That’s right, I said “what NOT to prep.” If you have made the decision to start preparing, you are experiencing information overload. When I first started to prepare, I was told and read so much advice on what to prep I came to the conclusion that I should just prep everything! Well yes, and no.
Questioning information that you read about prepping on the internet – even mine, is a good thing! Incomplete information distracts people who are new to the concept of prepping from focusing on what will save their lives, doing your own research helps fill the gaps of these information holes. These are some common items I have chose not to prep after doing a lot of reading and little testing, you may choose to do differently. I will add more things in future articles. If you have a question on anything I have listed here, disagree with, or think I have forgotten something, feel free to leave a comment. I will get back to you as soon as I can. Always base your preps on common sense, think things through, ask yourself; how will this work in a stressful situation where you will not have the luxury of time?
Three Items I do NOT Prep:
A Year’s Supply of Toilet Paper: Although it is nice to have, millions of people live perfectly clean (some may even argue cleaner) and sanitary lives without it by simply using water and soap to clean themselves. Stocking TP is bulky, not everyone has the room for a year’s supply. I keep only three months supply of TP on hand for that reason, food and water is more important – then if we use it up, we will switch to plan B. A “plan B” needs to be time effective. It is not time effective to pulp the fiber and make toilet paper, chances are you will have far too many other things to do in a prolonged ‘grid down’ situation to even consider doing that. Have a “plan B” that you can quickly implement is what you need to be prepared.
Our “plan B” is taking squares of fabric that are cut from worn-out clothing approximately 4.5 inches by 4.5 inches and leaving a stack near the latrine. You clean up with the fabric, then deposit the used fabric in a #10 can filled with a strong bleach/water solution (not so strong as to eat the fabric but strong enough to kill anything on the fabric) that is sitting near your clean fabric and cover it with a lid. Next time you do laundry, you empty the whole can of bleach, water and fabric directly in with the hot soapy water, with your whites, then wash, rinse, hang dry and you’re done. This process is not so different from the use of the cloth diapers that every child used wear before the invention of modern disposable diapers. This process is not unsanitary and does not put anyone at undue risk of disease as long as standard cleanliness procedures are followed (hand washing).
Soap Making Supplies: Making soap takes a lot of time and resources, even cold pressed soap requires fuel for a stove to melt and render fat, and that oil and fat may need to be used for food. In a prolonged emergency you will want to have a ready supply of soap on hand to use that you don’t have to make.
Same goes with laundry soap and dish soap. Stock up on the store bought stuff (click here for 5 Great Soaps to Prep) it has no known shelf life, and is still fairly cheap. It’s very easy to purchase a year supply or more of soap. If you want to make your own laundry soap to save money right now – it’s a great thing to do for your family and budget, but you may want to consider having some pre-made stuff prepped for emergencies.
On the same thought, if you want to learn how to make soap as a hobby it’s a worthwhile skill to learn and you can stock up on homemade soap just like you would store bought soap as long as the soap is not highly ‘super fattened’ (also known as a ‘lye discount': this means you’ve used more fat than the lye can convert to soap, this is done in almost all modern homemade soap recipes so the extra oil/fat will leave your skin feeling more moisturized. So if your handcrafted soap contains too much extra oil know that it will go rancid with time). Being able to make soap from the materials you have available to you will be an invaluable skill when the emergency is over and people are thinking straight again. We will always need soap. In this case keep some lye on hand, it has many other uses and having some will be much easier than making your own lye.
- Image: Public Domain
Gold and Silver for Emergency Preparedness: Now, before the flaming begins, let me explain. In short-term emergency situations like Hurricane Katrina where we had a temporarily failed micro economy ; did people run around buying and selling with gold and silver? No they didn’t. But, if you had a tank of gas, you could get almost anything you wanted, bottled water become very valuable and clean dry clothing were a big deal. In a prolonged emergency situation where the grid is down and people are going without food, it’s true the dollar may collapse, but people aren’t going to want a gold coin, they are going to want FOOD.
Food, fuel, and possibly ammunition or medicine via barter will become the new system of currency not Gold or Silver. Precious metals are investments, and should be treated as such. They are a way to diversify your money and guard against inflation. If you already have a year of food and supplies stored for your whole family and you are debt free and you have a plan B bug out location ready, then consider investing in Gold and Silver. Focus on the basics: water, food, and first aid, in that order. Then do some real research about investing in Gold or Silver and see if it’s the right choice for your family. Keep in mind the US Government once confiscated it during the depression and don’t listen to those who tell you “…it will never happen again” because it can always “happen again.” Part of prepping is being prepared for even things that seem unlikely.