Just the other day we were reading about how the southeast part of the country was pounded with thunderstorms and tornadoes and it’s only January! There is no doubt that our weather is different, and often more violent, than what we remember from years past.
The victims of Hurricane Sandy are still living in shells of their homes while they wait to begin rebuilding. It has been months since she made landfall. One wonders how many of these storm victims had taken the step of family preparedness in advance of the natural disaster. I bet more will after the fact.
With the start of our Preparedness articles I’ve been asked where do I suggest you start your Prepping journey. To that I respond knowing what you need vs. what you want — is the first step! (Downloading my Paracord 101 Tips eBook can help you get going too.)
When we are discussing what to include in our disaster kit, we need to be sure that we will really need those things, especially when we may have to utilize the kit for the long-term. Below are a couple examples off the top of my head that I’ve seen/heard/read that we simply must have according to the “experts” — and my response. Are these needs or wants?
Store Gold or Silver To Trade
Maybe you have heard that you should keep gold or silver on hand in case something happens with our monetary system and cash isn’t considered valuable except as a material to start a fire. Remember, in the Great Depression the government took the step of confiscating gold when the dollar collapsed. In the event of immediate need, people want food or medicine — not gold or silver. Initially, clean water, warm clothes and even a disposable lighter will be more valuable than jewelry or precious metals.
While having gold or silver on hand can certainly be a barter item if the SHTF, when starting to prep focus on your immediate needs. Once you get all the stuff you will really need in place, you can take a longer view and plan accordingly.
Large Supply Of Toilet Paper
Especially when your storage space is at a minimum, don’t fill that space with the bulk of toilet paper. It is a convenience, a very nice one, but a convenience nonetheless. If you just don’t have the room to store large quantities of TP, think about keeping old fabric scraps in a bucket along with a small bottle of bleach stored near the toilet. If you need to use them just add some water to the bleach and deposit used fabric scraps in the disinfecting solution to be washed.
I know — YUCK! I hear you on this one. My point is to think about these things so you can plan accordingly — at some point you can run out of TP, right?
You Need To Learn Make Soap
This one makes me smirk… While knowing how to make soap is a valuable skill when you are looking at a prolonged period of time when you won’t be able to purchase more supplies, it may not be practical in the short-term. Large bottles of liquid castile soap are inexpensive, easy to store, last forever and can be used for washing bodies, dishes and laundry. Making soap may be an unwise use of resources and energy in a short-term situation.
There are folks who enjoy making soap — then have at it! I think this skill can be on the back-burner in lieu of other skills that may be more important such as first aid, fire-starting and water purification.
It can be difficult to really know what will be valuable and sought after during an emergency. Get a notebook and have a “need” column and a “want” column and prioritize from there. Try to imagine what you would really need, like medicine or want, like coffee. Okay, coffee isn’t a good example — that’s a need for me.
Then do what we do, every time you go to the store, buy a few things from your list that goes right into storage. Feel free to share what you think are the things you need vs. what you want. That does differ from person to person and should be very interesting.