Health
Anyone who has traveled a lot, especially on a cruise ship, will know that being in a closed environment accelerates the spread of germs from one person to another. One of the best ways to avoid illness is to keep your hands clean. For that reason, I can not emphasize enough the importance of hand soap, hand sanitizers and some latex or nitrile gloves.
One thing to be aware of when shopping for your sanitizing wipes and hand sanitizer is to look for products with an alcohol content of 60% or more – preferably more. This is not an area where you want to be a cheapskate since the cost of these items is nominal to begin with. If you are interested in learning more about hand sanitation, I suggest that you read Survival Basics: Hand Sanitation For Good Hygiene which was researched and written after I became confused by the various marketing claims of hand sanitation items.
Okay. So I have drilled you on the importance of cleanliness. We are now going to take a trip to the grocery or warehouse club and pick up some canned soup. This time we are going to get four cans per person. I personally chose the Healthy Choice Chicken Noodle or Chicken and Rice flavors since they are not overly salted but your mileage may vary. Pick out something you already eat and enjoy. Remember, this is not the time to experiment with something new and foreign to your palate.
Finally, the last item this month is a portable radio plus batteries. Or, if you can swing the extra cost, a hand crank radio that also works on batteries or by solar power. I do have two personal favorites: the Kaito Portable Dynamo & Solar-Powered Radio and the Ambient Weather Emergency Solar Hand Crank Radio. Either one will serve you well but if you can not swing it budget wise, a good portable AM/FM radio can be had for cheap.
For extra credit, consider a portable ham radio. You will need a license to use it but, with a bit of study, it is easy to get. Here are a couple of articles to help you get started: How to Set Up a Ham Radio Part 1 and Part 2.
MONTH 5 TASKS:
- Make two photocopies of important papers and include one with emergency storage and one away from your home.
- File an electronic copy of your important papers on a flash drive
- Talk with neighbors about organizing a neighborhood preparedness group.
Call me paranoid, but one of my personal fears is not having access to important documents and papers. The basics, for me, include copies of my driver’s license, passport, a brief medical history and listing of prescription drugs and dosages, pet vaccination and rabies certificates, and an emergency contact list. I have copies of all of these items tucked away in my bug out bag, my emergency first aid kit, a relative’s home down in Seattle, and on a flash drive that I carry in my handbag.
Your list may vary but whatever it is you consider important, just do it!
The Community is Going to Be Important
There are some folks that may not agree with me, but I truly believe that it is better to make friends with your neighbors than to consider them foes. The more like-minded people you can gather around you the better. I strongly suggest that you reach out to neighbors and to others in your community and share preparedness ideas. If they are receptive and agreeable, organize a neighborhood preparedness group and meet from time to time to share tips as well as skills.
There are a number of reasons why I suggest this.
One important reason for sharing your knowledge with a group is that they will share back and you will learn so much more than you could on your own. You will learn what skills they have that you don’t, and when the time comes, working together you will be able to spread the burden of chores and duties amongst each other. Another important reason is that by being friendly, you will begin to establish a trust that translates in to watching each other’s back, keeping a collective eye out for bad guys, or simply watching for zombies trying to get to your stuff.
If saving money is important, and these days I don’t know a single person where cost is not a concern, consider the economics of pooling purchases to get a group discount or to save on shipping. Just last month the Survival Hubby pooled his ammo purchase from Lucky Gunner with some of his buddies and together they saved over $60 in shipping. That is significant!
Another savings can be with book purchases. It may not be a lot but if you purchase a lot of survival, homesteading, and preparedness books, you can create a lending library amongst each other, saving $10 or $20 each time you borrow instead of buy. The possibilities are endless.
Keep in mind that as you reach out to find like-minded neighbors, you do not have to form a large group. Even four people, two households, can make an effective group. Start small, and slowly establish trust. You will not be sorry.
The Final Word
Being prepared has become a true adventure for many of us. And while for some it may be considered a hobby, it is also a necessity. There is a certain sense of calm that kicks in when you have the knowledge that you are doing what you can to prepare for unpredictable events in life. Thank you for following along.
Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!
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From the Bargain Bin: Today I feature some of the items mentioned in today’s article. Most of these items can be found at your local grocery store, Wal-mart, warehouse store (Costco, SAMs) or even in your own pantry. Whatever your shop of choice, I encourage you to gather them up now, while your mind is focused on “Getting Prepared Month 5”.
Amazon Basics Microfiber Cleaning Cloth, (Pack of 36): No list of DIY cleaning supplies would be complete without these wonderful microfiber cloths. They will last you for years and will allow you to replace paper towels forever. Truly. I color code using blue for glass and windows and the other colors for everything else. I love these.
8 GB Flash Drive: It always amazes me that people do not use flash drives for storing copies of important documents. Sure, in some emergencies you will not have power but in many cases you will or it (the power) will get restored. These flash drives are small and easy to stash in a bog, box or purse. Plus, it might be nice to store a few family photos, as well.
Dynarex Black Nitrile Exam Gloves, Powder Free, Large, Box/100: This is a top choice for protective gloves. Nitrile features extraordinary strength and puncture resistance while maintaining tactile sensitivity. It does not tear as easily as vinyl and feels more natural than both latex or vinyl. These gloves are ambidextrous, disposable and feature textured fingers for improved grip.
OXO Good Grips Locking Can Opener: Some people will balk at spending this much for a can opener but this one is worth it, Like everything else on today’s list, I own this one and can recommend it.
Kaito Portable Dynamo & Solar-Powered Radio and Cell Phone Charger: The Kaito radio is my favorite because it does it all. Yes it is a bit expensive, but I would rather scrimp on something else.
Ambient Weather Emergency Solar Hand Crank Radio: This is becoming a popular choice with Backdoor Survival readers. This unit is a Digital AM/FM NOAA Weather Alert Radio and a powerful 3 LED flashlight, with smart charger, all in one portable package.
Sony Pocket Radio: This radio will still do the job great. Just don’t forget the batteries.
BaoFeng UV5R Dual-Band Two-Way Ham Radio: I own two of these. Something to keep in mind that if you are just planning to listen, you do not need a license. Still, it is a good idea because it will make understanding the technical aspects of HAM radio a whole lot easier.
Special Note: BaoFeng and Pofung radios are one and the same. Newer units are branded with “Pofung”. Here is the Pofung UV-5R.
Coleman Mini Lantern: You already know that I have a thing about flashlights but this is a slightly different take on portable lighting. It is 7.5 inches tall lantern and weighs just seven ounces, including batteries. And boy does it give off light. Inexpensive plus, it is a genuine Coleman.
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